The dog is — or soon will be — in the White House. So now President Barack Obama can get back to those back-burner issues.
Like wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like trying to unite world maritime powers to fight Somali pirates. Like trying to bring the country out of its worst economic tailspin in seven decades.
Ever since he publicly promised a puppy to daughters Malia, 10, and 7-year-old Sasha in his victory speech in Chicago on Nov. 4, the president has been, so to say, hounded about when he was going to fulfill that pledge.
As recently as Friday, Obama was still toying with the public's curiosity. In a brief meeting with reporters, he was asked again about the dog and said: “Oh, man, now, that's top secret.”
He was even asked about the dog's arrival during a town hall meeting in France at a stop on his first overseas trip, which took him across Europe to Baghdad.
Questions no more. The first family has settled on a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog that the Obama girls have named Bo.
Bo arrives officially on Tuesday, although the administration released a photo on Monday of the new pet romping with the president at the White House.
The dog is a gift from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who owns several Portuguese water dogs himself, including one from Bo's litter.
“We couldn't be happier to see the joy that Bo is bringing to Malia and Sasha,” Kennedy said in a statement. "We love our Portuguese water dogs and know that the girls — and their parents — will love theirs, too.”
The questions about the dog: What kind? When would it arrive? had given Americans and the curious abroad some of the lighter moments during Obama's first three months in office.
Mostly he has been running full speed and mainly trying to put a floor under the collapsing U.S. economy, to reverse the housing crisis, to stem the collapse in the financial system and to slow soaring unemployment.
Interspersed have been issuing orders to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba within a year; extending health care coverage for children; proposing to reopen nuclear arms talks with Russia; and attempting to restart a direct dialogue with Iran, which is accused of trying to build a nuclear weapon under the cover of a civilian power-generation operation.
He also has drawn up a plan for pulling American forces out of Iraq, sending still more troops to Afghanistan and boosting aid to neighboring Pakistan to undercut enticements of the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Let's see, what else?
He has sought to mend fences with Turkey, the NATO stalwart on the southeastern flank of the alliance, and most recently quietly guided the American response when Somali pirates hijacked a U.S.-flagged container ship and held the captain for ransom until Navy SEAL snipers killed the captors.
But through it all has been the expected arrival of a warm, furry, bounding creature to take its place in the annals of First Dogdom. What now? What's going to be the next White House leitmotif. Certainly one is needed these days.