November 11th, 2008
06:06 PM ET
4 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. Texas Teacher

    My granddaughter has allergies and so do I. They found a Whippet mix with some kind of terrior. Neither my granddaughter nor I have any trouble being around the little dog. She is adorable.... AND from a shelter!

    I think if the Obamas want a shelter dog, they can do just as my daughter and family did.... let the Shelter know what you are looking for. They can help, and call when such a pet comes in.

    Good Luck, First Family Elect!

    November 11, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    Oops... forgot.... Of course, the little girls should have a swing set and any other play ground equipment that would make being outside a pleasure for them as they live in the White House! It's to be their home.... make it so!

    "This is news because?" Don't pay any attention, if it is not of interest to you, guy... or gal!

    November 11, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  3. ITSONNOW

    WHY ALL OF A SUDDEN ARE THESE GIRLS AND THEIR LITTLE DOG OK'D FOR THE SPOT LIGHT. PALINS KIDS WERENT QUARANTINED DURING THE RAFFLE FOR THE HI HOUSE. THIS ISNT NEWS. ITS MAKING NICE FOR THE PEOPLE TO SEE THAT THESE TWO ARE JUST NORMAL FOLK LIKE ALL OF US. IF ID SAID SOME THINGS ALREADY SAID BY THESE FOLK ID BE IN QUARNTINE. THE DOG ISNT NEWS. GOTTA PAINT AN IDEALIST PICTURE FOR THE WORLD AND THE VOTERS. YEAH ITS SPIN TIME. STILL THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES.

    November 11, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  4. Carol in Calif.

    I would like to care for the puppy! I would bring my goats for sure, and my old pony, Dipper. We could have a real fun time!!!

    November 11, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Commonwealth

    Shannon November 11th, 2008 8:18 pm ET

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

    ***********************************************************
    I think you are right and the girls should have a major role in the puppy's care. Bringing a puppy into the family is a major responsibility. It looks like all fun at first but believe me it's not always a picnic or a fairy tale. My guess is this WH person will help the girls learn what they need to learn in order to do the best job they can to care for their puppy.

    November 11, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. JC

    Why does "Glad to be an independent" bring race into this nice story??? Wake up!!!

    November 11, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. ITSONNOW

    YEAH SHANNON HAVING A PET IS THE BUTLERS RESPONSIBILITY. THATS WHY YOU SEE SO MANY STRAYS BEING PUT DOWN IN THE SHELTERS... NOT EVERYONE THINKS TO GET PEEPS FOR THEIR PET. TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN RESPONSIBILITY ESPECIALLY TOWARD LIVING THINGS IS A PARENTAL VIRTUE, NOT A SOCIAL PROGRAM. YOU GO SHANNON.!!!!!!!

    November 11, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. Texas Teacher

    Shannon.... the little girls have to go to school, etc. Daddy is the President.... Mommy is the First Lady.... they don't have time to watch the dog all the time. But since they live in the White House, they have Staff to help with all manner of things.... and so it should be!

    They are a normal family who happen to live in the White House, and their parents happen to be our President and First Lady! They are not going to be living like the neighbor next door!

    November 11, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. 3strikes

    the economy is goin down the tank, more and more jobs are being lost or shipped out of the country, people getting kicked out of their homes. but hey, all is good and well, because the nobama kids are getting a puppy.

    November 11, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  10. Baleful

    Michelle is acting as a Mom first – just as I did when looking at new homes – is there a yard? Where will they play? What are the schools like?

    These young ladies are now expected to share their father with the world, the least we can do is get them a pretty amazing swing set and climber.

    As to the puppy – ANY mother in the world knows that it is the parent who does the most with any pet. How many of us have heard – "I will do EVERYTHING for the cat/dog/rabbit/iguana" and found ourselves hauling said rabbit in for the spay, or the cat to the vet when it is time for shots?

    I highly doubt that Michelle is looking to hand over the care of the potential dog to the superintendent of the grounds, but they WILL have to work in partnership to make sure the property is maintained. It is a public trust after all and they are tenants.

    I am just so pleased to see a couple who loves and respects each other and who are clearly BOTH so involved with their children.

    I think it bodes well for America.

    November 11, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. francee

    A swing set at the whitehouse...I LOVE IT!

    Watching this family is going to be so much fun.

    November 11, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. Get with it!

    This belongs in People magazine....blah, blah, blah.....

    November 11, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. fashionablyliberal

    I'm sure the girls will be doing much of the work taking care of the puppy. Michelle has said her job will be to be "the first mom" I don't think she'd let the girls have a puppy and not work for it.

    November 11, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  14. Nneka

    @ Shannon – commonwealth:
    President Bush as well as Bill cCinton had a pet. It was given the same treatment that Obama's Pet will be given.
    Lets leave the Gals alone and pray for our beloved country and most of all our New President elect.
    Thank God for our New First Family. Bless President elect Obama and Bless America

    November 11, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. nolaf

    To 3 strikes: Why are you going after the Obama kids (name calling)? They had no decision in any of this and their story is part of the full story. Actually, the fact that young children will be in the White House has certainly gained the attention of many children in the United States and has inspired them to be more involved, and inquisitive, about current events.

    November 11, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. Vet from Texas

    I am glad these 2 precious girls will have a swingset and a puppy to play with. Every kid needs a pet.

    And in response to Brenda in Detroit: when the Bushes leave I bet they leave everything unlike 2 other's I know.

    November 11, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  17. JAY N.H.

    ITSONNOW

    Your an idiot. Lighten up.

    November 11, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  18. julio

    The proper way to address your leader and soon to be leader is President Bush (not Georgie, Bushie, George, etc.) and President Elect Obama (not Barry, Obama etc.) Remember that!

    November 11, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  19. Nothing ever changes

    Some of you need to get a life and just enjoy the fact we have a new President. To attack his children is completely out of bounds, insulting and says something about the moral character of the people doing the attacking.

    I have never seen so many cruel people than I have during this election cycle. I often wonder what our country has devolved into, we no longer care about our fellow man or even their children and that is very, very sad. We wonder why the rest of the world tends to hate us, look at how we treat each other, including our children.

    All of you who wish to attack his beautiful children need to take a long look in the mirror and ask if you would want someone doing that to your children. I have children and I would never stand for a grown man or woman attacking an innocent child. They better give their heart and soul to God because their a#@ would belong to me.

    November 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. willpen

    We are allergic as well in my family and after some investigating we found the most wonderfully friendly breed. We have a Cockerspaniel and Poodle mix called a Cocka-poo. He is the best little dog with the nicest temperment who does not shed at all. A great family dog.

    November 11, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  21. Sandra

    The President of the United States lives in the White House where they have staff to take care of the property, the grounds, schedules and many other things that are required of the head of state and his family. These things come with being the head of state, just as the security detail, the chef, and the reporters talking about anything and everything while the country watches every move they make. That there is a person who takes care of the pets who are in the white house is not something new to this family. I'm sure the girls will be involved in taking care of their pet. Don't blame the Obama family for discussing or involving a staff member who has been there taking care of the pets for years. Don't blame them or the reporters for writing stories we are all reading. It is simply life in the White House. With that much responsibility, you get some necessary perks.

    November 11, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. Marie

    3 strikes and Shannon sounds like jealousy to me.How well taken care of are your kids since you have nothing to say nice about these little girls that have done nothing to you or is it who they are?Just take the time and take care of your own kids because these kids will be well taken care of so go find a life and do good in it while your there haters

    November 11, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    Dear First Family, Please adopt a puppy from a shelter or rescue organization. There are so many dogs waiting for homes it would set a great example and help so many animals. Thanks!

    November 11, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    GOSH, I'm jealous because I wish I had a care giver for my puppy. But I might as well get over it because jealously only hurts me and nobody else.

    November 11, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  25. BABYSITTER

    Shannon I'm a babysitter and I couldn't see anyone having you take care of their kids because you sound like a real witch.Is it that you don't have any children and if you do are they happy because with you as a mother I really feel sorry for your kids because your a real loser

    November 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
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