Dog Ownership 101: Some Advice for the Obamas
There's a new dog in town and a more fitting First Pet would be hard to imagine. Black and white, Bo could help mend racial divisions in this country. Descended from a European breed, he could help repair the USA's tattered reputation among our NATO allies. Easily at home in the ocean or on dry land, Bo is ready for whatever environmental disaster may come our way.
Plus, his kind apparently knows how to fish! The only thing better than a Portuguese water dog would be a Canadian beer dog. ("Bring me a cold Molson, Rex.")
This is not to say that President Obama will find owning a dog as easy as capturing 270 electoral votes. Neither the President nor First Lady owned dogs growing up, so their learning curve is steep. But I'm here to help. Here are a few things that the human residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. should keep in mind over the coming weeks and months:
Your dog will embarrass you. This is inevitable. Dogs are free of most of the societal hangups that we humans experience, especially in the areas of excretion and reproduction. Even if Bo is house-trained, there will be mistakes. He will eat things you would rather he not eat. He will then throw them up and eat them again. Also, be prepared to see Bo's, um, stimulus package at the most inopportune times. I've owned dogs for years and it's still a shock.
This is not to suggest that dogs do not themselves get embarrassed. They do. When they do something stupid they will glance around in the hope that no one saw them. It's just that what embarrasses them and what embarrasses you are two different things.
You will start talking to your dog. Yes, you know it's not a person and yet you won't be able to help yourself. At first you will talk to the dog when there are other people in the room and you are actually talking to them: "Say, Bo, do you want someone to take you for a walk? Do ya? Do ya?" This will be your way of reminding Joe Biden that it's his turn. Eventually, though, even when you're alone with the dog, you will talk to him. This is not helped by the fact that you gave him a human name. If you had wanted to avoid this, you should have named him Fido.
Some people won't like your dog. Do not take this personally. Some people just don't like dogs, period. Some people don't like certain dog breeds. People are pickier when it comes to prospective dogs than when it comes to prospective mates. Just as we may instinctually be attracted to brunettes or men with big muscles, so we gravitate towards long-haired terriers or short-haired hounds.
Bo is a little poodley for my tastes but remember, there's no such thing as an ugly dog. Ignore people who don't like your dog. Be especially wary of people who your dog doesn't like. We've all seen enough horror movies to know that a dog who growls when a certain person comes into the room is on to something. The nation is counting on Bo to unmask sleeper agents or alien monsters in human form.
Your dog will love you. You have just taken possession of the only mammal in Washington who doesn't care that you're president. You are his world, the leader of his pack. (Unless that happens to be Michelle.) This is not to say that your dog won't want anything from you, just that in his case what he wants is a scratch behind the ears or a Liver Snap, not a federal highway project or a ban on late-term abortions.
Someone once said that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Congratulations on your new friend.
What helpful advice do dog-owning readers have for the Obamas? Please pass it along in the Comments section below.
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