Dogging Obama about “First Pet”
The heck with cabinet members. Even before President-elect Obama chooses who will help him run America, his family will probably be making its choice for “First Pup” — a decision that’s drawing plenty of attention, and mountains of unsolicited advice.
It started long before his election. When news broke that Obama had promised his children the family would get a dog once the campaign was over, the suggestions began pouring in.
Get a mutt, urged PETA. “There is something deeply wrong and elitist about wanting only a purebred dog,” the organization wrote in a letter urging Obama to adopt a homeless shelter dog.
Best Friends says more than 50,000 signed its online petitions urging the Obamas to adopt a rescue dog. “The Obama family’s decision to adopt will be a great example, and will result in many dogs and cats being saved from euthanasia across the country. This is exactly what we hoped for when we launched obamafamilydog.com.”
During the campaign, Michelle Obama pledged on Entertainment Tonight that the family would adopt a dog — not necessarily a mutt — from a shelter or rescue group.
Despite that, the American Kennel Club, which also held a poll on the Obama family dog, is urging the family to stick with a purebred.
In August, more than 42,000 Americans cast their votes — at presidentialpup.com — in an American Kennel Club poll to determine the right breed of dog for the Obamas.
The Poodle was chosen from a list of five hypoallergenic breeds that the AKC said would be uniquely suited for Obama’s daughter who suffers from allergies.
“We hope the Obamas consider the survey results” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “The poodle is a breed that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves, but it is truly an ideal family pet.”
The AKC offered to assist Joe Biden as well, who says his wife promised him they could get a dog if he was elected.
“I would be happy to personally assist Obama and Biden in identifying a responsible breeder if they are looking for a puppy,” said AKC President & CEO Dennis Sprung.
The Humane Society of the United States, meanwhile, is also urging Obama — as it, too, did in the campaign — to choose a rescue puppy, an act that its president, Wayne Pacelle, says would send “a real message of hope and change for all the dogs in shelters waiting for a loving home and those currently suffering in abusive puppy mills.” (Pacelle said that doesn’t rule out pedigrees, many of which can be found in shelters and rescue groups.)
The Obama’s dog, I predict, is likely to become the most famous White House dog since Checkers — the dog Richard Nixon received as a gift when he was running for vice president, and used to his advantage. (The best story ever written on Checkers can be found here.)
As for my two cents (and feel free to tax that), I think it’s high time for a mutt in the White House. (A mixed breed given to Jimmy Carter, named Grits, lived in the White House only briefly.) And rescuing a dog would be the type of public relations windfall money can’t buy.
Of course, that shouldn’t be a consideration. Choosing a dog, in an ideal world, is a personal matter that shouldn’t be tainted by politics, or criticized by second-guessers. But, this being America, and Obama being president-elect, rest assured it will be. Here’s wishing him the best of luck with his choice of dog.
And all those other matters, too.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, akc, animals, best friends, breeds, buy, choice, choose, dog, dog for obama, dogs, first dog, first pup, hsus, hypoallergenic, mixed breed, mutts, news, obama, peta, poodle, presidency, president, pup, puppy, purebred, rescue, select, shelter, white house