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Obama's backup presidential pet walker for Bo

November 2, 2009 |  7:50 pm

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Presidents, of course, don't have time to walk their dogs, unless it's a scheduled photo op to make millions feel warm and fuzzy.

So the primary walker of Bo Obama is reportedly Michelle Obama. But even she is sometimes too busy.

So, Darlene Superville explains in a charming Associated Press story tonight, the walking job falls to a little-known, 57-year-old man named Dale Haney.

He's walked presidential dogs for decades now all the way back to 1972, which was, wow, in the last century back when Joe Biden first entered the Senate and Obama was barely in the sixth grade.

You think you've got a lot of leaves to pick up, besides whatever your dog deposits during his walks. As the White House's chief groundskeeper, Haney's got 18.5 acres to take care of.

He's been amazed over the years about how interested the public is in presidential pets, often showing more interest in them than the officeholder.

Haney likes Bo just fine. But he still carries a soft spot in his heart for George and Laura Bush's dog Spot. Spot was actually born to the White House, way back in 1989 as the daughter of Millie of the first President Bush. (see photo below),

Spottie, as George W.'s family called her, had a distinctive self-assurance that charmed many over the years including Haney. Before her reelection to the White House in 2000, Spot lived....

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... in Texas and when the future president became governor, Spot took over the governor's mansion in downtown Austin, going pretty much wherever she pleased whenever she pleased.

But Spot quickly learned that tirelessly patrolling the block-square grounds was unnecessary if she just curled up in the security room. When the buzzer went off, Spot would explode from the room barking ferociously in search of the security breach. Spot left this earth in 2004 after several strokes.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press (Haney takes Bo for a recent walk); Associated Press (The first Pres. Bush walks with a proud Millie and her new brood including Spot in 1989).

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