President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise to his daughters with their new puppy, but the decision to forgo a shelter dog is sure to leave...
CHICAGO — President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise to his daughters with their new puppy, but the decision to forgo a shelter dog is sure to leave some animal activists growling.
Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, will make his public debut at the White House on Tuesday after months of intense speculation about his arrival. Obama publicly promised his daughters a puppy on Election Night, later saying the family hoped to adopt a low-shedding rescue dog because of Malia’s allergies.
While the Portuguese water dog fulfills the hypoallergenic coat requirement, it’s debatable as to whether Bo meets the definition of a second-chance pet.
The puppy was purchased from a breeder and then given back to the kennel soon after the Obamas expressed interest in a Portuguese water dog, a source familiar with the adoption said. While Bo is technically a re-homed dog, the seemingly orchestrated return may lead some to question whether the first family violated the spirit of its initial promise.
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The president and first lady reportedly plan to make a donation to the District of Columbia Humane Society in an effort to underscore their continued support of the organization and their original intentions.
“Clearly our best hope was that he (the president) would go to a shelter or a breed-rescue group,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
“He didn’t do that, but he also didn’t go to a pet store or puppy mill either. It’s a gray area.”
Though Bo’s arrival may prompt some animal rights’ activists baring their teeth, it also might serve as a boost to U.S.-Portugal relations. The Portuguese Embassy in Washington was thrilled with the selection when word of the Obamas’ preferred breed first leaked.