Washington, DC - A little more than a month after arriving at the White House to become the newest Obama, Sunny, the First Family's Portuguese Water Dog puppy, is fully at home. Early on Tuesday morning I was photographing First Lady Michelle Obama's Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn when the very energetic 15-month-old took a solo romp through the laden crop rows. (Above, Sunny dashed around the garden beds before leaping in)
Sunny's master and mistress were in New York City rubbing elbows with world leaders at the United Nations as the pup, clad in a red and white striped collar, enjoyed an off-leash dawn run. Youthful hijinks were on full display: Sunny had gotten away from the aide assigned to walking duty, who was nowhere to be seen.
"The truth is she's faster than (Bo) is, she jumps higher, she's friskier," President Barack Obama told CNN last month.
She sure is. Sunny was a black streak of lightening as she zoomed past the White House beehive and headed into Mrs. Obama's garden. Like Superman clearing a building in a single bound, Sunny soared over a bed of lettuces and dove right into the famous 1,500 square-foot vegetable patch. (Above, Sunny sniffing a pepper plant)
Mrs. Obama has said that four-year-old Bo--who was not with his little sis for her garden visit--loves to eat tomatoes, a happy circumstance for America's best-known gardener and veggie advocate. Perhaps Sunny loves tomatoes, too: She seemed thrilled inside the green cave created by dense vines of cherry tomatoes growing beside an equally dense bed of ripe peppers.
The First Lady's garden is currently in full autumn glory and laden with ripe vegetables, including sweet potatoes, squash, a wide variety of lettuces, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, carrots, and many kinds of peppers. Sunny wagged her tail as she inspected the cherry tomatoes (above, the tail wagging). The garden bounty is used for the First Family's meals--as well as meals for dignitaries.
Born in Michigan in June of 2012, Sunny joined the First Family at the White House on August 19th. Her name was chosen for her personality, the White House said.
The pup is in the midst of being trained on all fronts: "There have been a couple accidents," President Obama admitted to CNN, saying Sunny has relieved herself on the floor of the historic mansion.
"We live in rental housing," President Obama joked. "We didn't have to put down a deposit, but we are making sure that it gets cleaned up for the next occupant."
For those worried that Sunny might have added to the organic fertilizer that's used in the Kitchen Garden: No. She was perfectly well behaved.
"Michelle is in full parenting mode and really focused on getting Sunny to sit and catch," President Obama said.
I don't know how that project is going, but on Tuesday when Sunny's human minder shouted her name from far up on the South Lawn, Sunny responded immediately.
Sunny leapt out of the garden, and galloped back toward the White House. She didn't have to be called twice. (Above, after being called by the unseen aide)
Above, a White House portrait of Sunny and Bo relaxing on the South Lawn, taken in August.
*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama. Portrait by Pete Souza/White House.