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The poop on Bo’s first months in White House

He has torn through magazines and stray socks, even sunk his teeth into the president's gym shoes. Charm school taught him to sit, heel and shake a paw on command. He spent his first summer vacation on breezy Martha's Vineyard.

That's just a scoop of the poop on Bo's first few months as First Dog of the United States.

Most of his dog days begin with early morning walks on the grounds with Michelle Obama, and end with a nighttime jaunt with President Barack Obama, the couple juggling their four-legged family member in shifts the way the first lady says they once handled daughters Malia and Sasha.

In between, 10-month-old Bo has playtime with the girls, meals, puppy mischief — and lots of just lying around.

Obama says walks with the family's Portuguese Water Dog are a highlight of his pressure-packed days. It's perhaps a sign of just how high-stress they are that the president even gets sentimental about the less pleasant duties of dog ownership.

"I'm the guy with the night shift," he told one television interviewer. "We go out and we're walking and I'm picking up poop and in the background is the beautifully lit White House. It's quite a moment."

Questions flyObama's daughters had asked for a dog but were told to wait until after the presidential campaign. Obama told the girls on election night that they had "earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House."

  • Slideshow Photos

    Pete Souza

    All the presidents’ pets

    Harry Truman said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Plenty of presidents did, and other pets besides.

  • Image: Sunny, the Obama family's new puppy

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    Meet Bo's new pal, Sunny

    Bo, left, and Sunny, the Obama family's second dog, relax on the South Lawn of the White House on Aug. 19, 2013. Sunny is a 1-year-old Portuguese water dog, the same breed as Bo.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: Obama and Bo

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    Bo knows politics

    President Barack Obama runs alongside Bo, a six-month old male Portuguese water dog, in the White House April 12, 2009. The dog was a gift from Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and his wife, Victoria, to the Obama girls.

    The White House / The White House
  • US President George W. Bush is followed

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    See Spot walk

    George W. Bush’s dog Spot Fetcher follows the president toward the White House in June 2003. Named for Texas Rangers baseball player Scott Fletcher, the springer spaniel was the daughter of President George H.W. Bush’s dog Millie.)

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • The First Lady Shows Off White House's Holiday Decor

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    Scot free

    Scottish terrier Barney, First Dog in the George W. Bush White House, is blasé about the Christmas decorations Laura Bush is unveiling to the media in December 2003. The Bushes also have a second Scottie, Miss Beazley.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • US President Bill Clinton is greeted by his dog Bu

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    Bubba and Buddy

    President Bill Clinton gets an enthusiastic greeting from his chocolate Labrador retriever Buddy on the South Lawn of the White House in June 1999.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • Press photographers surround Socks, the cat who be

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    Socks appeal

    Chelsea Clinton’s cat, Socks, appears nonplused by the demands of fame as photographers surround him outside the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, Arkansas soon after Bill Clinton was elected president in November 1992.

    AFP - Getty Images / AFP - Getty Images
  • George H. W. Bush

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    Face time

    Former president George H.W. Bush enjoys some face-to-face time with his wife Barbara’s springer spaniel, Millie, in Houston. The Bushes also kept one of Millie’s puppies, Ranger, as a pet.

    Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image
  • Nancy Reagan

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    Cavalier attitude

    Nancy Reagan and her dog Rex are clearly glad to see each other as the first lady returns to the White House in April 1986. Rex was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, generally considered a toy breed.

    Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image
  • Ronald W. Reagan

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    A stroke of Lucky

    President Ronald Reagan pauses outside the White House to pet his dog Lucky in 1986. Lucky was a Bouvier des Flandres, a Flemish breed originally developed for cattle droving and sheep herding.

    Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image
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    Play with Misty for me

    President Jimmy Carter’s daughter, Amy, holds her cat, Misty, as she returns to the White House after a weekend with her parents at the Camp David presidential retreat in September 1977.

    AP / AP
  • At Home In The White House

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    Give me Liberty

    President Gerald R. Ford wrestles with his golden retriever, Liberty, in February 1975. The dog was a gift from Ford's daughter, Susan, and his personal photographer, David Hume Kennerly.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • President Nixon Pets His Dogs After Speech

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    Ireland, France, and Yorkshire

    After Checkers passed away in 1964, Richard Nixon went on to the presidency and other pets: King Timahoe, an Irish setter; Vicky, a French poodle; and Pasha, a Yorkshire terrier, all shown here outside the White House in 1970.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Richard M. Nixon

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    A Checkered past

    On September 23, 1952, then-vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon defended his personal finances in a television address that became famously known as the “Checkers speech” (because Nixon said the only contribution he kept was the dog of that name). Nixon still had the cocker spaniel in 1964, when this photo was taken.

    Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image
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    Fly like a beagle

    President Lyndon Johnson raised controversy when he was photographed lifting one of his pet beagles, Him and Her, by the ears. Him sired a litter of puppies in 1965, and LBJ’s daughter kept two of them, Kim and Freckles, shown here in the president’s lap aboard Air Force One.

    AP / AP
  • KENNEDY FAMILY

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    A passel of pets

    Macaroni was far from the only pet in the JFK family. Here Caroline and John enjoy a veritable pack of pooches while vacationing with their parents.

    AP / AP
  • Kennedy And Family

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    Her little pony

    Caroline Kennedy had something many young girls only dream of: her own pony. Here she sits atop Macaroni in March 1963 while her little brother John, her mother Jacqueline and President John F. Kennedy look on.

    John F. Kennedy Library via Getty Images / John F. Kennedy Library via Getty Images
  • Watchf Associated Press Domestic News  Dist. of Col United States APHS TRUMAN FELLER 1947

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    When a Feller needs a friend

    In December 1947, President Harry S Truman received an unsolicited gift: a cocker spaniel puppy named Feller, who poses here by the crate he came in. The pup was adopted by Truman’s personal physician.

    AP / AP
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt driving in his con

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    A jolly good Fala

    One of the most famous of all presidential pets was Franklin D. Roosevelt's beloved Fala. Here FDR takes the Scottish terrier for a ride through Hyde Park in 1944.

    Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image / Time & Life Pictures - Getty Image
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    Hoover and his hound

    President Herbert Hoover takes plenty of blame from historians for the Great Depression. But he had at least one loyal fan: his German shepherd, King Tut.

    AP / AP
  • Calvin Coolidge With Family And Dog

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    Cal and his collie

    Rob Roy, a white collie, was just like a member of the family to Calvin Coolidge. The 30th president stands next to his pet in this photo from the 1920s, along with his wife, Grace, and their two sons.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Warren And Laddie Boy

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    Laddie and his daddy

    Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the United States, had an Airedale terrier named Laddie Boy. Here they pose for photographers outside the White House, circa 1923.

    Library Of Congress via Getty Images / Library Of Congress via Getty Images

Immediately, it seemed everyone, everywhere, wanted information — and had an opinion. What kind of dog? When would it arrive? Would it be a shelter dog or a purebred? Would there be a message for society in the pick?

White House aides reported that the press office phones yielded far more calls breathlessly asking dog questions than about any other, weightier topic of the new presidency. Visiting Europe in early April, Obama even got a question about the dog at a forum he held in Strasbourg, France.

The Obamas quickly narrowed the range of canine choices to a Labradoodle or Portuguese Water Dog, two breeds unlikely to aggravate Malia's allergies. Obama had said he preferred to get a dog from a shelter — a mutt, essentially — but ended up disappointing animal advocates by choosing a breed rarely found in such places.

Finally, the furry black pup, splashed with white on his chest and front paws, made his debut a few days after Obama returned from the Europe trip. Bo came to the family by way of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and his wife, Vicki, who own three of the breed.

Other than sheer excitement over Bo, it's hard to say what his selection has meant for his kind, besides increased awareness. Portuguese Water Dogs generally come from breeders and are not easily found in stores or shelters. That means there are no sales or adoption figures.

‘Star of the family’In just these four-plus months, though, Bo has become one of the most popular dogs around.

He won a Teen Choice Award for celebrity pet, besting Adam Sandler's bulldog Matzo Ball and Ashton Kutcher's Chihuahua Vida Blue, among other candidates. Obama introduced him as the "star of the family" at a luau on the South Lawn.

"just met the presidents dog!! so cute," tennis star Andy Roddick gushed on his Twitter page after meeting Bo. Roddick visited the White House while in town to play in a tournament.

Alex Brandon / AP
In this photo taken Sunday Aug. 30, 2009, Bo Obama walks away from Air Force One on his way back to the White House from Andrews Air Force Base, Md., after a vacation on Martha's Vineyard with the first family. President Barack Obama's Portuguese water dog has settled into into White House life. He has torn through magazines and stray socks, sunk his teeth into the president's gym shoes, and charm school taught him to sit, heel and shake a paw on command.

Last week, Bo accompanied the family on Air Force One to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., for summer vacation, creating a minor sensation when he wandered into the press cabin at the rear of the aircraft on each leg of the round trip. Malia rescued him the first time, an Obama aide the second.

To meet the demand for All Things Bo, the White House is distributing a Bo baseball card that reveals, among other things, that he can't swim and his goal is to become friends with foreign dignitaries. Anyone who writes to the dog (this happens, frequently) is sent one in return. Independent of the White House, there also are Bo stuffed animal toys, a story book and jigsaw puzzle.

Bo sports a blue leash that says "I (Heart) Obama."

Captivating the publicNo dog is perfect, however, not even Bo.

He has torn up at least one magazine and gone after the president's gym shoes, the first lady told an interviewer. He also has been found with a sock, which he dropped and scampered away from with a "you-caught-me" look on his furry face.

Mrs. Obama said the family is good about closing the White House's many doors to limit Bo's access. She also has taken him for lessons at a training school in the city's Georgetown neighborhood.

Bo is just the latest and furriest in a long line of presidential pets to have captivated the public.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish Terrier, Fala, was widely recognizable, his presence on a train platform a sign the president was nearby. The popularity of Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty, soared after she gave birth to eight puppies.

Millie, the Springer Spaniel who belonged to George H.W. Bush, is the only "first pet" to ever write a book (as "dictated" to Barbara Bush), the proceeds going to literacy projects. She also appeared on the cover of Life magazine after having six puppies. George W. Bush's Scottish Terrier, Barney, had his own White House Web page, where the dog's-eye-view videos he shot from a camera mounted on his collar were posted.

Now enter Bo.

At least one dog trainer wishes the Obamas would use him to highlight such issues as animal overpopulation.

Another option, says celebrity pet trainer Andrea Arden, of New York's Andrea Arden Dog Training, would be for the Obamas to become involved with programs that teach children to treat pets humanely, or to get Bo involved with work as a therapy dog.

"I like it better than Bo writing a book," she said.

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