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Big fuss over a little puppy
Posted May 15, 2009

It has been a month since the Obamas got their new puppy, Bo, and he seems to be settling in, though there may have been a few puddles on the carpet during the last month.

What’s more, the whole family is happy, especially Malia who suffers from a lot of allergies.

Now, many in the media seem to think that the Obamas not getting a rescued dog is the worst thing ever. However, given their daughter’s allergies, and the limited number of hypoallergenic dogs in the world, is it really practical to expect the family to get a dog from a pound?

Surely the fact that Bo was returned to his breeders and then given to the Obama’s shows how they are willing to give a dog a second start at life.

Personally, I have had dogs from both sides of the argument. We have had a second chance purebred, similar to the position Bo found himself in, and I have had a dog from an animal shelter. Both of these have their pros and their cons.

Our purebred golden retriever was the most laid back, child-friendly dog you could imagine. We knew his age, where he had come from, even his special Kennel Club name.

However, he died at only 5 years old, which is very young, even for a purebred. And he died probably because he was purebred, as Golden Retrievers are known for not being able to wake up from anaesthesia.

If he was a mixed breed, he may have stood a better chance.

My current dog is very mixed, she is whippet, bull terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier, all in one little body. I got her from a shelter not too far from my home, just before my other dog died.

While having a rescue dog is very rewarding, once they realize you are keeping them, they love you forever, it is also very very challenging.

It is impossible to know what these animals have gone through in their lives.

When I first brought her home, she was a nightmare. She ate everything in sight. She jumped on tables to eat whatever was left there.

After a lot of training, I managed to put an end to that habit.

But that is the negative part about rescue dogs, some of them need a lot of retraining and I do not believe that a busy family such as the Obamas have the time to spare, doing away with bad habits and installing good ones.

I have had my rescue dog for 10 years now and she is a happy little thing, in comparison to when we first got her.

What I also find very interesting about the Bo story is who is coming out in support of the family. Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on WSBTV, “And where they got it from – who cares? It’s a nice gesture on Senator Kennedy’s part to give it to them but who cares?”

I totally agree with him. Why should we worry about where the President got Bo? We know it was not a puppy mill. We know he is going to donate to the Humane Society. We know he has given little Bo a loving home.

The first family has done exactly the right thing.

They have highlighted the need for animals to be given homes, they have prevented Bo from ever ending up in a pound and they have made two little girls very, very happy.

Diane Scott, a a visiting international student from Great Britain, is editorial director of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at diane.scott@laverne.edu.