Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FIDOTUS...in the poke?

The half-grown Portuguese Water Dog that inhabits that White House is now old news, and the controversies that surrounded the selection are beginning to die down.

So I'll bring up a new one. While everybody was busy whining about the bad example the Obamas' were setting for the entire country by not "adopting" a "rescue" dog, Ms. X was fretting over the bad example the Obamas' were setting for the country by not performing due diligence in their purchase of the puppy.

The problem of animal shelters is not one of over-population, as the Border Wars dude pointed out recently, it is a problem of home-retention. One of the best ways to tackle the problem of Home-retention is due diligence in the pet purchase process.

The Obamas did not set a good example.

The Obamas accepted a dog from a breeder they had never met.

The only way to end the travesty of substandard breeding is for the pet buyers to personally review the facility their new pet comes from, and approve of it with their money.

Equally important, the pet buyer should be comfortable with the breeder they are dealing with. They are buying a living creature, that they will have to support and sustain for 10 to 15 years. This is best accomplished with a pleasant and trusting relationship with the animals breeder. And such a relationship is best established in person.

The Obamas accepted the dog from a breeder who did not even own both parents.

A pet buyer is well advised to meet both parents of the puppy they want to purchase, and any other extended family members possible. Meeting both parents is one of the critical elements of pet purchase, as far as I am concerned, and a primary mark against purchasing from pet shops. You, the puppy buyer, are buying a personality that must fit with your family. You are not buying a breed description. You are not buying a show ring title. Some breeders do puppy temperament tests, and try to match the puppies in a litter with what they know about the humans who want to buy. That is all well and good, as an additional activity to the pet buyer meeting and liking the personality of both canine parents.

Don't blindly trust the breeder, especially if the breeder does not live with both parents themselves.

The Obamas accepted the puppy as a gift. A puppy is a long term commitment. A gift has all the negatives above (didn't meet the parents, didn't meet the breeder) as well lacking the level of dedication that only comes from the hard work of achieving a goal. As most of us learn when we are children, half the value of anything is the hard work that goes into achieving it. A puppy is no different. Putting the time, and the effort into visiting breeders, meeting dogs, not to mention the actual financial outlay, increases the value of the prize, and increases the level of commitment.

The Obamas bought a dog from a barbie breeder. Neither Mister or Missus Obama had pets growing up and the current Obama children have never had a pet either. So for a pet they pick a traditional hunting breed from a top show kennel. The Obamas don't hunt. Nor are they likely to be spending their weekends on the showring circuit. They should have sought a breeder who specialized in pet dogs. (Yes, sometimes Ms. X asks the impossible, but if you don't have expectations, they'll never be met.)

I want dogs to stay with their owners for life. Getting that relationship right means starting right at the beginning. If we don't have a good example, a well publicized bad example will do just fine.

I give Bo 2 months.

1 comment:

  1. Political expediency will necessitate that Bo has a quiet exit, mostly un-noticed and certainly not criticized by the media. Just like Bill Clinton's failed pets. They were trotted out for photo ops, and made to appear to be loved, kept around not to raise any questions, but certainly relegated to a prop more than a family member.