Obamas narrow choices on family dog

January 11, 2009

USA/WASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama says his family’s decision about a family dog has been more difficult than choosing a new Commerce secretary, but he, his wife and daughters are getting closer to a decision.
“We’re closing in on it,” Obama said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”. He said his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, had decided they wanted a medium-sized dog and were looking closely at a labradoodle or a Portuguese water hound.
Obama also said the girls wanted a shelter dog.
The president-elect promised his daughters during the campaign that whether he won or lost the election, he would grant their wish for a dog.
Their choices of dog breeds are limited because they need to pick one that is hypoallergenic because of Malia’s allergies.
“This has been tougher than finding a Commerce secretary,” Obama said. His initial pick for that post, Bill Richardson, withdrew from consideration saying a legal inquiry in his home state would have complicated his Senate confirmation for the job.
The Obamas, who are staying at the posh Hay-Adams hotel across from the White House and will move into the executive mansion in just over a week, are also looking at local Washington churches.
The Obamas used to attend the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, but left after a controversy developed over controversial comments by Trinity’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
“One of the things that Michelle and I will be doing is probably visiting some churches and seeing what’s comfortable,” Obama said.
“It is tougher as president,” adding that visiting churches can be difficult because of security involved when he goes anywhere within Washington.
“You don’t want to subject your fellow church members, the rest of the congregation, to being magged (walking through metal detectors) every time you go to church. And so, we’re going to try to be balancing, not being disruptive to the city, but also saying we want to be part of Washington D.C.,” Obama said.

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– Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama family visits the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 10.)


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Being the owner of a Portuguese Water Dog, I am thrilled that they are interested in this remarkable breed.
I understand that a shelter dog or mutt would be a wonderful statement and wonderful dog! But, when you have an allergy to dogs you need one that is hypoallergenic. A Labradoodle, which is truly a mutt, has some labrador in it, thus the word labradoodle. Labradors are great dogs, but have fur not hair and thus are NOT hypoallergenic.
PWDs are amazing dogs. Smart, loyal comedians, clever, and wanting to learn! Any one who puts the time into training this breed and growing with the dog is in for the experience of a lifetime! Just ask Ted Kennedy! He has two of these wonderful dogs!

Posted by Buffy Nicolas | Report as abusive

Getting a shelter dog would create so much publicity and many would follow their lead. They aren’t the first or most active for this cause. But they’re under such a microscope… Choosing a breed for Obama is a global news story. It would be great to see that same kind of publicity given to shelter animals.

Posted by Michael Harvey | Report as abusive

As a Portuguese Water Dog (PWD) owner, I, too, am thrilled that they are considering this breed. My only concern is the Obamas’ ability to locate one at a shelter — PWDs are very much in demand (or at least they were when we purchased our dog, Henry, 11 years ago). I would have loved to have located a PWD at a shelter, but I doubt I could have found one there. All the best to the Obamas in their search, but the last thing we need is to start off with a scandal, where the PWD Club of North America “places” a PWD puppy at a shelter, to be adopted by the First Family! We do not need “PWDgate”.

Posted by john lamb | Report as abusive

I agree but Porti’s require a master and are loyal to their master. I doubt Barack will have the time for it. They are great dogs, but you know they were bred to Jump so they will jump on everybody. But the Porti’s friendly personality will liven up the White House.

Posted by Will | Report as abusive


Posted by Luke | Report as abusive

Try a Habanese; my sister has one and even though it’s just a little yapping lapdog it has a lot of character, is quite empathetic, and is hypoallergenic to boot.

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

How is this news?

Posted by Huh | Report as abusive

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Posted by Obama Confirms Dog Will Come From Shelter! | Go Green Park | Report as abusive

If he takes this long to pick out a mutt – how long is he going to take when the red phone rings.

Posted by Greg M | Report as abusive

To answer “Luke” and “Huh”, um, this isn’t news. It’s a blog page you’re on. If you saw this as under www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/…., yeah, go feel free to complain. Seeing this under blogs.reuters.com/…, you’re just whining. Granted, you have the right to whine, just understand that that’s all you’re doing.

Heh, with respect to finding a purebred PWD, you guys are right, finding one at a shelter would be hard, but I’ll bet many shelters out there are going through their inventory, hoping they have one to offer the Obamas!

Posted by Mitch T | Report as abusive

The mother in law is moving in dog enough for you. I mean come on the President and his wife can not even take care of their family in the Whitehouse without Mama tagging along who is going to care for the dog? What kind of mess are we in for?

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Why not skip the whole first dog thing and make Mr. Slave the white house mascott? Watch South Park…he’s a loyal, playful breed. With Mr. Slave to help around the house, Obama would be free of the criticism that he can’t run the country and look after his family! It would help build bridges to the LGBT community, fully answer the question, “Who has Obama’s back,” and show he’s not afraid to rule with an iron hand. “Mr. Slave the slave” would be the perfect, if somewhat belated, foil to Joe the Plumber and has so much more street cred. Plus all the founding fathers had one!

Posted by joe southside | Report as abusive

The Portuguese Water Dog lobby has a connection to Obama: DNC delegate Gaye Pollitt. SFReeper.com has the interview:
http://www.sfreeper.com/2009/01/19/portu guesewaterdog/

Posted by Maassive | Report as abusive