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.”