There will soon be a new dog at the White House. The Obama family has finally chosen their dog, a Portuguese water hound that they will call Bo (after Bo Diddley). The dog comes from a Texas kennel that has a reputation for breeding Presidential dogs; in fact, the Obama’s new family member is from the same lineage as the Kennedy dogs. The dog is set to arrive to its new home on Tuesday.
Despite the happy news for the Obama children and Bo, there has been a lot of public outcry over the fact that this isn’t a rescue dog as promised in the campaign. Many websites were created during the campaign to encourage the Obama family to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group. And so, with news of the dog coming from a kennel, many in the animal welfare community are saddened, upset, and angry over the broken promise.
One thing that is often overlooked though is that a good kennel, with a breeder who really cares about the animals and takes care to make sure they are healthy, is still a very good option for people who are looking for a pet. It’s important to research the kennel, and of course make visits to really get to know the people and the dog you are considering.
As someone who actively promotes rescue groups and adoption from shelters, I feel that responsible breeders have gotten a bad name due to the many horrible puppy mills and backyard breeders who are just in it to make a lot of money. And while I would always hope that everyone would consider shelters and rescue groups first, responsible breeders always try to make sure that their dogs are going to remain in the homes they go to. Most good breeders even have it in their contract that if you can’t keep your dog it needs to be returned to them.
In fact, the new dog at the White House is such a dog. Bo used to be known as Charlie and was returned to the kennel by a previous owner.
So while the promise of adopting from a shelter or rescue group may have been broken, a dog that needed a home still found one. And a very good one at that!
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