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Second Dog Joins Bo at White House

Posted: Aug. 21, 2013, 3:55 p.m. EDT


By Clay Jackson

The White House got a bit more crowded this week, as the First Family added a Portuguese water dog puppy named Sunny to the fold.

Sunny joins First Dog Bo, also a Portuguese water dog, and makes a "perfect little sister,” noted The White House Blog.

Blogger Hannah August reported that Sunny’s breed was a good choice because of allergies in the Obama family.

Like Bo, Sunny’s duties will include more than lounging about, playing fetch and doing her business on the South Lawn.

 Sunny
The Obamas reportedly named their new dog Sunny because of her cheerfulness.
White House/Pete Souza
Sunny and Bo will keep President Obama company in the Oval Office, go on after-dinner walks with the Obamas and be a furry ambassador when reaching out to wounded war veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center or entertaining ailing kids at Children’s National Medical Center.

It would appear to be more than coincidental that the popularity of Portuguese water dogs has jumped from 65th on the American Kennel Club purebred rankings in 2007 to 55th in 2012, or roughly the time the Obamas have resided in the White House.

Because the Obamas are under the spotlight, not everyone is enamored with their decision to "adopt” a second purebred dog.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote on his blog Tuesday: "As we always say in such circumstances, we hope the Obamas considered adoption or rescue as the first choice in obtaining a pet.”

"We are pleased to learn that the First Family made a donation in Sunny’s name to the Washington Humane Society, which shows the family’s awareness of and concern for the problem of homeless dogs and cats in our nation,” Pacelle added.

The White House didn’t elaborate on Sunny’s background except to say she was born in Michigan a little more than a year ago.

Sunny is the latest name on the more than 200-year-old roster of White House pets, joining such four-legged celebrities as President Clinton's cat Socks and President Lyndon B. Johnson's beagles Him and Her. (Johnson apologized after a White House photographer caught the president picking up Him by the ears.)

Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge housed more livestock in the White House than any other president.

Roosevelt and his wife, Edith, and their six children had 40 pets during their years in the nation’s capital, while Coolidge and his wife, Grace, maintained dogs, cats, three canaries, a goose, a thrush, a mockingbird, raccoons named Rebecca and Horace, and a donkey named Ebenezer.

It is said that the presidency gets more complex as time goes by, which may explain why the Obamas chose just two pets, Bo and Sunny.

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