Posts Tagged ‘First Dog’


April 15, 2009

It’s official! The Obama family has adopted a pup named Bo. Every journalist, commentator, and blogger will be looking for a unique angle on this fabulous story. Some will extol the virtues of Portugese Water Dogs compared to other breeds. Others will write about reputable breeders versus puppy mills, mutts versus purebreds, positive versus negative reinforcement training techniques, and even which pair of White House slippers will be the first to fall prey to puppy shenanigans.

Here’s what’s important to me about the “BObama story.” Although they may not know it yet, by saying, “yes” to a family dog, Michelle and Barack Obama will be providing their daughters with a gift of a lifetime! As the mother of three children who grew up with dogs, and as a veterinarian who has enjoyed countless wonderful stories of kids and their dogs, I predict the following for the First Family:

-Bo will be a “keeper of secrets” for Malia and Sasha when they are not sure anyone else can be trusted.

-The girls will turn to Bo for unconditional approval when they are feeling judged by the world around them.

-Bo will be allowed in the girls’ bedrooms when their need for privacy precludes all others from entering.

-During the “turbulent teens,” Bo will be the soft fluffy shoulder of choice for Malia and Sasha to cry on.

-When Mom and Dad are deemed to be utterly embarrassing, Bo will remain in Malia’s and Sasha’s good graces.

-When the girls leave home for college they will miss their mom and dad, but they will pine for Bo.

The President and First Lady are bound to be in store for some “Bo headaches” such as accidental puddles, over exuberance with White House visitors, and the creation of fringe on unfringed area rugs. Such nuisances will pale in comparison with the incredible reward of observing the giving and receiving of unconditional love in one of its purest forms- that which defines the relationship between a child and a dog.

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. SPEAKING FOR SPOT is available at, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

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Who will become the new first dog?

November 7, 2008

Who will become the new first dog?

Barack Obama made a lot of promises during his many campaign speeches. Let’s hope he keeps the promise he made to two of his most ardent supporters, namely his daughters. President-elect Obama vowed that, once the dust settles, the first family would open their home and hearts to a dog.

The ideal first dog would need to be a goodwill ambassador- welcoming people of all shapes, sizes, and colors to the White House (this would include news reporters, a lesson Barney Bush seemed to have missed out on). He would need to be adaptable- able to be on his best behavior whether in the Rose Garden, on Air Force One, or in the oval office. Starting with an adult dog who has a proven track record might make better sense than dealing with issues of house soiling and destructive behaviors that go hand-in-hand with raising a puppy.

A number of breeds would certainly fit the bill in terms of having the attributes of the ideal family dog. Apparently, Malia Obama is allergic to dogs, so the Obama’s are leaning towards breeds that are considered to be “hypoallergenic”. Word has it that a Poodle or Poodle-mix is in the running. Regardless of breed, I’m dubious that allergies will become an issue- the new first dog will likely be bathed so frequently (I suspect the new pup will have a full time nanny) that any allergy-producing danders will likely be washed down the drain.

My hope is that the Obamas find a dog that fits in with the multicultural nature of the upcoming presidency. Rather than choosing a purebred dog, I hope they will be smitten by a mixed breed. I would just love to see a mutt in the White House!