First Fido & Pet Peeves

I love this photo--just a boy and his dog. Err, make that the President and the First Fido!

Well, it’s about time!  I mean, since President Obama’s November victory speech, we’ve been speculating on what kind of dog the Obama family would get.  While I still think a shih tzu would have made a perfect pet for the first family (and smoothed over our relations with China), it came down to a Labradoodle and a Portuguese water dog.  In the end, the Portie won and since Edward Kennedy just so happened to have a few of his own; he gave the Obamas a hook-up.  Not only that, the puppy was trained by Kennedy’s personal canine trainers in Virginia.  And today Bo Obama made his world debut (except a few photos slipped out early last week.  But shhh!  No one told Bo).

Nothing like a romp on the White House lawn with your very best friend.

Of course, animal rescue groups are criticizing the Obamas for not choosing a shelter dog.  However, the Obamas contend that due to elder daughter Malia’s allergies, a Portie was necessary and Porties are rarely, if ever, found in shelters.  I suppose the Obamas could have hunted down a Labradoodle to “re-home,” but really, doesn’t the first family have a right to get whatever dog they want from wherever they want?  Plus, Sen. Kennedy gave the Obama girls up with a pedigree already house-broken puppy for FREE!  Yep, I’d go for the Portie, too.

As the owner of a pedigree canine, I find it amazing how much guff people give me.  I’m often asked why I didn’t adopt from a shelter.  Uh, because they didn’t have any shih tzus.  OK, actually there were two shih tzus at the humane society–two 12 year-old brothers that had to be adopted as a pair.  I wanted a single female puppy.  There were quite a few ultra-hyper Jack Russells, which were probably at the shelter for being ultra-hyper (a characteristic of this highly intelligent breed).   Just because a dog is looking at me with its sad eyes behind a chain link gate doesn’t mean I am required to take it home!  I am not the one who abandoned my dog at the shelter;  the former owner is.

So why am I villified for buying a shih tzu from a in-home breeder?  Maddy is a darling little dog who came from a very loving family that breeds shih tzus as a hobby.  There are so many dogs out there that need homes, I’ve been told, I should really head to the shelter or a rescue group first.  Who says I didn’t?  In the end, I picked the puppy that appealed to me.  Honestly, I prayed for her.  That probably sounds cheesy, yet it’s the truth.  Madalyne is the puppy I prayed for and I really do believe that she is a gift from God.

Still,  I’m angry that some people seem to care about the welfare of animals more than the well-being of people.  Sometimes I want to say, “There are so many kids out that that need homes; you should really try to adopt first.”  But, no, when it comes to kids who are infinitely more important than dogs, adoption is a last resort.  Interesting how that works, isn’t it? I don’t say this to undermine anyone.  I merely want to scream for the kids in foster care throughout the United States who are looking for adoptive homes.  Parents, if your child is yours by birth or adoption or foster care, I am proud of you for loving on that kid!  My point is not to insult parents but to question why we hold homeless dogs in higher esteem than abandoned children?

Suffice to say, if you can rescue a dog (or a child), good for you!  If  you decide to bring a pedigree in your home, good for you!  However, if you go the designer dog route, then be aware that you’re paying a ton of cash for a mutt.  But wherever you get your new pet (probably not from Edward Kennedy), be sure to give it a loving FOREVER home.

And take my advice, get a shih tzu.  Unless you’re the President of the United States, then get a Portie because it looks more manly than a shih tzu.  We don’t want our Commander-in-Chief to have a wussy toy breed!

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