The First Pooch

Please place your paw on the box of Milk Bone Dog Biscuits and repeat after me:

I do solemnly swear...
Pant, pant, wag, wag....

that I will faithfully execute the office of Presidential Pooch of the United States...
Lick, lap, twirl, scratch...

and will to the best of my ability...
jump, hump, run, dive...

preserve and protect the White House carpets...
bark, snap, convulse with pleasure.

It's official. The White House puppy is due to arrive in April, one presidential promise that can definitely be fulfilled.

I like the idea of a dog at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Somehow it makes the First Family, I don't know, more like us.

Nearly every U.S. president had a pet, either exotic or common, sometimes both.

George Washington set the stage with horses, hounds and a parrot.

John Quincy Adams kept an alligator and silkworms.

James Buchanan hosted a herd of elephants form the King of Siam.

The custodial budget surely increased during his term.

Many of our leaders have gone with either man's best friend or the domestic house cat.

Perhaps you remember George W. Bush's dog, Barney, the Scottish terrier that bit a Reuters reporter.

Or Clinton's cat, Socks, who died recently of cancer at the age of 18.

Gerald Ford loved a Golden Retriever, Liberty, who delivered a litter of pups at the White House. I remember the pictures of Liberty and her brood in that big box.

But now I'm dating myself.

The Obamas have chosen a Portuguese Water puppy, a low shedding breed that runs between 40 to 60 pounds. Names are already being considered, Moose and Frank among others.

With President Obama's seemingly personal connection to our 16th president, I think Lincoln would be a perfect name for the puppy.

He could have a dog house shaped like a little log cabin. And make little Lincoln logs.

But then, no one asked me.

We got a new puppy a few months ago. We opted for the high shedding, 100-pound variety, a red Labrador called Hooch.

Hooch is a fitting title for our pup, as we were obviously under the influence of something illicit when the decision was made to add a third dog to the family.

Hooch reminds us what it's like to have a baby in the hosue, with crying and multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night.

But that's just my husband.

A curious sort, Hooch barks at all entities, including the wind.

Defying physics, he can jump straight up in the air, and snatch almost anything.

To date, he has eaten a cheesecake, a broom, shoes and a digital thermometer.

His favorite find is toilet paper, which is either shredded to smithereens or dropped as a whole into the commode.

He wrestles with dead animals, failing to understand they no longer want to play.

Naturally, he brings me souvenirs of his outside adventures, things like antlers, intestines, beheaded rodents.

He zooms throughout the house, a race to nowhere, stopping only momentarily to mount any stationary object.

He's his own little stimulus package.

Our 4-year-old lab Reuben just stares at us in disgust, as if to ask, "Why? Why did you have to bring that beast into my territory?"

The answer to that is simply that I do not know. Maybe we got caught up in the newness of it all, the pleading brown eyes, the puppy breath.

It doesn't really matter. Hooch is ours now and he's here to stay.

Where else could he go anyway? Washington?

No, he would never make it there. He'd be impeached within a week.

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