Most dogs go to the vet, but it's only the presidential pooch who goes through vetting. That's the humorous message of the illustration by Barry Blitt on the cover of The New Yorker which arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Seeing the cover of one of the nation's most widely read magazines, I knew there was no doubt that Obama's pick for First Dog has captivated the attention of the animal-loving public.
Next week, millions of Americans who open their funny pages will see another artistic take on the subject--this time with the important message of shelter adoption. Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip MUTTS, will run a series of strips Monday through Saturday (Dec. 8-13) honoring the Obama family's decision to adopt a rescued dog. As Earl the dog tells Mooch the cat, "it could inspire everyone to get a dog or cat from their local shelter!" Here's a sneak preview of next week's strip, courtesy of Patrick.
MUTTS is syndicated in more than 700 newspapers in 20 countries, and the stories often include important animal protection issues. Just before the election, MUTTS featured a series of strips reaching millions of California voters on the importance of Proposition 2 and the humane treatment of farm animals, and you can read my interview with Patrick here. Animal shelters, too, are not a new subject for Patrick, who has been spreading the word about pet adoption for years, including in his book Shelter Stories: Love. Guaranteed.
So pick up your daily newspaper next week and join MUTTS in celebrating the Obama family's puppy pick. With the president-elect's example, we can all be inspired to bring hope and change to the homeless dogs and cats at animal shelters, just waiting for a second chance and a loving home. As Mooch says, "Yesh, we can!"