The Kennedy-Obama Canine Connection

August 26, 2009 update here.

I hear that the Obama family fell in love with Senator Kennedy’s Porties, so inspiring their bringing Bo into the family. 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.

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.

Bo, America’s Commander in Leash was written by Naren Aryal and illustrated by Danny Moore (Mascot Books). The book begins with Bo stealing the president’s letter opener, and he’s off and running for the next 25 pages.

Bo flies off the Obama girls’ swing, runs from bees near the first lady’s organic garden, puts green dye in the fountain for St. Patrick’s Day, and even serves up a summer hamburger for VP Biden. And, he is definitely enjoying the view and breeze from the window of Dad’s presidential helicopter, a major perk I’d say.

It looks like a great book for kids from age 4 to 10, as so many are now so interested in this special guy.

Click here to see a sample page from the book.

Art and Martha Stern, who bred the new White House dog, Bo, at their Amigo Portuguese Water Dog Kennels in Texas, were interviewed by PEOPLE Pets. And, they revealed some cool info (in the 5 facts below).

Spokesdog Bo

5 Things You May Not Know About First Dog Bo

1. It wasn’t Bo’s fault his first family didn’t work out. Bo, who spent time with another family before heading to Washington, was originally acquired to give an older female some company, but he ended up giving her a headache – by trying to nurse on her. “Most of our puppies, when [they] are six or seven weeks of age, I let them out with the big dogs,” Stern says. “The big dogs usually educate them to the fact that not all big dogs are their mother. But apparently he didn’t learn that.”

2. Bo comes from sturdy stock. His mom Penny is “kinda pushy,” Stern says. “She tries to run things, but we’ve got an older female that’s actually the alpha.” The Sterns give all their dogs a puppy test that rates degrees of social attraction, the ability to follow and sensitivity to touch. Bo scored mostly in the middle.

3. Bo has been a presidential dog-in-training for weeks. After Bo left his first home, he a top-secret trip to the White House for a summit with the Obamas in mid-March. Then he was whisked off for schooling by the Kennedy’s dog trainer.

4. He has a talented older brother. The Sterns tried to mate Bo’s mom and dad through artificial insemination, and a pup named Solo was born. Solo now competes in a sport called Water Work that mimics the challenges of fishing, which Porties were originally bred to do. Then Bo’s parents got together again and had Bo and his nine litter mates (including one owned by the Kennedys).

5. Bo will be big and lanky. Stern says that his other dogs that were neutered young – like Bo – have become especially tall. Which means he’ll be right at home with the First Family: The President is just over 6 feet tall, while Michelle Obama while Michelle Obama reaches 5’11”.

Check out Bo’s first day in the video below, along with some of our favorite photos of this cutie with his new forever family.

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