One young visitor to the White House bit off more than she could chew when she tried to give the First Family’s dog Sunny Obama a hug this week.
The 18-year-old guest, an unidentified friend of Malia Obama, leaned in toward Sunny in an attempt to embrace and kiss the pup when she was bitten. Sunny is a 4-year-old Portuguese Water Dog that was introduced to the world on Twitter in 2013.
Malia’s friend seemed both irritated and amused by the incident. She posted a series of Snapchat photos after the bite. The pictures show that she was bitten under her eye, on the right side of her face. The wound was approximately half an inch long.
In one photo the girl is still freshly bleeding, and in another she’s clearly received some kind of medical care as there’s a bandage over the laceration. She’s smirking in one of the photos, with Malia is visible in the background. The friend will most likely have a scar under her eye, but it’s probably worth the story she’ll get to tell for the rest of her life.
“Malia thinks it’s funny,” the victim wrote on one Snapchat photo. In another, she penned “I [expletive] hate Sunny.” The Obama family physician thoroughly checked the wound and gave the girl stitches.
The Obama family has another Portuguese Water Dog, an 8-year-old male named Bo. Bo was a gift to the First Family from the late Senator Ted Kennedy, who was a fan of the breed and had several of his own. Although some call Sunny and Bo siblings, they are not technically related and came from different breeders.
Portuguese Water Dogs are known for their passive, calm demeanors and are not considered aggressive or dangerous. They are expert swimmers and even have webbed toes to help them propel through the water. Since they do not shed, Portuguese Water Dogs are considered hypoallergenic and can be ideal pets for those who are sensitive to dog hair or dander.
The Obamas have yet to comment publicly on the incident, but it’s the first known time one of their pooches has bitten a person. The last time a President’s dog attacked someone was during George W. Bush’s time in office. His dog, a Scottish Terrier named Barney, bit a Reuters reporter and a public relations director for the Boston Celtics basketball team in two separate 2008 incidents.
The White House is no stranger to pets. Other notable Presidential pets have included Millie, who was President George H.W. Bush’s English Springer Spaniel. Millie’s “memoir” titled Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush reached the New York Times bestseller list in 1992. The Clinton White House had a much-loved cat named Socks, who was adopted as a stray. John F. Kennedy’s family brought a number of animals to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, including a Welsh terrier, a German shepherd, and an Irish wolfhound. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s pooch Fala was immortalized in statue form twice. And Theodore Roosevelt kept at least 22 different species of animals as pets during his life.