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Bloomberg dogged by awkward canine encounter

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By Dareh Gregorian  with NBC News Politics
Bloomberg dogged by awkward canine encounter

Mike Bloomberg is being hounded on social media for greeting a dog on the presidential campaign trail by shaking its snout.The odd incident happened Monday when the billionaire philanthropist and 2020 hopeful stopped in a coffee shop in Burlington, Vermont. The former New York City mayor shook a customer's hand, and then shook his dog's snout before scratching the dog's head.The dog didn't seem disturbed — its tail was wagging throughout the encounter — but Bloomberg was ruffed up over the encounter on social media, including by a top surrogate of a rival campaign."Hmmm shake my paw, not my teeth thx," said a tweet from the official account of Sen. Elizabeth Warren's dog Bailey.

Bloomberg campaign spokesman Stu Loeser told NBC News there's no reason for the fur to be flying."It's how he plays with his dogs and his kids' dogs. Mike has never met a dog he doesn't like and vice-versa," Loeser said.Bloomberg's live-in girlfriend, Diana Taylor, bought him a pair of Labrador retrievers named Bonnie and Clyde in the late 2000s, but famously told her she had to take care of them.The man Bloomberg is looking to unseat, President Donald Trump, already has a place in presidential pet history. According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Trump is the first president to forgo an animal companion in the White House since Andrew Johnson in the 1860s.