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The First Puppy Makes a Big Splash

Take a stroll down memory lane and reminisce about White House pets from the past.

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  • Yes, that's the dog.
  • No, I think it is an imposter.

Still, there's lots of stuff that didn't leak out, including a secret get-acquainted session with the family at the White House a few weeks ago. The visit, known around the White House as "The Meeting," was a surprise for the girls. Bo wore a lei then, too.

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Bo charmed the first family, a source who was there said. He sat when the girls sat, stood when the girls stood. He made no toileting errors and did not gnaw on the furniture. Bo has, after all, been receiving lessons in good behavior from the Kennedys' dog trainers. These lessons have been taking place at a secret, undisclosed location outside Washington.

Bo, though he was raised elsewhere, already has a keen sense of who's in charge inside the Beltway. When the president walked across the room during the visit, Bo followed obediently.

"He's sooooo cute," the source said, referring, let us be clear, to the puppy. "It's very exciting. They had a great meeting."

Sasha was excited; Malia focused on all the "responsibility issues"--how will Bo be trained, cared for, etc.

"Malia has done extensive research," the source said.

Just in case Portie-mania ensues -- how could it not, after all this buildup? -- a staffer warns that Porties "are not for everyone. They're very energetic. They play, play, play. Then they sleep."

They also need a lot of room to run. Fortunately, the White House has a lot of lawn.

Some issues remain to be resolved. Where, for instance, will Bo sleep? The White House has plenty of rooms to choose from, but the great question of whether he'll get to bunk with one or both of the girls remains undecided. The feeding and walking schedules are also still to be hammered out -- a "family decision," the source said.

"They're approaching this responsibly as a family," the source said.

All of this is new to the first family. Sasha and Malia have never had pets. And neither the first lady nor the president had dogs growing up.

During the campaign, word surfaced that Obama had promised a dog to his girls. Since then, he has been, ahem, hounded constantly about the choice. Precious moments in most of his first major interviews as president-elect and then as president were dedicated to the puppy question.


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