The Wrong First Dog: Obama Should Have Gotten the Puppy From a Rescue

He could and should have adopted a dog from a shelter.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

There was no news this weekend so the president's selection of a puppy for his daughters made worldwide headlines. The puppy is, of course, adorable and all Americans wish the girls well with this dog. But it was also a missed opportunity for President Obama to show his compassion:

While this new, cute (and hypoallergenic) first bundle of canine love prepares to move into his new home at the White House this Tuesday, shelters and rescue organizations across the country including Adopt-a-Pet.com are expressing disappointment at the Obamas' choice to acquire a dog from a breeder — a decision that is in sharp contrast to the President's earlier pledge to adopt from a shelter.

First, he should not have promised he'd adopt a shelter dog if he didn't plan to keep his promise. Second, there are so many fabulous dogs, cats, etc. in need of homes, who will end up killed/euthanized instead, that adopting a shelter dog would have been a painless goodwill gesture by the family. And since the president said earlier that one of his daughters has allergies, there are breed rescue societies that rescue and make available for adoption every single breed in the American Kennel Club. I have two Dalmatians from a Dalmatian rescue group in Illinois.

Could the Obamas have found a rescue Portuguese Water dog? Effortlessly, I say. Instead, as usual, Mr. Obama did the politically expedient thing and took a dog from a breeder offered to them by Sen. Ted Kennedy.

"This is a missed opportunity to set a pet-adoption trend among Americans," says Abbie Moore, executive director of Adopt-a-Pet.com. "With pet relinquishment up 20 to 30 percent due to the poor economy, pets in shelters can use all the help they can get."

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