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Meet the 'First Dog' -- Pup Bruno to live in Aras as Michael D adopts him

MEET Ireland's 'First Dog', Bruno.

The Bernese Mountain puppy is set to take residence at Aras an Uachtarain.

Following the example of US President Barack Obama and his 'First Dog' Bo, President Michael D Higgins insisted that he would also welcome a pet into his new Phoenix Park home.

And the President along with his wife Sabina said they would be happy to take in an abandoned puppy or dog in need of a home.

Bruno, who is 13 months old, was left homeless after his previous owners, a young couple from the North, were forced to emigrate to South Africa in search of employment.

The pair reluctantly gave Bruno to Valerie Hughes, a Galway-based Bernese breeder who belongs to the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of Ireland.

"Bruno's story is a sign of the times," Valerie Hughes said. "[The couple] are heartbroken, but they had the good sense to hand the dog in so that he would find a good home.

"Just how good a home, they couldn't possible have imagined," she said.

Valerie told the Herald that Bruno should be settled into his new home in time for the festive season.

"The plan at the moment is for Michael D to take Bruno to the Aras around Christmas or maybe just after then because he will be very busy in the coming weeks.

"He said that he would really like to have [Bruno] over for the New Year so, at the moment, Bruno is a dog in waiting."

President Higgins and his wife have not met Bruno yet because he was in the process of being vaccinated, microchipped and neutered.

However, they were delighted with the photos they saw of him.

"When I told Michael D about the dog, his eyes lit up and he was bowled over by the pictures," she said.

Valerie has won several awards at Crufts, the world's largest dog show held annually in Birmingham. She said that one of her pedigree Bernese Mountain puppies would also be joining Bruno to keep him company early next year.