Wednesday, November 26, 2008



So our President-Elect doesn't want a "girly-dog" like Barbara Walters' terrier. He wants something more 'rambunctious.'

I'm not in a position to help him select his cabinet, but I do know a bit about rambunctious dogs. I'm not certain that Chicago folks have had the same opportunities as their more rural cousins to experience the wonder of rambunctiousness.

When I think of a puppy in the White House, I of course think of pee on the floor. The old newspaper training method seems particularly well suited to someone who is on the receiving end of constant media scrutiny. "Right over here, Fido--on the Washington Times, page 5." It's a pity that Fox News can't be included, but blowing out fuses could get pretty old and pretty expensive in short order.

Back to the puppy itself. Since Obama isn't drawn to foo-foo dogs, and I'm sure that he wants someone who'll be great with children, I'm recommending three magnificently lovable, yet frisky breeds.

Let's start with America's most popular breed, the Labrador retriever. Cuddly sweet, great with kids, labs come in three delicious flavors-- er colors, chocolate, yellow, and black. I know that we have already had a First Dog who was a lab, Bill Clinton's Buddy, who was hit by a car after he left the White House. Labs have an actual skill--they retrieve divinely, and can get their ya-yas out chasing tennis balls. (Note: don't bother with all those yuppie toys; they'll never measure up to the joy that a tennis ball can bring. I pissed away about a hundred bucks on variations on the tennis ball, only to watch them wash out to the Atlantic via the system of dams on the Connecticut River. Make that the system of damns. I didn't learn quickly, but in this time of budgetary crisis, Mr. President-Elect, save your money and go with a big bag of tennis balls.) Labs are food-driven dogs, and if not supervised to have a desire to eat their own shit, which of course will make them right at home in DC. They are eager to please and highly trainable. Just about anything else can be negotiated with a cookie. The coprophagia aside (there's a nice word for everything, isn't there?) the lab's biggest drawback in a historical mansion like the White House is his generosity with his coat. He does shed. That can be a drag.

There are a couple of choices in the no-shed zone, still reliably rambunctious. Take, for instance, the Portuguese water dog. My lab used to enjoy romping with a couple of them. As their name suggests, they're great swimmers and lovely, bouncy boys. They're good-sized, bright, and sweet. They're the natural choice for those who might otherwise be inclined to that mix rip-off, the labradoodle, the lab-poodle mix for which breeders are charging way too much. The latter are bred for the sweetness of the lab and the smarts of the poodle, but really, if you're going to go to all that trouble you might as well get a nice Portuguese water dog.

Last, consider the golden retriever. Okay, okay--they will need more brushing than the lab, but a golden bounding across the White House lawn will do much to revive the flagging spirits of Americans everywhere. They are especially attractive as they bound, and they seem more content with regular foodstuffs, less driven to ... er... alternatives than labs. Goldens are very sweet dogs, inclined to lean on their masters, a habit that can be very reassuring in times of trouble. I have close friends with three rescued goldens, each of which is sweeter than the one before.

The thing about rambunctious dogs is their absolute need for exercise. Someone, Sasha and Melia spring immediately to mind, should be consecrated to the administration of the physical fitness program. I have a neighbor who thinks that staking a puppy in the middle of the yard is acceptable exercise. He's been through three dogs, unhappy that they "tear up the house" because of his neglect. Sasha and Melia, hear me: feeding the dog is just the beginning of the responsibility part. If there isn't time in anybody's schedule for exercising puppy and the dog s/he eventually becomes, a girly-dog* is actually a better choice.

So, Mr. President-Elect, it's a darn shame you don't read this repository of wisdom, canine and otherwise. I actually just wish I could stick my neighbor's nose in what I have written here. But if you need a Canine Advisor on the White House staff, give me a call. Maddie and I would be willing to serve our country in any way we can.

*Has Obama been sneaking around with Arnold?

The Obamas said of all the input people have given to his administration, the dog topic has gotten the MOST input.
Yes, Americans are big pet companion people.
I can understand Obama not wanting a fru fru lap dog, perhaps too close a reminder of the past administration.
They say people choose pets that look like them, and Obama needs something noble-- I picture him to be more like a German Shepherd kind of guy, but they are NOT hypo allergenic, so that is out.
I can also see him with a St. Bernard.. a big romping dog with a reputation for rescue, but again not meeting the allergy requirements of the daughter.
So Labs are a good choice. Generally smart dogs, excellent with kids, a sturdy dog that suits Obama's personality.
It will be fun to have kids back in the White House~ we can watch them and the pooch grow up together.
I think a black, French bulldog puppy would be nice.
It's black, it's French and a great way to piss off the rightwingers out there.
I've been thinking about the allergy problem... perhaps a standard poodle. They're very smart, have great dispositions, and don't shed.

Just don't give 'em one of those stupid show cuts.
One of my neighbors does golden retriever rescue, and every last one of them has been a joy to behold. I've always considered myself more of a cat person (bad formative experiences with the neighbors' pitbull), but those golden retrievers have me rethinking my allegiances.

Just don't give 'em one of those stupid show cuts.

Very wise counsel, LuluMaude. Applying the Sacred Arts of cosmetology to housepets is an abomination in the eyes of Our Lord. Praise Him!
Wise choices here Lulu!

The allergy thing is a pain, but there are medications for that now. Of course some folks actually try to avoid using new fangled meds because they all have side effects..but just saying, they are out there.

Having pets is very time consuming...its too bad any asshole can own your neighbor.

Which is why I rescue the kittehs and a couple of pooches too.. ;)

word verification: catize
Poodles have that icky eye staining issue.
Besides, they are the ultimate girly dog.
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