One of the reasons I was so thrilled about the outcome of last November's elections was because I thought our new president was above being a "politician" with all the slimy connotations that word has come to assume.
But this morning I turn on the news and hey! I find out I could be wrong after all.
The buzz is, the Obamas have found their new puppy and it's NOT coming from a shelter-- it's coming from a kennel. A kennel in Texas with Kennedy associations.
And here's the slimy politician bit -- the six-month-old Portuguese Water Dog (a truly adorable fellow named Charlie) is being "rehomed" in the kennel because he was sold to someone else, and then brought back.
Now that sounds like the Obamas, who had repeatedly said they would prefer to adopt from a shelter, are trying to get away with a technicality.
How frustrating, Mr. President, because many of us animal-lovers honestly believed you to be a man of your word.
Rehomed or not, one fact that should not escape anyone who professes to love dogs-- or cats or any other animal-- is that patronizing breeders, who create more puppies and kittens and add to the burden of shelters that rescue animals, is wrong, plain and simple. There is nothing like a "reputable" breeder-- not when nearly 3-4 million healthy dogs and cats are killed in shelters each year because they have no homes.
Now here's something even more priceless: this dog the Obamas may be adopting comes from the same lineage as Sen. Ted Kennedy's Portuguese water dogs, and the Kennedy family is "presenting the new dog to the Obamas," according to TMZ, which first broke this story.
Lineage? WHO CARES?
Honestly, Mr. President, is this the 21st century in the developed world, and are we really moving toward change?
Right now, I'm thinking, not.
Of course, part of me is still hoping this news is wrong-- that some reporter jumped the gun, and the Obamas will still adopt from a shelter. Because by doing so, they would make a sea change to the jaundiced --and incorrect -- view that many people hold about shelter animals. If the president adopts from the shelter, it would not be a far stretch to assume that more Americans will be drawn to taking shelter animals home, giving these innocent creatures a chance at life that they well deserve.
Update: My hometown newspaper, the Washington Post, has this story about the Obama dog with the only mention of rescue animals coming in the last graf. Apparently the Obamas are throwing some money at the problem of homeless animals by donating to the Washington Humane Society. Now I foster-volunteer for this shelter, and all my dogs and cats have come from the WHS-- I know they need any money they can get. But a donation seems so lame, considering the president had a chance to lead by example.
I ran a search this morning on Petfinder to look for PWDs, since the Post story said they are not found in rescues-- my search for the DC region threw up 13 PWDs or PWD mixes in nearby states, each one more adorable than the next. Maybe the Obamas and the media -- that doesn't seem to get the real story here-- need to find another excuse?
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of my shelter mutts who have absolutely no lineage or pedigree whatsoever. And we couldn't be prouder of them!