Introducing to the world stage, Bo Obama, the new Portuguese Water Dog and First Dog of the United States. As an advocate for breed rescue since 1999, not dating Lucky Diamond (a purebred Maltese that likes to keep her age an urban myth) or anything else for that matter. But yes, (I have the same hypoallergenic issues that Malia Obama has and can relate when considering adopting a pet) simultaneously I realized a need to promote animal adoption and rescue, and thus led to creating the premiere pet lifestyle company in the country Animal Fair Media promoting fairness to animals.
Lucky's story goes like this: I put the word out to celebrity dog trainer Bash Dibra (famous for training Mariah Carey, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, and Barbara Walter's dogs) and he came to my rescue when he delivered a dog named Chloe (yes Lucky's real name), a purebred hypoallergenic Maltese which would have cost me over $2,000, if I bought her from a breeder or pet store. Never will I really know who gave her up for adoption (the best kept secret in the pet world), Bash just won't tell me. And the rest as they say, is hound history. Lucky would have been worth every penny spent over the counter, but heck there are close to 5 million animals euthanized in shelters yearly, and saving an animal is priceless.
Certainly the rescue world was wishing the Obamas would walk into a shelter, look into innocent puppy eyes (it would have been a real canine coup d'état if the Obamas chose an older rescue dog), and adopt. This would have made a huge difference to those animals hoping to one day have their own loving doghouse (okay, not every dog can live in the White House - but a dog can dream). But I must give kudos to the Obama family. They researched the best breed that fit their family, they consulted dog lover for life and politically correct friend who has Portuguese Water Dogs, Senator Ted Kennedy, and "adopted" a dog that was returned by its original pet parent. So I guess the Obamas possibly intercepted and rescued a dog before it ended up in a shelter.
Here are our helpful tips on how to adopt a certain breed that is desired for whatever the reason:
1) A lot of people think they need to go to a breeder and spend lots of money if they want a certain breed, but that's not at all true! There are many wonderful rescue groups that cater to specific breeds, where you can adopt the purebred your heart is set on. Breed-specific rescue groups have the advantage of extensive knowledge and experience with their particular breed. They are a great source of information, especially if you're still searching, about their breed and of course about dogs in general.
2) You can start your search in the phone book or online - just look for "rescue + "name of breed." You can also call the Humane Society - they're always willing to help! Whatever breed you're looking for, someone, somewhere has likely formed a rescue society. If you don't immediately find what you're looking for, a rescue for a similar breed can almost always point you in the right direction. Even if they don't have that particular breed, chances are they know who does. Start asking around!
3) When you do find a breed rescue group, get as much info as you can. How do they care for animals? How do they decide who to put up for adoption? How do they decide who can adopt? What is the process for the actual adoption? What services are available post-adoption?
4) Once you actually go meet an animal, find out as much as you can about its history. Where was it rescued from? Has it ever been mistreated? Are there behavioral or medical problems to consider? Has it been spayed or neutered? How is it with other animals? Kids and crowds? Talk to the people at the shelter about the breed and the specific dog, and make absolutely sure that this is the dog for you.
5) Be prepared with the necessary food and accessories, and medical history for your first vet visit. If you have small children, prepare them for interacting with the animal. Be ready to establish rules and schedules for your new family member as you all adjust. Take time to play and bond, and most of all have fun!
Now to the name the Obamas' picked for their new dog - BO!!! As in Bo Diddley, curious - when did Malia and Sasha Obama start listening to Bo Diddley - in a previous lifetime experience at a Blues and Jazz fest? I prefer the name Charlie - Bo the First Dog's original name. As in Charlie Brown, an all-American animated character and icon. I would have thought the girls might name Bo, Miley or Cyrus (although the famed singer is female they could have just used her last name), Jonas (after the hot boy band), something a bit more kid-friendly and generational! But hey - whatever name, whatever breed, congratulations to the Obama family! Please take the time to train Bo Obama yourselves and show America that there is a real binding policy and commitment when having a dog. Hopefully all will see you as respected role models nationwide and a new trend will emerge - real change - when dogs and cats (animals in general) won't be abandoned or left in shelters, all living in loving and caring homes! The dream and hope lives on when one day this country will be No Kill!