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"Deep Snout" Offers Clues On "First Dog"

It's easily the biggest presidential appointment in weeks: Which breed will become the "first dog"?

The Early Show sent its intrepid resident veterinarian, Dr. Debbye Turner Bell, to the White House to sniff around, and she's hot on the scent.

President Obama has said the family's new dog will be in place when he returns from abroad -- that's slated for Tuesday night.

So, all Washington tongues are wagging about the identity of the first puppy.

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Bell did lots of digging.

Will it be a Portuguese water dog or a labradoodle? Is it really coming Tuesday?

"I've never seen anything like it!" marveled CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer. "I mean, you would think the president was about to announce the cure for diphtheria or something!"

Surely, Bell figured, somebody around the White House grounds knows something!

A mounted policeman told her he hadn't heard a thing.

Ditto a guard at a White House gate.

So Bell asked two CBS News correspondents who travel with Mr. Obama.

"I'm constantly working this dog story," says chief White House Correspondent Chip Reid. "And you know how much I've gotten? Zilch!"

"We know that it's already been picked out," Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante confided. "Don't ask me how I know that -- I can't tell you."

Even Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn worked the phones.

"Nobody knows anything," she told Bell. "It's like the best kept secret in Washington!"

Since Bell couldn't get anywhere with humans, she tried talking to canines, all of which are up for adoption, at the Washington Animal Rescue League.

"What are the dogs saying about the new Obama dog? Anything?" she asked one. Nothing in response.

"If you can tell me where the Obamas are getting their dog," Bell offered, "I'll give you a toy!"

"Are you upset that they're looking for a big dog?" Bell asked a Chihuahua.

Bell says eh finally got a tip -- from the mysterious -- Deep Snout!

He barked away, but Bell wasn't sure what he was trying to impart.

"Whatever!" said Reid. "Just so long as they can get a dog. I'm tired of talking about it. Let's get the dog already, OK?!"

No doubt, Bell points out, the Obama girls feel the same way.

And there was late-breaking news as Bell concluded her report: Sources say careful vetting has begun of the prospective first pooch's -- recent tax returns.

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