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Pa.'s First Pups: Airedales!

HARRISBURG - Coming soon to the Pennsylvania governor's mansion: The pitter-patter of tiny feet.

HARRISBURG - Coming soon to the Pennsylvania governor's mansion: The pitter-patter of tiny feet.

No, not grandchildren. Puppies.

Gov. Corbett says he and his wife, Susan, will soon welcome two Airedale terriers into their home near the Capitol.

"We've got two on order - brother and sister," Corbett told The Inquirer on Tuesday. "They are three weeks old now."

Corbett said the couple is purchasing Airedales, known as the largest terrier breed, because they have owned them before and it's the breed they know best.

Their senior Airedale died last year and both the governor and First Lady said in post-election interviews that bringing new dogs into their lives was a priority after settling into the mansion.

The governor did not have the breeder's name, saying his wife was handling details of the purchase. The press office said the First Lady could not be reached because she's been traveling.

The legal age for the sale of dogs in Pennsylvania is eight weeks, so the Airedale pups are due to arrive at their new abode sometime mid-July.

Dogs were front-and-center at the governor's mansion during Ed Rendell's eight years in office. Three rescued Golden Retrievers called the mansion home, where they were known to enjoy treats from the governor, passed under the table during formal dinners: Mandy (who died in 2007) Ginger and Maggie.

During the budget standoff with the legislature in the summer of 2009, Rendell enjoyed joking about hanging out by the mansion's "pool" with his dogs. The pool he spoke of was, in fact, a plastic baby pool.

Rendell and his wife, federal judge Marjorie O. Rendell, who announced their separation in January but still share custody of Ginger and Maggie.

In one of his last press conferences as governor in January, Rendell, a Democrat, was asked if he had talked to the Republican governor-elect, and if so, what were the topics of their discussion.

Rendell said indeed they had talked - less about matters of state, he said, and more about dogs.

"I told him the mansion was a great place to have dogs," Rendell said.

Both men have track records as canine defenders. Rendell as governor championed the new dog law improving conditions for dogs living in licensed kennels.

Corbett, as state attorney general, shut down kennels for violating the state's Puppy Lemon Law, which helps protect consumers who unwittingly purchase sick puppies.

The dogs the Corbetts have purchased are a breed distinguished by medium-length black-and-tan coats and goatees - along with intelligence and high energy.

Airedale 911, a website run by Airedale Adoption and Rescue of Delaware Valley, describes them as "50 pounds of attitude."

Corbett said he is looking forward to walking his new puppies, especially now that he is on the mend following back surgery last month.

Stay tuned: puppy names and pictures to come.