There's been so much talk this week about the Obama dog, I just had to weigh in.
For those who have had their heads buried in the sand this past week, here's the lowdown: the first-family-to-be is going to get a dog after they move into the White House, and there have been all sorts of polls, petitions and pleas floating around from the various groups involved in the caninosphere. While purebreed-pushers like the American Kennel Club have put out their suggestions of purebreed dogs the Obamas might adopt, animal rescue groups such as the wonderful Best Friends Animal Society have been lobbying the president to adopt a shelter dog.
This is, of course, one smart family, and last month Michelle Obama announced on a television show that they would indeed adopt from a shelter. But other complications have arisen since. It turns out that one of the Obama daughters is allergic, and in his press conference today the president-elect said that his family has to take that into consideration. They would need, he said, a hypoallergenic dog. But, he added, most shelter dogs are mutts.
Wrong. I firmly believe mutts make the greatest pets and it is true that a majority of dogs at shelters are usually mutts, or mixed breeds. But, President-elect Obama, if you think you need a purebred dog so you can be sure it is hypoallergenic, a good number of dogs entering shelters are also purebreeds and, like Nike - a Bichon Frise I fostered- hypoallergenic. And there are many, many breed rescues out there that rescue purebreed dogs and rehome them. Here is one that rescues bichons. Here is another that rescues labradoodles and goldendoodles, also hypoallergenic dogs. Here's a whole list of dogs that are considered hypoallergenic, and it is easy as cake to google up groups that rescue each one of these pure breeds.
The Washington Humane Society, which rescues dogs in Mr. Obama's new home city, Washington, also rescues many purebreed dogs each year, including hypoallergenic ones.
Here are three of the several hypoallergenic puppies available in the Washington area. I pulled these up on Petfinder, a great resource for anyone looking to rescue dogs.
The new first family would be setting a wonderful example for the country and the rest of the world if they did, indeed, adopt a rescue dog. As someone who has rescued many, many dogs, I know they will never regret that decision because any dog they adopt will give them its whole heart and lots of great times. But equally important, by giving a rescue dog a second chance, the Obamas and their dog would deal a body blow to long-held and mistaken attitudes that shelter dogs are, somehow, just not good enough.
President-elect Obama, this is your chance to bring hope and change to millions of four-legged creatures who more than deserve a chance at that most basic of rights: life. It may not be the most important item on your agenda, but it could also be the easiest one to resolve. Please, don't let the doggies down. Bring a rescue dog home to the White House.
Make your voice heard. Email the president-elect with your thoughts on why you think his family should get a shelter dog. Be a hero.