Presidential Puppy Watch … Senator Kennedy’s Portuguese Water Dog influence

August 26, 2009 update here.

APRIL 16 UPDATE HERE

Well, it seems like Senator Kennedy has made a huge influence on the Obama family. The number one pick these days is a Portuguese Water Dog.

Speaking to PEOPLE at the White House recently, Michelle Obama leaned in and confided: “You’re getting some scoops here.”  So, when? In April, Mrs. Obama says – after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.

Here’s a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: “So Sasha says, ‘April 1st.’ I said, ‘April.’ She says, ‘April 1st.’ It’s, like, April!,” Mrs. Obama recalls. “Got to do it after spring break. You can’t get a new dog and then go away for a week.”

And what kind of dog will soon be frolicking on the South Lawn? Mrs. Obama says the family is looking for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is “old enough” and a “match” for the family dynamic. Temperamentally they’re supposed to be pretty good,” she says of the breed that Sen. Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water dogs of his own). “From the size perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road – it’s not small, but it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.”

The only thing still up in the air is the name. And Mom’s not feeling it with some of the names her girls have come up with. “Oh, the names are really bad. I don’t even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they’re bad,” Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. “You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn’t a moose? Moose. I’m like, no, come on, let’s work with the names a little bit.”

I got to meet two of Senator Kennedy’s dogs three years ago during a second tour at the White House with my Senate pal, Patty Kennedy. I had originally visited the US Senate in 2000, helping Patty with the publicity of her incredible book, Bailey Bymyside: Golden Lessons for Life (to see some of the lessons from the book, click here).

Senator Kennedy dogs were being walked by staff members as he was, of course, busy doing the people’s work. I was told that the Senator brought his dog to work about once a week. And, he brought a tennis racket as well so that he could hit balls for his dog to retrieve and bring back to him.

I hear that the Senator is currently convalescing in Florida, spending wonderful, warm days by the water with his beloved dogs by his side. But, he remains very busy communicating with staff by phone so that he can still guide his much desired health reforms to eventual passage.

The 2006 book, My Senator And Me: A Dog’s Eye View Of Washington, D.C., is a lovely children’s book that highlights his guy, Ch. Amigo’s Seventh Wave (nicknamed Splash). One gets to follow Senator Kennedy and Splash through a busy day in D.C., from press conferences to meetings with school groups to committee discussions to a floor vote.

Kennedy’s introduction to the political process is clear, informative, and loaded with child appeal, in part due to his choice of a furry narrator.

I went looking for some fun Portuguese Water Dog images and came up with this great one of Docker,  the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America’s 2007 Superdog Winner.

Am/Intl CH Floodtide's Meet Me At Dockside CD AX AXJ RE CWD GROM CGC "Docker"

Am/Intl CH Floodtide's Meet Me At Dockside CD AX AXJ RE CWD GROM CGC "Docker"

It actually reminded me of this 2006 photo of President Obama following his 50th town hall meeting in Massac County.

A true comic book lover and collector I hear, he had posed in front of the Superman Statue in downtown Metropolis, IL, known as the home of the DC Comics super hero.

And, in October 2008 Obama joked at the Al Smith dinner that was actually sent here from the planet Krypton by his father Jor-El to “save the planet Earth.

Eerily, given the current economic crisis and the need to manage two wars, I’d say that statement was pretty much on the mark.

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