Meet Bo, the First Dog
GEORGE W. Bush moved out this January along with his WMD-dominated presidency. Within three months of the Obamas moving in, the White House is imploding again. This time with newfound passion for a PWD, a Portuguese water dog, the new presidential pet who is guaranteed to cause inhouse destruction and tear into his master’s socks.
The dog is named after the singer Bo Diddley and Michelle Obama’s father’s nickname Diddley. ‘Bo’ was kept top secret for months before he became the top dog of America on 12 April.
Bo is the most politically correct First Pet yet. A black fellow with a white chest, Bo was an underdog who’s going to live the retweaked American Dream of ‘yes we can’, romping on the presidential estate at least till 2012. He’s descended from an immigrant species: Portuguese water dogs were recognised by the American Kennel Club only in 1984.
He’s a six-month-old ‘rescued’ puppy who was awaiting adoption. He’s also a quasi-Democrat, a gift from Ted Kennedy who trained Bo and has had three Porties of his own. Oh, and he’s also an allegedly ‘hypoallergenic breed’ due to his single-coat which means the Obama’s firstborn-daughter Malia won’t
have to take an antihistamine whenever she wants to play with Bo. He even came home to the White House with a lei looped around his neck, a traditional garland from Hawaii which hints at Obama’s birth-state.
The origin of this breed is interesting. As its name suggests, this curly coated spaniel that looks like a poodle, was a fisherman’s dog to begin with. Mammologist Desmond Morris says Portuguese water dogs were working dogs who “acted as marine aids to the fishermen of the Algarve on Portugal’s southern coast, herding fish, moving nets and carrying messages between boats”. Their multioctave barks also made them useful as living fog horns that prevented collisions between boats. The breed almost went extinct in the 1960s, when “advanced fishing techniques rendered Porties obsolete”.
Currently it is ranked 62nd in popularity by the American Kennel Club (AKC) registration statistics. And now, even with price tags of $1,800–$2,500, Porties will soon be bounding up the AKC ranks. And the President? Whenever his popularity is dipping, he only need put on his swim shorts, take a dip with his water-loving Portie and leave therest to the paparazzi.