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“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” The words of Harry Truman created a legacy of First Families that Barack Obama is not keen to break. Obama’s first Presidential decision is to choose the First Dog.

George Washington had ten hounds, Theodore Roosevelt had a Pitbull which was the first dog to single handedly attempt to start a war by removing the seat of the French Ambassador’s pants.  Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottie was the first First Dog to suffer malicious gossip at the pen of the press and Roosevelt responded ” I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself…I think I have a right to resent, to object to, libellous statements about my dog.”

President Kennedy brought the first communist dog into the White House when his daughter accepted a descendant of the Russian space dogs from Nikita Khrushchev.  Kennedy also had a Welsh Terrier, proving to be global in his choice of dog. President Reagan was flamboyant with his choice of a Bouvier des Flandres.

Lyndon Johnson’s dogs of choice were Beagles.  He almost became the first President to face the wrath of animal rights groups when caught on film picking his dogs up by the ears.  Richard Nixon on the other hand escaped charges of accepting his Cocker Spaniel as a gift by making a stand on television, claiming that his kids loved the dog and “regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it”.  The public voted in support of then vice-president Nixon and his Cocker Spaniel.

Gerald Ford also made use of his Golden Retriever, whistling her into boring meetings as a distraction.  Millie the English Springer Spaniel of George Bush Sr had her own view on White House life and became a best seller with her book – dictated to First Lady Barbara Bush.  Millie’s son born in the White House returned home with George W. Bush, who leaves his second term in office with two Scottish Terriers.

The Clinton’s stormy relationship was echoed by their Labrador and Sox the cat. Incidentally, it was Sox who landed the Clintons in hot water with animal rights groups when they chose to have him declawed to protect the antique furniture.

What will the Obama legacy be?  Will he choose a large expensive dog in a time of economic crisis?  Will he choose a small snappy dog that could cause an international incident?  Will it be an American breed?

The Obama dog is likely to be hypo-allergenic due to his daughter Malia’s allergies. Will it be an American Hairless Terrier which would a good patriotic choice but would not make pretty photo shots on the White House lawn?

One thing for sure, Obama better choose wisely because many eyes will be on the fate of the First Dog.  source

Have your say at Namara Pets Forum

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There are many choices for a companion.

Should you get a furry one, a feathery one, a scaly one, a hairy one, a fluffy one, a wooly one, a prickly one.

Then once you have settled on a particular species you have to ask yourself if you should get a big one, a small one, a female, a male, an old one, a young one, a spotted one, a long haired one, or maybe two.

Choosing a pet is not something you should take lightly. They are a major responsibility.

Some Things To Consider:

  • How much room do you have at home? Is there room for a Great Dane to exercise or is your home more suited to a Budgie.
  • How much time do you have to exercise and care for your pet? A goldfish, for example, will not require as many hours a day as a Labrador.
  • How long are you prepared to look after a pet? A dog can live 15 years or more, so if you were thinking that you might go back to work after the kids move out you might still have a dog at home.
  • Is there a possibility that you might be moving into the city, or into a home, before you pet dies? You might be required to abandon your pet – is that something you are prepared for?
  • Is your pet the right choice if you could have children in the near future? An Anaconda or Pit Bull may not be the best choice (I know Pit Bull supporters may disagree).
  • Do you or your loved ones have allergies? It is no good turning up with a surprise feline only to find your partner is allergic.
  • Can you afford your choice of pet? Can you afford to stable and maintain a horse or will a hamster meet your budget needs. There are many costs that may not be obvious to a first time animal owner, so I would suggest talking to someone who owns the animal of choice (preferably a breeder or someone experienced).

A Pet You Probably Should NOT Choose (unless you have no time, no budget, and no room at home)

SNOWBALL

I made myself a snowball

As perfect as could be.

I thought I’d keep it as a pet

And let it sleep with me.

I made it some pajamas

And a pillow for its head.

Then last night it ran away,

But first it wet the bed.

Shel Silverstein (1932-1999)

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This interesting article was published in the Telegraph.co.uk.

A couple are trying to prove that their pet Labrador cross is the oldest dog in the world.

Bella the Labrador, they claim, is at least 29 years old, which would be about 200 years old in “dog years.”

Unfortunately for owner David Richardson, although he got the mixed breed dog from an animal home about 26 years ago, the RSPCA said it does not have any records for Bella and the Guinness World Records said without the appropriate paperwork it could not be proved.

“I’m convinced she is the oldest dog in the world” said Mr Richardson, from Chesterfield.

For his claim to be substantiated Gareth Deaves, records manager from Guinness World Records, said “unless we can a doggy birth certificate or some really clear evidence from the RSPCA then we won’t be able to prove Bella’s age and we can’t list her as the oldest dog.”

The most recent record for the oldest dog was held by Butch, a 28-year-old from America who died in 2003, according to Mr Deaves.

With the prize for the oldest ever recorded dog going to Bluey, a sheepdog from Australia, who lived to 29 a startling 200 in canine years.

Is your dog a candidate for a record?

200 Year Old Bella

Let Me Know Your Views

Given that Dogs are living to 200 canine years old, I am wondering if that makes a mockery of our assessment of dog years. Do you think we should adjust the numbers so that dogs only live to 100 “dog” years?

Are the dogs mention really the oldest dogs in the world, or just the oldest ones that people have registered with Guinness Book of Records?

If Dogs living this long becomes a trend is this going to put undue pressure on our dog health care systems? Will we see doggie retirement homes becoming neccessary as dogs out live their owners?


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