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Who lets the First Dog out? Often, Dale Haney

boobama5You don’t know the face, but you may know the leg: A khaki-clad hunk of it often shows up — generally from the knee down — in photographs of Bo Obama.

The leg belongs to Dale Haney, who, when the First Family is too busy to walk the dog, assumes the duty.

As a keeper of the White House grounds for nearly 40 years, Haney has managed to cultivate  relationships with the presidential pups — all the way back to Richard Nixon’s Irish setter, King Timahoe.

“They heard about me and they called me to come over here for an interview and I came and here I still am,” he told the Associated Press  during a tour of the gardens on a rainy morning when first lady Michelle Obama — Bo’s primary walker — was out of town.

“I have him a little bit more” when she’s traveling, said Haney.

haney-100Before Bo came along, Haney had walked and played with President George W. Bush’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. But he says he was most fond of Spot, an English springer spaniel whose mother, Millie, belonged to Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush.

“I do have a soft spot for Spot,” he said in an online chat in 2003. “I was there when she was born and now she’s back.” Millie gave birth to Spot at the White House in 1989; the younger Bush and his wife, Laura, put Spot to sleep in 2004 after she’d had several strokes.

Haney began at the White House as a gardener, then was supervisor of grounds maintenance and lead horticulturist before becoming superintendent of all the grounds last fall.

Besides helping out with Bo, Haney tends to the nearly 19 acres of lawns, trees and gardens around the White House.

Comments

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time November 4, 2009 at 6:46 pm

I have always wondered about who primarily tends and exercises the White House dogs?! I wish this guy was able to (allowed to?) write a book of his experiences. Man, what a DREAM JOB! I want it NOW!

Comment from HappyDogNyc
Time November 19, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I am glad the president got himself a dog. Dogs add a lot of happiness to peoples lives and I have noticed in Brooklyn were I am from more and more people are getting dogs. I wonder if a dog would make a better symbol for America than the bald eagle. I don’t think I have ever seen a bald eagle in person and I know I have never seen one make my friends happy.

HappyDogWalking NYC.com

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