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From John Adams’ alligator to Calvin Coolidge’s raccoons, the White House has seen its share of presidential pets. Now the Obama family welcomes the latest addition to this distinguished company, Sunny (pictured right). At just over a year old, the Michigan native settled into her new Washington D.C. home on Monday, getting acquainted with Bo (pictured left).
Due to their relatively low shedding, Portuguese Water Dogs are popular for their hypoallergenic qualities and, more recently, their political ambitions. Sunny is the First Family’s second such dog, after Bo joined the family in 2009, hinting at the start of a canine political dynasty.
One study of presidential pets concludes that the “First Family’s four-legged members are an important political force.” After all, the Garfields named their dog Veto, citing one of the President’s most important powers. And Millie, George H.W. Bush’s springer spaniel, used the bully pulpit to publish her own memoirs, “Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush,” which the New York Times called “pretty darned impressive.”
While dogs tend to command the spotlight, cats have been known to “dabble in foreign policy.” Socks, the Clintons’ tuxedo kitty rescue, was known for rubbing shoulders with powerful politicians, even posing for photos with foreign dignitaries, which suggests tremendous international influence.
According to the White House blog, however, the energetic and affectionate Sunny may remain content to frolic on the South Lawn of the White House with her big brother. And early footage suggests the evidence for any canine conspiracy is inconclusive at best:
While family allergies limited the President’s options, they made a substantial donation to the Washington Humane Society in Sunny’s honor. In response, the shelter is offering discounted adoptions through the end of the month, adding:
We’re honored that President Obama and his family have once again recognized the Washington Humane Society as the leading voice for animals and are grateful for their generous gift. We hope others are inspired to add to their family, and see the value in having multiple pets. The companionship of another dog for Bo will certainly benefit him in ways that people can’t emulate.
Photo (top-right): Sunny and Bo get acquainted; Peter Souza / White House