Friday, November 7, 2008

Pound puppies for Obama



President-Elect Barack Obama has a lot of advisors—some he didn't appoint. Notably, the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who are pressuring the President-Elect to choose a "shelter puppy" for his daughters. Back before the Presidential primaries, I evaluated the candidates based on their record on the treatment of animals. I did not have enough information at the time to endorse him fully on those grounds, saying "Barack Obama doesn't have any pets, but he says he plans to give in to the solicitations of his kids and get a dog if he wins the White House. Hmmm. He appears to listen to his constituents. That's encouraging."

I have a very personal reason for wanting the First Family to set an example by adopting an abandoned animal—given that I was once homeless and might have easily perished at the pound in spite of my charm. There are many charming homeless animals for whom there is absolutely no room—mathematics win out in the end.

But whether the Obamas adopt a mutt or purchase a pedigreed pooch (though I'm sure there are plenty of breeders who'd make a gift of one), he has shown great wisdom and maturity regarding pet "ownership" (I hate that word) so far. His stock rose with me when he said that he wanted Sasha and Malia to first understand and accept the responsibility that having a happy, healthy pet demands. He said they must realize that a dog must be cared for even when it's not convenient, for example, that they would be obligated to walk the dog outdoors faithfully, even in inclement weather. Lack of such forethought is the reason many people get a dog, then abandon him when he misbehaves due to lack of training or becomes too much of an "inconvenience." It's unforgivable, but true.

I read one blogger's acerbic condemnation of people who criticize people who buy purebred animals. The author said that people who want pedigreed dogs should not be made pariahs due to their unwillingness to compensate for the irresponsibility and carelessness of dog dumpers. The author asked why a potential dog owner should be stuck with "rejects." While there may be some valid reasons for dog breeding at some level, I took offense at the tone.

In countless ways, Barack Obama has shown that he is thoughtful, kind and forward-thinking. The Madame, Mister and I hope he goes with a rescue pup, but are at least certain that either way, he would never strap his dog on top of his car while driving (like Mitt Romney) or surrender his pet to one of his staffers (like Bill and Hillary Clinton). Nor would he raise two daughters who would ever inflict cruelty on animals (like Mike Huckabee's son). The Obama family will undoubtedly set a fine example for both the clueless and the clued-in with regard to pet ownership. I am going to be open-minded and give him my pre-endorsement.

1 comment:

bc said...

Dear Henry,
You are awesome. As a rescue dog, this is a topic of personal interest to me. I am so proud of our people for voting Obama!
Pinky Glascock