by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals
Tags: .

With TMZ breaking the news early Saturday that President Obama was planning on adopting a White House dog from a kennel instead of an animal shelter as promised, we could only hope that this was some classic form of gossip. Alas, it’s now true that the first dog will come from a breeder in Texas — and sentiments across the web have echoed disappointment in the choice.

“This is a missed opportunity to set a pet-adoption trend among Americans,” says Abbie Moore, executive director of “With pet relinquishment up 20 to 30 percent due to the poor economy, pets in shelters can use all the help they can get.”

As an obvious preemptive counter to the growing chorus of people chanting “Bummer!”, the Obama family have pledged a donation the United States Humane Society in Washington D.C. (Actually, there’s some debate as to what Humane Society might benefit. From what we can tell, it will either be the Washington Humane Society or a branch of the HSUS. TBD. From the organization’s website,

The Humane Society of the United States congratulates the Obamas on bringing a new dog, Bo, into their family, and thanks them for taking in a second-chance dog. Bo is a Portuguese water dog who was apparently returned by the family that originally purchased him. “Americans can follow this positive example by visiting their local animal shelter or breed rescue group, and giving another dog or cat a second chance at a loving home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

“And President Obama can do even more for animal protection through the policies of federal agencies that deal with the welfare of millions of pets, helping us enforce existing animal welfare laws and cracking down on the national shame of rampant puppy mills in America.”

At the very least, we thank President Obama for drawing attention to the plight of shelter dogs — and for making a donation to the Humane Society. We’re sure Bo will have a most-loving family and equally beautiful life at the White House. Obviously, we wish that the pup could have come from a shelter, but hope the promotion and support of animal rescue shelters and organizations around the country continues to be a part of this administration.

But seriously — what a bummer.

[UPDATE: PETA’s response….]

[UPDATE 2: We’ve collected some comments from around the animal world here…]

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • oversneer

    Careful there — An article at claimed the Obamas were making a donation to HSUS, but it referenced a Chicago Sun-Times story which said only that the Obamas would make a donation “to a Humane Society.” The SF Chronicle got it wrong. At least I hope. Hypocrites at HSUS don’t deserve (nor do they need) the money.

    Ref: and

  • tina

    I’m satisfied with that. If he’s making a donation and speaking about shelter dogs it’s all good with me.
    This also raises awareness that people with allergies can have a dog, and enrich their lives.
    Loves it.

  • Elaine Vigneault

    I won’t forgive him. If he can’t give a second chance to a dog on death row, I won’t give him a second chance to win my approval. I am ashamed to have worked on his campaign at all. I am ashamed I didn’t vote for Clinton.

    His promise to adopt a shelter dog brought hope to the homeless and now he’s taken that away. Not only has he taken away that hope, he’s made the problem worse.

    Last year he might have been able to say that the dog they wanted was difficult to find in a shelter. By the next election, that statement won’t be true anymore. There will be a surge of Portuguese water dogs in shelters, abandoned by families who once thought they were ‘cool.’

    I am seriously disappointed. Every time I get optimistic for the future and hopeful that things will change, someone influential sabotages all the hard work of the nonleaders.

    Shelter workers: the next time you euthanize a dog, think of Obama’s empty promise.

    It’s not that hard to find a rescue! Really, it’s not. Just go to the pound and pick one out.

  • Queue

    FYI Elaine, when the Clintons were in the White House their dog didn’t come from a shelter either.

    The dog was a gift from Senator Kennedy and his wife.

    Also, don’t be so melodramatic. I am all for animal rights and all for an ethical consideration for animals but if the SOLE reason you are abandoning support for President Obama is because his dog didn’t come from ‘the right place’ then your political engagement is sorely lacking. There are orders of several magnitudes greater important than where his daughters’ dog comes from.

  • Genny

    I like to have hope that they will realize the White House is big enough for a shelter dog too.

    The thing that really worries me is that BYBs and puppymills will jump on the chance to breed a no quality version of whatever dog the President chose. It’s so frustrating to think about how many people I still see shopping for that “puppy in the window” at pet shops.

  • SM~

    From what I have read. The dog originally belonged to an elderly woman in Washington. He was already in the same city. Charlie was biting her older dog and she had enough. I don’t even think the dog ever went back to Texas. Pretty much the same thing as purebreed rescue. If the elderly woman could not handle the dog, it was in Washington DC, and Obama’s daughter allergies are ok with it…maybe it was just meant to be “their dog” and it was resuced in a roundabout way I guess. He wont be bored and biting now~

  • herwin

    elaine + 1 !!
    i think its an outrage that even such a simple promise is broken from the start.

  • Benny T. Bulldog

    There are over 48 different breeds of dog that are considered hypo allergenic. Surely an appointed staff person could dig up hundreds if not thousands of rescue animals that need a home that meet the presidents requirements that the girls would love just as well.

    I wonder how many emails the president received from shelters nation wide notifying him of in need, homeless hypo allergenic pets. I’ll bet his Blackberry was overloaded!

    I’ve heard the excuse (“I couldn’t find a dog at a shelter that I was not allergic to so I had to buy one”) a million times. It’s a Bum excuse.

    Benny T. Bulldog (Rescued and glad to be alive!)

  • beforewisdom

    I would have preferred for the President’s daughter’s dog to have been a mutt chosen from a kill shelter.

    However, as the article states, the dog did not directly from a puppy mill. Like shelter dogs, this dog had an original owner who returned it and this dog was given a second chance by President Obama’s family.

    Obama’s children have allergies which necessitated getting a specific breed of dog. This dog was also a gift from a prominent Senator.

    I can’t imagine any other president even bothering to consider these issues and considering them publicly, as President Obama has done.

    If the election turned out differently Sarah Palin would probably be turning shelter dogs loose so she could shoot them down in Rock Creek park from the presidential helicopter.

    Senator McCain also publicly told women that he would not support equal pay for equal work because businesses didn’t want to pay the money.

    FYI Hillary Clinton was a board member of Wal Mart back in the 1990s when the company earned its bad reputation for its treatment of women and its treatment of health care issues.

    I think a sense of perspective about this disappointment, which I feel too is in order.

    Given all of the serious issues on President Obama’s plate, issues far more serious to the world, and considering everything President Obama has done so far, I think it is perfectionistic to harsly judge the President.

    FWIW, I am an ethical vegan and I know about the pet abandonment situation.

  • Niki

    I really wish people would get over animals. It’s a dog…not a human. The dog that was bred, was going to have to wind up somewhere, right?

    You can’t win for losing. If you’re so bent out of shape about Obama not adopting a dog, go adopt ALL of them yourself.

    SMH @ folks not supporting someone because they didn’t adopt a dog. How old are you? How smart are you? Is there a war and economic crisis going on or what?

  • Catherine M.

    On one hand, I’m disappointed, but on another I think that the Obamas have to do what’s right for their daughters. Of course, I’m sure there was a Portuguese Water Dog at some shelter, but I do think there were politics involved especially if Ted Kennedy was the one gifting the dog.

    The dog has a home. Isn’t that what matters in the end?

  • Tony Mantano

    Who wants a shelter dog anyway?

  • empi

    Folks get a grip on yourselves. I have done animal rescue for 25 years and yes , rescuing a shelter dog is a wonderful thing, but their first duty is to get a dog that is compatible with they and their children. And if allergies are an issue, I would rather see them have a dog they can keep then one they would have to give away. Thi is totally nutty speak.
    As for Elaine Vigneaux, she was never an Obama supporter. No supporter would stop supporting him over this – not any intelligent one for sure. Vigneaux is a repuglican troll trying to cause trouble.

  • Whoever…

    Come on people…!

    You’re crucifying him over this?
    No wonder the USA is the way it is!

    I’m an animals rights activist, a vegetarian and an environmentalist but let’s be serious about this – from what I read, the dog was a gift from their friends the Kennedys who actually ‘rescued’ the dog since the previous owner didn’t want him any more or couldn’t keep him. So it’s ‘kind of similar’ to rescuing a dog from a shelter.

    Look, if a friend of yours gave you a dog, the same breed you were looking for to adopt, would you refuse to accept the animal?

    What other president in the world would even care about an issue such as rescuing animals from shelters instead of buying them?
    What are you complaining about?
    President Obama isn’t perfect… You aren’t… I’m not… no one is! But do you see any other president in the world even talk about this issue?

    What’s wrong with you people?

    It’s like you instantly turn against anyone (even if at least they’re trying to do something good) who doesn’t live up to your expectations! And so you just crucify them!!!

    In my point of view, we should actually concentrate on educating and enlightening those who don’t give a s*** about animals at all!!!

    No wonder we’re losing this ‘war’… We’re turning on one another instead of fighting for one common cause…

    I’m just saying ;)


  • Paul Miller

    The adoption of a shelter dog would have ideal.. it would have helped save the lives of those animals left homeless.. I am hopeful that this breed will not become the next fad… w/ many ending up at shelters…..
    And to the reporter.. HSUS does not have branch shelters…

  • michael

    I’m happy that the Obama family got a dog — and obviously this is the last thing I want the President to be spending time on — but it is rather disappointing after all the talk of rescuing an animal that it really didn’t happen.

    I mean, it’s not like he casually dropped that they might get a shelter dog. This was something that was repeated many times.

    I agree that Ted Kennedy didn’t get the memo that the Obamas were looking to rescue — and when it came time, it was probably hard to turn his “gift” down; especially considering the close relationship him and Barack have.

    And I don’t buy that because of the kid’s allergies, they were unable to rescue an animal. Seems to me that there would be an entire network of rescue orgs and shelters willing to scour the nation for a compatible pup in need of a home — especially the White House.

    At the end of the day, however, nothing changes my high opinion of having a President that actually considers rescuing an animal. The donation to the Humane Society was a nice touch as well. This whole “First Dog” thing certainly didn’t end the way I would have thought, but at least we can have this conversation in the first place.

    The official unveiling is tomorrow. Will be curious to see if the Obama family gives an additional shout-out to animal shelter support.

  • michael

    @Paul Miller — I didn’t say it was a shelter — just an office. The HSUS has offices around the United States — but perhaps “branch” is not the right word for the D.C. office since that’s where the organization is actually based. Thanks.

  • LisaMama

    Technically, my dog is a “second-chance” dog, because the family he belonged to was forced to give him up when they lost their home. So I didn’t rescue him from a shelter and I didn’t buy him from a puppy store. Does he still count as a rescue dog? Yes, he does. This sounds like a similar situation.

  • js

    I voted for Obama so my point of view is not based on political bias. This dog story is very suspicious. The whole thing about the dog having another owner and having to be re-homed sounds like total b.s. The family was probably hired to keep the dog for a few days to make the story “true”. And the fact that the dog comes from the same lineage as the Kennedy dogs is nauseating and makes it even more suspicious. Obama is just as full of it as every other politician. I am completely disappointed. What a phony.

  • alt365

    extremists of the world – give it a rest. he’s got a lot on his plate at the moment.

  • MichelleR

    I worked at an animal shelter for many years. I’ve had both shelter dogs and dogs from breed rescue. Sometimes dogs are returned to the breeder or end up in the foster system for that breed. They need homes, too, and are considered rescue dogs.

    Of note, while the Obamas didn’t train this dog first hand, they had him trained, and that sends an important message, too. Dogs lost homes all the time, because people don’t do the basic work of helping them fit into the family.

  • oxymoron

    This is a story about two little girls who wanted a dog. They had to wait a long time to get it. They have made many changes to adjust to their new lives…in a fish bowl. This family has done the right thing for them and we need to back off and watch the fun. Every time a person adopts a pet there will be ups and downs. It’s why life with a pet is a journey. We live in a very difficult world right now and we are looking to President Obama to lead us out of this mess. Let him have his dog and leave him alone.

  • jgulia

    I rescued my dog from the Washington Humane Society (yeah, I hope his donation goes there) and will continue to have shelter dogs. She’s an awesome dog. However, just because I encourage people to do the same, it’s not the right choice for everyone.

    I have a good friend who’s been allergic all her life, so she never had a pet as a child. She was excited to be able to get a non-shedding mini schnauzer once she was an adult. I’ve seen her allergies come on quickly and she probably couldn’t spend five minutes in a shelter without being miserable and then would never be able to tell whether she was allergic to any particular dog.

    The Obamas waited because they truly wanted to “rescue” a dog, but the kind of dog they need for their family rarely needs to be rescued. They now have a second chance dog. However, if Portugese water dogs suddenly become popular (doubtful in this economy), then maybe they’ll get a second, shelter dog.

  • Jozelle

    I knew this was going to happen and I am so ticked at the fact he basically LIED!!!!!AGAIN!!!!He failed with going through with what he promised and as a Obama supporter it saddens me.I dont care if the dog was a gift from the dying Senator Kennedy if he was really supportive he would have given him a dog from a shelter !Both he and Biden both got kennel dogs when they both couldve set a postive example and gotten just as good dogs from a shelter.Giving money wont stop the massive outrage he has unleashed on himself and he better get another dog ASAP that is actually from a shelter.He keeps screwing up like this I would hope that Hillary runs for president in 2012 and would probably win.

  • Travis

    This is about as real of a complaint as the idiots freaking out that Obama may have bowed to the Saudi’s.

    His children went through hell during the campaign. Thrust into the national spotlight. Without their dad for long stretches of time on the campaign trail. And throughout they handled themselves with class and honor. And the only thing they asked for was a doggy. This was the doggy they chose.

    I really couldn’t care less that the dog didn’t come from a shelter. The statements that Barack has made in support of shelters is worth a lot more than simply being able to source his dog to one.

    Nevermind that, knowing the affection Obama has for Ted Kennedy…it was probably a gift he didn’t feel could be refused.

    And, nevermind either that Obama did not guarantee their dog would be a shelter dog. Just that he’d prefer that. For reasons we probably aren’t totally aware of, it didn’t.

    Just be happy that a dog that didn’t have a home got one. Otherwise, it’s just a lot of empty headed nonsense. Pick any heavily trafficked web forum and post an avocation of shelter dog rescue. Just the few people you might enlighten would be approximately 1,000 times more useful than whining about the President.

  • Susan

    I think that animal lovers and rescue advocates need to slow down before criticizing the Obamas for not adopting a pound dog. One of the girls has allergies and the best predictor of success was to choose a dog that is known to be less irritating. With a pure breed, you can know (for the most part) what you are getting and ensure success with the dog joining your family. It really makes me sad and angry to see animal advocates getting all over their case about doing the best thing for their family. If there weren’t pure breeds, there wouldn’t be mutts. If there weren’t pure breeds, there wouldn’t be the adoration in our culture, the fascination, with dogs. And yes, LisaMama is right, the dog is a second placement, so they are rescuing a purebreed. I own a rescure mutt who has only two legs and a purebreed. If we each do what we can and do it with mindfulness, the world will be a better place. Of course the Obama’s support shelters AND they need to take care of their family.

  • Susan

    Jozelle, I hope you can calm down. Go back and look at the interviews with the Obamas when they talked to the press about acquiring a dog. They said they would TRY to get a shelter dog, but Malia’s allergies might mean they had to get a purebreed. President Obama did not lie. The 60 minutes interview just after the election is but one that has the statements made that you have distorted into a lie. Calm down. There are sensible reasons why they had to get a purebreed. You would condemn the little girls to not have a dog because they didn’t get a rescue dog? Shame on you. You aren’t thinking straight. You are taking animal advocacy to a destructive extreme. No one will listen to the good message if you are so unbending in your beliefs. Leave the family to their happiness and let the judgements be for now.

  • maribelle

    I love the Obamas, but this choice broke my heart. We too have dog allergies and found a purebred mini-schnauzer 6 mo old puppy on has dogs in every breed and age for adoption. Here’s a 2 year old PWD located in DC listed petfinder just today:

    Name: Pepper

    Breed: Portuguese Water Dog

    Approximate Age: 2-3 yrs

    Approximate Weight: 59 lbs

    From link:

    Currently Living at: Foster

    Meet Pepper! She is an adorable and sweet 2-3 yr old Portuguese Water dog that we found in a high kill shelter! She loves kids and other dogs. We think she would be ok with cats as well.

    Pepper is housebroken and crate trained. She is loving and friendly.

  • Dianna

    No matter how politically popular a shalter adoption would have been, the Obamas did not have the option of adopting a shelter dog because one of their children is allergic to dogs, the Portugese water dog being a rare exception for people allergic to dogs. Shelters do not generally get Portugese water dogs or any other hypo-allergenic pets. I don’t recall that the Obamas promised anyone they would adopt a dog from a shelter.

  • Al

    Disappointed? Sure. Is it the end of the world? No.

    The president adopting a rag tag dog from a shelter would’ve sent an important message to millions of people who follow his family’s every move. However, he went with a pure pred show dog and based that decision on the recommendation of a prominent family.

  • VeggieTart

    Sure I’m disappointed he didn’t (couldn’t) get a shelter dog, but his daughters’ welfare does come FIRST. It would be far worse for them to have adopted then be unable to keep the dog because it aggravates the girls’ allergies. However the first caretaker of the dog came to live with him and for how long is immaterial. The dog was a gift (someone should remind both Senator Kennedy and the president that animals usually are bad gifts) from a prominent senator and friend of the family.

    Unlike McCain and Palin, Obama is conscious of and cares about the plight of shelter animals. He is conscious of many issues dear to the hearts of environmental and animal activists. Adoption may not have been practical for him, but he has at least raised it in the consciences of people.

  • Patricia Collier

    We’re very disappointed President Obama did not keep his promise to adopt a rescue dog for his family. It would have been the right thing to do and a wonderful opportunity to highlight the many animals in humane society shelters and pet rescues all across the nation needing good homes. A quick check on yesterday revealed 12 Portuguese Water dogs in rescues, so they are out there, needing help. One was even a poodle mix and both those breeds are hypoallergenic. So sad that our First Family missed a wonderful chance to highlight 10,000+ animals in rescues across U.S. in dire need of good homes. To make this right, we suggest the Obamas adopt a brother or sister pup for Bo from an actual rescue – and soon!

  • maribelle

    Dianna–you wrote: “The Obamas did bit have the option of adopting a shelter dog” because of allergies.

    1. lists hundreds of thousands of dogs in every breed that need homes–many are purebreds.
    2. Thousands of families with allergies adopt dogs everyday from rescues and shelters–my family is one.
    3. See listing from today’s petfinder about a PWD in DC named “Pepper” who is 2 years old and looking for a home.
    4. There are other “rare exceptions” to the allegy-producing dogs, including poodles, soft-coated wheatons, mini-schnauzers and others.
    5. Rescue organizations often rescue by breed.

    If anyone out there is looking for a dog, including a purebred, PLEASE CHECK first. You’ll be amazed–and can save a life and money.

  • Susan

    Folks, this is an action that takes place in the White House. Obama has already received the most death threats of any president in history. Every move has to be carefully planned and executed. Perhaps they did not have time to wait for the perfect rescue dog to come along. How long were the little girls supposed to wait? They are human beings, not machines. I’m ashamed of those of you criticizing them for what they did. You don’t know about the logistics or issues. You don’t know if they checked Petfinder or not. You could condemn two children to suffer for a cause? This is beyond ridiculous and bordering on cruel of you. Their lives are dangerous and complicated. For shame condemning them for something that is none of your business and your don’t really have all of the facts about. I support shelters and rescue, I don’t support punishing children and setting them to a higher standard because of who their parents are.

  • Denise

    Elaine, did you read the article? The Obama family is giving a dog another chance. Per the Humane Society, “and thanks them for taking in a second-chance dog. Bo is a Portuguese water dog who was apparently returned by the family that originally purchased him. “Americans can follow this positive example by visiting their local animal shelter or breed rescue group, and giving another dog or cat a second chance at a loving home,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

    We have two cats in our family and one dog that were all given a second chance because we took them. They had not yet been left at the shelter but that was the destination.

    I’m delighted that Bo has been given a second chance with a wonderful, very caring family.

  • Linda Montesano

    Elaine and others are expressing the disappointment that I feel over Obama’s preference for a “famous” dog over a rescue. As a 35-year veteran of teaching, many allergies are due to the child being kept in a bubble with little to no exposure to anything on the earth. I am as angry at those people who wrote here who are condescending prigs whose only goal is to put down those people whose opinions are not in line with their own. Those are the people who will/are doing damage to this country. I guess the weaker person is more desperate to try to assume a superior image in their own eyes. A puppy died due to Obama’s being carried away by big name people. Not the guy I though I was voting for.

  • Lauren

    The dog the Obamas ended up with was a “returned” dog, so it would have ended up in a shelter anyway. They just skipped the middle step and “adopted” him before he had to stay in a shelter.
    and they’ll live happily ever after

  • Danielle

    Although I do wish it had come from a shelter (think of the example they would have been setting!), at least it is drawing more and more attention to the issue. I live in Missouri, ‘the puppy mill capitol of the world,’ and have spent time volunteering at our local shelter, and I can attest to how sad it is to see these animals without homes. I found this video that talks about Obama’s choice and the attention it is bringing to animal welfare-

  • Matt

    How can people say that the Obama’s “needed” to get a hypo-allergenic dog. They don’t “need” a dog. They could live just fine without one. They selfishly wanted a dog. Now, because so many people like to copy celebrities, many other people who don’t need dogs, but who just want a dog for their own selfish purposes will likely buy similar dogs from breeders. The breeders will, in turn, breed more of that type of dog, and then more dogs who already exist and really do desperately need homes will be euthanized in shelters across the country.

    Face the facts. The Obama’s wanted a dog, so they bought a dog and put money into the hands of people who contribute to the “pet” overpopulation problem which is responsible for the deaths of 4 million dogs and cats a year. Now, thanks to the Obamas, maybe even more dogs will end up euthanized this year.

    If the guy can’t do the right thing, the smart thing, in such a simple scenario, how can we trust him to do the right thing or the smart thing when it comes to more complex issues?

  • Susan

    Wow, those of you being all dramatic and saying that the Obama’s are causing the “death” of even more dogs, that they are damaging the country…you’ve lost all perspective. The quickest way to have other people not listen to what you are saying is to be so extreme. The Obama’s have the right of choice just as much as anyone else and they had to do what is best for their family, security and life. There is more to consider here than your judgements and hysteria. For you to be so drastic and sweeping in your statements is the very cause of people shutting down and not listening when it comes to spay, neuter and rescue. Your drastic and unyielding views are the enemies of the animals you supposedly are trying to save. There is a middle and sensible ground about the issue; your drastic verbal disappointment and condemnation shuts down the conversation and does nothing constructive for the animals you supposedly love. If all of us were as extreme as you are stating, nothing would ever be PC enough and why bother? You are setting up obstacles instead of solutions by being, PTP, so dogmatic. I animal parent a pound rescue two-legged dog. So everyone else must do the same or be a bad person causing death and destruction?! Not hardly.

  • Obama the liar

    Obama is pathetic.

    Of all the promises that he made, wasn’t the easiest to keep??

    It is amazing that Obama has that little backbone that he couldn’t have refused this “gift” from Kennedy.

    As previous posters have noted there are MANY portugese water dogs sitting in shelters waiting for home. One shelter dog died because of this choice and surely many more of this breed will be born in puppy mills and find their way to shelters because of Obama’s irresponsible choice and the ensuing popularity of this breed.

    I am disgusted and ashamed.

    And wtf is with HSUS patting him on the back for this? Seriously, what’s going on?

  • Susan

    This site is being spammed by Obama haters, not rational thinkers who really care about animals. The obvious has been stated as to why they have the right to chose how they live their life — and they haven’t harmed any person or creature in the process. “Obama the liar”‘s statements show that right wing spammers can show up anywhere, even this site. If you really love all animals, you wouldn’t make such statements about “lies” and the HSUS.

  • Susan

    Did anyone complain about the Bushs having pure breeds? Clinton? Nixon? Reagan? Johnson had a Beagle. The condemnation is an embarrassment to those of us who volunteer for dog shelter and rescues.

  • Obama the liar

    Sorry to burst your bubble Susan, but I’m not a “right wing spammer.” Way to perpetuate the stereotype of closed-minded liberals…

    I am a vegan animal rights activist and no, I don’t like Obama. Nor did I vote for him. I voted for vegetarian, Ralph Nader who I am sure would never accept a gifted purebred dog from Senator Kennedy.

    Contrary to what you might want, not everyone concerned with animals is an Obama worshiper. He did something really crappy and I’m going to call hm on it. And you will continue to worship him, turning a blind eye to this bs. Classy

  • Obama the liar

    I think you are missing the point, Susan.

    Obama specifically promised to adopt a shelter dog. Rescue groups have inundated the president with pleas that he follow through with this promise, and it’s been the talk and hope of many animal people since the promise was made.

    If any other prominent public figure had made such a promise I’m sure that these same groups would be watching and commenting on the outcome in the same was as we are now.

    I don’t see why you and others here are so obsessed with defending his choice. He was wrong! He lied! He did no service to the animals!

    I think it’s outrageous that you would sit here and call me or anyone else criticizing Obama’s choice “right wing spammers” who don’t really care about the animals when you yourself are so blinded by your political obsession that you can’t call a spade a spade or in this case, a liar a liar and actually speak up for the animals.

  • Susan

    He did not promise, Person Defaming Others above. He said they would TRY if they could, but had to be concerned with other issues. Go back and listen to the interviews. I’m asking for reason instead of making sweeping statements such as “lies” and “death.” I don’t have a political obsession, I am able to think reasonably and rationally about a complicated subject. He didn’t lie, go back and examine the record. And calm down about something that you are blowing out of proportion and only giving fuel to the fire about with your anger and “lies.”

  • Heidi

    Good grief;

    The U.S. & the world economy can still slide into a depression. People have lost their homes, their 401Ks and other retirement funds. The military is still deployed in one WAR in Iraq and is about to go into another war more deeply Afghanistan

    In the middle of all of these historically sized debacles you people are whining like spoiled children that he got a rescue dog from a kennel instead of a shelter.

    Could it be that some of you are PUMAs still holding your breath and turning blue because Clinton didn’t win the democratic primaries?

    I can’t see too many republicans reading this site and also being people who are into animal shelter issues.

  • Obama the liar

    We’re not blowing anything out of proportion by expressing our disgust that Obama said he would adopt a shelter dog and instead accepted a gifted purebreed with the same bloodlines at Mr. Kennedy’s purebred dogs. It was a simple promise to keep and he failed miserably.

    It’s not blowing things out of proportion to point out that minimally one shelter dog died as a result of this irresponsible decision.

    It’s not blowing things out of proportion to point out that puppy mills and petstores will take advantage of the new-found novelty of portugese water dogs and in a matter of month such dogs and their babies will be littering the shelters and ending up in the shelter dead piles.

    You can mollycoddle him all you want and gloss over this glaring error like the rest of the Obama sycophants, but I’m going to say it loudly that Obama is a liar and I’m quite glad I didn’t vote for him.

  • A.J.

    I, too, am very disappointed in the Obamas’ unfortunate decision to get a rare breed of dog from a breeder rather than to adopt one of the many dogs that need homes.

    From reading these comments, I can see there are a lot of people who know nothing about animal rescue and shelter animals who nonetheless feel the need to spout misinformation.

    Here are few points in response:

    1) To the people implying that a Portuguese water dog was the “only” type of dog the Obamas “could” get because of the allergy issue, that’s blatantly incorrect. There’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, a fact the Obamas should have given serious thought to if their daughter has severe allergies. There are many, many breeds that would have fit the bill as being less likely to cause allergies – including the very common Standard Poodle.

    What seems to have happened is that the Obamas visited Ted Kennedy, and he took the opportunity to dissuade the girls from saving a life and being compassionate and instead “lobbied” for his preferred breed, a somewhat rare breed that is just one of many breeds considered less likely to cause allergies. Sad that a grown man would try to sway a family (including two innocent little girls) away from doing something good in favor of an elitist status symbol.

    Once they locked in on this specific breed of dog, it made the effort to get a rescue dog much more difficult, but by NO means impossible. Maybe it would have taken a month instead of the week it would have taken if they were open to any less-allergenic breed of dog of a certain age.

    2) To the people saying that a less allergenic dog cannot be found through rescue, that’s absolutely untrue. I have friends who have adopted purebred dogs of less-allergenic breeds, including one of the Obamas’ stated preferred breeds. Sure, my friends had to do a little more searching, wait a little longer, and I think one drove four hours to pick up her dog. But it’s totally doable – and ten times moreso for someone who has all the resources and connections that President Obama has at his disposal.

    3) To whoever whined that the Obamas got a Kennedy dog because they got tired of waiting to find the right dog in a shelter and who whines “hooooow looong are the girls supposed to WAIT?!” you are just showing your ignorance of how easy it is to find just about any type of purebred rescue animal you want in a short time period. With Best Friends and other organizations offering repeatedly to help, I’d guess the Obamas could have located a very specific type/age of dog within a week to a month, max.

    4) To those who are saying this Kennedy dog counts as a rescue, I’m not sure what to say. I find the whole thing incredibly fishy that a Kennedy dog littermate just “happened” to come available just at the exact right time the Obamas were looking for that exact type of dog … all way too convenient. I have a feeling the first person who supposedly had this dog will never be found or interviewed.

    5) To those saying it was a “gift” and that one can’t turn down a “gift” from Ted Kennedy, I guess I don’t understand politics or politicians. This whole thing goes against the very definition of a “gift” in Kennedy’s utter disregard for the family’s very publicly stated preference for a rescue dog. Anyone with a spine, I think, could say, “Senator Kennedy, we appreciate your thinking of our family and are so grateful for the thought, but we have made the decision to get a rescue dog through a shelter.” It’s called assertiveness and it’s certainly not rude.
    What do you think Ted Kennedy would do if President Obama decided to “gift” him with a three-legged street mutt rescued from Puerto Rico or something? Ted Kennedy has obviously expressed a preference that he’s far too good for mutts and only prefers purebred dogs of one specific strange breed, so that would be a very rude “gift” indeed. And also, a dog is a living being, not a flat-screen TV. Trying to give a living being as a “gift” makes as much sense as trying to give someone a spouse or child as a “gift.”

    I see one thing in common in all of these posts supporting Obama’s choice and denigrating people who care about animals: excuses, excuses, excuses.

  • Lisa Williamson

    I would feel much better about President Obama’s choice if he would also introduce legislation overseeing and regulating the many thousands of puppy mills in operation in the United States.

  • A.J.

    You’re absolutely incorrect in the characterization of the posters who disagree with Obama’s choice as “right wingers.” I spent the weeks before the election knocking on doors and making phone calls for the Obama campaign. Until today, I was still on his campaign e-mail list, and as such, was getting hit up with “Donate $25 because President Obama’s budget/agenda/whatever is under attack” requests. (Today I unsubbed, not because I no longer support him, but because I find it tacky for a President to hit people up for $25, especially a President who can’t find it in his own heart to rescue a dog after he promised to do so … my $25 donations will go to animal shelters, thank you.) Anyway, I supported him 100 percent and talked him up to anyone who would listen. That doesn’t mean I can’t be disgusted with his decision to forego saving a life and promoting rescue in favor of being selfish and elitist and schmoozing with Ted Kennedy.

    And as for the comments saying that we don’t care about animals, that’s really obnoxious and offensive. I’ve had so many rescue/foster animals pass through my house (in addition to my own six rescue animals) and spent thousands on vet bills for these rescues (not to mention what I’ve spent on vet bills for my own) that I really take exception to your comment. Do you rescue animals?

    I think you’ve got it backwards. It’s you all who sound like spoiled children. It’s not spoiled or selfish to care about suffering beings in need who need help. It is spoiled and selfish to get an elite purebred dog (and to defend doing so) when dogs are being killed by lethal injection in shelters as we type.

  • mary Sanderson

    oh this is all garbage! i run a rescue & a lot of the junk i’m reading is making me ashamed. i happen to have in my rescue a lovely, 2 yr old labradoodle. as hypoallergenic as you can get. i made the mistake of adopting him out & he terrorized the poor couple so badly they brought him back. & they had major dog experience but this dog had been abused, a fact i found out later. not every dog in rescue is just sweet & misunderstood. i have the highest respect for Mr. Obama & his family, but if he had come to me himself, i would have turned him away. get a grip, people!

  • Christine

    Thank you A.J.–very eloquently said!

    I can’t get over the depths to which these Obama shills will go to defend this irresponsible and asinine choice.

    Obama has shelter dogs’ blood on his hands

  • Heidi

    Obama the liar says on April 13th, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    We’re not blowing anything out of proportion

    I disagree.

    The level of anger in this thread is appropriate to a war, economic crisis or at least a government scandal.

    Not a (poor) choice of pet.

    I’m also an ethical vegan acquainted with shelter and breeder issues so I don’t buy the rationalizations.

  • A.J.


    Rationalizations? The rationalizations seem to be coming from one side, and it’s not from those who don’t like the Obamas’ choice.

    Also, who are you to tell others’ how they should feel? It’s really not your place to decide what level of emotion is “appropriate” for anyone except yourself.

  • Obama the liar

    You’re right…the level of anger in this thread is appropriate to a war or crisis…and that’s exactly what’s happening in this country today with over 4 MILLION companion animals put to death in shelters every year with millions more being pumped out by puppy mills, “backyard” breeders and idiots who don’t spay and neuter their pets.

    This is a war and a crisis and I’m shocked that you would try to trivialize it.

    By rejecting a shelter dog Obama has contributed to and promoted the pet breeding/death industry. Given the forgoing, the level of outrage is completely warranted.

  • Rachel

    There are different types of rescues people…one of my dogs came from a breeder who also boards dogs…someone boarded a dog with them and never returned. Quite frankly, it was the luckiest day of my life. So even though my dog ‘came from a breeder’ he is a ‘2nd chance dog’ too. However the Obamas came to find the right dog for their family still promotes animal adoption. Be happy for them.

  • A.J.

    Mary Sanderson,
    I’m sorry, but your logic falls a little short. You made a bad placement of a rescued Labradoodle, so …. ?

    What? All rescue dogs are scary and dangerous?

    Um, I know someone who spent three months researching the best breeder to get a yellow Lab, got a puppy from the highly lauded breeder and then ended up having to have the dog put down after it developed severe dog aggression and almost killed another dog. So … ?

    What? All dogs from so-called responsible breeders are scary and dangerous?

    One anecdote doesn’t tell us much about anything … except that one situation. I hope you do better with future placements.

  • Pingback: Bo: The Kind-Of Rescued, Not-Really, Gray-Area White House Pup // Archives // :: the latest in green gossip()

  • Heidi

    The tone out of proportion complaining in this thread sounds very similar to what I have been hearing from republicans.

    I’m guessing maybe 5% of what is going on here is about a disappointment in one decision and the other 95% is really angst over Hilliary Clinton being the secretary of state instead of the president.

    That latter situation was never an entitlement. Like it or not is was about a choice the population made in an election.

    I suggest everyone who is more than just mildly disappointed do something like actually volunteer at a shelter or pass out some leaflets for an hour about breeders/puppy mills.

  • erin

    Never thought I’d say this but Senator Kennedy is a big fat LOSER!

    He needs to start going to a pound instead of buying dogs. Maybe THEN he’ll have start having some better karma.


  • Christine

    I am so sick of people trying to dismiss criticism of Obama’s failure to keep his promise and adopt a shelter dog as “Republican smearing” or jaded Hillary supporters.

    Get over yourselves! I am criticizing Obama because he lied and let down the animals. This is a NON-PARTISAN issue!

    Whether I am a republican or Hillary supporter is irrelevant! You are just trying to get away from the real issue at hand–Obama lied and shelter dogs will pay the price!

    Also just for the record, liberals and democrats are not the only ones who care about animals–There’s no partisan monopoly on compassion for animals!

    Take a look at the latest HSUS Humane Scorecard and see that on both state and federal levels there are many republicans who voted pro-animal (if not spearheaded pro-animal legislation) while many prominent democrats failed the animals miserably.

    The animals don’t care what political stripe you are—just that you help them

  • Heidi

    To any omnivores, republicans or people unfamiliar with caring about animal issues out there I would like ask on behalf of all vegans as well as animal activists to not conclude that we are all like the level of dialogue in this thread.

    Yes, there are a lot of troubled and extreme people among us. That is true of any group.

    There are also a lot of us who are down to Earth and who think before we emote. We are reasonable people too.

  • Christine

    Way to be patronizing Heidi. I guess it never occurred to you that there are republicans who are vegan and care about animals.
    …perhaps they are even on this board! oh my!

  • Susan

    Obama did not lie, people. Look at his actual statements again. AJ, you and other folks here are being dogmatic and irresponsible in your statements and accusations about the Obamas. Thank you Heidi for having a sane voice.

    Christine, Obama did not lie. Many folks on this thread are so extreme in their belief that there is only one road to Rome that that you only make yourselves look fanatical and unreasonable. Hate is not the answer, anger is not the answer. As my family does and IF you don’t already do it, volunteer at shelter and rescue. That is where the real difference can be made.

    There is political extremism in this thread, don’t deny it. I’m not saying be an Obamite. I’m advocating to not make sweeping condemnation of a family who made the best decision for THEM–last I checked this is still the land of the free and the brave and just because some folks can’t see beyond their own extreme beliefs then none of us is free to make a choice? Your way is the only one, otherwise you are going to call names and hurl accusations at good people and condemn them?

    Others here are right–save this anger for the situation in Darfur, the wars, global warming and more problems. I’ve advocated through this thread to think rationally and find a middle ground. No “death” to innocent animals or “lies” by the President…but respect for others. Put it in perspective, if you possibly can. There is not just one way in this matter, and for you to insist upon it does not help the cause of animal rights and welfare for the 90% of the population who still need education and assistance about pets and pet welfare. Those 90% shut down to your extreme ranting and walk away.

  • Whoever…

    Ok people, ENOUGH already!!! Please…!

    geeezz!! :(

    I’m an animal rights activist, a vegetarian and an environmentalist.

    I’ve already rescued a few animals and right now I have 2 adorable cats I took off the streets many years ago.

    I’m also disappointed that President Obama didn’t adopt a dog from an animal shelter.

    However, this is not a good enough reason to start crucifying him and his family!
    For heaven’s sake, this is just a dog for his daughters. Besides, it’s their family’s decision. I know that they are role models now but it’s not like this is the end of shelters all over the USA or that people will stop adopting animals from shelters!
    Come on! It seems that you’re saying Americans can’t think for themselves and that the majority of the American people don’t have a mind of their own!

    Let me point out that he did raise the issue of animal shelters… As I’ve stated before, what other president in the world would even care about the issue?

    In my country politicians don’t give a s*** whether animals have a nice place to live or not!! It’s not an issue to them…

    How many of those of you who consider yourselves soooo perfect actually have rescued animals or volunteer in animal shelters? I volunteer in my local shelter where there are approximately 550 animals… What about you!?

    Isn’t it so easy to point fingers?
    Instead of wasting time condemning others why don’t you get out there and do your part!?

    Thanks and blessed be!


  • Christine


    1. The fact that there is a crisis in Darfur, global warming or whatever other bad thing happening in the world is totally irrelevant to whether we should be focusing on the pet overpopulation crisis and Obama’s failure to adopt a shelter dog.

    All too often people like to dismiss animal issues in favor of “human” issues. This is ridiculous– caring for animals and caring for people/the environment/etc. are not mutually exclusive! We don’t need to “save” our energies for any one cause…it is quite possible to support all of them.

    2. How in the world is our criticism of Obama for his failure to adopt a shelter dog “not help[ing] the cause of animal rights and welfare”? It seems to me that our critism and vocalization of the importance of ALWAYS ADOPTING from a shelter is exactly the kind of “education and assistance about pets and pet welfare” that this country so desperately needs! Were we to remain silent about Obama’s glaringly irresponsible choice we would be condoning breeders and puppy mills. Silence= complicity

    3. Our vocalization of our disgust that Obama rejected a shelter dog and chose a purebred dog from a breeder is in no way an “extreme,” “fanatical,” or “unreasonable” criticism. I’d say it’s pretty moderate. How hard is it to choose a shelter dog instead of a breeder/puppy mill dog? We’re not asking him to adopt an alien from the moon…

    4. I’m sorry but Obama did lie—when you say on multiple occasions via mass media that you intend to adopt a shelter dog “mutt like me” and then accept a “gifted” purebred dog from a breeding facility in TX, that my friend is a big fat lie for which the shelter dogs will pay dearly.

  • Susan

    Darfur is more irrelevant than animal rescue, Christine? As is the war and global warming? Can you even see how absurd your statement looks in that context? No, you can’t. You are blinded to anything but your own agenda. What you said in your latest post is the very reason people tune out to animal rescue, vegetarian concepts and saving the planet. You sound ridiculous to write that statement and sound like a zealot.

    There is only one way–your way. I get it. Very sad. You are a fanatic, your own statements prove it. Take a deep breath. Or 1,000.

    Obama did not lie–go back again to 60 minutes, CNN and more. He said they HOPED, but other factors had to be considered. You are slandering Mr. Obama by misquoting him. He did make the comment “mutt like me” but also said there were other factors and he HOPED they could use a shelter. Get real. But, you never will. And you ARE hurting the cause. Shame on you.

  • Susan

    And you aren’t supporting all causes. You are only grinding your own ax, Christine. Don’t hide behind the bastian of “we can focus on them all” and then turn around and say there was only one choice for the Obamas.

  • Susan

    From the New York Times and Reuters, Christine. Even the Humane Society acknowledges that the Obamas NEVER promised to acquire a shelter dog.
    ”They were starting their search with shelter dogs, but when the Kennedys learned of this dog and offered it as a gift to the girls, they met the dog, it was a perfect fit for their lifestyle and for Malia’s health concerns,” she said, adding that the Obamas are making a donation to the Washington Humane Society. ”Because this gift came before their pound search sort of was completed, they made a gift to some of the places they were looking.”

    Still, conspiracy buffs might speculate that Bo was meant for the Obamas all along. Was his adoption engineered to look like a rescue — or at least blur the line to head off criticism that the Obamas had picked a purebred from a breeder?

    The Humane Society’s Pacelle acknowledged that the Obamas never flat-out promised to get a dog from a pound or rescue group. And the society has kind words for Obama on its Web site: ”Thanks, Mr. President, for giving a second-chance dog a forever home,” it says.

  • Christine

    Slow down when you’re reading Susan.

    I did not say that Darfur or any other cause is irrelevant. I said that “The fact that there is a crisis in Darfur, global warming or whatever other bad thing happening in the world is totally irrelevant to whether we should be focusing on the pet overpopulation crisis and Obama’s failure to adopt a shelter dog.”

    This was in response to your suggestion that we “save this anger for the situation in Darfur, the wars, global warming and more problems.”

    I was merely pointing out the fallacy in your command that we ration out our concerns/activism based on your hierarchy of important causes. I don’t think I need to be quiet about Obama’s contribution to the 4 million + companion animals that are put to death every year in the US simply because people are dying in Darfur or because of global warming (and believe me, I’m pretty vocal about that particularly on the veganism front)

    And call me crazy or whatever you wish, but I believe that in many respects, the issues facing animals surpass anything faced by humans. That aside, unlike you I would never criticize anyone for speaking out about one particular cause simply because there are many other worthy causes out there.

  • A.J.

    You’re twisting Chistine’s words. She did not say that Darfur is “more irrelevant” than any other cause, and you know it. But you know that you can’t argue with her very rational point – that it’s possible to care about many things at once, and just because there is a crisis in one place or issue does not mean that someone is incapable of caring about both that crisis and another crisis. People who don’t care about animal issues often pull the “you should be spending your time caring about human issues” card, as if the two were mutually exclusive, which they’re not. To act like they are is just a lame way of picking on others with whom you disagree, or excusing your own lack of compassion for animals. I find it incredibly pompous and arrogant for you to tell the people on this thread how they should think or feel about our President’s choice to let down the animals. Why don’t you be in charge of how YOU think and feel, m’kay?

    And to say that it’s “extremist” to be disappointed that the Obamas failed to save a shelter dog’s life, as they publicly claimed they wanted to, is just plain silly. If the Obamas didn’t want to catch heat for getting a pedigreed Kennedy dog, they shouldn’t have gone all over talking about wanting to rescue a shelter dog. And didn’t Michelle Obama go on Entertainment Tonight an announce that the family WOULD be getting a rescue dog? All these platitudes about preferring to get a rescue mean nothing. Obviously the Obamas did not actually prefer to get a rescue dog because if they did they would have done it. So, why the big show about preferring it, then?

    I can guarantee you that the Obamas brought this on themselves, and that if they hadn’t made such a to do about getting a rescue, they wouldn’t be taking 1/10th of the heat they’re taking for it. They deserve it. And to any of you who say this isn’t an important issue, why don’t you go down to your local shelter and get a job lethally injecting all the unwanted, healthy, adoptable animals? Have you ever even watched a documentary about what happens to these animals. To say it’s not big deal is the height of callousness and heartlessness.

  • Christine

    Re: Lying/terminology.

    Whether we call it a lie, a half-truth, or simply a poor choice, Obama made an incredibly irresponsible decision for which the shelter dogs will pay with their lives.

    Re: HSUS “approval”

    I’m a huge HSUS supporter but I’m not happy with them on this one. I think it’s absurd that they’re patting Obama on the back and trying to help him save face despite his irresponsible decision. I can’t explain it. Perhaps someone in the Obama adminstration leaned on them pretty hard, maybe they came to an undertanding that in return Obama “owes” the HSUS one, maybe they received a huge donation. I don’t know. I’m very disappointed though.

  • Susan

    I’m criticizing you for being a fanatic, Christine, who will only have one viewpoint. Say that stuff in your last paragraph to parents who’ve lost a child in Iraq. Because you may as well.

    I volunteer for animal and human welfare causes, and I have the ability to temper my approach with both. The issues facing all living creatures are extremely concerning and vital. Once you start saying animals are higher in worth than humans, you are going to lose a lot of people who would have adopted at a shelter or volunteered. I object strongly to your statements and approach because I’ve seen how you go about it ruin the best of intentions. You have to bring folks in before you can fully begin to educate. Hitting them over the head as you are won’t serve. That is why I’ve stayed on this thread today. Sure, it would have been great if the Obamas could have found a pound dog. But they didn’t–another choice was a better fit for them. They are free to chose until your fanaticism changes all the “rules” of democracy and makes it otherwise. At least they considered it and gave it a try. That is more than most folks. To start with the “lies” and they are sentencing other dogs to “death” bile is destructive, but you went right there.

    The article from Reuters, NYT and AP shows that your accusations of “lies” are wrong. You owe an apology. But you never will.

  • Susan

    You are paranoid, Christine. Breath.

  • Christine


    When opponents start throwing personal insults and twisting words it becomes clear who has won the argument.

    I fail to see how my speaking out for animals is offensive to a family who has lost a child in Iraq and I’m sorry that you think I am “paranoid” and “fanatical” for my belief that animals deserve equal consideration.

    I’m not sure how these issues are relevant to the point at hand: Obama rejected a shelter dog and the consequences of this decision will be far reaching.

    I think it’s fantastic that you do rescue work for animals. Thank you.
    However, it’s really unfortunate that someone who claims to be so interested in animals would choose to attack people who are simply trying to give them voice.

  • Susan

    You think you are giving a “voice” to animals? You are “giving a voice” that doesn’t serve them. Naming your tone and tactics isn’t “insulting: or “twisting”–your fanatic approach is quite clear for all to see. So no winner, my dear. Game still in play, current set.

  • A.J.

    Christine, amen. I agree 100 percent.

    Susan, You can sling insults and call others “fanatical” all you want, but just look at who’s completely losing it here. Iraq? Two posts from now you’ll be bringing Hitler into the argument, and that that point it will be clear that you lost. Just kidding – kind of. But seriously, once you start flailing enough to invoke “a parent who has lost a child in Iraq” in a thread that has nothing to do with Iraq, it’s clearly time to take a deep breath and try to calm down a little so that make you can make some logical points about the topic at hand.

  • L

    Looks like another one of those unproductive back and forth rhetorical arguments that have little bearing in reality, eh? How about instead of trolling a blog for an argument, we all go an *do* something to change whatever ails us? :)


  • Libby Stone

    A returned dog IS a rescue dog. It is getting a second chance. It is being re-homed. To complain that the dog didn’t come from a shelter is just as silly as complaining to me the cat I found outside and rescued at 10 days old didn’t come from a shelter. Where we find the homeless pet is not the issue. What’s important is that we give them a stable, loving home.

  • Colleen

    The purebred dog industry orginated in this country as an attempted status symbol for middle class white people who thought a purebred dog made them look rich or special.

    The purebred dog industry is very elitist

    It is sad to see Obama chasing after those values

    (By the way, there is NO such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. That is a breeder sales tactic)

    And as for the AKC Obama is now promoting (with Teddy Kennedy) these two didn’t do their homework

    The AKC makes most of its money registering PUPPY MILL DOGS.

    Google search “akc puppy mills”

    They support horrible abuse, and AKC lobbies with the puppy mill breeders to fight against humane laws.

    All so breeders like Obama’s can have expensive dog shows and get dog sales promoted!

    VERY sad.

    Here’s the AKC board member who does the puppy mill business. A pro-animal abuse fanatic

    What Obama did is much worse than it seems!

  • Colleen

    Darfur is more irrelevant than animal rescue, Christine? As is the war and global warming? Can you even see how absurd your statement looks in that context? ”

    Christine, Susan is an AKC breeder lobbyist.

    These people always attack ANYONE who points out the problems in the purebred dog world or who supports adoption over dog sales.

    They always do the same thing- try to distract by talking abouty other world problems.

    The breeders are a business lobby that makes a lot of money, and they don’t want the truth getting out!

    Read about Patti Strand, AKC board member and NAIA pro-abuse lobbyist, and see how and why the AKC uses these cheap tactics to hide their money and abuse

  • Colleen

    And by the way Christine, Susan does NOT volunteer for any animal welfare causes.

    She breeds and sells dogs, and runs a lobbying group for dog owners.

    And she doesn’t declare her income nor pay taxes.

    She posts this stuff word for word all over the web, attacking people who dare speak the truth just as she attacked you.

    She wants to intimidate you and silence you.

    There is a lot to hide, which is why she is browbeating you.

  • Lisa

    That dog you posted is a MIX. Pay attention. Then again, the animal rights activists never were ones for using their head. They just like to tell everyone else what to do. I’m glad to see the see the Obama dog issue is exposing this group for the whackos they are. Sad…..

  • Brenda

    So Obama is a liar! What’s new??? Personally, I think they should’ve adopted a cat!

  • gracie99

    This Obama dog controversy has brought out the amazing fact that most people apparently have no idea that animal dander allergies are treatable.

    That’s what allergists do: They treat allergies so that people can recover from them.

    It’s even more amazing that the wealthy and well-educated Obama’s supposedly don’t know that their daughter’s allergy condition is treatable.

    (I don’t believe it, actually. Certainly when she was diagnosed they must have been told that treatment/recovery was an option. This “had to get a purebred because of the allergy” claim is baloney.)

  • Angel Owens

    I have always heard that actions speak louder than words and that every action has a reaction. I am very disappointed because I think they could have made a positive influence on the animal community and they made the selfish choice and now the animals will be paying a price for selfish humans. I love pure breds but I only get homeless dogs. Mutts are better in so many ways. They are not as in-bred as pure-bred dogs. They are loyal and smart. And they have taught me so much. One of mine had been abused so bad they were going to put him to sleep because he was biting. They let me take him home for a test and with love and patients, he has become a very loving part of our family. A lot of people dont know what they are missing and they are just ignorant to the experience of loving a homeless dog. Maybe they were too imbarressed to try something different. They are the ones missing out. Even our president is aloud to be human and make mistakes. I do believe he could have made a big difference. There is a trauma in the animal world because of people afriad of losing money. They say you should not put a price tag on love , but it happens everyday when some one gives up there pet due to insufficient funds. A donation is always nice but being an example is even better when you are in a position of power. He could have made a difference. When there is a leader there will be followers. WHat is good for the goose is good for the gander. Faith with out works is dead.

  • DJ Karma (VegSpinz)

    Gimme a break! Obama is still the man. I’ll bet more people are inspired to adopt a rescue now than before, just because of the controversy this stirred up, and because the Prez made a statement acknowledging the importance of adoption rather than ignoring the whole thing.

  • Pingback: What Could Have Been- Obama Chooses a First Dog | A.G. Out Loud!()

  • Lynn

    Christine, and others,
    Can you please explain the logic by which Obama’s family not adopting one shelter dog will cause many shelter dogs to “pay with their lives”?
    I have read through all the posts, and am trying to understand why so many commenters seem to be enraged and livid.

  • michael


    The logic behind that statement is such that because the Obama family chose to go with a breeder, others will follow instead of rescuing an animal. It’s often true that “First Dogs” rise in popularity among Americans — and people seek to emulate what the President has.

    As a result, dogs in shelters will get passed over.

  • Robert


    And to Queue and others: If this blog were about other broken Obama promises we could certainly discuss them too. They might include lack of transparency in government, inaction on returning civil liberties or on reversal of torture policy. That’s just for starters. But this blog relates to the promise about dog and on animal rescue sentiments in general. So you’re the ones that maybe need to chill.

  • Christine


    4 million plus dogs and cats are put to death every year in shelters because there aren’t enough good homes.

    Therefore, every time someone buys a dog or cat from a breeder/pet store, etc., they are stealing a home that a pet on death row could otherwise get (and perpetuating the cruel breeding industry which continues to pump out millions of dogs and cats despite the fact that millions are sitting in shelters on death row).

    It make no sense to purposely create more dogs and cats when 4 million plus are being killed every year. Breeders and the people who “buy” animals from them are directly to blame for the deaths of shelter animals.

    This is why we say that by buying a pet from a breeder/pet store you are killing a shelter dog.

    As prominent public figure, Obama’s contribution to the death of shelter pets is compounded by the fact that many people will imitate his decision and go out and buy purebred portugese water dogs or other specialty breeds which will in turn cause puppy mills and breeders to breed more of these dogs. All the while dogs in shelters die and many of these purebreed dogs and their offspring will find themselves in shelters.

    It is a vicious cycle that will only end once people stop buying from breeders and pet stores. The only responsible choice is adoption and always spay/neuter!

  • Whoever…

    I have a suggestion to make to all of those Americans (including those in Ecorazzi) that are extremely disappointed with President Obama’s choice!

    Write to him or email him (or his staff) expressing not your anger but your disappointment and explain why you think animals in shelters are going to be hurt by his family’s decision.

    Wouldn’t that be more productive rather than insulting (regardless whether you’re right or not) each other?

    Let’s focus on doing positive things instead of concentrating on negative feelings and emotions…

    I’m just saying…


  • diana

    I voted for Obama, even though I had reservations over Michelle’s full length fur coat and presiding on the board promoting vivisection at the Chicago hospital. The same hospital that Obama gave money to and then her salary increased by $200,000.
    A hypoallergenic dog is a oxymoron. As mentioned, there are too many breeds and mixed breeds that are just as “hypoallergenic” as a Portugese Waterdog. These dogs are at shelters and rescue sites.
    Obama presented himself as a caring, humane candidate that cared for people, environment and animals. Yes, we do hold people to a higher standard that profess these ideals when running for president.
    Now, it will be the “thing” to do-buying a Portugese Waterdog, instead of adopting. Thousands and thousands of animals would have been adopted, if he had made this simple gesture. Now, thousands will be put to death and purebred Portugese will be bred.
    Even if you do not care for the shelter animals, think of the amount of farm animals processed and environmental damage done in the process, just to feed them. Think of those farm animals and their plight.
    Think of the tax dollars needed to take care of strays. Think of a more compassionate and humane White House and United States.
    People, just THINK.

  • Julie Mayr

    Right on Maribel…Ditto on everything you said…Thank you for giving specific examples and where people can see for themselves the availability of hypo-allergenicd purebreds and Mutts that need to be rescued. Even though some are giving valid excuses to defend the First family choice…it doesn’t make it OKAY that they had an excellent opportunity to set a good example and blew it! It was a HUGE TEACHABLE MOMENT and as far as those who say hey…he has more important things on his plate and this shouldn’t be news…let me put it in perspective for you…Since you don’t care about the pet overpopulation problem from a humane caring perspective lets look at it from a fiscal issue…It is your Tax dollars being wasted on euthanizing the dogs that are abandoned at shelters…and don’t think for a minute (right or wrong…Stupid or not) there will be an abundance of breeding Port. Water Dogs by breeders now. Out of Greed cuz…they know people will want what the first family has just like J. Crew is capitalizing and profiting…Just like after The movie 101 Dalmations came out breeders Bred…People bought dalmations as family pets then couln’t manage them and relinquished them to shelters…the same thing happened with Chihuhas…due to movies and Starlets etc. so wether it’s out of love for animals or the almighty dollar…this administration blew it…and it is valid news!

  • Bonnita..Illinois

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a rescue Porti? I have been waiting for two years to rescue one and have had no luck. Good for the Obama’s to pick such a great dog.

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  • sick of phony excuses

    Right now there are 14 homeless portugese water dogs listed on

    And you’re telling us it’s sooo hard to find one? Please!

    Even if there weren’t any of this breed, why not pick from any of the 47 other breeds of “hypo allergetic” dogs?

    Excuses excuses!!

  • Lance E Sloan

    I posted a comment about this in an article about PETA’s letter to the Obama family. While we probably can’t know for sure, it could be difficult to find one of several hypoallergenic breeds at a shelter, let alone a specific breed. The hypoallergenic quality of this dog breed is very important to the Obamas, so I think people just need to lighten up a bit.

    I wouldn’t necessarily call the family’s donation to the Humane Society “damage control”, either. I believe they would have made the donation whether or not they obtained their dog from a shelter. But referring to it in this way makes some negative journalists feel smug, which is apparently all that really matters.

  • Erin @

    Go Christine!

    Don’t let the fat big dog breeders like Susan get you down!

    (I still hate Ted Kennedy)


  • Lynn

    I hear you, and I was aware of the number of animals on “death row”. My take o this is that the public following trends of stars, or of their neighbors has a large part in the tragedy of so many animals living and dying in shelters.
    You gave many excellent arguments for why mixed-breed dogs are a better choice, and I think focusing on the people who will adopt animals with that kind of consideration and regard is the way to go.
    I have always had cats (10 over the year -almost all living to very old age) and all but one of them were from shelters or neighborhood. I love dogs and if I were to have one, I would look in a shelter first, however I would not refuse the gift of a dog that was a good fit for my family, if (and it is so unlikely) someone were to offer such a gift.

  • Ariane

    President Obama did say he would prefer “a mutt like me” from a shelter and I wish they would have done so. But I do understand parents being worried about a child with bad allergies; many parents in that situation don’t allow their children to have a pet at all. And I’m sure one consideration was that if they HAD gotten a mutt from a shelter and then had to give it away because of Malia’s allergies, the kids and the dog would be heartbroken and the public would be attacking them for abandoning the dog.
    Hopefully Malia will do fine and if so, who knows, maybe they’ll decide sometime down the road to get another dog or a cat from a shelter. Hey, I can hope.

    I for one am not going to feel like the world is coming to an end or that I can never vote for Obama because the First Family is giving a home to a 6 month old pup who was unwanted by the family who first had him. I am glad he has a second chance.

  • Patricia

    I really hope that any donations made will go to a humane society that actually shelters dogs and cats. HSUS does some good works in other areas, but the organiation DOES NOT have a single animal shelter, so a donation to them wouldn’t directly help shelter animals.

  • Erin Raw foods retreat

    Lynn I totally agree with you and yes, if I were offered a dog from a friend who were a great fit for my family I might think twice before refusing and getting one from the pound instead. I might agree to take this dog… EXCEPT if I were the president of the United States of America. And I knew that this would cause (some think thousands millions?) to go out and buy pure breds. In that case as one of the most popular presidents EVER (and first black prez etc) I would decline.


  • SusieQ

    I am very disappointed in the anger and hatred and self-righteousness in these postings. Did anyone accomplish anything or change anyone’s mind? This vile behavior is a symptom of the lack of respect people have for one another. I love dogs. I just love dogs.

  • Carly Goodman

    I look forward to the Republicans seizing this opportunity to revitalize the party by becoming the animal and environmental group. Why not switch it up a bit? Rush Limbaugh is going in ‘the right’ direction with his HSUS ads. If Obama won’t deliver hope for shelter animals, maybe Rush will!

  • Marie Jones

    Obama blew it, he is a jerk in my mind now. He lied in order to get votes. Do you think Biden would have gone out and purchased a German Shepard from a known puppy mill if his new boss really opposed it. Neither of these idiots will ever get my vote again. And to the woman who thinks we animal activists are being melodramatic, you need to get a clue and realize Obama just gassed millions of dogs to death by his lame decision. Dope!!

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