President Barack Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia finally got their long-promised pet this past week, a Portuguese water dog they’re naming Bo.



Time will tell how this friendly and photogenic puppy lines up in the pantheon of presidential pooches. He’ll stand alongside George W. Bush’s Barney, who liked reporters even less than his owner, biting one last year; Bill Clinton’s Buddy, practically the only creature on Earth to remain faithful to Bill during the prez’s self-inflicted marital woes; George H.W. Bush’s mild-mannered and “literary” Millie and C. Fred; and countless other canines-in-chief.


President Barack Obama’s daughters Sasha and Malia finally got their long-promised pet this past week, a Portuguese water dog they’re naming Bo.

Time will tell how this friendly and photogenic puppy lines up in the pantheon of presidential pooches. He’ll stand alongside George W. Bush’s Barney, who liked reporters even less than his owner, biting one last year; Bill Clinton’s Buddy, practically the only creature on Earth to remain faithful to Bill during the prez’s self-inflicted marital woes; George H.W. Bush’s mild-mannered and “literary” Millie and C. Fred; and countless other canines-in-chief.

We’ve come a long way from reporters and photographers watching as Lyndon Johnson picked up presidential beagle Him — alongside his mate, Her — by his ears, leaving animal lovers aghast, and since Richard Nixon sidestepped questions on a vice presidential campaign slush fund by talking about his legendary spaniel Checkers.

Indeed, unlike most of these other dogs, Bo will be as much a companion for Sasha and Malia as the president. He represents a tiny bit of normalcy in their lives in the fishbowl at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Beyond that, having to walk the dog and clean up after him tends to humanize and humble its owner, even if it happens to be the leader of the free world, which is not such a bad thing.

As Harry Truman once said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Given the tough decisions Obama must make, he may need Bo’s company more than most, and no doubt he’ll be glad he has it, at some point.

Peoria Journal Star