The Obamas Got a New Puppy. They Named Her Sunny. I am Bummed.


sunny-the-dogHello, my name is Sunny. I once took one of those online tests to see what kind of dog I would be, and the answer was golden retriever. The name Sunny and a golden retriever makes sense. A Portuguese water dog doesn’t strike me as a “Sunny” dog, but the Obama family seems to think so.

On Monday night, the First Family announced on Instagram that they have a new member of their crew. As you might have guessed by my last paragraph, it’s a Portuguese water dog named Sunny. Michelle Obama wrote, “So excited to introduce the newest member of the Obama family — our puppy, Sunny!”

“Sunny is the perfect little sister for Bo full of energy and very affectionate and the First Family picked her name because it fit her cheerful personality,” the White House said. Yes,  Sunny is a cheerful name. That’s one of the reasons my parents selected it for me. But I have to say, I am totally bummed that the Obamas chose this name.

Let’s say that someday I end up at the White House or at a dinner party with one of the Obamas (a girl can dream, right?). As soon as I introduce myself, they could fully come back with, “Our dog is named Sunny.” Or perhaps at a school function, I introduce myself to a fellow parent or student, and they say, “Oh, Sunny, like the dog?” I don’t know about you, but most grown women don’t like to be equated with a canine, and a famous one at that.

The White House dogs are historical. They aren’t just the presidential pet; they become national icons. The Obamas’ older dog has a book, a stuffie, and t-shirts.  Think of the Clinton’s Buddy, the Bush’s Barney, or Nixon’s famous Checkers. They are all very famous pooches.

I’ve always enjoyed having a unique name, and we didn’t give our own daughter a popular name for that reason (it ranks over 200 in the most popular name database at BabyCenter). But now there will be a pop culture icon sharing my once slighty-rarer moniker. But you know, I shouldn’t feel so bad. One of the Obama girls has a very popular dog name. Sasha ranks as the 17th most popular name for female dogs. What happened to good old Fido and Spot?

Naming a family pet is akin to naming a child, but in the past dogs names weren’t that human. These days the number one choices for boy and girl dogs are Bella and Max (or number 68 and 28 in human name popularity). Sure, there are a lot of human names that are cute for dogs, but when it’s your own name, it may not be.

Photo Source: Pete Souza/White House


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