Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The newest O, Bo...(the first dog)!

Finally, the newest Obama has arrived at the White House...and it appears he's already bonded with the President...

photo of President Obama running with dog Bo by Pete DeSouza

Photo by Pete DeSouza.

Seems the Portugese Water Dog is a good choice for this athletic family! However, I wish the naysayers grousing about the Obamas not getting the dog from a shelter would calm down --he said that he would prefer to get a shelter dog, but didn't guarantee that the dog would come from one. Bo was returned to the breeder because the original owner couldn't keep him, so the Obamas are Bo's second family--what more can you ask for? Sheesh! (How soon we forget that he recently posed with "Baby" to encourage people to get dogs from shelters whenever possible in the A Rare Breed of Love campaign.)photo of Barack Obama holding the dog Baby As much as I admire the work of the Humane Society and other organizations, I wish they'd concentrate more on helping people keep their pooches and kitties, which would greatly reduce the numbers of critters in shelters. It's much more complex than simply spay or neuter your pet, important as these measures may be, as recent economic pressures have forced many to give up their four-legged loved ones (such as having to move into housing that doesn't allow pets).

Some of the more common reasons that people give up their pets (not including the aforementioned economic one):

  • Pet behavior, such as soiling the carpet, destroying furniture, or other behavior issues, many of which can be dealt with by training, offered by stores such as Petsmart.
  • Dog is "too" energetic.
  • No time for the dog.

While other reasons are beyond the owners' control, such as illness or death of the owner, many of the others ultimately stem from folks not researching the canine lifestyle in general, not researching particular breeds, and not researching whether a small dog or large dog would better fit your lifestyle (as large breeds tend to have more expensive upkeep [e.g., larger kibble and vet bills], yet don't live as long as smaller pooches).

beloved pembroke welsh corgi sleepingAlso, the policy of shelters not allowing people who don't have fences to adopt a dog is counterproductive. Unfortunately, too many people who have a fence allow their dog to stay outside for far too long; if this is the case with a young dog that is of age to be spayed/neutered (but it hasn't yet been done), it's easy for a dog to slip under the fence to sow its wild oats, so to speak, or for a stray dog to come under your fence to mate with your dog, which are all-too-common scenarios.

The sad fact is that most of the dogs languishing in shelters tend to be medium to large breeds, rather than smaller dogs, which are quickly snapped up when they do arrive. (I know--I've tried--you almost have to conduct a vigil outside a shelter in order to get a small dog [under 30 pounds]; a neighbor who successfully obtained his Benji lookalike from a shelter agreed).

Can't we all get along, and try to help people keep their dogs (dogs that are not being abused, that is), so that the animal shelter population has a reasonable chance of being reduced in the future?

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