Mr Presidents & Their Presidential Pooches

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Jyaneswar Laishram
Apart from being companion pets to Mr Presidents, all presidential dogs are as popular in many ways as their distinguished pet parents. We shed a spotlight on some of such top pooches of past and present Presidents when we are gearing up to celebrate our landmark 99th issue. –by Jyaneswar Laishram

Joe Biden with Champ & Major
Four years of Donald Trump’s dog-less days at White House is coming to an end as Joe Biden in January 2021 will bring two charming German Shepherds—Champ & Major. Champ came into the Biden family in 2008 after he was trained by New Castle County Police K-9 coordinator Mark Tobin. Major as a pup came into the family in March 2018 when Ashley Biden, Joe’s daughter, sent her father a Facebook post about a litter of German Shepherd puppies who were having some health issues and needed foster families.

Barack Obama with Bo & Sunny
Former US President Barack Obama’s daughters (Malia Ann and Sasha) lobbied hard their parents to bring a pet home. Their attempt finally worked! The President and first lady Michelle Obama accepted a pup as a gift from one of their friends, Senator Edward Kennedy. The Portuguese water dog came into the family in 2009. They named him Bo. Then in 2013, the Obamas brought home another Portuguese water dog, Sunny.

Vladimir Putin with Verny & others
No doubt, Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ardent dog lover and a responsible pet parent. His counterparts from many countries gifted him dogs as gifts on his birthdays and other occasions. Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov gifted Putin a pup called Verny, a Central Asian Shepherd Dog, as a belated birthday gift. Previously, he received a Bulgarian Shepherd named Buffy from Bulgarian President and an Akita named Yume from a Japanese official.

Emmanuel Macron with Nemo the ‘First Dog’
A black dog called Nemo surprisingly surfaced in the entourage of French President Emmanuel Macron. The Labrador-Griffon Cross breed continues the tradition of French presidents having a ‘First Dog’. Nemo came from an animal rescue centre. Nemo is not just a companion pet to Emmanuel. He is on special presidential pooch duty. In many occasions, it’s quite a common scene to behold the pooch on Emmanuel’s side to greet visiting Presidents from other countries.

Sauli Niinistö with Lennu
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö hit the headlines when he adopted his dog Lennu. The smiling Boston Terrier went viral last year and continued to steal the show. Sauli Niinistö and his wife, Jenni Haukio, were seen around with the Boston Terrier. The smiling Boston Terrier had been a hit in his home country for some time, but the presidential pooch found international fame after Daily Beast writer Kelly Weill tweeted the hilarious pictures of him and Niinistö during a public appearance.

Bill Clinton with Buddy
Although the former US President Bill Clinton grew up with dogs, he served his first term without a canine companion. In December 1997, however, he got a three-month-old chocolate Labrador Retriever pup, and the two became friends so fast. This is how Buddy came into Bill’s life. When the pup arrived at the White House, Bill’s spokesman Mike McCurry told reporters that Mr President got the dog because it’s his desire to have one loyal friend in Washington. Bill named his dog Buddy after his great-uncle Henry ‘Buddy’ Grisham.

Ronald Reagan with Rex
Yet another former US President who was a prolific pet parent is Ronald Reagan. Writer and commentator William F Buckley gave a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pup to the President and his wife, Nancy, as a Christmas gift on December 6, 1985. Buckley kept Rex’s brother Fred. One of Rex’s first official duties was to throw the power switch to light the national Christmas tree in 1985. Sometimes it would appear the President used Rex pulling as a good way of dodging reporters’ questions.

George Bush with Millie
Perhaps one of the lighter, warmer notes from the former US President George HW Bush is his affinity for dogs. Both he and the late first lady, Barbara Bush, have a long history of pet parenting dogs, from their time in the White House to the day his American flag-draped casket stood at the center of the Capitol Rotunda. When Bush was in office it was an English Springer Spaniel, Millie Bush, once called ‘the most famous dog in White House history,’ who lived with the couple and their children.

Silvio Berlusconi with Forza Dudu
Italian President Silvio Berlusconi’s pet Forza Dudu has a Facebook page, which is updated regularly with pictures of the poodle, often seen with his Momma Francesca, Silvio’s girlfriend Francesca Pascale. Forza’s Facebook biography says how much he loves his ‘adoptive pet parents’ and describes some of his favourite activities, including ‘gnawing on furniture – mmm what fun!’. The person behind the Facebook page isn’t known, but Silvio acknowledged it expressing his pride at how many online ‘friends’ his pet has accumulated. He added that his dog is ‘like a child – the only difference is he doesn’t speak’.

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