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The “First” family dog

The "First" family dog63% of Americans have a pet. Cats top the list, but if you’re the president, you must have a dog. Not that it’s in the job description, but 100% of US presidents for the last 85 years have had a pooch. And our next president is not about to change that legacy. And besides, he promised the girls (Sasha and Malia) as a reward for being good during the campaign.

During the election, and right after, president-elect Obama has repeatedly voiced his intentions to the press, discussing breeds of dogs that will best suit his family, especially considering his 10-year old daughter Malia’s allergy to dander. While dog experts continue to say that dog allergies are not technically affected by breed and the “hypoallergenic” dog is just wishful thinking, the Obamas are among the many allergy sufferers who believe that some breeds will help.

Thus, they have done their research and come up with two choices: a labradoodle (a cross of a Labrador and a Poodle) or a Portuguese water hound. Next step: find a shelter who has one of these dogs. Of course, many Americans believe in adopting a pound hound rather than going to a breeder, but it’s definitely important for the first family to practice such ideals. Whether or not they’ll find such exclusive breeds at a shelter is another matter, and how long he’ll wait for one might be worth a few bar bets.

For some reason, the American public is anxiously waiting to see what kind of dog Obama will bring to the White House, and likely, his pick will spark a flurry of breeding requests from families who see the wisdom of the choice.

But it’s been a difficult few weeks of consideration for the new president, who has all kinds of decisions to make these days. “We’re closing in on it. This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary,” he joked. Obama had chosen New Mexico governor Bill Richardson for the position, but Richardson withdrew his nomination after campaign finance scandals arose.

I know how my family picked a cat. We went to the shelter, saw what they had, and selected the one who seemed nicest. But none of us are allergic, and the cat doesn’t come inside, anyway. How did your family pick an animal? Do you believe there really is a hypoallergenic breed, despite what the experts say?

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