No historical trip by a pope to the United States would be complete without meeting the first family — including “first dogs” Bo and Sunny, the Obamas’ Portuguese Water Dogs.
Pope Francis did just that today. A photo by official White House photographer Pete Souza captured the pontiff patting Bo. Or maybe it was Sunny.
The pope’s petting of the first dogs may very well be a historical first. Also a historical first? Pope Francis was the first pope to ever bless a dog.
Shortly after Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis in March 2013, Alessandro Forlani, who is blind and works for Italy’s RAI Radio, went to the Vatican with Asià, his Labrador Retriever seeing-eye dog. The two attended the pope’s meeting with reporters from around the world who’d spent the previous week reporting on the conclave.
Pope Francis greeted him warmly, Forlani wrote on his Facebook page. Forlani asked the pope for a special blessing for his wife and daughter, who had recently been baptized.
“And a special blessing for your dog,” Pope Francis added. He then “bent down and stroked Asià,” according to Forlani.
According to Discovery News, Asià sniffed the pope’s dress and shoes as the two of them were making history.
Photo via Twitter