Bo Obama

I'm disappointed that the Obama's didn't get a rescue dog.
They got this guy:

(image from

Who looks totally adorable and seems to be quite a handful, too. :)

(photo from Huffington Post)

Which you know that I love.

I also love this picture. My favorite pictures of families are always these moments with all the unconscious, gentle mingling of limbs and sightlines.

(pic from

Okay, and as long as we're on it. THIS is amazing.

(pic by Pete Souza) And there is a great essay about the meanings conveyed here on the Huffington Post It reads, in part, "There are all kinds of interesting elements here. Bo running free, though leashed. Obama and the dog clearly relating to one another, Obama looking back -- already creating a bond with the puppy. And especially, the new President at full sprint -- completely off the ground."

I'm glad that Bo a "second chance" dog and not some gooey little two-monther. But here's the thing: he's from a good breeder, which means that he was never in danger of being homeless or dead. "We don’t want any of our dogs to end up homeless," the breeder told People Magazine. "And the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, that we belong to, requires that their breeders take back their dogs if for any reason, any reason at all, the people can’t care for the dog. That’s what responsible breeders do, always."

Over 1.5 million dogs are killed each year in the U.S. just because there aren't homes for them. That number is just the adoptable, healthy dogs. And that number, while HUGE, is also not so very big. If just 35-to-40 percent of dog-owners got their next dog from a shelter or rescue, that would save all of those dogs.

All. of. them.

So, here's my beef with the Obamas:

The allergy thing. I do not have allergies, but people I know that have allergies keep them under control by (a)keeping their house clean, which includes vacuuming daily and buying quality filters for their furnaces. And (b) keeping the animal off of the furniture and out of the bedroom.

I'm guessing that if you live in the White House, you have high quality air filters and your house is vacuumed daily.

And if you do have to clean your own home and that much vacuuming sounds like too much work, you need to consider the amount of work it takes to keep a Portuguese Water Dog groomed (a lot!).

The Obamas just needed a low shed dog. And at a shelter, it is pretty easy to figure out who, among the grown dogs, is low shed. Just pet them. Got a hand full of fur? Move along to the next dog whose life is in danger. Look for dogs with single coats as it is the undercoats that usually cause allergic reactions. It's not a catalog people, you get to actually see and touch the dogs. You can figure out what kind of fur they have.

The whole thing wherein the Obamas said that their shortlist of dog breeds were Portuguese Water Dogs or "Labradoodles" also hit me funny. Because a "Labradoodle" is just a mutt with an advertising campaign and there's no way to ensure that a mixed dog is going to have the traits of one parent over the other (i.e., be hypoallergenic). Anyone with "Labradoodle" on their shortlist of dog "breeds" needs to do more research. They can be nice dogs, but people should save their funny names and $1800 for strippers; don't give them to the backyard breeders making mutts from poodles and labs!

Alright, alright, I'll get down from my horse now.

One question, though, does it seem smart to give a dog a name that rhymes with "no"?


Mike Licht said...

Do Portuguese Water Dogs eat linguiƧa?


shirley said...

i have a HUGE beef with this entry, in which you say that you can tell which dog in a shelter sheds most by petting them. let me tell you - i got suckered in with this seemingly logical reasoning, only to end up with an evil little dog who blows coat at least 4 times a year. no shedding at shelter == accidental wall-to-wall-to-bedspread-to-ALLMYCLOTHES shag carpeting every few months. please stop misinforming the public!!!

seriously tho, although a rescue dog is my favorite kind, there's no way you should blame anyone for taking in a dog that comes from a trusted source, via responsible breeder. that's just mean...not everyone can be as fantastic and beautiful as, say me, who takes in almost completely unknown canines from shelters and rescues that recycle dog descriptions instead of giving actual information when you're trying to foster for them...

also, "no" does NOT rhyme with "bo" in swahili nor in portuguese. so please stop being such a xenophobe ok?!
(jk jk)

Anonymous said...

"Bo" may rhyme with "No" but Bo Obama is just too cute a name! Here Bo'bama! Sit Bo'bama!

And, yes, a shelter dog would have been amazing but a dog from a responsible breeder is the next best thing. And they have raised the idea of "shelter dog" in the minds of people who would never have thought of it otherwise.

Buzz's Food Lady said...

I don't know, Shirley. In my view, what's "mean" is letting 1.5 million dogs die.

90% of people that buy dogs have no need for a pedigree. And very few people know how to tell a good breeder from a bad one.

I'm sorry that your shelter dog his his shedding from you. Clearly he was in love with you from first sight and clamped down his little follicles to keep you from realizing his fatal flaw.

When I was walking dogs at the shelter I found it pretty easy to pick out the shedders. I'd be interested to hear if others have had experiences like yours.

In any case, because the Obamas have the world's attention and are looked up to by so many, I was really hoping they would go the shelter/rescue route. I'm disappointed that they didn't; getting a PWD seems unnecessary. It's as simple as that.

Buzz's Food Lady said...

that should read "hid his shedding"

Buzz's Food Lady said...


I agree that it is a super-cute name, expecially the full name. I have always liked the name "Uno" for a dog and considered it for Buzz, but that actually contains the word no, which just seemed ill-advised.

I hope that this does raise awareness of shelter dogs and also somehow educates people on how to chose a good breeder. I haven't seen any information on how to chose a good breeder attached to the Obama story.

Dee said...

I think this post is a bit unfair. The dog was a gift, not one they went to a breeder and chose for themselves. Ted Kennedy saw an opportunity to move a dog from a breeder he trusted to someone he may be able to influence politically. I may not trust his reasons, but from what I've seen of his breeder's standards, I trust her.
The Obamas may have been looking for a high energy, trainable breed as well as a low shedding dog. I have no issue with people who choose a breed, check rescues and shelters and then go to a good breeder if they can't find what they want. I do think people who just want a pet should look at a shelter first, but I can't fault the Obamas for NOT getting a Labradoodle and fanning the flames on the doodle craze.

While Bo rhymes with no, they may use the word "wrong" or the "ah-ah!" sound that's so popular.

For what it's worth, I've had purebreds, rescued purebreds, and currently own a shelter mutt. The predictability of a purebred is a nice thing to have as baseline for the dog and know how to help them become happy dogs. The joy of discovering what makes your mutt an individual is amusing, but can be frustrating.

And while the Obamas didn't get a shelter dog, at least they didn't start with a puppymill like the one the Bidens got their GSD puppy, Champ, from.

Buzz's Food Lady said...


Bo was a gift from Ted Kennedy because of the legal issues involved in the breeders themselves giving a gift to the Obamas. The Obamas did, indeed, choose Bo, they can be held accountable.

I think that when lives are on the line (and they are always on the line), people should exercise a bit of patience with their search of shelters and rescues.

I agree that knowing your dog's pedigree and the temperaments and working styles of his entire line has to be useful, but most people don't do enough with their dogs that this really matters. Most people just need a dog with manners; that level of training just doesn't require much insight that you can't get from watching the dog closely.

I'm standing firm in my disappointment here.

shirley said...

re: shedding
i didn't then and probably still don't really know how to spot the 'shedders' so it's entirely my fault; pure ignorance

as for the rescue vs. breeder example set by the pres, i can understand your disappointment, and share it myself... but i think people should still be able to choose a dog from a responsible breeder without equating it with the death of scores of dogs.

that's happening because of irresponsibility and inefficiency and complacency, whether they're found in breeders or shelters or the general public that has nothing to do with dogs.

but yeah it would've rocked to see the obamas with a dog from the shelter. but my crush on barack was getting embarrassing anyway, so i guess this helps tone it down :)