How To Pick The Perfect Rescue Pooch
This November saw the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. One of the first changes he will make, next to the appointment of a very important cabinet, is the appointment of a very important First Dog. Only moments into his victory speech, Obama announced that his daughters, Sasha and Malia, “have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the new White House.” Since November 2nd, the nation has been on the edge of their seats debating over what dog will best serve the White House. The next First Dog has become such a hot canine commodity that Animal Fair’s readers have overwhelmingly voted this still-unknown pet as our Most Eligible Pet of 2008!
Just like an ideal candidate must fit the nations needs, the ideal dog must fit the Obama family’s needs. His ten-year-old daughter, Malia, is allergic to dogs, so the Obamas must find a hypoallergenic breed. Obama has said that, ideally, the dog would be a shelter dog. He admits this may be difficult because, as he said, “A lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me.” However, there are plenty of shelter dogs that are hypoallergenic! For example, Lucky is a rescued Maltese, and she is hypoallergenic – and I know a lot about allergies, as I am allergic to dogs, cats, grass, pollen, hay…
It is especially important to help animals that are in dire need of assistance and aid, so Obama should definitely adopt from a shelter! There are two main reasons to rescue. First, adoption provides a dog with a loving home, and second, these actions will help promote the message of rescue and adoption. 5 million pets are euthanized every year. Obama, let’s make this year 4,999,999!
Shelters exist in every city from Chicago to Washington, DC, and even Wasilla, Alaska! I bet Governor Palin could help Obama pick one out! Since shelters are stuck with every single dog that is discriminated against, nearly any breed can be found in a shelter: a hypoallergenic dog, a purebred, or a mutt.
Two great shelters in the Washington, DC, area are the Washington Humane Society (www.washhumane.org) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (www.warl.org). Another option is to research high-kill shelters in the DC area and save a dog from there. The K-9 Lifesavers group (www.k9lifesavers.org) rescues dogs from high-kill shelters and makes them available for adoption. Any of these shelters would be fantastic places from which to adopt a dog.
Lucky and I did some research to help the Obamas choose the perfect pet. Here is our list of hypoallergenic Presidential Pup picks:
Maltese – A Maltese is the perfect pocket-sized social dog. I know this sounds biased because I’m a proud Maltese owner, but their lovable and playful disposition make them the life of the party. Just like Lucky socializes with all of Hollywood’s A-List stars, a Maltese in the White House would have to socialize with the top leaders of nation and will do it with class, elegance and grace (unless, of course, there’s steak involved, and then the dog might revert back to canine intuitions).
Bichon Frise – With their European background, a Bichon Frise in the White House could mean an immediate increase in foreign policy potential. A Bichon could help President Obama in meetings with European leaders with its personality as curious, playful, cute, talkative, and, above all, cultured. Maybe it could even work as an ambassador!
Shih Tzu – With the name literally meaning “lion dog,” Shih Tzus are the original Zen Men, hailing from Tibet, and coming from a long line of Buddhists. A Shih Tzu pet will help keep Obama relaxed and centered during his stressful role as President! A lion dog would also be a great match for President Obama since he is astrologically a Leo! In addition, the girls will have fun with a Shih Tzu’s hair, always being able to keep the dog primped and pampered, as any presidential pup should be.
Goldendoodle – A Goldendoodle is a rambunctious pick for the White House. Although not as small as the other picks, a Goldendoodle is a choice that combines the lovable and loyal qualities of a Golden Retriever with the beauty and grace of a Poodle (hence the name). Plus, its mixed heritage gives it a special tie to Obama’s background.
For other options for the Obamas, we asked some celebrities for their input. Joel McHale of E! Network’s The Soup thinks the President-elect should adopt “a full sized bull Mastiff or a Airedale. Just the biggest dog he can find. I just think it would be funny to have a 160 pound dog tearing through the oval office.” America’s Next Top Model judge and noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker responded with the grace of a proper English gentleman, saying Obama should adopt “whatever dog he wants, whatever one his children wants. You know, you see an animal and you bond with it.” ‘90s club-kid turned designer, Richie Rich, suggested Obama get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, admitting, “I have one and they’re the sweetest dogs in the world. They’re very royal and very regal. They’re easy to potty train, they love kids, they don’t bite they don’t bark… they’re lickers.”
Howard Stern urged the President-elect to get a dog that “adds a lot of dimension to your life.” Stern added, “There are so many sad stories, [my wife Beth Ostrosky] rescued a dog after hurricane Katrina. This dog, Abby, was in a shelter in New Orleans where all of the dogs died, but Abby survived in a cage in the water, paddling … that’s the kind of dog I’d like to see Barack adopt. I think it’d be a great example.”
While pondering what kind of dog the Obamas should adopt, Lucky and I couldn’t help wondering what kind of dog Obama himself would be. We asked people for their opinions on the issue. Howard Stern’s long-time producer Gary Dell’Abate told us that Obama is like “a Pug – short haired, expressive face and a dog with lot of nerve and a lot of pizzazz, a lot of gall.” Music sensation Mya, who has four animals of her own, including her newly adopted kitten, Mellow, sees Obama as “a German Shepherd. They love to protect. His initiative is to protect our country, and they’re so loyal and so warm.” Oscar winning actress Marcia Gay Harden said that Obama wasn’t even comparable to a dog, since he’s “a hero… I can’t even think about him in any other terms than the eloquent and beautiful person that he is.”
With so many suggestions, we can’t wait to see what kind of dog Obama will end up rescuing! Lucky can’t wait to sniff around the new dog in the White House.
As for names for the dog, I suggest the family name the dog Lucky. I call my main squeeze Lucky because I adopted her from the shelter system and showed her an entirely new life. Picture how different the life of a shelter dog turned Presidential Pup would be – Lucky indeed!