Many Americans aren’t happy about the Obamas leaving the White House – and Sunny Obama seems to agree. The normally good-natured, affectionate pooch bit a recent visitor in the face.
While visiting the Obamas, 18-year-old female bent down to kiss and pat the Portuguese Water Dog. Sunny apparently decided to end her term in the White House on notable (or should we say “notorious?”) terms, and reacted by biting the woman in the face. TMZ reports that the Obamas’ physician Dr. Ronny Jackson attended the woman and informed her that the small gash would need stitches and likely leave a scar.
The woman, upset about having a permanent reminder of the bite, took to social media to complain, posting pictures of her cheek with blood dripping from the gash, although she reportedly will not seek legal action.
With this incident, Sunny Obama joins the ranks of White House dogs like Barney Bush, who have not always reacted well to visitors. Sunny’s brother Bo has never bitten a visitor (or reporter) but Bo received intensive training while growing up. By the time Sunny came along, the woman who had trained Bo, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, had passed away. So while it is likely that Sunny has received some training, she’s a bit backwards compared to her sibling. In 2013, Sunny’s exuberance caused her to knock over a toddler visiting the White House, and she’s also been known to have “accidents” on the floors.
In a press conference on Friday, White House press secretary John Earnest was asked about the incident. He did not confirm, deny or release any new information, saying only that “I think both Bo and Sunny have been genuine ambassadors to the American people.” Earnest goes on to state that he has not heard of any other incident like this involving Bo and Sunny and that thousands of people have interacted with the dogs.
We’re certainly hoping that unnamed woman recovers well – but this serves as an excellent reminder for us all. Any dog, regardless of breed or temperament, should be respected. Any dog can bite if they’re afraid or feel threatened in any way. Even if our intentions are good – a pat, a hug, a kiss – dogs may struggle with having people in their personal space.