Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New dog for the first family

As everyone has by now heard, President Obama finally made good on his campaign promise to get his daughters a dog.

Unfortunately, as we've also now learned, he's broken another campaign promise to adopt a rescued dog.

While it's true that the Obamas did not buy a dog directly from a breeder, they accepted a gift of a 6 month old Portuguese Water Dog from Senator Ted Kennedy, via the breeder that Kennedy originally bought the dog from. (The Obamas wanted a PWD because Malia is allergic to most dogs, but this breed does not cause allergies.)

Certainly, there are many more important issues for Americans, and certainly for the President, to worry about. So in some ways it seems trivial and small-minded for animal welfare advocates to criticize the President's decision. Not only are there many more things to worry about than whether or not the President adopted a dog, but most Presidents have bought purebred dogs.

But still, something about this decision just doesn't sit well. It's not just that Obama broke a promise to get a "mutt" like him (as he famously said). And it's not that we can shortly expect a rush to breeders and pet stores as idiots with a lot of money to spend will buy themselves this now-trendy dog. And it's not even that the timing of the whole thing seems oddly suspicious--as if this dog was planned for the Obamas the whole time, even while the President told the nation that he was planning to adopt a dog.

Besides all that, it just seems like it sends the wrong message to Americans, especially at this time. Not only did the President pick a purebred dog, originally purchased from a breeder and intended (probably) for the President's family, but at this time, many Americans, struggling to pay their bills, are surrendering their own animals to local shelters because they can no longer care for them.

It just doesn't feel right.


  1. I know. *sigh* I have a feeling we'll be getting used to broken campaign promises before his 1st (and last?) term is out.

  2. Aw. Glad i read this. A working dog like a Terrier would've been better. I think.