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The First Puppy's Journey to the White House

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

This began the Super Secret phase of Charlie's life, which included a clandestine White House visit in which he won over the Obama girls and their parents. Then Easter weekend came, and his days of anonymity ended. The celebrity Web site TMZ.com, and The Washington Post published online pieces identifying the new White House puppy as a Portie. The Post disclosed that Sasha and Malia had renamed him Bo.

A mysterious Web site also appeared, called firstdogcharlie.com and featuring a photograph that it claimed was of the new puppy but that the White House said was bogus. Comparing the Web site photo with the official White House photo was all the rage over the weekend. (Participants in an unscientific washingtonpost.com poll voted overwhelmingly that the photos were of the same dog, surely pleasing the site's operator, who had urged his readers to vote.)

Martha Stern, too, compared the photos at the request of The Post. She immediately called out to her husband.

"It's the same dog!" she said. "He's got a little paw and a big paw. Same lei. White on the chin."

The mystery of the Web site's provenance has displaced the quest for the identity of the First Puppy as a Washington obsession. Late yesterday, the site's operator responded to an email from The Post.

"Who am I?" the e-mail reads. "I am simply a friend of Charlie's. I think we all kind of are."

The Web site operator said he still has "more work to do here before I drop the curtain. This isn't about fame, fortune or notoriety (maybe just a little notoriety.)"

While the world waits for the Web site guy to reveal himself, Washington is waiting for the first official, live-action glimpse of the Obamas' new puppy. The black-and-white cutie who began life as Amigo's New Hope, then became Charlie, then became Bo is slated to make his White House debut tomorrow, though some still are speculating he might show up today at the Easter Egg Roll.

When he gets there, Martha Stern has a warning for first lady Michelle Obama, who just broke ground on a new White House vegetable garden. Porties -- who woulda thunk it? -- love tomatoes.

Bo should be watched when approaching the tomato plants at his new home, Stern said, or he'll "steal 'em right off the vine."


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