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from Photographers' Blog:

Michelle Obama’s unscripted moment

Washington, D.C.

By Jason Reed

“Never work with children or animals” is a famous show business adage once attributed to the comedian W. C. Fields. Those words may well have crossed the mind of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama this week during an unscripted moment at the White House.

Hosting the annual unveiling of the White House Holiday decorations, the first lady was the center of attention, as she is any time that she is in public view. At this time of year all of the historical rooms on the ground floor of the White House are decorated with trees, tinsel and a gingerbread house, which all become fodder for the press cameras as we are led on a carefully stage-managed guided tour of the “State Floor” by staff and volunteers. It is something that the regular White House press corps mark on their calendars long in advance so that we don’t miss it and the resulting pictures are usually pretty.

In the last moments of this year’s event, Michelle Obama introduced to the young children of U.S. military service members the Obama family’s new pet Sunny, a female Portuguese Water dog. With the combination of children, animals and a world-recognized public figure now set, it was just a matter of time before an unscripted moment presented itself, a split second where little Ashtyn Gardner, all of two years old, lost her balance over another child’s walker and fell to the floor. Dozens of camera shutters fired at up to 10 frames per second, capturing a moment so far off script that the first lady’s facial expression said it all. To her credit the little girl popped right back up, didn’t shed a tear and carried on.

At the end of the event Michelle Obama and Ashtyn shared a little embrace.

It is the unscripted and unexpected moments that we as independent press photographers not working for the government capture that show our readers and viewers a human element in otherwise carefully stage managed White House events. If those moments make good pictures we put them out without hesitation. They round out our picture file and are often the images which are published most around the world.

from Entrepreneurial:

Author self publishes aromatherapy-scented children’s books

The idea for a children’s aromatherapy-scented book about a rescue dog came to Margaret Hyde in a dream.

“I woke up with the idea for it in the middle of the night, four years ago,” said Hyde, author of the Mo’s Nose book series. “I got up, wrote the idea and wrote the first version of the first story. I even saw it illustrated in Japanese ink brush in my dream.”

from Our Take on Your Take:

Snow dog

A young woman and her Labrador dog take a ride on a snowy slope in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Powys, Wales,  January 6, 2010.  Your View/Graham Lawrence

A young woman and her Labrador dog take a ride on a snowy slope in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Powys, Wales, January 6, 2010. Your View/Graham Lawrence

Click here to see the rest of this week's selection.

from Fan Fare:

Jessica Simpson wants dog back from wily coyote

Singer and actress Jessica Simpson  wants to see her dog again, and she doesn't care what people think about her campaign to get the pjessica-simpsonooch back, after she saw a coyote make off with the animal.

This star-search drama comes courtesy of social networking website Twitter, where Simpson posted a missing poster on Monday with a picture of the small, caramel-colored dog.

from Raw Japan:

Japan has its first female PM — she’s a dog

One of the women often cited as a possible candidate to break through the bamboo ceiling and become Japan's first woman prime minister says she's been pipped to the post by her dog.

Yuriko Koike, a former defence and environment minister who raised eyebrows by standing against the current prime minister, Taro Aso, in the race for leadership of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last year, keeps a photo in her office of her Yorkshire terrier, "Sori", which means "prime minister" in Japanese.

from Tales from the Trail:

Obamas narrow choices on family dog

USA/WASHINGTON - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says his family's decision about a family dog has been more difficult than choosing a new Commerce secretary, but he, his wife and daughters are getting closer to a decision.
 
"We're closing in on it," Obama said in an interview with ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos". He said his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, had decided they wanted a medium-sized dog and were looking closely at a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound.
 
Obama also said the girls wanted a shelter dog.
 
The president-elect promised his daughters during the campaign that whether he won or lost the election, he would grant their wish for a dog.
 
Their choices of dog breeds are limited because they need to pick one that is hypoallergenic because of Malia's allergies.
 
"This has been tougher than finding a Commerce secretary," Obama said. His initial pick for that post, Bill Richardson, withdrew from consideration saying a legal inquiry in his home state would have complicated his Senate confirmation for the job.
 
The Obamas, who are staying at the posh Hay-Adams hotel across from the White House and will move into the executive mansion in just over a week, are also looking at local Washington churches.
 
The Obamas used to attend the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, but left after a controversy developed over controversial comments by Trinity's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
 
"One of the things that Michelle and I will be doing is probably visiting some churches and seeing what's comfortable," Obama said.
 
"It is tougher as president," adding that visiting churches can be difficult because of security involved when he goes anywhere within Washington.
 
"You don't want to subject your fellow church members, the rest of the congregation, to being magged (walking through metal detectors) every time you go to church. And so, we're going to try to be balancing, not being disruptive to the city, but also saying we want to be part of Washington D.C.," Obama said.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama family visits the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 10.)

from Tales from the Trail:

Barney bites reporter

WASHINGTON - Word of warning to President-Elect Barack Obama, you probably don't want to pet First Dog Barney when you visit the White House on Monday.

President George W. Bush's Scottish Terrier was not feeling too friendly on Thursday when a reporter tried to say hello and pet him on the White House driveway.

from Tales from the Trail:

First Dog tradition to continue under Obama

WASHINGTON - Worry not dog lovers, the White House will still have a "First Dog" under a Barack Obama administration.******Obama had promised that whether or not he won the White House, his daughters Sasha and Malia could get a dog.******"Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine.  And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us," Obama said at the start of his victory speech. ******His predecessors dating back several administrations had dogs and yes, a few cats occupied the White House too.******Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, is also getting in on the act. He told reporters traveling with him earlier that his wife had promised him a "big dog" if he got elected.******Jill Biden had taped pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of him on his campaign plane to inspire the candidate as he criss-crossed the country in the final sprint to election day.******"Jill had said the only way you are getting a dog is if you are president ... we didn't think about vice president," said Biden. "She said at least if you live in the White House you are home."******He dropped out of the presidential race but when Obama asked him to join the ticket, his wife Jill said if he did so she would let him have the dog he wanted.******Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.******- Additional reporting by Sue Pleming******- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama family emerges on stage at victory rally in Chicago)

from India Masala:

Roadside Romeo — Doggy tale gone wrong

When you find the villain of the film more endearing than the hero and even 90 minutes seem like a lifetime, there has to be something wrong with the film. 

That's right. Charlie Anna, the heavy, farting and bespectacled bulldog with a south Indian accent, who throws a spanner in Romeo's plans, is way more entertaining and funny than the protagonist of Roadside Romeo

from India Masala:

Of dogs, lizards and Shah Rukh

A few years ago, my brother Jose met a girl at an acting workshop in Delhi. He was surprised to learn of her name and couldn't stop himself from revealing that our neighbour's dog was also called Sheena.

Aamir KhanBut Sheena wasn't amused. Having the same name as a cocker spaniel was obviously no honour. She glared at my brother and declared - "The lizard on my wall is named Jose".

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