01/22/2013 04:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Bo Obama: Every Dog Needs a Job

While the confetti is still being swept up from the streets of Washington, D.C., following the inauguration, and President Barack Obama begins his second term, it's clear that one of his most valuable companions -- Bo, the family's Portuguese Water Dog -- also knows that it's time to buckle down and get to work.

After all, as I discovered in researching my book Dogs of Courage: The Heroism and Heart of Working Dogs Around the World, every dog needs a job, and the skills of a Portuguese Water Dog are unique. According to the American Kennel Club, here are the specific talents of the breed:

Historically a swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and stamina, the breed was trained to:

  • Retrieve broken nets
  • Herd schools of fish
  • Carry messages between boats and to shore
  • Be a loyal companion and alert guard.

Plus, his tail can be used as a rudder... how cool is that?

Though Bo invariably excels at these tasks, his unique vantage point in the White House means that he's picked up a few others along the way. In the video above, he shows off as a literacy volunteer, but in this slideshow you'll see many other jobs that Bo performs to help the First Family as well as visitors to the White House.

The Many Jobs of Bo Obama