I’m really not surprised the Obamas reneged on their promise to adopt a shelter dog, and instead are gettting a purebred puppy. And as someone who’s worked and volunteered for years in animal shelters–from those as well-funded as the ASPCA to those that were built half a century ago and are falling apart–I’m pissed.
The First Family was in an incredible position to promote adoptions of pets from animal shelters, rather than follow the typical celeb route of designer dogs, and they blew it. It’s so frustrating, because even though shelter adoptions are on the rise, any shelter worker or volunteer can probably recount numerous occasions where they’ve had to battle the notion that mixed breed animals are somehow lesser.
But above everything, it’s the story they’re going with that pisses me off the most. To make it seem like the rescue they promised, they’re claiming that that cute, expensive, 6 month old puppy was dumped by a family when they decided they didn’t want him after all. That is some serious bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, purebreds do routinely end up in shelters. In fact, I adopted a purebred Himalayan Bluepoint named Little Rufus Boogers in October, after fostering him for a couple of months while he recovered from the upper respiratory infection from hell.
But that’s my point. The purebreds who end up in shelters or rescues are typically sick; “older (which can be as “old” as 1 year),” having outgrown the cuteness of the baby months; too much of a hassle to care for (like long haired cats and dogs, or iguanas); have behavioral problems; or were adopted by people ignorant of that specific breed’s needs and behaviors (like baying basset hounds, or high-strung cat breeds, or pit bulls who end up acting out because they haven’t been properly socialized and exercised). You do NOT find cute little hypoallergenic 6 month old puppies in excellent health.
Anyway, getting to my point…it pisses me off because now Portugeuese Water Dogs will now become a hot commodity and people will spend thousands on them (literally. The people who surrendered Little Rufus Boogers paid $1000 for him. Can you imagine what people will pay for the breed that the nation has been waiting to be revealed since Election Day?). Meanwhile, there are thousands of animals who languish for years (sometimes their entire lives) in shelters. Thousands of others just get the requisite 3 day waiting period before being put to death due to massive overcrowding.
I’m sure little Bo will be a great dog. He is definitely a cute little guy. I just wish this wasn’t such a high-profile instance of selling out shelter and rescue animals.