Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

The story behind the new White House puppy

How cute is he?

How cute is he?

As we posted yesterday, the new White House puppy definitely seems to be on the White House premises. He’s scheduled to make his first public appearance on Tuesday of this week but there’s some speculation that he may show up at today’s White House Easter Egg Hunt, just in case you want to have your TV on. Puppy – kids – Easter egg hunt? Oh, yeah! How cute would that be?

The Washington Post must have had a team of reporters working on this top secret story — Mrs. Obama promised them an exclusive. But they were scooped this weekend by a couple of Internet web sites: and TMZ. It happens. Even had a great interview on their web site last night with Charlie/Bo’s breeder.

The Washington Post still managed to provide some great stories about the new puppy. They have an article today about how Bo (as he will be called) ended up with the Obamas. It was a story with a few twists and turns.

Photo released by the White House.

Photo released by the White House.

Bo was born in October, along with nine littermates. His breeder was already a big Obama supporter and gave the litter a “Hope and Change” theme. Consequently, all of the puppies had registered names that had something to do with Hope or Change. Bo’s registered name is Amigo’s New Hope — perfect for President Obama’s dog, don’t you think? Senator Ted Kennedy, who also got a puppy from this litter, has a puppy with the registered name Amigo’s Change to Believe In.

When he was old enough Bo was sold to a woman in Washington DC who had just lost her old Portuguese Water Dog. But she still had another old Portie. She thought that the puppy, whom she named Charlie, would be good company for the old girl. Unfortunately, Charlie proved a little too much. For one thing, he tried to nurse on the other dog, which some puppies will do. The other dog was not happy about this situation. And, sometimes bringing a puppy into a home with an old dog, especially if they may be grieving, can be a problem. So the owner decided she couldn’t keep Charlie.

That was in March. It was at this point that the Kennedy family learned of Charlie’s situation from his breeder. They put two and two together — realized that Charlie needed a new home and that their good friends the Obama family were looking for a Portuguese Water Dog puppy, and, well, having the Obamas meet Charlie seemed like a great idea.

Bo meeting his new family.

Bo meeting his new family.

When Charlie met the Obama family he seemed to win them over. Charlie has been learning a few more manners since then from the dog trainers that Senator Kennedy uses for his dogs. Senator Kennedy seems to have given the puppy (now named Bo) to the girls this weekend.

As you can see from the pictures Bo is perfectly adorable. He’s about six months old now and everyone should be happy with the way things turned out.

Of course, not everyone is happy. The Internet has been lit up with people complaining about the Obamas’ puppy choice. Many animal rights people are angry because the Obamas didn’t get a dog from an animal shelter and because Bo comes from a private, hobby breeder. In fact, he’s an AKC-registered purebred dog from champion breeding.

The fact is that if you are looking for a specific kind of dog you are usually better off going to a breeder. In this case, Malia Obama has dog allergies. The Obamas couldn’t just adopt any dog. Even some mixes and hybrid dogs which claim to be hypoallergenic aren’t always. For instance, the Labradoodle can have three kinds of coat — wavy, curly and straight like human hair. All of these hair types can show up in the same litter. To find a hypoallergenic Labradoodle the Obamas would have had to meet many dogs individually, something that the First Family may not have had time to do. Hybrid dogs are also not breeds in the true meaning of that word. They don’t “breed true.” You can breed two Labradoodles together and not get any puppies that look like the parents. All of these things make it hard to choose a Labradoodle or a mix from a shelter for a person who is allergic to dogs.

The fact that Malia is allergic to dogs also means that she probably can’t personally visit animal shelters or rescues. Those are the last places where a person with dog allergies should go.

There are good, practical reasons why it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for the Obamas to adopt a shelter dog in their situation. There’s also the simple matter of children (and adults) having the right and privilege of choosing a breed of dog that they like and being able to get it. No one should get a dog from a shelter or rescue simply out of guilt. Guilt is a terrible reason to get a dog or to do anything else.

An adult Portuguese Water Dog.

An adult Portuguese Water Dog. Courtesy American Kennel Club.

There are some people clamoring that President Obama should have set an example for the whole country by adopting a rescue dog. How about congratulating him and his family on setting an excellent example for all of us on how to go about carefully choosing a dog based on what’s right for your family? They waited until they were settled in their new home. They researched dogs and breeds paying special attention to their special circumstances (allergies). They met the dog before agreeing to get him. They made sure that the dog received appropriate training to help him settle into his new life. This choice was obviously important, especially to the girls, and they didn’t rush into it.

Lest anyone criticize any part of this process, this puppy comes from a responsible breeder who sold the dog to a responsible owner. When the home didn’t work out, the breeder was there to take the puppy back and find him a wonderful new home. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work. And, because this breeder has been successful and responsible for a long time, she has sold dogs repeatedly to Senator Kennedy who was instrumental in finding that new home for Charlie/Bo. Do you think that Senator Kennedy would keep going back to her for dogs if she didn’t breed good dogs and have an excellent reputation?

I really don’t see what people have to complain about with Bo being chosen by the Obama family. We wish him a long, happy, healthy life and we hope Malia, Sasha and the whole Obama family will be delighted with him.

Can’t wait to see him!

You can find out more about Portuguese Water Dogs on the AKC web site. Here’s some great video of these very active dogs (and some cute puppies).

April 13, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, General, Pets

1 Comment »

  1. […] that Bo was at least a re-homed pup, things didn’t work out at his first place of residence. Bo was born in October, along with nine littermates. His breeder was already a big Obama supporter and gave the litter a […]

    Pingback by Welcome To The White House Baby Bo » Dogster for the Love of Dog Blog | April 13, 2009 | Reply

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