France's Hollande gets a labrador puppy for Christmas
French President Francois Hollande is the latest leader to discover there is nothing quite like a cute puppy to perk up the corridors of power.
A three-month-old black Labrador named Philae -- after the comet probe -- landed in the presidential palace on Christmas Day as a gift from Canadian war veterans.
The playful ball of fur, who came all the way from Montreal, is already spreading joy in the Elysee presidential palace, which has had a rather morose year.
Political and economic gloom and doom added to a scandal over Hollande's affair with French actress Julie Gayet that led to the public implosion of his relationship with partner Valerie Trierweiler.
And Hollande's popularity, along with employment levels, struck historic lows.
But things are looking up for the French leader: his popularity in December crept up several points, according to various polls.
And he has a furry new best friend.
A presidential adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the pup's name was "both pretty and symbolic, a positive memory of French and European prowess that marked 2014."
The European probe Philae in November became the first to ever land on a comet.
The Elysee staff are "joyful" at his arrival, the adviser said.
Philae is not the first labrador to gambol in the French halls of power.
Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Francois Mitterrand, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac all had pet labradors, among many other dogs who have stayed in the presidential palace.
US President Barack Obama is another world leader with high profile pets. His two Portuguese Water Dog's Sunny and Bo are often pictured with the first family.
© 2014 AFP