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Archive for November 10th, 2008

Hawaiians urge Obama to adopt “poi dog”

Despite reports that they won’t get a dog until spring, the Obamas continue to be inundated by solicitations — mostly from humane societies saying “take my dog, please.”

Those include an offer from Obama’s birthplace, Hawaii, where a board member of the Hawaii Island Humane Society suggests a “poi dog,” would be a most appropriate choice — especially in light of Obama recently characterizing himself as a “mutt.”

“A poi dog is considered a mix,” said the board member, Scott Dodd.

At least 200 dogs are available for adoption on the Big Island, and many more are waiting at other Hawaiian shelters. Most of them are mixed breeds, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

Poi dogs — though the term has come to be used to described mixed breeds — are actually an extinct breed that came to Hawaii with Polynesians when it was settled more than 1,000 years ago.

The dogs lived among the tribes, and were taken care of by female tribe members, some of whom nursed poi puppies believing it would give them more protective instincts.

Because of their vegetarian diet, poi dogs, became fat and lazy and it was not uncommon for them to live among domesticated hogs, according to dogbreedinfo.com. Like hogs, they were sometimes eaten.

In the 19th century, other dogs began to breed with the poi and purebred poi disappeared. The Honolulu Zoo attempted to reconstruct the breed, but failed.