A Tribute to Bo and Sunny Obama
It’s the day before Inauguration Day, and as the Obama family leaves the White House, we want to take a few moments to reflect on the two furriest members of the current first family: Bo and Sunny.
The delightful Portuguese Water Dogs joined the Obama family after they moved in to the White House. In fact, you may recall that during his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised his young daughters, Sasha and Malia, that they would get a dog if he won — and he over-delivered.
“Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the new White House,” he said during his historic victory speech in Chicago eight years ago.
Since then, the first dogs have won the love of the Obamas — and the American people. As their time in the White House comes to a close, we’ve put together a list of the dogs’ top five moments in the spotlight.
1. Bo Arrives at the White House
Both the family’s decision to get a dog and Bo’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were closely followed by the media. Born about a month before Obama’s election, the Portie breed was selected in part because of Malia’s allergies. The breed is known for typically being easier for some people with allergies to tolerate. In the spring of 2009, the family welcomed a 6-month-old black-and-white puppy, who was a gift from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. The pooch, who was born in Texas, went through training in Virginia before joining the family. The Obamas quickly made Bo, who’s pictured here as a puppy running in an East Wing hallway with the president, a member of the family.
2. Man’s Best Friend
The lucky dog has been photographed boarding Air Force One to travel with his family, and he earned a special title: stress-reliever-in-chief. In 2012, Michelle Obama revealed how close she’d become with the pup on the Late Show With David Letterman. “He is my son. I have two girls — and a boy,” she said. And like any proud parent, Obama did a little bragging about Bo, who she said was smart and “well-mannered.” Bo became a media darling and his photos often went viral, including one taken during a 2011 trip to a Virginia pet-supply store with the president.
3. Holiday Inspiration
With his photogenic looks, Bo (and later Sunny, too) provided lots of ideas for the White House Christmas decorations. The dogs have been featured as robots and replicas and even on the first family’s holiday card. They’ve also come along for celebrations, both for the winter holidays and for the famed annual Easter Egg Roll.
The dogs traditionally accompany First Lady Michelle Obama to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., when she reads the patients ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. In 2012, the kids got a kick out of 4-year-old Bo sweetly crawling into the First Lady’s lap for story time.
4. A Sunny Surprise
When he was reelected in November 2012, President Obama made clear in his victory speech that a second term didn’t exactly mean a second dog. “I am so proud of you guys,” he told his daughters, before joking, “But I will say that for now, one dog’s probably enough.” So when the family announced the arrival of another Portie the following summer, it came as a surprise to the nation. The family said Sunny, who was 1 year old, was “full of energy and very affectionate” — and she made fast friends with big brother Bo. A cute video released at the time showed the Porties romping around happily on the White House lawn.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGZ2nlkTuEEPuppies will be puppies, even in the White House, and Sunny made headlines a few months later, when she knocked over a little girl who was visiting the White House for the holidays. Sunny was so excited to meet 2-year-old Ashton Gardner that she jumped up on the toddler and accidentally pushed her over. Thankfully Ashton wasn’t hurt — and she didn’t seem fazed by the incident. The First Lady was close by and pulled Sunny back, while helping the girl to her feet. She then introduced the two, and Sunny gave Ashton a kiss.
5. Bo and Sunny Meet the Pope
The dogs met lots of famous people during their time in D.C., including Pope Francis. The head of the Catholic Church visited Washington in September 2015. After a formal welcome on the White House lawn, the pontiff headed inside with the president and first lady. There, Francis, who’s named for the patron saint of animals, was delighted to greet the first dogs in the Blue Room. Official White House photographer Pete Souza captured their interaction and shared it on social media with the caption, “Yes, this happened.” The picture quickly went viral.
Now, the countdown is on until Bo and Sunny depart the White House — the only home they’ve ever known — with their family. Luckily for Washingtonians, they may still be able to catch a glimpse of the pair once in a while. The Obamas have rented a home in the city, where they plan to stay at least until Sasha finishes high school.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVSnwcnBg1I What are your favorite memories of Bo and Sunny? Share them in the comments below.
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