Opinion: Hey, Bo Obama! You’ve just won the White House -- and castration

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Forget the president’s big, huge speech on the economy today. It’s just a lot of numbers that describe the economic fate of millions of Americans.

The really BIG news is the unveiling of Bo, the Obamas’ used pet dog who, as eagerly sought by many groups, is a genuine rescue dog if you regard a purebred Portuguese something-or-other who was purchased by someone else and named Charlie then returned to the breeder and then obtained by the famous Kennedy clan and given to the Obamas to live in the White House who said they promised their daughters a dog after the interminable presidential campaign.

Sasha and Malia will no doubt love the curly fellow (not shown in photo to the right).

And the South Side Chicago family will finally join about 68% of American households with pets, many of them also with allergies and maybe a chewed chair leg or two.


What a Cinderfella story that would have been if Bo were some mangy mutt of uncertain lineage plucked from life on a cement floor in a shelter cage to live pretty much anywhere the president’s mother-in-law would allow him to go in the posh presidential residence with its 24-hour kitchen.

On its blog, PETA -- People Easily Talked About -- expressed official disappointment that the newly renamed Bo was not really one of millions of homeless pets across the country awaiting homes or the executioner, as excess pets through no fault of their own cost too much to allow them to live:

We’re disappointed to report that, although the Obamas had publicly expressed their intention to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue group, they have instead accepted a Portuguese water dog as a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Let us be clear: The new first dog, Bo, is not a rescue. While he was returned to the breeder by his first owners, that subtle point is missing from or buried in most news reports and is no doubt lost on the masses of people who will be lining up at pet shops and demanding ‘Obama puppies.’

These puppies will eventually lose their appeal, once people get tired of taking care of them, but because most pet shops and many breeders don’t take ‘returns,’ guess where those unwanted ‘Obama puppies’ are going to end up? At extremely crowded, overworked shelters like D.C.'s Washington Humane Society.

The Obamas can’t undo their missed opportunity to set a great example for Americans by adopting a shelter dog, but they can still set another important example: They can arrange for the first dog to become the last dog in his lineage by having him neutered.

In a news release Monday, the animal-rights group even generously offered to neutralize Bo’s masculinity at its mobile SNIP shop (Spay and Neuter Immediately, Please). That would set another powerful presidential example for pet care, one of the few things in Washington in these days of very expensive change that would have no effect on the national debt.

Later Monday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals amended the blog entry to accurately note that Bo (nee Charlie) had already been snipped, cut, neutered, fixed, emasculated, vasectomied, castrated to become a walking, barking, four-legged first-dog example of canine birth control after all.

Was that procedure in the White House job description?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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