Puppies Aren’t Products

Puppies Aren’t Products

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I am furious that Obama got a breeder dog. Sure, Bo’s adorable and he’ll probably lead a fantastic life filled with love from many sources. I expect that Bo will have a good life. But I’m still livid.

Obama’s promise to adopt a shelter dog brought hope to the homeless and now he’s taken that away. Not only has he taken away that hope, he’s made the problem worse.

Last year he might have been able to say that the dog they wanted was difficult to find in a shelter. (Difficult, but not impossible.) By the next election, that statement won’t be true anymore. There will be a surge of Portuguese Water Dogs in shelters. These are the dogs who will be bred in puppy mills, bought at pet stores, and abandoned at shelters when things just don’t work out as planned. These are the dogs who will be killed by caring shelter workers overwhelmed by the problem. These are the dogs who aren’t as lucky as Bo. These are the dogs that the Obamas’ financial donation will not save. These are the dogs who need more than money, they need people to keep their promises. These are the dogs deemed disposable by our society.

I’m not alone in my disappointment of the Obamas:

“I think all of us who work trying to place homeless animals had hoped that they would choose a shelter dog. His choosing to go to a breeder is a disappointment. Choosing a shelter dog, that would have been a really powerful message to the American people,” said Steve Gruber, spokesman for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals in New York City.

“The US president has kept his pledge to his family to get them a dog once installed in the White House but he has reneged on his promise to adopt a shelter dog AND his claim that he would be taking on a ‘mutt’ (crossbreed). Instead, the Obama’s have taken a ‘gift’ dog which is a pedigree Portuguese Water Dog. So, despite saying he’d adopt a crossbreed he’s actually been given a pedigree from a breeder. A lie? A broken promise? Saying one thing and doing another? All in a day’s work for the average politician it would appear,” wrote Ryan O’Meara at Dog Magazine.

“many animal advocates are disappointed that he didn’t go to a shelter or breed rescue group, partly because he set that expectation and because so many activists are focused on trying to reduce the number of animals euthanized at shelters, and there’s no better person to make the case to the American public that you can get a great dog from a shelter than the president,” said Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS.

Why am I so mad? It’s just one dog. It’s just one promise.

I’m mad because adopting a shelter dog requires absolutely no heroism. Adopting a shelter dog requires no special effort. Adopting a shelter dog required nothing more than keeping a simple promise. A simple promise. Obama couldn’t keep that simple promise.

Just go to the pound and pick one out. It’s really very easy.

Here’s a picture of an actual shelter dog (a young lab-poodle mix in a city pound) I would have chosen for the Obamas if I had a chance:


Not only did the Obama family NOT adopt a rescue dog, they accepted a “gift” dog. The story goes that Ted Kennedy gifted Bo to the Obamas. Originally, Bo was bred and sold to someone in Washington. But Bo was returned, he was an unwanted piece of merchandise. Then he was re-gifted to the Obamas, just like an ugly vase from aunt Mildred gets re-gifted at an office holiday party.

Because Bo is now with his second “owners,” the story of Bo is spun to make him seem like a rescue.  Wayne Pacelle called Bo a “quasi-rescue dog,” but Martha Stern, the breeder who “produced” Bo, said she doesn’t consider Bo to be a rescued dog.

What’s worse is that they think “he was a gift” excuses the fact that Bo isn’t from a shelter. Nope, the “he was a gift” line makes it worse, actually. Because now, not only is Bo no longer a symbol of hope for all shelter dogs (and shelter employees and volunteers), and not only is Bo now a symbol for breeders (and by extension puppy mills), now Bo is also a symbol that animals are merely things to be bought, sold, given, and received. Bo is a product in the eyes of the Obamas and many Americans. But Bo is not a product, he’s a puppy, and puppies aren’t products!


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9 Responses to Puppies Aren’t Products

  1. I share your outrage. If Obama can’t do the right thing and keep his promise with such a simple issue, how can we expect him to do the right thing and keep his promise with more complex issues!?!

    I’m equally outraged by the comments I’ve seen on other blogs from people who claim to be animal rights advocates but who think this “isn’t a big deal” or who say we should give Obama a break! WTF!?!

    If you are for animal rights, you can’t possibly be okay with someone purchasing an animal, or excepting one as a gift from someone who purchased the animal. It is a violation of animal rights to breed them as products. It is a violation of animal rights to tear families apart. I don’t care if Obama can provide a “good” home for the dog. The dog belongs with his own family, just like human children belong with their families. Adopt an orphan – great! Adopt a shelter dog – great!

    Tear a family apart by purchasing another sentient being – shame on you slave master!

  2. excepting = accepting. outrage makes spelling hard.

  3. “If Obama can’t do the right thing and keep his promise with such a simple issue, how can we expect him to do the right thing and keep his promise with more complex issues!?!”

    I agree with you 100%

  4. Luckily my expectations for Obama weren’t as high as some people who thought he’d be the answer to everything, so i’m not suffering from the letdown. The thing is, shelter dog or no, breeders would have started breeding any dog the Obamas ended up with. Yes a shelter dog would have sent a great message, but unfortunately breeders were watching closely regardless.

  5. I had a feeling he would do this to us. just as Joe Biden did.

  6. I have been unable to read about it. It is making me too upset.

  7. I really don’t think the Obamas are at fault for receiving a dog. Direct your anger where it’s due: at the puppy mills. The First family’s decision doesn’t automatically decide all the other families’ decisions to adopt breeder dogs. They are all individually responsible. Just encourage adopting dogs from shelters instead of scapegoating.

  8. Obama and Biden kill thousands of shelter dogs

    One of the campaign promises Obama made was to adopt a dog right after the election.
    During an interview with George Stephanopoulos President-elect Barack Obama confirmed that the family did narrow their search for a First Dog and that it will definitely be coming from a shelter.Michelle Obama announced on Entertainment Tonight that Her family was indeed planning to “adopt a rescue dog,” So what did he do? They accepted a pure bred Portuguese water dog that came from some high end breeder. In fact over the past five generations, 29 out of 30 of the first dog’s relatives have succeeded in becoming American show champions.
    Thank you president Obama. You Lied dogs died!

    The blood of thousands of shelter dogs are on your hands. You promised to rescue a shelter dog. You had a chance to set an example that thousands would have followed.
    Every year over Two million shelter dogs are euthanized because they can not be placed in homes.
    How many people would have rushed to the nearest shelter to rescue some of these Two million pets with a death sentence hanging over them?

    Let’s look at a few examples of the first family influance.
    When Michelle Obama wore $500 sneakers to feed the homeless sales skyrocketed on those sneakers. A quick check of Bluefly.com shows only two pairs left. The cardigan Sweaters the kids wore quickly sold out at J crew. The kennel club has seen over a 100% increase in inquiries about Portuguese water dogs. Prices for Portuguese Water dogs have sky rocketed up to 3000 dollars or sometimes even more for pups. Puppy mills are churning them out as fast as they can and reaping big profits.
    The lie gets worse. He tried to spin it to make it look like it was a rescue saying that a family returned the dog to the breeder. It turns out this is a flat out lie the dog was meant to be kept by the breeders as a breeding dog but they could not resist the idea of the president owning one of there dogs.
    It gets even worse! The vice president also promised to rescue a dog and instead he bought a Dog from a Puppy Mill that had just been cited for multiple violations including: unsatisfactory ventilation, inadequate maintenance and sanitation, and missing sale and vaccination records.

    When he caught heat for not rescuing a dog he promised to get another one and it would be a rescue. Of course that has not happened.
    President Obama if you had just done like you promised not only would thousands of Kool aid drinkers marched like robots to the nearest shelter and saved the life of thousands of doomed pets but the whole issue of rescuing from shelters would have been raised to a national level and thousands no tens of thousands maybe hundreds of thousands of free thinking Americans would have done the right thing and brought these unwanted pets into there lives and would have received in return grateful and loving companions.
    How simple it would have been to just to do the right and moral thing. You had unlimited resources to rescue any dog from any shelter in the country Obama and Biden not only are you both outright liars and typical slime bag politicians. But I hold you directly responsible for the death of thousands of dogs.
    You pretend to be these big progressive liberals protecting the Poor and under privileged masses, spreading the wealth and all of that. You are just big phonies and care for nothing but power, your own personal agendas and your own selfishness.
    You lied dogs died


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