Tales from the Trail

First Dog tradition to continue under Obama

November 5, 2008

WASHINGTON – Worry not dog lovers, the White House will still have a “First Dog” under a Barack Obama administration.******Obama had promised that whether or not he won the White House, his daughters Sasha and Malia could get a dog.******”Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine.  And you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us,” Obama said at the start of his victory speech. ******His predecessors dating back several administrations had dogs and yes, a few cats occupied the White House too.******Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, is also getting in on the act. He told reporters traveling with him earlier that his wife had promised him a “big dog” if he got elected.******Jill Biden had taped pictures of different dogs on the back of the seat in front of him on his campaign plane to inspire the candidate as he criss-crossed the country in the final sprint to election day.******”Jill had said the only way you are getting a dog is if you are president … we didn’t think about vice president,” said Biden. “She said at least if you live in the White House you are home.”******He dropped out of the presidential race but when Obama asked him to join the ticket, his wife Jill said if he did so she would let him have the dog he wanted.******Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.******- Additional reporting by Sue Pleming******- Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama family emerges on stage at victory rally in Chicago)

Comments
58 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I think you should get a wheaten terrier. They are hypo-allergenic and you’ll never have a more loving and loyal dog!

Posted by EM | Report as abusive
 

The family should go together to the SPCA and find a young dog, not a puppy, who connects with them all.

Posted by Peggy Stewart | Report as abusive
 

The first family should definitely get a dog from a rescue group or shelter.

Posted by christie | Report as abusive
 

I am fostering two rescue puppies, they are min pin, chihuahua, pug mixes- perfect dogs for the White House. They are very cute puppies.Please consider adoption a rescue instead of a breeder.www.dfwpugrescue.org

Posted by Marie | Report as abusive
 

A beautiful family, but they should get two dogs (one for each of those girls) and I hope they will adopt from a shelter. Sometimes a little more effort, but always a blessing. The adults would be sad to know how many millions of perfectly wonderful dogs are euthanized every year because no one will take responsibility for even one of them.

Posted by Sandra | Report as abusive
 

I hope they adopt dogs from kill shelters and not puppy mill dogs. Attention dogs…starting wagging and looking cute!!!

Posted by CAT | Report as abusive
 

Rescued Greyhounds would be perfect in the White House! One for each girl! Greyhounds are affectionate, loyal, clean, beautiful, easy going and always ready for that photo-op. So many retired racers need good homes, then provide loving companionship for many years. Please adopt a Greyhound!

 

Congradulations Obama…You’ll Make A GREAT PRESIDENT. You Have A Beautiful Family, And So Sorry You Lost Your Grandmother. She Is Watching You, and Is So Proud. Good-Luck…and Rock On!!!

Posted by Rhonda | Report as abusive
 

How about a retired racing greyhound? They make amazing pets and need a good home once they are no longer racing.

 

I hope the Obamas AND the Bidens’ adopt a beautiful retired greyhound —- for the Obamas – no puppy potty training and for the Bidens —- a Big Dog! It’s a win/win situation.

Posted by Kathy in Colorado | Report as abusive
 

Just make sure it isn’t a saint francis terrier with lipstick.

Posted by B | Report as abusive
 

I hope that the Obama’s consider adopting a retired racing greyhound. Not only will they have the singular experience of living with a dog who is uniquily able to adapt well to their busy lifestyle; they will find themselves in the company of one who bonds closely to thier family and has a great appreciation for all that thier new life will bring.Greyhounds have a long, colorful history. The greyhound is a dog capable of both great elagance and sheer goofiness, yet on an international scale, they are needing so much help.Greyhounds make an appearance, and quite an impression, in the film, “Charlie Wilson’s War”. In the real world, author JK Rowling adoped a greyhound for her family last year.In an administration that will urge Americans to make a difference in every part of their lives, adopting a retired racing greyhound will show that the First Family is “walking the walk”. The First Family will learn first hand the experience of deciding to help a greyhound ultimately finding the adopters realizing that they are the ones who gain the most by that choice.There are many misconceptions about greyhounds, such as that they are high energy and require a lot of room. I urge the Obama’s to research, and contact a greyhound adoption group who will help them learn the facts, and help them find the perfect greyhound to join them in the White House.

 

Get the true american dog: A rescue mutt! It would be a wonderful statement to the nation and a great way to start off the presidency on a positive note!Please consider adoption and opening your home to a homeless dog!

Posted by Hanna Sandstrom Barton | Report as abusive
 

Paws and Prayers Rescue Organization can hook the girls up with a great puppy. I personally suggest a mutt.Dana

 

The girls are allergic. They have to get a hypo-allergenic dog, so it probably won’t be from a shelter.

Posted by M | Report as abusive
 

How about a Basenji? They originate from Africa too. And since they don’t bark there is less risk of disrupting a cabinet meeting.

Posted by Randy L. | Report as abusive
 

The girls are allergic to dog dander, so the dog must be one that has hair, not fur. It limits the choices and, unfortunately, probably precludes a shelter dog or greyhound. Two dogs sound like a good idea.

Posted by sally | Report as abusive
 

Even before the election, the Obama’s were saying that they would adopt a rescue dog. Gotta admire that.

 

I really hope they rescue a dog from the pound. I have 2 dogs which we rescued from the street because some one could not handle them anymore and just abandoned them.

Posted by Ana | Report as abusive
 

A retired greyhound is a great choice. They are actually good for people with allergies and great with children. They are so loving and calm. GREYHOUND!!

Posted by Tina | Report as abusive
 

Since the girls are allergic, they should get a Bichon Frise. They are hypo allergenic, loving, loyal, beautiful and intelligent. They are hams, too, so they would love the photo ops!

Posted by Sharon Arnst | Report as abusive
 

Let us all hope and trust that the Obamas will remain true to their earlier word and adopt a rescue/shelter dog. It may take a bit more searching to find the perfect, non-allergenic dog for them, but this is a good way to set a positive first example and to make the most humane choice.

Posted by Jennifer | Report as abusive
 

If hypo-allergenic is necessary, then they should adopt a Bichon Frise or 2. There are rescue groups for Bichons and they are very good with children.

Posted by Nathan | Report as abusive
 

CORGI IN THE WHITE HOUSE. HELL YEAH.

Posted by jeff b | Report as abusive
 

They should get a West Highland Terrier. Hypoallergenic, adorable, very energetic, small. Westies also look very presidential.

Posted by westielover | Report as abusive
 

maltese … hypoallergenic, great with kids, loving, and SO cute!!!

Posted by amy | Report as abusive
 

I would second (or third!) the comments that a retired racing greyhound would be an awesome and regal addition to the White House. Greyhounds make GREYT pets!

Posted by Tessa Pope | Report as abusive
 

The Obamas have talked about getting a “hypoallergenic” dog. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a truly non-allergenic or hypoallergenic dog. Dogs (and cats for that matter) produce allergenic proteins that can be found in their dander and saliva, regardless of their breed or the length and color of their hair, or lack thereof. Some may produce more – or less – allergens than others simply because of their individual nature. Allergen immunotherapy may be an option for those who wish to be desensitized to such allergens.

 

I am willing to give the first family kids a Lhasa apso puppy champion parents!

Posted by amy | Report as abusive
 

YES! It’s going to be a rescued dog!Now how about choosing a “pit bull” type dog? Has the White House ever seen an American Staffordshire Terrier or American Pit Bull Terrier? The biggest plus would be for the dogs – there is no such thing as a good or bad breed. Secondly, many of these dogs are extremely versatile. The top Therapy Dogs I have trained have all been rescued from shelters and are about 60% pit bull mixes, 20% Golden Retriever mixes, and 20% other mixes (Labs, Rotties, Dobies, Greyhounds, etc.).Versatility. They tend to be loving couch potatoes with extremely high pain thresholds: ideal dogs for kids, crowds, and being accidentally trod on. They’re loyal and responsive, yet I’ve seen many an irate owner dump the family “guardian pit bull” because it’s just so friendly. On the other paw, let’s say the girls become interested in canine activities – including Therapy Dog work, canine acting, frisbee, freestyle, advanced training, or even (long down the road) K-9 Search & Rescue. The pit bull is generally game for anything its family thinks is fun. And the same steady gameness that makes it the perfect Therapy Dog or boar hunter means it can do ANYTHING its family asks of it!I’m not a biased “pit bull person”. I don’t even have one. I’ve adopted 2 Golden Retrievers and a Basenji (Congo Dog – somewhat hypoallergenic). All three are AKC Canine Good Citizens, two are highly skilled Therapy Dogs, and one of these is dual-training in Search & Rescue. I simply advocate lack of discrimination and have rescued quite a few “pit bull” type dogs, successfully training them as childrens’ pets and Therapy Dogs.Please! Help ALL underdogs by returning the original All-American family dog to favour!

Posted by Therapy Dog Handler | Report as abusive
 

He should get Westie! Also hypo-allergenic and really cool dogs. And he could go to the Maryland Westie Rescue which is not far from DC.

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive
 

They should get an eco-friendly doghouse! I heard that they’re considering one from Sustainable Pet Design. These doghouses have green roofs and filter the air, so might help a bit with the asthma issue.

Posted by Kat | Report as abusive
 

I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A PITBULL IN THE WHITE HOUSE

Posted by DENNIS DIONNE | Report as abusive
 

I hope they get a mix breed mutt that has special needs. This would show that you don’t need to pick a dog based on it’s looks, but on which dogs need to be adopted the most. Caring for all dogs, not just the cute one’s, is what one should be thing about when it comes to adopting!

 

Vizsla. I know there may be reservations (Dana Perrino has one; Henry) but these dogs have no undercoat, are easily trained, and LOVE children. There are several rescue organizations that probably know of just the right pup….

Posted by Nancy | Report as abusive
 

He should get an American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier (same thing anyways). They are great dogs and it would definitely help the breed regain the good image it deserves…aka the “American icon” and “war hero” (after the Pit Bull hero Sgt. Stubby).

Posted by JLP | Report as abusive
 

The Obama family won’t be using the dog as a breeding animal or showing it. So therefore, no need to get a pedigreed purebred dog. If this is strictly a pet, a rescue dog is the way to go. Unless there is a vital allergy issue, rescue animals are the best option, really.

Posted by Eva | Report as abusive
 

I second (third? fourth?) a vote for a rescued pit!He/She would defend those little girls to the death (heaven forbid). Fantastically loyal breed.A girl pit named ‘Lipstick’.Pits certainly arent any more dangerous than the current dog in the White House :P http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAKfEoT cMaY

 

I think he should adopt a pitbull puppy. It would help to dispare the unfare breed hatred and show that upbringing is more important than breeding. There is no more American dog. There are more pitbulls in need of adoption then any other breed.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive
 

For a child with allergies, a Schnauzer makes a great pet. They are lovable, and smart (easily trained).

 

Malia being allergic to dogs doesn’t rule out getting a shelter dog. Although the majority of dogs are mixed breeds at shelters there are still purebreds there too.That, or go through a RESCUE that specialized in purebreds.They should make a list of all hypoallergenic dogs and then work with a rescue.What about Mainline Rescue that Oprah did the puppy mill special on? Wonder what dogs they have?

Posted by Rescuemom | Report as abusive
 

I think either family should adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound.They are wonderfull dogs, very much couch potatoes, and “velcro” dogs–they will stick to the family, and want to go everywhere they go.A retired Greyhound is often older, so you don’t have to go through puppyhood and all those toils and turmoils. Retired Greyhounds are also generally good on a leash, and pottytrained!Big dog, attaches easily to a family, generally gentle with children. I think that each of the Obama girls should have one–it’s really hard to only have one Retired Racer.Biden would also enjoy having a Retired Racing Greyhound with him, in my opinion.

Posted by Stacy | Report as abusive
 

Come on people, I think there are more important things to worry about besides a dog? The rest of the world already consider us weaklings but this is just another testement to the spoiled American people. Get over the dog!!!!

Posted by karen | Report as abusive
 

I think a Cairn Terrier would be perfect. They like the “Westies” are hypoallergenic, also adorable, smart easy to train, and very energetic, they love kids. I rescued 2 myself from CTCA Rescue, in Crystal Lake, IL. There are so many wonderful Cairn’s available to rescue. They come in many colors, I have 2 wheaten girls. Think Toto!

 

Dachshunds are great pets, and the short hair breeds are indeed hypoallergenic. There are several dachshund rescue shelters across the country. They are playful, loyal, and always bring a smile to people that meet them.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive
 

We choose to look at “Mutts’ as having the best of all traits working together! There are fantastic hypoallergenic dogs ie: Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, Cockapoos, etc, that are amazing pets, great with kids (we know, we own a Labradoodle), and are available (like all other dog breeds, mutts included) at shelters. We have a website that celebrates these awesome dogs, and have a link on our Links page that will take you directly to a shelter that specializes in the “Hybrid Mutts” Of course if the shelters are not the way President Elect Obama decides to go, we have very responsible breeder information there on the Links page as well. Whatever dog the Obama family decides on will be adored by all! Congratulations to the Obama family!

 

Top Ten reasons the Obamas should consider adopting a greyhound:1. They look as stately as the new president and first lady2. They will comport themselves with dignity at state functions3. They won’t bark during press conferences4. They will stand quietly for photo shoots5. They will happily spend their time sleeping while Malia and Sasha are in school6. They are the ultimate in promoting recycling: these one-time racing dogs make perfect pets7. America is a place where all things are possible and greyhounds survive–and thrive–against impossible odds, becoming loving pets and flyball champions and couch potatoes8. They are the living embodiment of peace and serenity9. Among our ideals–democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope–greyhounds demonstrate the ability, the unyielding hope, for a new and better life.10. Whether you get a labradoodle or some other dog, greyhounds make great second dogs. . . .Yes We Can–put a greyhound in the White House!(There are no red greyhounds; there are no blue greyhounds–except red fawn dogs and blue dogs–but in the end, there are only good greyhounds, united in an America willing to find them homes.)check out our blog for a free downloadable poster…

 

I think they should get a cairn terrier. They are Hypoallergenic dogs and they are so cute. I have one they are very good with kids if they are raised with them and are quite easy to train, i have taught mine 15 tricks or so.

 

How about a PUG. While not hypoallergenic, they are compact and lovable. If sticking with hypoallergenic how about a Kerry Blue Terrier.

Posted by Lucy Orta | Report as abusive
 

I think the Obamas should get a Westie ,they are hypo allergic an wonderful with children .We had a westie named Ollie for 17years, they are little dogs who think they are big dogs and so smart and cute !! Ollie Obama for first dog!! Snowball is a great name too!

 

Let’s let the Obama girls decide what breed of dog they want and be happy with their decision. This dog will be, of course, their pet.

 

A good dog for the Obama’s would be a Portuguese Water Dog! The fact that they are medium size about 40-45 pounds would help them stay out from underfoot. No yapping little barks. No chance of being bitten by little dogs, especially when little kids are around.PWD’s are smart, easy trained, hypo-allergenic, and non shedding. They come in all kinds of colors and two different coat types (wavy and curly). Ted Kennedy has a couple of Porties, so they are already part of the Democratic party.A good choice all the way around!

Posted by kathy | Report as abusive
 

NOT ONE dog !!!TWO dogs, Dogs are pack animals.ONE is the loneliest number.TWO girls, TWO dogs.When you all are away, they will be together.Ask The Dog Listener.

 

I hope they choose the # 1 AKC Breed the Yorkshire Terrier. They are all so lovable and cute. The best dog for Joe Biden would be the Yellow Labrador Retriever

Posted by Robert Bodey | Report as abusive
 

I think they would be wise to choose a Carin Terrier for those girls..These little toto dogs (wizard Of Oz) are non alergentic, non sheading,cuddly,loveing, and loads of fun little dogs especially with kids they grow up with..They are alert and smart.They have a personility that keeps you laughing and a face to always get their way. You don’t have to really train them much as they pick up on what the rotine is and will eventually remind you of the scedules. Mary, Queen of Scotts, owned one of the first Carin terriers bred in the 15th century, actually.abit hyper as puppies (not a problem with kids) but grow into perfect family members..

 

They should definately consider the Coton du Tulear, a hypo allergenic dog with a coat like cotton (hence the name).Loyal, playful, love to perform tricks, yet can swim and hike for miles. Not yappy, rather a big dog personality in a cute little package.Looks very much like a Maltese or Bichon but, I think, cuter with better personalities.

 

I have allergy sufferers in my family. Allergies are very individual and the breed that works for one person, won’t for another allergy sufferer. A trial period might be in order. Also, it is not hair, but dander and bodily fluids (like drool) that cause allergies. Thus, size matters, the bigger the dog the more dander. A smaller dog might work out better in the long run. As much as we each have our favorite breed, mix or designer dog hybrid to each his own. Best suggestions I have are something with curly or wirey coat that is smaller, rather than large. Also, allergies are less likely to act up if the bedroom is kept as a pet-free zone. I know that is hard for some of us pet lovers to conceive, but then the allergy sufferer gets 6-8 hours out of every 24 away from any triggers. I’m all for doing everything possible to keep this a life-long commitment of pet ownership and love for that presidential pup.

Posted by MFA | Report as abusive
 

We have a papillon that we adopted 6 (almost 7 years) ago. She has a wonderful disposition, isn’t too big (about 12 lbs) and very lovable and loyal, also not at all yappy and very smart. I’d like to see a papillon in the White House & think a papillon would make an excellent pet for anyone.

Posted by Frances Thomas | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/