Beth Jacks Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Government nears halt for ‘First Dog’ selection

“If you can look at a dog and not feel vicarious excitement and affection, you must be a cat.” ~ Anon.

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Wouldn’t you know? Just when we think the voting is over and we can finally get back to “Dancing With The Stars,” we’re being asked to cast another ballot to determine what type of puppy the Obama girls should get and what the puppy should be called.

In President-elect Obama’s first press conference last week, these very important questions were asked. Everybody wants to know. What breed? What name? What pooch will follow the Bush’s two Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, as official Presidential Pups?

Obama’s reply indicated the selection would probably be a mutt from an animal shelter – my preference too – but one of the daughters is highly allergic to pet hair, so that’s an important consideration.

Folks are coming out of the woodwork to make suggestions for the incoming first family, including these from several online sources (, nameobamaspuppy. com, and

•Get a Borzoi puppy, also known as a Russian Wolfhound. You can keep ‘em in the backyard and see ‘em from the house.

•Once you go to a standard poodle, you’ll never go back. They’re smart, incredibly empathetic and don’t shed. Name it ‘Nani’… that means ‘beautiful’ in Hawaiian.

•Beagles are hard-headed and bark too much, but they’re adorable. Name it ‘Sarah.’

•How ‘bout a beagle? Everybody loves ‘Snoopy.’

•Get the girls a terrier. They’re smart, affectionate, independent, protective of their families, and they’re good at getting rid of rats.

•I think a pit bull would be appropriate. Name her ‘Lipstick.’

•I suggest a Miniature Schnauzer. Mine, in fact.

The most popular recommendation, however, was not ONE . . . but TWO animal shelter dogs. A puppy could get lonely in that big ol’ White House! And several more of the suggested names for said puppies were equally as creative as those mentioned above:

•“Toot” – the nickname Obama called his beloved grandmother

•“Liberty Belle” – or Belle, for short

•“Abrahound Lincoln” – for Obama’s favorite U. S. President

•“Maverick” – for obvious reasons

•“Dwight D. Eisenbowwower” – that’s cute

•And my favorite name of all –  “Joe the Puppy”

My sister Kathy has a dog of some kind of breed I can’t spell. Kathy doesn’t recommend this particular kind of dog if the Obama family wants a watch-dog. She says her Boz would bark, alright, but only in greeting, and then would help the robbers take the loot to the truck. I guess if the Obama family is like I am and can’t spell the name, don’t get it.

And writer Robert Benchley offers this advice: “Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children, as they are already stretched and pulled to such a length that the child cannot do much harm one way or the other.”

Which breed will win? Well, probably a mixed breed if the animal shelter plan proceeds, but several weeks ago 42,000 members of the American Kennel Club cast their votes. The result? The majority want a purebred poodle.

And the name? Let Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, decide . . .  although my dog Pharaoh would be thrilled to have a namesake sniffing the halls of the big house. I may have to log on to and make that wee suggestion.

Aren’t dogs wonderful – our “miracles with paws?” A puppy is bound to make two little girls very happy as they move into the discombobulation of the White House. God bless ‘em all!

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