12/26/2014 09:53 EST | Updated 02/25/2015 05:59 EST

Philae, François Hollande's new puppy, a gift from Montreal veterans

French president François Hollande has a brand-new puppy, thanks to a group of Montreal war veterans.

A Montreal-based foundation for French veterans gifted the black Labrador puppy to Hollande to thank him for meeting with them during his visit to Canada in November.

Hollande accepted, and the two-and-a-half-month-old pup was sent overseas to Paris.

He named her Philae, after the spacecraft that landed on a comet in November.

François ​Lubrina, the veterans’ association president, said the dog is meant to symbolize and reinforce the relationship between Quebec, Canada and France.

They chose to give Hollande a black Lab because it has become somewhat of a tradition for the president of France to have a Labrador. The last five presidents, including Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, had Labs as pets.

"Having a dog in the presidential palace is very important," Lubrina said. "It’s the animal who will meet heads of state."