Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Later there's a Whitehouse press conference on the new American first dog.
It'll introduce a very cute six month old Portuguese Water Dog called Bo. Not really a rescue, but a little bit recycled - so a compromise between ethics and cuteness. Bo went back to his breeder after his first home didn't work out. (They already had an older dog that couldn't accept Bo.)
More controversially, Bo has been away being trained to be a 'little gentleman', rather than being trained in situ by the family. Ideally Bo should be bonding and living with his people, but it is an unusual situation.
How many proper dog people would sell the Obamas a dog? They'd struggle to get approved to take on a rescue dog from most of our national charities. Kids under 12? Both parents working? Lots of overseas travel.... "sorry, nothing suitable."
Little Bo will need some pretty good dog carers around as I suspect establishing anything like a normal routine is going to be pretty tricky otherwise.
And about the choice of breed, isn't it a little testing for a first dog? Not just as the Presidential First Dog, just as a breed to be anyone's first dog?
While the name of the breed sounds a bit like a gundog the dogs were actually used to herd birds into nets - a little like the Nova Scotia Duck Tollers. So a combo of herding and gundoggy? Sounds a bit like a Border Collie x Springer to me... dynamite on the activity levels if the working instincts are strong.
Wonder what shape the Oval office would be in after a bit of doggie DIY?
What other negatives are there with what is a numerically very small breed?
All the American PWD can trace their roots back to 31 dogs!
I do hope the family are going to appoint a good progressive dog advisor. A small gene pool and known autoimmune concerns? I'd be looking at feeding and vaccination regimes carefully as well as stress levels. If MHC erosion is the problem they'll really need to watch those environmental triggers.
Whatever happens Bo will live a very public life in the Whitehouse... perhaps this little dog will heighten awareness of inbreeding issues?
Autoimmune blights my breed and it's ghastly.
PWD get Addisions - found in animals and in people - ironically John F. Kennedy also lived with the disease. There's the usual eye, hip and elbow problems together with some more unusual nasties like Puppy Heart Disease, hair loss at two or three years old particularly if two curly dogs are bred together, and the very nasty neurological GM-1 storage disease - but as that's usually fatal by five months, Bo looks to have side-stepped that one.
I'm guessing this dog has already had every possible test and the breeder and the line has been closely examined.
So with all those months of contemplation, did the Obamas make the right choice?
I'm sure they'll love Bo to bits, who wouldn't. We all love the dog we're with despite any health concerns.