07 July 2008

Vetting Obama's Canine Companion

As President Harry Truman once wisely noted, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and his wife Michelle have suggested that whether or not they live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year, they will take the former president's advice.

The Obama family has used the promise of a pet as a bargaining chip in asking their daughters, Malia, 9 and Sasha, 7, for their support during the long campaign season. The American Kennel Club (AKC) took it upon themselves to offer the Obamas some guidance in finding the appropriate canine friend.

The AKC is asking Americans to cast a vote for the best qualified "first pet" for the Obama family, limiting the list of selections to hypoallergenic breeds because of Obama's daughters' allergies. The public has been given five solid canine choices including the Bichon Frise, the Chinese Crested, the Poodle, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and the Miniature Schnauzer. Click here to vote.

It's important for the public to evaluate several characteristics when choosing a presidential pup. As a presidential pet, the dog will need to be well behaved during its potential interactions with high public officials, a good travel companion, given the busy White House schedule and in the case of the Obama family specifically, small enough that the young girls are able to walk the dog. Thus far, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier has been voted the premier choice, but the public has until August 19 to cast a ballot.

The AKC chose to focus on canine candidates for the Obamas as the McCain household is already bustling with animals. According to the Associated Press, the presumptive Republican nominee has at least two dozen animals, including several McCanines: two Yorkshire Terriers named Lucy and Desi, an English Springer Spaniel named Sam, and a mixed-breed named Coco. For a look at the breeds that the McCain family favors, click here.

[Source: ABC News]