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Tag: portuguese

Should Arizona deport Siberian huskies?

Cooling my heels in Phoenix, I’ve been trying to catch up with the latest on SB 1070, the new legislation that will turn Arizona’s police officers into immigration officials, requiring them to check the citizenship of anyone they confront in the course of their duties.

The law makes violating federal immigration laws a state crime, if that makes any sense, and some fear it will lead to large scale profiling and deportations as Arizona takes into its own hands matters it feels the federal government isn’t addressing.

Of course, the law applies to humans, and not dogs, but what if? What if the motivation for it — to keep undocumented foreigners from the shores of a country pretty much built by undocumented foreigners — was applied to the dog kingdom?

What if all the Irish setters –or at least those who lacked the proper paperwork — were sent back to Ireland; or if all the German shepherds were deported to Germany; or if Labrador retrievers, Tibetan Mastiffs, French poodles and Afghan hounds were all sent back to their place of origin?

The dog kingdom would be a much more boring place.

If all of them were required to live where they originated, we wouldn’t have anywhere near the magnificent diversity of dog breeds — not to mention hybrids and mutts — that we enjoy today. It would be so long, Welsh Corgi; seeya, Belgian Malinois; goodbye, Bo, and all other Portuguese water dogs.

Go back to Rhodesia, you Ridgebacks.

Probably, in our haste, we’d even deport Great Danes to Denmark, even though the breed didn’t originate there. (Once local law enforcement and state bureaucracies get involved, mistakes are bound to happen.) And, Siberian huskies, you don’t even want to think about where you’d be banished to.

A valid argument can be made that Siberian huskies shouldn’t be living in Arizona’s heat in the first place – but banishing them, or pestering them for their paperwork so often they decide to leave, obviously isn’t the solution.

If that were the case, I never would have met Sasha and Kodi, brother and sister huskies belonging to Sandy Fairall, who we hung out with yesterday at “Bark Place,” the dog park at Quail Run Park in Mesa.

No pedigree is required to enter, and dogs of all sizes, shapes, backgrounds and colors were playing together nicely. No one was asking anyone else to leave, no one was questioning anyone else’s pedigree, and everyone, dog and human, seemed happy to share the shady spots.

Sandy admits Phoenix is not an ideal locale for the cold weather dogs – something she’s reminded of whenever she heads to the mountains in winter to let them experience their more natural surroundings and play in the snow.

But they seem to be thriving and happy to be here. They seem to have adjusted. They haven’t taken anyone’s job, committed any crimes or put undue strain on the health care system.

I say – paperwork or not — let them stay.

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)

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