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Tag: malia

Bo Ho Ho: First dog barks at Santa

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with daughters Malia and Sasha and first dog Bo, made an appearance at the Children’s National Medical Center Tuesday. Mrs. Obama, once Bo made sure Santa kept his distance, read “The Night Before Christmas” to the children.

Bobama Beanie Baby beckons buyers

Bo – the Beanie Baby version — is officially on the marketplace, and the maker says a portion of proceeds will be donated to local animal shelters.

They’re made by the the same company that got in some trouble when it comandeered the images of the Obama children and released two dolls as part of its Ty Girlz collection with the names “Marvelous Malia” and “Sweet Sasha.”

After Michelle Obama said using her daughters’ names was inappropriate, the dolls were renamed “Marvelous Mariah” and “Sweet Sydney.”

Oak Brook-based Ty Inc. introduced Bo, the First Dog on April 16, two days after the Portuguese Water Dog made his White House debut.

“We are very proud of the First Family and wanted to join in celebrating their choice of a family pet,” Ty chief executive officer Ty Warner said in a statement.

The “Bo” doll’s suggested price is $4.99. It auctioned Wednesday on eBay for between $5 and $139.95.

Bo does diddly for the adoption cause

President Obama and family — while selecting a majorly cute dog — missed out on a chance to further the cause of animal adoption worldwide by opting for a breeder-produced purebred.

Bo, the six-month-old Portuguese water dog gifted to the Obama’s by Sen. Edward Kennedy, was proving an unpopular choice among animal welfare advocates, though some tempered their remarks by pointing out that, while not a shelter or rescue dog, Bo had been rejected by a previous owner.

A litter mate of the Kennedy’s newest dog, Cappy, Bo apparently had a previous owner, but was returned to the breeder because he didn’t get along well with the owner’s other dogs.

On the bright side, that means it was a breeder responsible enough to insist on reclaiming dogs whose placements don’t work out.

On the not quite so bright side, though, Obama missed out on an opportunity to raise awareness of homeless dogs — at a time when a lot of shelters desperately need some help.

“They were looking at shelters but in the end the Kennedys learned of this litter mate of their dog who needed a home, and they wanted to give the girls a gift – and here we are,” Catherine McCormick-Lelyveld, a spokesman for the First Lady, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He moves in Tuesday.”

President Obama had expressed a preference for a shelter dog, but the family also needed a “hypo-allergenic dog because of daughter Malia’s allergies.

“…Our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me … So whether we’re going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household,” the president said shortly after taking office.

“This is a missed opportunity to set a pet-adoption trend among Americans,” said Abbie Moore, executive director of Adopt-a-Pet.com. “With pet relinquishment up 20 to 30 percent due to the poor economy, pets in shelters can use all the help they can get.”

Since the Obama’s did not get the dog from a shelter, the Sun-Times reported, the Obamas will instead made a donation to a humane society.

(White House photos)

The story behind the Obama’s new dog

Ted Kennedy may be getting the credit for the Obama’s new pup, but if it weren’t for Vasco Bensaude, it probably wouldn’t have been a Portuguese water dog that wound up on the White House lawn.

In the 1930′s Bensaude, a wealthy Portuguese businessman and dog lover was introduced to the breed by friends. By then, the breed’s numbers were dwindling, and there were only a few still doing the job they were bred to do — fisherman’s assistant.

Once seen all along the coast of Portugal, the breed was prized by fishermen — for the companionship they offered, the security they provided on docked boats, and their ability to jump in the water and herd schools of fish into the nets.

They had other skills as well, such as retrieving lost tackle or broken nets, and to serve as couriers, delivering messages from one boat to the next.

The first written description of the dog dates to 1297, when a monk wrote about a sailor hauled out of the sea by a dog with a “black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail.”

The Portuguese water dog — known in Portugal as Cao de Agua – is believed to be a blend of poodle, Kerry blue terrier and the Irish water spaniel.

Improved technology in the fishing industry lessened the demand for the Cao de Agua, and only a few remained in the 1930s, when Bensaude acquired one named Leao. Leao became the founding sire of the modern breed, the first litter of which was born in May 1937.

It took another 30 years for the dog to come to America. The first didn’t arrive until 1968, and was a descendant of Leao.

The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed in 1972, and the breed was acknowledged by the American Kennel club in 1983.

(Source: Portuguese Water Dog Club of America)

Obama dog chosen, arriving Tuesday

President Barack Obama’s daughters have settled on a pup — a six-month-old Portuguese water dog they’ve named Bo.

The dog is a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, who owns several Portuguese water dogs. The Washington Post reported the story first in its online editions Saturday night.

“Bo’s a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he’s got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee,” the Post reported.

The black-and-white puppy is is scheduled to make his public debut Tuesday.

Obama’s daughters chose the name Bo because first lady Michelle Obama’s father was nicknamed Diddley, after singer Bo Diddley, the Post said.

White House aides told The Associated Press that the office of the first lady arranged an exlusive deal on the dog story with the Post. They said the dog was not in the White House as of Saturday evening.

Celebrity Web site TMZ.com also reported Saturday that the Obamas would get a black-and-white Portuguese Water Dog from the same lineage as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s pets. TMZ said the six-month-old pet was named Charlie. Instantly, FirstDogCharlie.com went online.

Obama promised his daughters, 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha, a puppy during the campaign.

According to the Washington Post report — you can find a version of it here — the family met the dog a few weeks ago at a secret White House session:

“The visit, known around the White House as ‘The Meeting,’ was a surprise for the girls. Bo charmed the first family, a source who was there said. He sat when the girls sat, stood when the girls stood. He made no toilet errors and did not gnaw on the furniture. Bo has, after all, been receiving lessons in good behavior from the Kennedys’ dog trainers. These lessons have been taking place at a secret, undisclosed location outside Washington.

“When the president walked across the room during the visit, Bo followed obediently.”

Obama can’t win — regardless of breed choice

Seldom, if ever, has so much weight been put on a single family’s choice of dog.

And seldom if ever has getting a dog –  normally a personal and joyful affair — become such a public exercise in risk management and political correctness.

At first it was a simple campaign promise to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, that they’d get a dog after the election — only slightly complicated by the need for that dog, in deference to Malia’s allergies, to be hypo-allergenic, if there even really is such a thing.

Now there’s talk that the Obama’s eagerly anticipated choice of dog breed, or hybrid — Newsweek magazine’s April 13 issue says to expect some developments within the week — could lead not just to a surge in purchases of whatever breed they choose, but could cause a boom to the puppy mill industry as well.

The logic, as outlined by Newsweek, goes this way: If the Obamas get a Labradoodle — even a rescued Labradoodle — it will spark an increase in demand for the hybrid, and since most hybrids are bred by puppy millers, they’ll start churning them out to meet the demand, or in anticipation of it.

If the Obamas get a Portugese water dog — the other choice they’ve mentioned — the same thing would happen because not a lot of that breed can be found in shelters or rescue.

In other words, Obama can’t win. The fear is any breed, or hybrid, the First Family picks could have a  “101 Dalmatians” effect: a sudden burst in popularity that breeders will try to capitalize on it by mass-producing similar dogs.

Even with Obama’s popularity, I think the fear is being slightly overstated — and I can’t think of any precedent for a president’s choice of dog leading to mass purchasing of the breed. I don’t think the presidency of younger Bush led to a surge in Scotties, anymore than the popularity of beagles was boosted by Lyndon B. Johnson. (History buffs, please correct me if I am wrong.)

Then again, with the Obamas, there are cute kids involved, and photo ops and, I’m sure, a media onslaught of tremendous proportions once the dog arrives, if how much coverage the issue (or non-issue if you prefer) has already gotten is any indication.

All this is another good argument for what was my personal preference, and really the only politically correct choice –  a shelter mutt. That way, the only copycat surge would be in the number of people going to their shelters to adopt dogs that already exist and need homes.

Of course, that was before I decided it was none of my business – that, ideally, a family’s choice of dog should be left up to that family, not pundits, political pressure, or internet polls. Has any other president been held to this level of scrutiny — or any scrutiny at all — regarding his choice of dog? (Note to future presidential candidates: Get a dog before you start your campaign.)

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but I’m not sure, at this particular moment, if they’re Obama’s.

(Photo: Posters by Shepard Fairey)

Obamas leaning toward water dog

The Obamas are leaning toward getting a Portugese water dog — but it looks like we’ll have to wait at least another month for it to happen.

Michelle Obama dropped the news during an interview with People Magazine.  She said the First Family hopes to find one that is “old enough” and get it through a shelter or rescue group.

“Temperamentally they’re supposed to be pretty good,” she said of the breed. “From the size perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road –- it’s not small, but it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.”

Among those folks is  Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has two Portugese water dogs of his own.

Michelle Obama said the family has been discussing names for the new pooch — Frank and Moose have been proposed by the Obama’s daughters — but none has been agreed upon.

“First Dog Song”

Sims Wyeth — intrigued by the prospect of a shelter dog moving into the White House — has penned a song called, simply enough, “First Dog Song.”

An excerpt:

“Now I’m in the shelter, sleeping on cement.
One day I’m gonna wake up in the house of the president.”

Wyeth is a former actor and educator who founded his own public speaking consultant company, Sims Wyeth & Co., in 1995.

He sent us email this week, notifying us he had posted his song on YouTube.

Wyeth is the owner of a one-year-old standard Poodle named Little Bear, who can be seen at the beginning and end of the video. His song is dedicated to his first dog, Roscoe.

Obama dog 4: Sweet Sydney in Maryland

OK, so we said there would just be three Obama dog recommendations.

But then we heard about this girl, currently lodged just up the road from the White House in Prince Georges County, Maryland.

Sydney is a 7-month old Ladradoodle who’s keepers say she is both beautiful and well-behaved, great with kids, cats and other dogs, housetrained, and already a skilled doggie door user.

She’s also crate trained, leash trained, knows her basic commands, has been spayed and has all her shots, according to Tamela Terry, president of the SPCA/Humane Society in Prince Georges County.

Sydney was surrendered by her former owners because they couldn’t take care of her any longer. She’s reportedly great in the car — she sits like a princess and gazes out the window.

“Sydney is a wonderful, easy-going dog and whoever adopts her will be lucky, lucky, lucky,” Terry wrote. “This beautiful girl could be the best thing to happen to the Obamas all year!”

Obama dog 2: 4th grader offers Choco-doodle

A 4th grader in Farmington, Pa., has offered Malia Obama his choco-doodle.

Zachary William Shiley, a student at Wharton Elementary School in Farmington, is offering a 6-week-old female Labradoodle puppy (emphasis on the labra) to the First Family.

The puppy, born Nov. 26, was the only offspring that survived the litter of an 11-year-old chocolate lab named — of all things — Hillary.

The father is a 1-year-old Labradoodle named — appropriately enough — Bullet.

Zachary Shiley told the Herald-Standard that the family has been calling the dog “Vegas” because his mother was in Las Vegas when Hillary became pregnant.

Apparently it wasn’t an intentional breeding, but, be that as it may, Hillary got her groove back, and now, the result of what happened in Farmington, if the Shiley’s have their way, won’t stay in Farmington, but head instead to the nation’s capital.

Zachary describes the puppy as full of energy, a little shy but “very smart and friendly.”

“We want her to have a good home, and what could be better than the White House… A dream come true,” Zachary wrote in his letter to Malia. “I almost forgot, the puppy is free,” he added. It was his mother’s idea to offer it to the Obamas, he said, but he’s all for it.

Included with the letter are two photographs — Zachary and the puppy, and the puppy with an American flag.

Two Fayette County commissioners planned to deliver Zachary’s letter at the inauguration.
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