November 11th, 2008
06:06 PM ET
8 years ago

White House superintendent ready for new Obama pet

WASHINGTON (CNN) - During her White House visit Monday, Michelle Obama learned about a key staffer who will play a critical part in the Obama family’s transition - to dog owners.

Mrs. Obama learned about Dale Haney, now the superintendent of the White House grounds, who has taken care of every presidential pet since 1976, according to Anita McBride, Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush.

In an interview with CNN, McBride said Haney “will be a terrific caretaker of the new puppy,” adding that whatever presidential pooch the Obamas choose “will have the best playground in America, that’s for sure.”

McBride said during Mrs. Obama’s visit, the White House’s Chief Usher, Admiral Stephen Rochon, also raised the possibility of installing a swing-set on the White House grounds for the Obamas’ daughters, 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha.

“They were also asked if you want to make a selection of a particular swing-set that … the girls might like and to let the usher’s office know … and that will be purchased and it will be placed on the lawn,” McBride said. (That would likely be the same South Lawn where Pope Benedict and Queen Elizabeth II were welcomed – the Pope this year, and the Queen in 2007.)

McBride added that Mrs. Obama and her staff were reassured that come January 20, the White House will be filled with the Obamas’ personal items “so that after the inaugural parade, when they walk in it will feel like their home.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Barbara in NC

    Gosh – sounds quite nice. Will the guy house-train the 1st-pup?

    November 11, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  2. Ricky

    Who cares about BARRY'S dog...

    November 11, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  3. This is news because?

    Someone explain why I should care please?

    November 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. Brenda in Detroit

    I love all of this! A new puppy, swing set and basketball court. I hope Michelle takes an interior decorator on her next visit to PA Avenue. I bet there are some great Fung Shui people out there as well. The White House will need a makeover after the Bushes leave that's for sure!

    November 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. sharon

    stay home johnny!

    November 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  6. sharon

    Stay home Johnny!! Take care of your dying wife!!

    November 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Joyce Becker

    I think that is terrific to make the Obamas so welcomed in their new home, wha a wonderful staff they have at the White House. I hope the girls adjust well and enjoy their four years, hopefully 8, there.

    November 11, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Ayo Eboda


    November 11, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. julio

    Tibetan Terrier is the pet of choice. I have allergies but our Sammy does not affect me.

    November 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Noemi in Los Angeles

    Oh, to be the Obamas!! 🙂

    November 11, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Angels & pooches!

    This is such a heartwarming, exciting and historic time for the Obama's and the world! The girls are such sweet angels and a new pooch will make their world complete! I for one am so excited to see some positive energy and love in the White House! God Bless everyone of you!

    November 11, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  12. Dave

    wow, i guess the presidency is like a kind of royalty – what makes the story interesting is the fact that when we picture the epitome of american culture and the seat of power, most people never imagined an black family enjoying that kind of privilege.

    as the days progress perceptions will be challenged in further ways; ways that are good for us as a people, and which will open our eyes like never before.

    November 11, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. HistoryCat

    WOW. First children in the white house since JF Kenedy.!
    They represent and model an ideal american family. I'm suprised conservatives haven't been charmed by this image.

    November 11, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Glad to be an Independent

    As a African-American and an Independent, I do not see this as a racial divide. Whites could not see it lack blacks because whites take it for granted that a white person will be in office since all of the presidents have been white men. Since black Americans have never had a black person in the White House before or come close, we are a little pessimistic. After dealing with slavery and discrimination in the U.S, why would black people expect anything different. It is a tremendous milestone. Hopefully, other barriers and discriminatory practices will end as well. I am hopeful.

    November 11, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. Shannon

    perhaps the girls should take care of their own pet, why get one, if they don't want to take care of it.

    November 11, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. Lisa Brennan

    Why does this feel so Camelot? I just love it. I am so happy with the outcome of this race and every time I see the Obamas I feel joy once again and hope and faith. I cannot even think about those other two. I want them to just fade into history footnotes under 'horrible, bigoted, and GONE'

    November 11, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  17. Simmy

    My granddaughter loves the swings! I think that would be a wonderful added touch for the First Daughters! I keep loving this family more and more!

    November 11, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. S. Holt

    I just know Mrs. Obama will make this a family 'choice' and not go by public opinion. This pet will become a part of their family. They also need a dog compatible with children. Some dogs are not good with children. I have a Yorkie. I could not live in a house without a dog. Everytime I see the family, I'm in awe. God bless them.

    November 11, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  19. Independent

    I want the beautiful Obama girls to be comfortable in their new home. My only concern is that, "Can our government afford a new swing set?"

    November 11, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. LT

    To Shannon:

    What a rediculous comment. I'm sure the little girls want to take care of their puppy. If you read the article their has been someone who takes care of the grounds and has also cared for the pets since 1976. It has nothing to do with wanting to have something and not wanting the responsibility...but nice try.

    November 11, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. laurie

    Shannon – Nowhere in this does it say that the girls do not want to take care of their own pet.... get a life, and a sweeter disposition, while you're at it..... you are just rottenly negative.

    November 11, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Halfpint

    Shannon sounds bitter and unhappy. Or just a sore loser.

    November 11, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |

    Hey Shannon, shove it.

    November 11, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Benton Indianapolis, In

    This comment is for historycat. have you forgotten about amy carter,chelsea clinton and president bushes twins. there have been kids in the white house since jfk.

    November 11, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  25. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian


    November 11, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
1 2 3