France gets First Dog, as President Emmanuel Macron adopts labrador mix Nemo

Nemo stand at attention at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Aug 28, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
French President Emmanuel Macron stands next to Nemo, as he waits for a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Aug 28, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS/AFP) - French President Emmanuel Macron, faced with tumbling popularity ratings, turned on Monday to a new aide: Nemo, a young dog adopted from a rescue shelter.

In keeping with time-honoured French presidential tradition, the 39-year-old president and his wife Brigitte adopted the black labrador-griffon mix at the weekend. They named him Nemo after the captain in Jules Verne's science fiction classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Nemo - who is aged between one and two and was adopted from a shelter for abandoned dogs - was glimpsed on Monday (Aug 28) scampering around the Elysee Palace in a red collar, under the watchful eye of footmen in frock coats.

He made his first public appearance on the steps of the Elysee Palace as Macron welcomed Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Displaying immaculate manners, Nemo trotted out of the palace at his master's heel before coming to an obedient standstill at the top of the stairs, ignoring the whistle of photographers and appearing unfazed as a band struck up.

Nemo stayed back discreetly as Macron embraced Issoufou before a mini-summit with the other leaders from Europe and Africa. The dog then followed the French and African leaders into the palace.

Every post-war French president has had a dog, who has the run of the palace's expansive gardens.

Most have picked a labrador, though World War II hero Charles de Gaulle had a pint-sized corgi - a gift from Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Nemo succeeds Philae, a labrador named after the European Space Agency's comet lander that was gifted to ex-president Francois Hollande as a puppy by Montreal-based French war veterans.

Across the Atlantic, torrents of ink were spilt on ex-president Barack Obama's pet dogs Bo and Sunny.

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