We're disappointed to report that, although the Obamas had publicly expressed their intention to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue group, they have instead accepted a Portuguese water dog as a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy.
Let us be clear: The new first dog, Bo, is not a rescue. While he was returned to the breeder by his first owners, that subtle point is missing from or buried in most news reports and is no doubt lost on the masses of people who will be lining up at pet shops and demanding "Obama puppies." These puppies will eventually lose their appeal, once people get tired of taking care of them, but because most pet shops and many breeders don't take "returns," guess where those unwanted "Obama puppies" are going to end up? At extremely crowded, overworked shelters like D.C.'s Washington Humane Society (WHS).
Speaking of which, the Obamas have promised to make a donation to WHS, which is great, but, as we told the President in a letter we sent today, WHS doesn't need his money as much as it needs his business (i.e., going in and adopting a shelter animal)—and the business of all the people who do what Obama did just because he did it.
The Obamas can't undo their missed opportunity to set a great example for Americans by adopting a shelter dog, but they can still set another important example: They can arrange for the first dog to become the last dog in his lineage by having him neutered. We've offered up our mobile clinic's services for the first "snip" and will let you know if the President takes us up on our offer.
By Alisa Mullins