Sunday, November 16, 2008

All Right... I Said I Wouldn't, But...

Charlie thinks a Beardie would make a great First Dog!

It's been almost two weeks since President-Elect Obama's public Election-Night promise to his daughters to get them a puppy, and the swell of opinion on the subject shows no sign of lessening. Every dog blogger and his littermate has had to weigh in on the subject -- not to mention all the journalists, political bloggers, armchair politicians, and practically anyone else with a mouth and an opinion. The Ambassador from Peru has offered a Peruvian Inca Dog (hairless) to the soon-to-be First Family. I'm sure that hundreds -- thousands -- of other people have been offering up candidates for First Dog. The offers range from people promoting shelter dog adoptions to fans of some of the other dog breeds who have already graced the White House. Enough, already!

I really thought I would just keep my mouth shut and blog about something else, but I've even been receiving emails from people I know, and whom I don't know, asking whether I could find a rescue Beardie for the White House.

On the plus side, Beardies do have hair rather than fur, and they thus produce a lower level of dander than many other breeds. I wouldn't go so far as to call them hypoallergenic, but a well-kept Beardie has played less havoc with most of my dog-allergic friends and acquaintances than have other dogs.

Does this class them with other dogs rumored to be better for allergic individuals, such as Poodles, Bichons, Soft-Coated Wheatens, and even (may the heavens rain down fury on those "breeders'" heads) Labradoodles? I don't really know. Only Malia Obama, her parents, and her allergist will know for sure.

Even the hairless breeds, such as the Chinese Crested, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Xoloitzcuintle (don't ask me to pronounce that! -- otherwise known as the Mexican Hairless) -- produce saliva. If there are allergens in saliva, then very sensitive individuals might not suffer all that much less with a naked breed. Please forgive me, all of you who own them, but they're just not all that much to look at.

One thing is definite: In order to have a Beardie in the White House, you must be possessed of one hell of a sense of humor, and lots of cleaning supplies besides. Imagine a happy, muddy hairball bouncing all over visiting dignitaries, counter-surfing at state banquets, and leaving miles of muddy pawprint trails through the Lincoln Bedroom, down the halls, and onto the papers on the desk in the Oval Office. Only the British Royal Family, with the Queen's pack of Corgis, would really appreciate the humor.

Not that a First Beardie wouldn't make a great asset. The dumbass TV presenter who got a chunk taken out of his hand by Barney the Scottie (smartest and most articulate member of the Bush family) deserved everything he got by swooping down on the dog, but had there been a Beardie on the scene, the talking head would simply have been covered with mud and had his microphone slurped off instead.

If I had to make a choice for First Breed, I'd recommend a Standard Poodle. They're intelligent, athletic, very trainable, and can be great with kids when bred, raised, and trained properly. They're also not yappy. Their coats are classed among the less allergenic, which means that they might be suitable for Malia.

All the same, I have to smile when I think of what the White House would be like with, say, half a dozen Old English Sheepdogs barreling down the halls.

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