- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bo Obama was ready for his close-up, and after strutting around the White House South Lawn Tuesday the world knows a lot more about the most famous dog in America.

The Portuguese water dog rivaled models on the red carpet with all the camera clicks and press attention he received during his rollout Tuesday as the first family’s pet.

Mr. Obama grinned as he informed reporters that the family would share walking responsibilities and that like former first dog Barney, “Of course” Bo would be welcome in the Oval Office.

Bo has “his own little spot” for sleeping, and won’t be sharing anyone’s bed, the president said.

He offered a public service announcement for having dogs spayed and neutered, like Bo.

“We want to make sure we are responsible dog owners and I hope everybody is, too,” he said, as the White House allowed the press to witness Bo’s first walk on the grounds.

The less than 10-minute walk also was a rare opportunity to see the entire first family together, as the Obamas have kept their daughters out of the spotlight.

“I love him; he’s perfect,” announced Malia, 10.

Mr. Obama said Bo is a “good-looking dog,” and evoked Harry S. Truman saying, “I finally got a friend.”

After Sasha, 7, declared “He doesn’t know how to swim,” the president offered some trivia on the dog, a gift from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

“Apparently [Portuguese water dogs] have to be taught how to swim, which is interesting,” Mr. Obama told reporters. “They have webbed feet and they herd fish for the fishermen in Portugal. This is what we’ve heard.”

Some snarky reporters called for a fact check since the breed is a “water” dog, but an aide to the first lady clarified later the president just meant Bo hadn’t tried swimming yet with the family.

“He just moved in!” the aide protested.

But the president already is warning Bo to behave.

“Now the only concern we have is, apparently, Portuguese water dogs like tomatoes. Michelle’s garden is in danger,” Mr. Obama said.

Bo, with black fur but sporting white paws and a white chest, several times bounded across the lawn, tail wagging wildly.

He didn’t bark once, even declining to respond to a reporter’s shouted question about whether he was indeed hypoallergenic.

• Christina Bellantoni can be reached at 125725@example.com.

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