Tag Archives: Portuguese Water Dog

Presidential pets

On 20th January, the reins of power at the White House get handed over from Barack Obama to Donald Trump.  With the departure of the Obamas from the White House, Donald Trump is set to become the first U.S. President in a 150 years who does not include a pet as part of his family.

For me, that’s a real shame and a bit depressing, too.

Pets are something that bonds us – a shared love for a creature that offers affection unconditionally and depends on us for their care and welfare.   This role enhances our humanity.

The Obamas have done a great job at making Sunny and Bo part of the First Family.  So much so that Michelle Obama has had to approve official schedules for both Portuguese Water Dogs.

Barack Obama and family

President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia, left, and Sasha pose for a family portrait with dogs Bo and Sunny on Easter Sunday. (Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)

Lauren Wright of The Washington Post has recently written about why Donald Trump really needs to get a dog

There’s a whole museum – The Presidential Pet Museum dedicated to documenting the history of U.S. Presidents and their pets.  (The Museum is currently in limbo awaiting a new owner, but – for now – it operates online only.)

I hope that Mr Trump and his wife and son choose to include a dog at the White House; they will certainly need the stress relief that a dog can provide – and it will show us a side of humanity that so far has been lacking.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

My Senator and Me


With the world’s eyes on the Presidential Election of 2016 today, I thought of this book – My Senator and Me,  A Dog’s Eye View of Washington.  Written by the late Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts in 2006, this picture book features the Senator’s Portuguese Water Dog, Splash.

Splash was a regular companion to Senator Kennedy during the later years of his career in Washington, DC.

The book explains how a bill becomes a law, the roles of Congress and the Senate and includes profiles of the Senator and Splash.  The story follows the senator through a busy day including a visit by schoolchildren to The Capitol.

Senator Kennedy passed away in 2009; Splash followed him in 2010.  With US politics on everyone’s mind today – sitting down with your kids and explaining how the Government works during the four years after the election would be entirely appropriate.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

It’s a sunny day at the (rented) White House

The White House’s latest edition, Sunny, appears to be settling in well as the nation’s Second Dog (the title of First Dog belongs to Bo).

Official White House photo by Pete Souza, taken 19 August 2013

Official White House photo by Pete Souza, taken 19 August 2013

When interviewed about the new addition, President Obama said that he and his wife are seeing less of their daughters now that they are growing up with active lives of their own.  “I think there is an element for Michelle and me of, you know, we see what’s coming and we need to make sure that we got somebody who greets us at the door when we get home.”

Sunny, who is a year old, is a Portuguese water dog like Bo and will be a companion for the First Dog, who is also feeling the need for company since Malia (15) and Sasha (12) are busier.  President Obama said, “Bo was getting a little down in the dumps inside the house.”

But what I really liked about the interview, and this will resonate with Christchurch dog owners who are really suffering from high rentals and pet bonds (see A mixed news week for dogs in Christchurch), was President Obama’s admission that Sunny had had a few accidents.

“We live in rental housing. We didn’t have to put down a deposit, but we are making sure that it gets cleaned up for the next occupant.”

Congratulations to the Obamas for becoming another well-adjusted multiple dog household!

(And in case you missed it, here’s the official White House video announcing Sunny’s arrival)

If your dog voted for President

The philosopher Immanuel Kant once said, “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”  If dogs were allowed to vote in the upcoming US presidential election, I believe that this would be their main criteria for voting.

US President Barack Obama kept his promise to his daughters when he was elected to the US presidency and the family adopted Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog.  Bo currently features in the President’s commemorative photo issued by the Democratic National Committee:

The official photo issued by the Democratic National Committee

In stark contrast is presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s reputation for caring for the family’s dog, Seamus.  Romney placed Seamus into a dog crate on top of the family’s car in 1983 for a long car trip from Boston to Ontario, Canada.  Romney defended his actions by saying that he outfitted the crate with a ‘modified’ windshield.   When Seamus soiled the crate and the rear window of the car, Romney calmly stopped the car and used a hose on Seamus.  (Romney’s team has commended his approach, citing it as an example of his emotion-free crisis management.)  (You can read more about Romney’s treatment of Seamus and others in this Vanity Fair article.)

When interviewed by ABC’s Diane Sawyer, she asked Romney if he would do it again.  He replied, “Certainly not with the attention it’s received.”  (No comment about the appropriateness of his actions, just the attention).

This act of cruelty has been described by Scott Crider as a ‘deal-breaker’ for Romney’s candidacy.  Crider has started the Dogs Against Romney movement which includes a Facebook page.

Supporters can also buy various Dogs Against Romney merchandise from the movement’s website.  For example, your dog can wear a bandana that says “I ride inside” or you can use a coffee mug at the office “Dogs aren’t luggage”

So, who would your dog vote for?  Romney or Obama?

I leave you with the words of Mahatma Gandhi:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”