The interminable buildup is over.
The Obamas have a new dog. A Portuguese Water Dog. Named Bo. He’s a cute little rascal.
The Obamas are thrilled, I’m sure.
My wife, two daughters and I also have a Portuguese Water Dog. His name is Winston. My life, as I had known it, is now over.
Since this whole media contest for the dog started, I’ve been rooting for the Obamas to get any dog other than a Porty. Now, when people come up to us and ask us what kind of dog we own, we’ll mutter “A Portuguese Water Dog,” and they’ll invariably say, “Of course, just like the Obamas.” This has already happened. Twice. These dogs, and how great they are as pets, used to be a pretty well kept secret. Now, the secret’s out.
That’s not to speak of all the predictions about puppy mills cranking out PWDs. I hope this doesn’t turn into the President’s stimulus package for the overbreeding of a wonderful dog. Hopefully, the breeders stay just as careful about selecting owners as they were when I bought one. Portuguese Water Dogs, I’ve been told, are not in shelters. You can’t rescue one because there aren’t any to be rescued. Probably not exactly true, but whatever kernel of truth there is in that, I’ve always took it to be an endorsement of the breed and its owners.
My family isn’t as down about this as I am. And I don’t mean to rain on their parade. Now that the deed is done, I should say what’s in store for the Obamas based on our experience. Not the typical stuff about how loyal they are, playful, etc. All that’s true of EVERY DOG. In discussions with other owners of this breed, what I’ll tell you is pretty consistent with the experience of others, too.
It’s a dog that will attach to its primary caregiver. In my house, that’s my wife. Winston needs to know exactly where she is at all times. When Hannah e-mailed me earlier this year to renew that chip he has implanted under his skin, I balked at paying the $10. If Winston, who stays approximately within a 7-foot radius of my wife at all times, is missing, we’ve got bigger problems than a missing dog. It becomes a missing person’s case. So, who’s the attached human going to be? Sasha, Malia, the First Lady or Mr. President?
Good news. The dogs aren’t chewers. Bad news, they are swallowers. Socks, underwear, dead squirrels, boxes of needles (true story, this happened to Winston’s mother). You have to be hyper vigilant, especially when they are younger than three years old. Nothing of great historical value to our country small enough to be swallowed by a dog should be left sitting out. Seriously. And whatever they swallow will end up on your front lawn, or pooled up at the bottom of the stairs with their dinner.
Portuguese Water Dogs deliver presents to anyone who walks in the door. This can make for some slightly embarrassing situations. No visits by heads of state from other countries should be casual enough that the first dog is in the room. Otherwise, the first gift to the dignitary may be an article of clothing not meant for public viewing, or worse, something dead.
They will be mistaken for poodles. A lot. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
So God bless the Obamas and their new dog. I wish them well. But what would have been so difficult about them getting a labradoodle? Maybe Bo has tax problems in his past and they’ll have to withdraw him from consideration. Somebody needs to get on that angle.