Ever since there was a leak that the first dog was going to be from a breeder, people have not been able to stop talking about. Some people are happy about it, some are upset over it and yet others claim not to care yet they still take the time to comment about how little they care. I will say I am one of those that am disappointed by the news. I loved the “mutt like me” idea and was looking forward to the amount of exposure shelters and rescues would get if the Obama’s adopted a dog. I know that President Obama never outright promised that they were going to adopt a rescue dog but, let’s be honest, that was what we were being led to believe would happen. I fully understand that there was a need for a hypoallergenic dog. I know that this greatly reduced the number of options the family had. I have no problem with that. I will admit that I was rooting for the mutt route, i.e. the Labradoodle. I have never owned a purebred in my life but that certainly doesn’t mean that I have anything against them. I just thought it would be that much more poignant an example. Still, I would have been perfectly thrilled had they adopted a Portuguese Water Dog. I know finding one in a shelter would have been difficult but there are breed rescues. Some people claim that not getting one from a breeder would still put Malia Obama at risk since their background might be unknown but I think that’s just an excuse. You could easily get a DNA test on the dog for as low as $50 and the results would have come back well in time to have the dog arrive on Easter (they’ve been searching for months now). I realize that the dog was a gift and so the Obama family didn’t really have much say in the matter but I still feel that this was a huge missed opportunity for raising awareness of animal welfare in this country. That being said, I don’t understand why there is a such a huge fuss.
I’ve read innumerable articles on the subject at this point and most of them have sounded very grounded and reasonable. It seems to me that the people that comment on these articles are the ones with the biggest problems. Some of the comments are downright nasty and to be honest, it’s not the people disappointed that seems to be the most hot-headed. I’ve seen people personally attacking those who have voiced their displeasure and it makes me wonder just what kind of life those people lead if the best way they can find to spend their life is finding people to hate. And some of the things they say are just downright ridiculous. I can’t tell you the number of people that have said the whole situation is stupid because a dog is just a dog and we have so many other problems to worry about in this country. Well no kidding! No one in their right mind would think that the selection of the first dog is more important than the War in Iraq or the collapsing economy. There are plenty of issues that are personally important to me that haven’t been addressed either but I’m patient. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be disappointed with what happened in this case. Other comments have said that the “animal activists” are cruel because they’re saying that the dog should be ripped away from the girls who love him. I have a problem with this one for a few reasons. First not everyone who is disappointed is an activist. Second, calling someone an activist is always used in a derogatory manner which is stupid. Lastly, no one has ever suggested that they get rid of the dog! Not a single person. However, the children only met the dog after he had been chosen so it wasn’t like they just happened to fall in love with that particular dog. I also don’t like the suggestion that Bo is a rescue dog. He’s not. At all. He may be a second-chance dog because the first people that got him didn’t want him anymore but there is absolutely no way that dog would ever have ended up in a shelter. The breeder, who is actually very responsible from what I’ve seen, would have taken the dog back and found another home for him. It’s in the contract. That’s how all breeders should be and I commend this one for their policies. Still, this means that Bo was not rescued in any way. Now probably the dumbest and most irritating comment I came across was one praising President Obama for choosing a breeder dog because adopting one from a shelter would be “reinforcing all the irresponsible pet owners dumping their pets there”. This one just shocked me. Are people really that stupid? Shelters house countless strays and with this economy there are many people FORCED to surrender their beloved pets due to a lack of money or even the lack of a house. It is idiotic ideas such as that one that make some people leery of adopting from a shelter or rescue. My last comment on some of the excuses being thrown around is that while I’m glad that donations have been made to shelters that the Obama family were looking into that doesn’t really fix the problem. It’s a great gesture, don’t get me wrong, but it’s still not the message that so many people were hoping for the decision to send. This to me says that shelters are great but they’re just not good enough for us. If less people would think like that then there would surely be less animals sitting around in shelters.
That being said, I’m pretty sure that President Obama would never intentionally send such a message and that he truly does have concern for animal welfare. This decision fell short of my hopes but there are plenty of other causes that he can get behind that will help improve the lives of animals in this and other countries. And Bo is an incredibly cute dog and what really matters at this point is that he is cared for and happy. He still has a chance to be a role model of sorts for how pets should be cared for and that is something that is invaluable. So yes, many were disappointed, as they had every right to be, but I think it’s time that everyone start to move on and focus on other animal welfare causes that can still be supported to our satisfaction.