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Portuguese Water Dogs & Pit Bulls: The Politics of the President’s Pets

By Edie Jarolim | Published: August 26, 2013

Will My Dog Hate Me?:  Anything that President Obama does is news, which goes with the Leader of the Free World territory. And when the President does something warm and fuzzy, like getting a pet for his family — as opposed, to say making recess appointments of agency heads – more sections of the blogosphere than just the usual political ones pay attention.

Bo and Sunny

Bo and Sunny, First Dogs (actually, first and second ‘First Dogs’)

The official announcement on the White House blog on August 19 read:

Today the Obamas welcomed the newest member of their family – a little girl (puppy) named Sunny!

Sunny was born in Michigan in June 2012, and arrived at the White House today. Just like Bo, she’s a Portuguese Water Dog, which works great for the Obamas because of allergies in their family.

Sunny is the perfect little sister for Bo – full of energy and very affectionate – and the First Family picked her name because it fit her cheerful personality.

In honor of Sunny, the Obamas are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society.

Lots of people had something to say about this. 

Normal people’s reactions

Here is the typical normal pet lover’s reaction to the following film, released by the White House along with the article:

Awww!! She’s so cute! She plays so well with Bo, who was lonely for doggie company before Sunny came along. It’s nice that the family got a breed that Melia, who has allergies, could enjoy. It’s nice that the Obamas donated money to a shelter.

Awwww!! Ooooh! 

Reasonable and useful reactions from the pet community

This is a teachable moment. The Daily Beast had a sensible article by a veterinarian that includes information about whether you should get a second dog, introducing the second dog to the first dog, etc.

All good things to know. 

Well intended but misguided reactions from the pet community

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled New White House pup Sunny: Why not a rescue dog? is typical of the reactions of the “should have adopted” community. After a feel-good introduction, so as not to antagonize everyone who had the above-mentioned “awwww” reaction, such pieces cite a well-known figure in the animal welfare community to make the case.

Cue Wayne Pacelle, director of the Humane Society of the United States:

[Pacelle] noted on his blog Tuesday that the Obamas made little reference to exactly where Sunny came from, other than to note that it’s the Great Lakes State.

But given her pure-bred status, it’s unlikely that Sunny came from a rescue organization or a shelter. [emphasis mine, and not sourced to Pacelle]

“As we always say in such circumstances, we hope the Obamas considered adoption or rescue as the first choice in obtaining a pet,” wrote Mr. Pacelle.

Like all the other should-have-rescued articles I came across, this one misrepresents or ignores one bit of important information: That about 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. There is a breed rescue for Portuguese water dogs, as there is for most breeds.

The fact is, the Obamas went through a reputable breeder for both Bo and Sunny. If they had ordered Sunny over the internet or bought her at a pet store, the pet community would have something to squawk about. But reputable breeders play an essential role in the world of animal lovers. It would be a good thing to emphasize that more, and scold less. 

Off-the-wall reactions from the pet community (or an ostensible member)

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

Yes, pit bulls can be sweethearts

This article from Salon.com titled Another Portuguese Water Dog? The Obamas Should Have Made A Different Statement is likely just link/click bait because it is both ill-informed and wildly off kilter. It starts:

Bo Obama, America’s first dog, has a new playmate named Sunny and the first family is getting criticized for not adopting a mutt from the animal shelter. If the Obamas had gone to their local shelter, the Washington Humane Society, they wouldn’t have found a purebred Portuguese water dog. Instead, they might have come home with a pit bull — and that would have been a good thing.

There are three problems right off the bat.

  • The link in “the first family is getting criticized” clause directs us to PETA. A writer who knew anything about animal welfare would know that criticism from PETA means diddly squat — and especially in the context of an article related to pit bulls. PETA advocates that all pit bulls that turn up in shelters be put down.
  • What part of “the Obamas need a certain breed of dog because Melia has allergies” doesn’t the author understand?
  • As I noted above, 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. You cannot say with authority that the Obamas would not have found a purebred Portuguese water dog at the Washington Humane Society.

I have written often here about how pit bulls are unfairly demonized. But bringing a rescued one into the White House is a ludicrous idea, for many reasons; they are detailed in the 300 plus comments that this piece drew. I couldn’t have summed it up better, however, than commenter “Schmoopi”:

You are fucking kidding me, right? You want the president who can’t do anything without it being made political and a “Black thing”… to adopt a dog that is the stereotyped official dog breed of the ‘hood?…

I like pits. They are a much maligned breed. They are naturally sweet-natured, loyal and affectionate….Pitbulls are also heavily abused and over bred by idiots…. Nevertheless, I find the suggestion that my President, our first Black president, a man who spends every day being “nibbled to death by ducks,” should deliberately do something that would enable the racist trolls of our country to hit new heights of asshattery to be the dumbest thing I have heard all summer.

This leads me to…

Bat-shit crazy political reactions

The supposition that the name Sunny was chosen because it’s close to Sunni, the sect of Islam to which Obama purportedly belongs, may be a joke, but the observation made by the right wing Daily Caller wasn’t:

With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.

As for more comments about how diabolical the decision to get Sunny was, see Atlantic.com’s Best Conspiracy Theories About the Obamas’ New Dog, Sunny., and you be the judge…

Boring but important political pet news that got lost in the Sunny fuss

While the President was busy not adopting a pit bull, he did something much more important. The White House responded to a petition asking it to “Ban and outlaw Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the United States of America on a Federal level!” with the following statement:

We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, unregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.

As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.

That’s a far better use of the President’s bully pulpit — pun intended — than making the family dog into a political statement rather than a pet.

What I would add is that at least the next time Bo gets to go on vacation on his own jet… he will have a four-legged companion to travel with… JOMP~

You be the judge…

Related:

Yet Another Taxpayer Paid Luxury Vacation For The Obamas, Including a Private Jet For The First Dog… Again

Obama admits to eating dog … fur finally flies

Bo Obama’s dog trainer dies at age 52 (Jan. 2011)

Bo the First Dog and His Trainer Arrive in Martha’s Vineyard… – Bo travelled on his own jet on the taxpayer’s nickel in 2011 as well. I’m as big of a pet advocate as anyone… but really? Guess we are off the green kick and global warming???

The mystery of Bo’s ‘Hawaii trip’ is solved: White House says he stayed in Washington and never went on holiday with First Family

President Bush and His Pets

Arrival of New First Pooch Imminent

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

Busts of presidential pets Barney and Miss Beazley at George W. Bush Library

Presidential Pet Museum.com

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yet Another Taxpayer Paid Luxury Vacation For The Obamas, Including a Private Jet For The First Dog… Again

JoshuaPundit:  You can’t make this stuff up.

Our president and the First lady are enjoying the president’s fourth luxury vacation this year, at the ultra-pricey Martha’s Vineyard.

Like many of us, the Obamas will unfortunately be downsizing their vacation this time. Their normal rental, the 28-acre Blue Heron Farm has been sold, so they will be reduced to making do at a $7.6 million, 5,000-square foot retreat on nine acres located in Chilmark on the western tip of the island that includes its own basketball court. They’ll be there eight days, so the American taxpayer will probably be picking up the tab for a full two weeks. Martha’s Vineyard in season is extremely pricey.

Now, no details of what that’s costing us, but we do know that over 70 rooms have been booked for the Secret Service and the rest of the entourage not deemed worthy to spend the night on call at the estate. Each room costs $345 per night. mere hovels by Martha’s Vineyard standards. The Secret Service normally gets there a few days before the First Family, so let’s figure ten days. That works out to well over $240,000, just for lodging for the help. With food and incidentals, we’re probably talking around $300,000 plus on the conservative side, not counting transportation and fuel.

And speaking of transportation, President Obama decided to commandeer two MV-22 Ospreys, military aircraft that carry 24 passengers each and cost $11,000 per hour to fly. One of them held the first family, its luggage and some of their more favored servants. The other one was – wait for it – a dog taxi used to fly in the First Dog, Bo.  So what is up with that?  Why can’t Bo travel with the family?  Any guesses??

Round trip cost for two MV-22 Ospreys, about $88,000, not including maintenance.

This also doesn’t include the cost of transporting the president and his wife’s entourage who didn’t manage to hitch a ride in the ospreys. Or any additional Cadillac Escalades or other vehicles they required.

Another little item we have to account for is construction costs for each one of the president’s little idylls. Whenever the president travels, extensive renovations have to be performed for the length of his stay to deal with things like security, advanced communication networks and the like. And then these renovations have to be removed and the house returned to its original condition when he leaves. This can cost anywhere up to several hundred thousand dollars.

I’ve never had much good to say about President George W. Bush, but because he made a point of vacationing at his ranch in Crawford, the American taxpayer only had to do this once. We’ve already had to do it four times this year alone for President Obama.

Our final tab for President Obama and his family’s little taste of the sweet life? Probably around a million dollars, give or take a few greens fees or the odd less than four star meal. That comes out to about $125,000 per day…a lot more than the majority of families in America live on for a full year.

President Obama ‘gets’ the middle class, all right. Good and hard, and without any lubrication…

You be the judge…

Related Articles:

Obama admits to eating dog … fur finally flies

Bo Obama’s dog trainer dies at age 52 (Jan. 2011)

Bo the First Dog and His Trainer Arrive in Martha’s Vineyard…  -  Bo travelled on his own jet on the taxpayer’s nickel in 2011 as well. I’m as big of a pet advocate as anyone… but really? Guess we are off the green kick and global warming???

The mystery of Bo’s ‘Hawaii trip’ is solved: White House says he stayed in Washington and never went on holiday with First Family

President Bush and His Pets

Arrival of New First Pooch Imminent

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

Busts of presidential pets Barney and Miss Beazley at George W. Bush Library

Presidential Pet Museum.com

August 15, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Jeb Bush says brother taken to painting dogs ‘with a vengeance’

Former President George W. Bush has always been a dog lover.  Seems now he has become a dog painter:

georgewbarney

The Hill

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Friday that his brother, former President George W. Bush, has taken to painting "with a vengeance" as he enjoys retirement.

"He’s actually become a pretty good painter," Bush said during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. "I’ll just admit that this was a surprise to me when I found this out about a year ago. And he’s doing it with a vengeance."

Earlier this week, six new paintings by the former president were revealed on the gossip site Gawker. They were obtained by the hacker Guccifer, who in February also published two self-portraits that the former president had emailed to friends and family.

Bush told Tapper, a former White House correspondent for ABC News, that he might be able to snag a portrait of his own.

"If you’ve got a dog, I’m sure based on your past relationship, he would like to paint it," Bush said.

In an interview last month with an Atlanta television station, Bush’s art teacher said he had painted at least 50 animals already.

Related:

Bush family gets hacked: George W. Bush’s (semi) nude self-portraits revealed

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

President Bush and His Pets

Pampered pets and pet survivors

Presidential Pet Museum.com

New First Pooch Is Arriving Soon

Obama admits to eating dog … fur finally flies

March 24, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pampered pets and pet survivors

US President George Bush's Barney and Mrs. Beazly 2007

U.S. President George W. Bush’s dogs Barney and Mrs. Beazley (front) roam the driveway on the South Lawn of the White House on March 26, 2007. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)

UPI.com Pet Parade  -  By AL SWANSON (2010):

In his memoirs, former President George W. Bush tells a story about going from the pampering of the White House to picking up his dog Barney’s poop days later.

Bush, 10 days after leaving office, was walking his Scottie when Barney relieved himself on a neighbor’s lawn.

"There I was," Bush wrote, "the former president of the United States, with a plastic bag on my hand, picking up that which I had been dodging for the past eight years."

Barney, of course, continues to be pampered.

Despite the lingering recession hangover, with slow economic and job growth, people are still willing to spend on their pets — those who can afford it, that is.

Americans are not the only ones who spoil pets. A check of the Yellow Pages in the area around Bundaberg in Queensland in northeast Australia, shows 60 businesses offering pet services compared to 24 offering services for men.

"For a lot of people who send their cats here, their cats are like children, so they will get pampered," Sharon Bradley, owner of Avoca Boarding Cattery told the Bundaberg News Mail.

The sight of celebrity-socialite Paris Hilton shopping with her latest pampered puppy stowed in a designer handbag may make some people retch. But for many the only difference is the amount of money she has to spend. Hilton, who was sentenced to a year’s probation after her arrest for cocaine possession in Las Vegas in September, reportedly has admitted to owning as many as 18 pets from dogs and rabbits to a parrot and a pig.

She seems to enjoy indulging Chihuahuas while other celebrities are into trendy designer breeds like puggles (half poodle-half beagle), poochons (poodle and bishon) and maltipoo (maltese and poodle).

Spafinder lists the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas as the place to pamper your dog. House-trained dogs are always welcome but in February the 19-acre resort will offer a special four-day retreat for dogs and their owners. Both humans and animals can get pampering from massages to "peticures" while owners also learn tips about pet care, petside.com said.

The fees from "Celebrating Paws" will go to the Animal Trustees of Austin, a non-profit devoted to providing low-cost animal healthcare.

As shelters fill up it’s one way — other than writing a check — for owners of pampered pets to help pets of those who are having trouble affording them.

Shelters are reaching capacity as people who have lost jobs or homes give up their cats and dogs, Pam Burney, vice president for community initiatives at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told USA Today.

In the pet-friendly city of Portland, Ore., pet owners can check their canines into the luxury of the Sniff Dog Hotel, a pet hotel that offers grooming, training and doggie daycare as well as posh accommodations starting at $37 per day, care2.com said. The property has a cafe serving wine, beer and food to dog owners watching Fido romp in an indoor park.

Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace and the Rio, all Harrah’s hotel-casino properties in Las Vegas, accept dogs weighing less than 50 pounds, up to two per room under their "PetStay" program, the Los Angeles Times reports. An extra fee of $20 to $25 per night covers amenities including dog food, water bowls and doggie treats. Dogs must be crated when left alone in the room. Sorry, no cats are allowed.

And there’s always a luxury staycation.

"A back yard is no place for a dog. It’s not their natural environment," Robert Holmes, an Australian animal behavior expert, told the Brisbane Herald Sun. "They should be in bed with their owners. That’s where the pack lies and they should all pile in together."

My two very energetic terriers are a little too gamey for that sort of togetherness and we don’t plan to have them groomed until Thanksgiving.

Barkley seems to prefer sleeping on the floor in our bedroom to his expensive dog bed, anyway.

Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte, says many consumers appear ready to spend again with sales of both organic pet food and bargain pet food rising.

"People are cutting back on themselves more than they’re cutting back on pets." Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association told USA Today.

If you think pampering a pet is crazy, consider this: a poll conducted by Unbiased.co.uk found nearly 1.5 million people plan to leave their assets to their pets in their wills, while only 1 million said their money would go to a church when they die.

*President Gerald Ford was a humble man. One of the best quotes I have ever heard is:  “No one should ever have to clean up after someone else’s pet and every man should be willing  to clean up after his own pet/best friend!”

Related:

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

New First Pooch Is Arriving Soon

President Bush and His Pets

February 19, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, pet products, Pets, responsible pet ownership, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Obama Campaign Unleashes Pet Products: “I Meow For Michelle”…

Some of the stuff the Barack Obama campaign is selling to raise money for the re-election effort is pretty unusual. Donations must be a lot lower than they want to admit!!

 

They would like you to get your pets involved with the campaign by offering doggie sweaters (perhaps with a photo of Obama eating dog meat?) and “I Meow for Michelle” cat collars. 

 

Reportedly the same one she uses for Barack.

 

 

Via CNS News:

Keep reading…

HT: DRUDGE

Sometimes you just have to wonder!

May 24, 2012 Posted by | animals, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, pet products, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush and Barney, Just Like Old Times

Bush and Barney

You may have already read Bill Minutaglio’s piece about George Bush’s post-presidential life in this week’s dead tree issue of Newsweek, but you won’t see this quote in it: “And there I was, former president of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand.” That’s what the former President told some graduating high school seniors in New Mexico Thursday, referring to some quality time he’s been spending with former first dog Barney. “Life is returning back to normal,” he added. He also told the graduates that he’d been relieved of the great sense of responsibility he’d had when in office. “And frankly, it’s a liberating feeling,” he said.

By: Katie Connolly

Source:  The Gaggle

Posted:  Just One More Pet  

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May 23, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Arrival of New First Pooch Imminent

Obama family dog

A portuguese water dog Photo: GETTY

 

TMZ  reported yesterday that the appearance of the new White House dog is on schedule and that the suspense is finally over.  It has been confirmed that the first pooch will be a Portuguese Water Dog and will be presented by Senator Ted Kennedy who has two himself and had recommended the breed to the Obama’s.

The word on the arrival date is ‘imminent’ rather than “soon… so soon” but nothing definite as Michelle told reporters last week, or “Oh, man, now, that’s top secret,” as the President said to laughter last week. “That’s top secret.”  

 

TMZ reported that the chosen pooch comes from a prominent Texas kennel with the help of Senator Ted Kennedy’s family and that Michele and Barack intend to introduce their girls to their new dog to be  named Bo, on Tuesday. 

“The black dog,  a male,  is approximately six months old,” it reports. “We’ve learned it was bred at the kennel and sold to someone who gave it back. The kennel is now “re-homing” the dog to the Obamas.”  

The dog was named Charlie, but the Obamas will rename it, Bo.  The girls chose that name for their grandfather, Michelle’s dad.  His nickname was Diddly, as in Bo Diddly.

“Now here’s where the Kennedys come into play. The kennel has sold the Kennedys three Portuguese Water Dogs in the past, all from the same lineage.

The dog the Obamas will be getting is from the same lineage as the Kennedy dogs. The Kennedy family will be presenting the new dog to the Obamas, but it’s really coming from the kennel.”

The reason this all sounds a bit odd or technical is that there are issues regarding gifts to the President. The fact that the pup is being re-homed makes it all ‘kosher’.

 

 

Senator Dick Durbin, Mr Obama’s fellow Illinois politician, said the dog had been going through training while the president and the first lady were on their recent travels in Europe.  And, according to another report, the dog has already been to the White House for a “familiarisation” visit.

white-house-dog-2Reported Actual Foto of Obama Dog from FirstDogCharlie.com

By:  Marion Algier/Ask MarionJust One More Pet

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New First Pooch Is Arriving Soon

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April 12, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Just One More Pet, Pets, Success Stories, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

New First Pooch Is Arriving Soon

harding-and-laddie-boy_0818

Warren Harding with Laddie Boy Library Of Congress / Getty ENLARGE + Print EmailShare ReprintsRelated

During the dog days of last summer, perhaps the most important looming decision facing Barack Obama was choosing a dog for his girls.  Way back, as he set out on this quest for the Presidency, he made the one campaign promise he absolutely could not break: that when it was all over, whatever the outcome, his daughters could get a dog.  And if they ended up at Pennsylvannia Avenue the pup would certainly not be the first dog or pet in the White House so would have a long legacy of presidential pets to follow and live up to.

Things have changed since the days when George Washington could name his hounds Drunkard, Tipler and Tipsy. Warren Harding’s Airedale Laddie Boy had a valet and occupied a hand-carved chair at Cabinet meetings. Ulysses S. Grant told his White House staff that if anything happened to his son’s beloved Newfoundland, they’d all be fired. Teddy Roosevelt had, along with a badger, a toad, some snakes and a pig, a bull terrier named Pete who once ripped the pants of a French ambassador. Cousin Franklin’s dog Fala had a press secretary, starred in a movie and was named an honorary private in the Army. George H.W. Bush’s springer spaniel Millie wrote a book, which sold more copies than the President’s autobiography. And then, of course, there was Checkers. Harry Truman supposedly once said, You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog. ( By Nancy Gibbs/TIME)

It’s hard enough to pick the right dog.  But adding the fact that you may be the First Family and need a hypoallergenic breed increases the difficulty of the process.  So the American Kennel Club (AKC), hoping to help ensure the 23rd purebred dog into the White House, conducted a survey. The public could even vote online for the type of dog they thought the Obamas should get for the AKC survey, and other groups sponsored similar surveys. Since first daughter Malia has allergies, the AKC limited the ballot choice to five hypoallergenic breeds. It suggested the bichon frise with its history as a companion to French noblemen implying qualification of the breed for the White House. But perhaps it was not the exact image the Obamas were looking for. It recommended the miniature schnauzer as an excellent watchdog, for a little added security (although probably not needed), and the soft-coated wheaten terrior with its sweet-temperament as a positive goodwill ambassador, though it “must be handled firmly and with consistency,” which also may not have been the ideal characteristic choice for the candidate of Change.

The AKC’s preference for purebreds, however, missed the obvious stellar opportunity for the Obamapup. Surely a self-proclaimed postpartisan reformer, who promised to ‘reach across the aisle’,  would lean toward some stunningly blended mutt, a rescued shelter dog or at least one of the American Canine Hybrid Club’s 500 plus registered hybrids. Afterall, the hybrid pooch or designer dog was bred to give you the best of both breeds: a Labradoodle, a Peke-a-Poo, a Bagle (half basset, half beagle) or a Chiweenie (half chihuahua, half dachshund). A bully pulpit seeking candidate might like the Bullypit (a bulldog-pit-bull mix), or he could go for a Sharmatian–part Chinese Shar-Pei, part Dalmatian–and get the whole East-and-West, black-and-white thing going in one single pooch.

There was even a suggestion during the campaign, that their decision for a type of dog, if not actually getting one before the election,  should be moved up, given the competition from the ‘McCainines’. An AP–Yahoo News poll last June (2008) found that pet owners favored John McCain over Obama, 42% to 37%, with an even bigger margin among dog owners. One participant explained that it “tells you that they’re responsible at least for something, for the care of something.” Or, in the McCains’ case, “many somethings”:  their menagerie includes a slew of fish, some parakeets, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the cat and four dogs, including terriers Lucy and Desi. Obama could take comfort in his 14-point lead among non–pet owners, except that they form a definate minority of U.S. households.

The Obamas were pre-warned, that although a good one, they were definitely looking at another major life change by getting a dog for the first time. “A dog was never an option in the apartment where I grew up”, said Obama, “and my daughters knew that training the dog they so desperately wanted was nothing compared with training me to accept one”.

portuguese_water_dogWell it is now two and a half months into the presidency and still no first dog, and it seems like the whole world, at least the pet loving world, is waiting for their choice and the arrival of the first pooch.  The word from First Lady Michelle is April, after their Spring Break family vacation, and possibly a Portuguese Water Dog…  and not a puppy (which could mean that in the end the AKC got their next purebred into the White House afterall).  Senator Ted Kennedy, whose neice Caroline got a pony while in the White House, highly recommended the breed.  He has two.  Their coat is a single layer and does not shed. In most cases, these dogs are hypo- allergenic, making them a good choice for those that have allergies.

So, there will be a new pooch frolicking on the South Lawn by the end of this month.

The next obvious question for speculation, of course, is the perfect name for the next first dog. Some suggest the Obamas should just get two, one for each of the girls, and call them Hope and Change.  Of course there are others that suggest getting two dogs but calling them Smoke and Mirror or Fear and “Quo”, for Status Quo, would be the best call, but that would be a subject for another type of blog or article.

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By Marion Algier/Ask Marion – Posted – Just One More Pet

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

President Bush and His Pets


Spotty

     In my book, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they relate to animals and how they treat their pets.  Much good and bad has been said and written about former President George W. Bush but what you can definitely say is that he loves animals and has a good heart.  The Bushes had four pets with them during their years in the White House:  Spot Fetcher (Spotty), Barney, Miss Beazley and India (also known as Willie or Kitty). 

     In February 2004 the Bush family lost their 15-year-old English Springer, Spotty. Spotty was the daughter of Millie Bush, the well-known dog of President Bush’s parents, who was born in the White House during George H.W. Bush’s term on March 17, 1989.  Spot was named for former Texas Ranger baseball player Scotty Fletcher.

     Spot was always eager to please and was never far from the President’s side to the very end, but after suffering a series of strokes the President and his wife, Laura, went along with the veterinarian’s recommendation to put Spotty to sleep.  The evening before she was put down, a White House staffer saw the president sitting on the floor cradling Spotty in his arms and talking to her; a touching moment that tells a lot.

     The friendly brown-and-white spaniel was regularly seen wandering around the West Wing and the South Lawn alongside the other more energetic and younger Bush dog, Barney, a black 3-year-old Scottish terrier.  The two dogs were always brought out to greet the president upon his return to the White House from trips, no matter the hour. They also often traveled with the Bushes to Texas or Camp David. Spot was always the more obedient of the two, loyally climbing onto Air Force One or a helicopter without any prompting while Bush often had to chase Barney down and then hand him off to an aide to be carried aboard.

     Mrs. Bush has often said, – especially with the two Bush daughters off at college – “Talking about and playing with the dogs and the family’s much more withdrawn cat, Willie, makes up a significant portion of our entertainment.  Spotty will be missed.”

     After Spot went to doggie Heaven, the Bush’s acquired Miss Beazley, another Scotty, as a companion for Barney.  Both were featured on the Barney cam and had their own web page while the Bushes were in the White House and have now returned to Texas with the family.  Sadly India the family’s 18-year-old American short-haired cat passed away in January, just days before Bush left the office of the presidency.  India had been named for former Texas Rangers player Ruben Sierra.  Bush daughter Barbara, then 9, named the cat “India” after the former major league player, whose nickname was “El Indio.” President George W. Bush was a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers.

 

Harry Truman said, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” Plenty of presidents did, and other pets besides.
  

      Much can be learned about a person by the way they relate to animals and how they treat their pets. But, perhaps even more can be learned about them by the way they love their pets at the end.  The Bush White House pets no doubt helped the President through some of his toughest times and from all evidence the love and concern went both ways.

By:  Marion Algier/Ask Marion for Just One More Pet 

 

 

Barney and Miss Beazley follow President George W. Bush along the West Wing Colonnade Wednesday, July 23, 2008, on the way back to the Oval Office at the White House. White House photo by Joyce Boghosian  
Barney and Miss Beazley follow President George W. Bush along the West Wing Colonnade Wednesday, July 23, 2008, on the way back to the Oval Office at the White House. White House photo by Joyce Boghosian

barbara-bush-india-and-jenna-bush-hager1The Bush Girls With India
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March 9, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pet Events, Pet Friendship and Love, pet fun, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments