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A Dog at the White House

A Dog at the White House

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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Wendy Domeni
http://www.sxc.hu/profile/kitenellie

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68 comments

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2:16AM PDT on Apr 27, 2009

Gwynneth ; as you do not accept messages from the public I would like to ask you about your comments on PETA & HSUS. On what bases are these opinions of yours founded ? They do such an amazing job for animal welfare & are supported by many famous people but it takes a person like yourself to tarnish all that. Shame on you !

2:00AM PDT on Apr 24, 2009

i have a pure bread also, a little female doxie, and she is a rescue dog!!!

7:37PM PDT on Apr 18, 2009

It warms my heart to see that there are some people out there who do realize that groups such as PETA and HSUS are extremist groups who do not have the best interest of our pets in their sites. Now, if we could just band together and expose these groups for what they truly are in the mainstream media, then I think we would all be in a better place.

5:35PM PDT on Apr 18, 2009

I THINK IT S GREAT THAT THE PRESIDENT AND HIS FAMILY CARE ABOUT HAVING A PET. THIS WILL BE GREAT FOR THE CHILDREN TO LEARN HOW TO CARE FOR GODS ANIMALS .

6:53AM PDT on Apr 18, 2009

Great for the new dog in the Whitehouse who is going to have the best of everything,I love animals and I very happy for the OBAMAS new dog,its just really to bad that this is whats making headlines,not the slaughter of innocent animals,puppy mills,animal abuse and cruelty!! Its a HUGE JOKE to me with the way this country is SO horribly out of control,and If I have heard about and seen this dog 1 time,I have seen it 1'000,and it just sickens me that this is the BIG FOCUS!!! JOKE!!! Lori K.

5:40PM PDT on Apr 17, 2009

Wow. People are making a very big deal out of this. They got a dog, as a gift, whose first owners didn't want him anymore. I have a cat who's a pure-breed Maine Coon. I adopted him from an old roommate who obviously didn't give a crap about him and lavished attention on her other cat. It didn't seem fair, so I took my little buddy when I moved out. Yes, I own a pure-breed, but he's a loving little guy who deserved better than he was getting. Maybe the Obamas feel the same about their dog. I still try to help find homes for animals who need them (just placed a cute little kitten with my mom.) Just owning a pure-breed doesn't make you a bad person. My pure-breed is currently doing his best to prevent me from writing this by grabbing at my arms, and I love him to death.

I think Obama could easily rectify the situation by getting involved in animal rights issues. By the way, being for animal rights doesn't mean you must agree with the viewpoint of every group that calls themselves an AR group. I completely disagree with those quotes from PETA people. I just think that we should spay and neuter our animals so that their population is small enough that they don't need to be put to sleep, and that any breeder needs to be licensed and carefully monitored. There should be a limited number of breeding facilities allowed, and they should be licensed. Much like how we treat bars and liquor licenses. There's a finite number of permits, and you hope that you get one. So?

6:49PM PDT on Apr 16, 2009

Hi Nicole -- bravo to you! You seem very thoughtful and caring for animals. You are open to changing your mind about things. That is evidenced by your current awareness of the truth about PeTA, an organization you previously supported.

You are right. There is nothing wrong with being an activist for a cause in which you believe. I am an activist too. Unfortunately, the extremists (not a good thing) are also activists, and they are starting to run the show when it comes to animals.

PeTA is obviously extreme. It's fairly easy to get folks to see this.

But others like HSUS are not so obvious. They use very slick PR campaigns that make it appear they are doing things "for the animals." For example, when they raised money "for the Katrina animals." But then they left town and took most of that money with them rather than use it to help the animals stranded by the storm. They used it to fund their political lobbying.
Where did they get that money? From folks who might not understand what they are supporting.

HSUS is currently sponsoring over 100 bills in over 30 states. What they do is called "incrementalism." They take a small step that seems reasonable, such as "fighting the 'puppy mills.'" Sure -- who would't be for that? But that's just the first step. Each step will lead us closer and closer to no pets, no cats, no dogs...no choice.
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Look it up. They have published exactly how they plan to do this. It is a strategy they have been workin

10:50AM PDT on Apr 16, 2009

Shevlin R -

Humm, interesting concept - a "factory that creates dogs". What constitutes a "factory"? One intact dog? Five? Ten? Depending on your definition, potentially ALL dogs come from a "factory".

And by saying Obama's puppy (Bo) is not in the "shelter or rescue group", you make it sound like you think it would have been better if Bo had been placed in a shelter or rescue group first (because of an irresponsible breeder), and then adopted from there. That almost makes it sound like you support the way puppy mills and irresponsible breeders do business.
Or perhaps you are saying the Obama's shouldn't have adopted a dog at all, if all dogs come from a factory??

Honestly, I doubt you support puppy mills!! But by saying Bo should not be placed in a particular "group" of dogs that need rehoming and that you are disappointed in the Obama's, makes it sound like you prefer the way puppy millers do business rather than the way a responsible breeder does business.

By getting a dog from a "factory" ("albeit a kinder one") and thus supporting them, does this analogy extend to include that by getting a "shelter" dog mean you are supporting puppy millers??

7:07AM PDT on Apr 16, 2009

Just because the dog was returned to the breeder by a previous owner does not place the dog into the "shelter" or "rescue" groups. The dog came from a factory that creates dogs, albeit a kinder one than most. By acquiring a factory dog, Obama has supported and endorsed them. In this, I am very disappointed in Obama.

7:02AM PDT on Apr 16, 2009

Deb F. While I appreciate your well researched views, I think you have 1 large flaw in you theory. I, yes you guessed it, have been called an animal activist in the past. I do not think animals are ours to make profit from, use as entertainment or as food. However, I do not think most of us want to sever ties complete. I'm sure some do. I agree with you that PETA is a horrible organization and am ashamed to say I have been a member in the past. Please remember there is a difference between an activist and an extremist. In my opinion that is what PETA is, extremists that are led by 1 very crazy women. So you see, my point is you grouping a very large group of people and labeling them all as one. I do not think any breeder, responsible or not, should be breeding for profit right now. There are over 8 million dogs and cats destroyed every year and breeders only contribute the problem. I understand maintaining the integrity of the breed and some day my hope is that all we have left is responsible breeders. No pounds, shelters, rescues, or puppy mills. Until that day, I think breeding should be reduced dramatically.

It is our job to protect the other species on this planet and I don't think either side is doing their part.

I have hugged all 4 of my dogs while writing this:)

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