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The Million Doodle March

At first glance, the Million Doodle March — a last gasp effort to persuade the President and his family to get a Labradoodle (as opposed to the Portugese water dog some members of the family have expressed a preference for) — struck me as a frivolous pursuit, the work of people with nothing better to doodle.

Not to mention too little too late.

Obama, appearing on the Tonight Show last week, implied that the choice of first dog has been made – and that it could be arriving in coming weeks. Beyond that, and the Special Olympics comment he wishes he could take back, the president shed little light on either the dog’s breed or where it will be coming from.

But even if Sasha and Malia are cuddling a Portugese water dog by then, the Million Doodle March will likely go on March 29 — the day organizers are calling upon doodle owners everywhere to parade their pooches in their hometowns in a show of doodle solidarity.

For while the march is capitalizing on all the public interest in the First Family’s dog, its more important purpose is to raise awareness about autism.

The event is being organized by the owners of Bocker the labradoodle (above, an accomplished model, frequent fundraiser, and seasoned show biz pooch) and Matilda 1st dog. It will raise money for autism and  Canada’s National Service Dog Organizatios.

More information on the march can be found here.

On February 25, First Lady Michelle Obama told People Magazine that the family was leaning towards getting a Portugese water dog.  But Mrs. Obama’s press secretary later said they had not decided on a breed. Initially, both Portugese water dog and Labradoodle were said to be under consideration.

Questioned by Jay Leno on the Tonight Show, Obama first said jokingly the dog was just a campaign promise. The he said the family was “laying the groundwork” for the new animal. He went on to indicate the dog had already been chosen and would soon be arriving, but remained mum on its breed, or whether — as many animal welfare types have urged — it will be a rescue or shelter dog.

With the march, Bocker’s owner is hoping to turn the tide (if it hasn’t already come in by then) towards Labradoodles.

“On March 29, individuals from across North America are lobbying for a cause they truly believe in. An issue yet to be answered.. but often in heated debate. A decision that President Obama will be responding to in the coming weeks, which will be highly anticipated. This will not address the economy, the war, or global warming… but for many people takes on its own personal significance. What type of dog will be the First Dog of his administration?

“On March 29, Doodle owners (and their dogs and friends) from across North America have joined forces for the first ever MILLION DOODLE MARCH. This passionate event will make it clear, that Doodle owners want their voices heard.”

Bocker the Labradoodle, through his website, fund-raising drives, and his modeling and acting gig, has become an internationally known star and spokesdog for labradoodles and pets of all kinds, according to his owner, Marie Shelto, an animal advocate, fundraiser and former information systems analyst.

Here’s the full exchange — on the subject of dogs — between Leno and Obama:

Leno: All right, one last question. Now, when is the dog coming?  I keep hearing about the dog.  It seems to me –- when was the dog supposed to be there by?  I thought it was, like, as soon as —

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, this is Washington  –- that was a campaign promise.  (Laughter.) I’m teasing. The dog will be there shortly.

Leno: How soon?

THE PRESIDENT:  We have actually sort of been laying the groundwork here. We’ve got a trip, I’ve got to go to the NATO summit. When we get back, the dog will be in place.

Leno: Wow. And it’s, what, a Portuguese water head?  (Laughter.)  What is it, what kind of dog is it?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not that. (Laughter.)

Leno: It’s not that.

THE PRESIDENT: It’s not a “water head.”  (Laughter.)

Leno:  Whatever they are, I don’t know what they are.

THE PRESIDENT: That sounds like a scary dog.  (Laughter.) Sort of dripping around the house.  (Laughter.)

Leno: I don’t know what it is.

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no. We’re going to get a dog that is –- that I think the girls will have a great time –- I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.  You know, they say if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.


Comment from Matilda
Time March 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

My name is Matilda (like waltzing Matilda) not Mathilda (I think she was a witch) I am VIRTUALLY the right choice for 1st dog. If you haven’t met Matilda yet, let us introduce you to her. She’s that adorable puppy that you can see on the homepage at http://www.toonecards.com. She was created in April 08 (Canadian born) and her 1st appearance was in her debut toonEcard, “puppy thanks”. Once President Obama won the election & promised Sasha & Malia a puppy, she begged us here at toonEcards to let her campaign. She figured if Arnie could be Governor & not U.S. born, so could she. A Canadian in the Whitehouse! After hearing that argument, we agreed to let her journey to the Whitehouse. So, on December 1, 2008, she launched her campaign and produced and starred in her next toonEcard, “pick me Mr. President.” She was inspired by her creators Labradoodle. Her Barack is as good as her bite!