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Pet politics: Rahul’s Pidi, Obama’s Bo and Putin’s Verny will make you smile

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi isn’t the only political leader to have a furry friend.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2017 20:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,Pidi,Twitter
Rahul Gandhi tweeted a video of his terrier, Pidi, attributing his recent his recent activity on social media to his pet. (Screengrab)

On Sunday, Pidi had his day.

The terrier became the talk of Twitter after a tweet from Rahul Gandhi’s official account attributed the Congress leader’s revamped presence on the social media platform to the dog.

The black-and-white pooch -- who stands on his hind legs in the Twitter video and pops a biscuit on command -- drew laughter, appreciation, memes and jokes, apart from a wave of political commentary.

The Congress vice president’s post was re-tweeted more than 10,000 times and liked by over 27,000 accounts since Sunday.

Powerful world leaders -- from Barack Obama to Vladimir Putin -- are known to be pet lovers. Sometimes, pets have also been used in diplomacy between two nations.

Here’s a look at some politicians’ pets who have made headlines in the past:

Obamas, Bo and Sunny

Former US president Barack Obama and his family’s pair of Portuguese dogs -- Bo with a distinctive white chest and front paws, and the all-black Sunny — were canine ambassadors for the White House, quite popular with media and visitors. They were so sought after that they even had schedules.

“Everybody wants to see them and take pictures,” former first lady Michelle Obama had said. “I get a memo at the beginning of the month with a request for their schedules and I have to approve their appearances.”

Obama's pet dogs Bo and Sunny. ( Picture courtesy: Wikipedia Commons )
Former US president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, with the Easter Bunny and their two dogs, Sunny, and Bo at the White House in Washington. ( AP File Photo )

The dogs have entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll, and Bo was at Michelle Obama’s side when she welcomed tourists on the anniversary of the President’s inauguration. The dogs also have cheered wounded service members, as well as the hospitalised children the First Lady visits each year just before Christmas.

Pervez Musharraf, Che

General Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistan army chief who served as the country’s president, had tweeted in 2013 about his “handsome dog”, Che.

Yes, you guessed it right. The German Shephard is named after the leader who scripted the Cuban revolution, Che Ernesto Guevara.

Vladimir Putin, Verny

Russian President Vladimir Putin added a puppy to the litter of canine companions he’s received as gifts. This one is a Central Asian Shepherd bestowed by the president of the ex-Soviet nation of Turkmenistan.

Putin cuddled Verny, which is Russian for “loyal”, and kissed the pup on the head during a meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Russian President Vladimir Putin kisses a Turkmen shepherd dog, locally known as Alabai, received by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov during a meeting in Sochi. ( AFP Photo )

Putin previously received a Bulgarian shepherd named Buffy from Bulgaria’s premier in 2010 and an Akita named Yume from a Japanese official in 2012.

Konnie, a black Labrador of Putin’s who was famous for terrifying German Chancellor Angela Merkel, died a few years ago. Putin received Konnie as a gift from a Russian official in 1999.

In 2008, the former KGB agent was also gifted a tigress cub named Masheknka.

Emmanuel Macron, Nemo

French president Emmanuel Macron was left a little embarrassed after his dog Nemo decided to pee in the ornate fireplace at the Elysee Palace, interrupting a meeting. The Macrons adopted two-year-old Nemo, a labrador-griffin cross from a rescue centre this August.

In the video, an amused Macron can be heard saying, “He’s doing something quite exceptional”.

Moon Jae-in , Tory

Contrary to his predecessor Park Geun-hye who allegedly abandoned her nine pedigree dogs, South Korean President Moon Jae-in shattered the taboo around black dogs by adopting Tory, reported BBC in July. Black dogs are considered unlucky by many in the country.

The black mongrel was also the first ‘First Dog’ to be adopted from a shelter, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. The mutt joined Moon’s two other pets: Maru the dog and Jjing-jjing the cat.

Jacinda Ardern, Paddles

The youngest New Zealand Prime Minister in 150 years introduced her First Cat ‘Paddles’ on Twitter. The cat even has a voice on social media @FirstCatofNZ and tweets about being a ‘catheist’.

Larry, her feline counterpart who was designated the chief mouser at 10, Downing Street by ex-Britain prime minister David Cameron, too welcomed Paddles on board last week. Clearly, they’re ‘purrtyyy special’.

Closer home, another Congress leader Manish Tiwari fawned over his Tibetan spaniel Onyx, saying he was like a family member in this 2009 report while Union minister and activist Maneka Gandhi’s love for all animals is well documented.

First Published: Oct 30, 2017 18:39 IST