First Family finally adopts a First Dog
More than five months after being elected President of the United States, Barack Obama has finally delivered on one of his most highly-publicized campaign promises: to get a dog for daughters Sasha and Malia.
Bo is an adorable six-month-old Portuguese water dog with both a purebred bloodline and a dynastic pedigree: that is, his original guardian was Senator Ted Kennedy, whose professional animal trainers had provided etiquette lessons “at a secret, undisclosed location outside Washington.” All this canine charm schooling paid off when Bo met the Obama girls at the executive mansion, where he reportedly followed them around, didn’t chew on any furniture, and avoided any potty faux pas.
The announcement has already rankled animal rescue advocates who wanted the Obamas to choose a mixed-breed dog from a shelter, maintaining that this would have set a positive example for the nation and the world that would ultimately save millions of homeless animals’ lives. President Obama had expressed interest in adopting a mutt last year, and an Associated Press poll conducted in January showed that more than two-thirds of Americans wanted the First Dog to be a mutt. However, in the end the Obamas decided to go with a porty because 10-year-old Malia is allergic to dogs, and this particular breed has been genetically selected to be hypoallergenic.
Purebred puppy proponents, on the other hand, maintain that the choice of a porty reflects the Obama family’s needs, and that they should be commended for doing the research necessary to ensuring their daughter’s health. “It's long past time to stop apologizing for owning purebred dogs,” wrote a dog trainer called Gaelen on her blog, Life Out Loud! “Dog ownership advocates, let's help the Obamas by supporting their choice. Let's put animal rights activists – who do little for the welfare of domesticated animals, and are primarily focused on their own anti-pet-owning agendas* – on notice: owning purebred dogs is a choice of which the Obamas, and everyone else who owns a purbred (sic) dog, can be proud.”
Symbolism and squabbling aside, here’s hoping the First Family is happy with their newest four-legged member. Neither Barack nor Michelle Obama have ever had dogs, and this will be Sasha and Malia’s first companion animal, so the experience may well open them all to a new way of relating to non-human species. Now that the doggy decision has been made, perhaps the nation will move on to weightier matters…although Bo is so cute, he may wind up stealing some of the President’s spotlight for many years to come!
* Click on the "Comments" below to read my response to this false accusation.