Greyt Inspirations Life

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

Why you shouldn’t get a PWD

I literally can’t help myself. Just one more Obama puppy video and then I promise I’ll stop for a while.


In related news, maybe we should talk about the reasons why a Portuguese Water Dog isn’t for everyone? As you can see for yourself, these are medium to large dogs and they are very active. They’re also very smart and bold. Sure, they like to cuddle as much as the next dog, but they’re also up for sports and adventure. If you can’t provide those things for them they may get bored — and bored dogs can get into trouble no matter the breed or mix.

The AKC and the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America have been very up front with the media about the temperament and activity levels of “Porties.”

“This breed possesses a lot of energy, so without training or a job to do, the dog may entertain itself by running full-speed down the West Wing or barking at Republicans,” said Mary Burch, Ph.D, AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy and CGC Director. “That type of behavior may not make the best impression on visiting dignitaries, so we recommend that the Obama’s enroll Bo in an obedience class such as the new AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program.”

AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy stands for what every puppy needs – Socialization, Training, Activity and a Responsible Owner. Dogs up to one year of age are eligible to enroll in a six-week puppy or basic training class that is instructed by an AKC approved CGC Evaluator. Classes include valuable training tips for puppy owners such as housetraining and lessons on practical skills for puppies such as coming when called. The program is a pre-cursor to the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, which teaches and rewards dogs with good manners at home and in the community.

As a purebred, the Portuguese Water Dog has a predictable temperament, activity level and coat type, which is ideal for allergy sufferers like Malia. They are loyal and loving companions, cherished by many Americans throughout the country. However, the breed was developed to be a working animal and requires daily vigorous exercise. Historically, the breed spent most of its day swimming, assisting its fisherman owner by retrieving broken nets, diving for fish and delivering messages between ships.
Although currently only the 64th most popular breed in the United States according to 2008 AKC registration statistics, the Portuguese Water Dog’s popularity is likely to rise due to its appointment as First Pup. Therefore, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the AKC Parent club which monitors the health and well-being of the breed in U.S., has issued a press release of their own to urge the public to be cautious before jumping on any trend that involves a living animal.
“PWDs are classified as working dogs. That means they enjoy being given jobs to do where they can display their intelligence, strength and stamina,” said Stu Freeman, President of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America. “Like all dogs, they need positive training and socialization.”

According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, this is the most publicity the breed has ever received since they were introduced into the United States in the 1960s.

“While the PWD is a wonderful family pet, we want to use the increased interest in the breed as an opportunity to educate people about it,” said Freeman.

“We encourage those who may consider adding a Portuguese Water Dog to their lives to do the proper research to ensure that this breed fits their lifestyle.”

Jean Hassebroek, Corresponding Secretary of the PWDCA said, “The best thing about the breed is its versatility – PWDs have been full-time sheep herders, R.E.A.D. therapy dogs and we even had a FEMA 1 hero. But, they can also be champion couch potatoes, content to just hang out.”

Because PWDs will form a strong bond with their families — even a “First Family”– they don’t do well when left alone for long periods of time or when boarded in kennels. PWDs enjoy participating in activities with their family such as youth soccer, baseball and basketball games, picnics, hiking or any other outing, especially those near water. They do well in homes with children, but it’s possible a PWD could mistake a small child for a littermate and play too hard. In general, small children should never be left unsupervised with a dog of any breed.

The PWDCA is comprised of 1,500 members devoted to the well-being of the breed. Its members are available to discuss:
. The history and traits of PWDs
. How to responsibly acquire a PWD
. Health issues in the breed
. Grooming requirements of PWDs

For more information on Portuguese Water Dogs and to obtain a copy of the PWDCA Puppy Information Pack visit or visit

(Each of the 161 breeds registered by the AKC is represented by a Parent Club, which oversees the breed standard and seeks to protect the welfare of the breed. )

If you think you may be interested in a Portuguese Water Dog then, by all means, investigate the breed. But don’t get a dog because someone else has it. Make sure any dog is a good fit for your lifestyle. The AKC recognizes over 160 distinct breeds. There are over 400 breeds worldwide. And there are many great mixes available at animal shelters. All of this means that you should take your time to find just the right dog for you and your own situation. Consider things like the size of the dog when grown, his energy level, his historical background — if he’s a terrier he may not leave your garden alone, for example; if he’s a sighthound he may see other small pets, even cats, like prey animals. Consider potential health problems in the breed or the health of the parents. Is it important that the breed is good with children? Do you need a dog that gets along well with other dogs or with other pets, like cats or other dogs?

By considering temperament, size and tendencies before you get a dog you have a much better chance of choosing the best dog for you — a best friend who will live out many long, happy years together with you. Don’t just follow a popular trend. You wouldn’t do that with other important decisions so don’t do it when choosing a pet.

April 15, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bad week for famous people and their dogs


Lots of pet news over the weekend!  Some of it sad.  Did you see that Oprah has lost one or two new puppies that she recently adopted from a very upscale shelter in the Chicago area?  The puppies came down with parvo.



Oprah and Sadie

Oprah and Sadie

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey has brought attention to the issue of canine Parvovirus – an illness that every Boston area dog owner should take measures to prevent. 


Oprah recently lost her Cocker Spaniel puppy Ivan to Parvo. Oprah’s second puppy Sadie, Ivan’s littermate, has also been diagnosed with Parvo and the dog continues to fight for her life.


It’s believed that the two Cocker Spaniel puppies caught Parvo while staying at the PAWS animal shelter in Chicago. Animal shelters, kennels, doggy daycares and other locations where multiple dogs congregate create the perfect setting for the spread of Parvo. (more)


Parvo is a deadly disease to any dog but young puppies are especially susceptible to it.  Proper vaccine procedures protect most dogs and puppies from catching the disease but immunization of pups can be dicey.  Puppies retain immunity from their mothers for several weeks after they’re born.  You must begin vaccinating puppies before that immunity wears off or the puppies may be vulnerable to viruses and diseases like parvo.  Puppies and dogs coming from an animal shelter environment are often times at much higher risk for these disease because there are so many dogs in one place, with dogs passing through who may carry the diseases.


We send our sympathies to Oprah on the loss of Ivan and we send prayers for little Sadie.



Ghenghis Khan

Ghenghis Khan

Another famous person lost a dog last week when a propane tank exploded at a boarding kennel.



A Chow Chow puppy belonging to Martha Stewart was one of 17 dogs to die of injuries sustained in a freak propane explosion at a Pennsylvania kennel.


The blast occurred Friday at the Pazzazz Pet Boarding kennel in the Pocono Mountains.


Fifteen dogs were killed in the explosion – including Stewart’s puppy Ghengis Khan – and two more died over the weekend, according a post on her blog…


The fire blast was ignited when the tank of a propane truck delivering a supply to the kennel suddenly went up in flames. (more)


Ghenghis Khan was the grandson of Stewart’s beloved dog, Paw Paw, whom she lost in December at the age of 12.


We send our condolences to Ms. Stewart as well.


In other news, there’s an excellent story in the L.A. Times about why the Obamas may be having a hard time finding a Portuguese Water Dog to rescue.  (Don’t you wish they would just hurry up and get a dog?) 


The Obama family dog saga

Why has it taken so long? Because the type of dog they want doesn’t often turn up at the local shelter.

By Judith Lewis 

March 15, 2009

In the first two months of his administration, President Obama signed an economic stimulus package into law, lifted restrictions on foreign family-planning clinics and drew up a plan for pulling troops out of Iraq. 


But he has left one early promise unfulfilled: He has not yet acquired a family dog.


Late last month, the Obamas seemed closer to their goal when Michelle Obama told People magazine that, after studying which breeds were least likely to trigger daughter Malia’s allergies, the family had settled on a Portuguese water dog. But the statement was almost immediately modified: The first lady had spoken too soon. The quest for a White House canine continues. 


So what’s the problem? Why has a task as simple as getting a dog eluded the Obamas for so long? Perhaps the answer can be divined in Michelle Obama’s interview: She said she wanted not just any Portuguese water dog but a rescued one. An adult with a good temperament. Perhaps even house-trained.


Lewis goes on to explain that Portuguese Water Dogs are a rather rare breed.  That they almost never end up in shelters.  That they are not being bred by commercial breeders.  They when something doesn’t work out in a dog’s home after he’s been purchased from the breeder, the breeder takes the dog back and re-homes the dog herself.  And that there are breed rescue groups who take care of any other Porties who need help.  So, finding a random Portuguese Water Dog to rescue isn’t going to be easy.


But, she also says that the Obamas might be sending the wrong message by putting the emphasis on rescuing a dog:


Symbolically, it would be nice if the Obamas could rescue a dog. But to insist that the only good dog is a rescued dog is to relegate our future with the canine species to random relationships in which humans are forced to settle for whatever renegade breeders produce and fail to care for.


The idea of “renegade breeders” kind of surprises me.  Far less than 25 percent of the dogs found in shelters are purebred dogs.  The rest are mixed breed dogs — dogs who have been strays, who have bred on their own and produced mixed breed puppies, or the result of “oops” litters in somebody’s home.  Maybe Fluffy got together with Butch next door when their owners weren’t watching and nine weeks later there were some mixed breed puppies.  None of these things happened because of “renegade breeders” and yet these dogs are found in shelters.  Lab mixes — since Labradors are the most popular dog in the United States — and the bully breed mixes (the so-called “Pit Bulls”) make up the majority of dogs in shelters, and these aren’t coming from “renegade breeders” either.


It’s very popular right now to blame dog breeders for every problem in society.  The truth is that if we had more responsible pet owners we would have fewer dogs in shelters.  Breeders can’t control what you do with your dog after you take him home.  They can’t make you keep your dog in a fenced yard or have him neutered.  They can’t make you take your dog to get his shots and prevent disease and illness.  They can’t make you feed your dog a good dog food.  Yet anytime something happens to a dog, from producing an unwanted litter to developing a dog food allergy, someone wants to blame the original breeder.  It’s time for it to stop and for owners to be responsible for their own dogs.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obamas close to choosing family dog

They’re getting close!  Both kinds of dogs are known for being good for people with allergies.



Portuguese Water Dog.  Wikipedia

Portuguese Water Dog. Wikipedia

From The New York Times News Service:

The Obama family is nearing a decision on the breed for the First Dog. Before President-elect Barack Obama began his interview on the ABC program This Week, which was broadcast Sunday, his daughters — Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 — asked host George Stephanopoulos to slip in this question: “What kind of a dog are we getting, and when are we getting it?”


Labradoodle.  Wikipedia

Labradoodle. Wikipedia

When asked, Obama laughed and said, “They seem to have narrowed it down to a Labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound,” he said, adding that the next step is to canvass shelters. “We’re closing in on it,” he said. “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary,” a reference to the recent withdrawal by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as his original selection for that post. 

Both breeds, chosen to reduce Malia’s allergy to dogs, have powerful Democratic backers. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts owns two Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash, which frequently flank him as he walks through the halls of the Capitol. Vice President-elect Joe Biden meanwhile, has a Labradoodle (part Labrador retriever, part poodle) named Brother.


January 12, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment