Sunday, April 12, 2009

Choosing the 1st dog

The subject of the Obamas' first family pet--the 1st dog--has gotten more press in the last four months and more newsbyte mentions than I can count. 'When is that puppy coming?' is the walkaway question that seems to pop up at least once a week. On April 11, several outlets in hard copy and online scooped the Washington Post story planned for April 12: the Obamas' have chosen a male six-month-old Portugese water dog. Senator Edward Kennedy is gifting the puppy to Malia and Sasha Obama.
Break in the 1st Dog story

Advocates for responsible dog ownership should be doing a happy dance; the Obamas did just about everything right in their search for a 1st dog. They did all of the things we have been teaching people to do when choosing a pet:
-- they did their research
-- they took their time
-- they scheduled when the dog would come into their lives (avoiding trips, vacations, holidays, etc.)
-- they asked friends for recommendations
-- they went to experienced dog owners for advice about breeds and breeders

But I fear that like any other presidential decision, the decision about the 1st dog will be seized upon by humaniacs who claim to represent the best interests of dogs. They'll ask why the Obamas didn't adopt a shelter dog, and they'll question their choice of a purebred. Behind all of those questions is their real agenda--why did the Obamas choose a dog at all.

Why? Because they wanted a dog, that's why! And it's high time that we stopped acting as if animal rights activists have the right to dictate to anyone, including the first family, what, where and how they should choose a new pet!

The Obamas did the right thing for their family, and they've taken a researched and responsible approach to their new relationship with a pet. Responsible dog owners and advocates out there, we need to reinforce that kind of approach to dog ownership. The Obamas need our support in this decision. Let's not permit anyone, including self-proclaimed 'animal rights' activists, to get away with attempts to make the first family feel guilty about their decision and their well-informed choice of the dog they feel is right for them.

It's long past time to stop apologizing for owning purebred dogs. Dog ownership advocates, let's help the Obamas by supporting their choice. Let's put animal rights activists--who do little for the welfare of domesticated animals, and are primarily focused on their own anti-pet-owning agendas--on notice: owning purebred dogs is a choice of which the Obamas, and everyone else who owns a purebred dog, can be proud.

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