The whole world, it seems, wants to know: What kind of dog are the Obamas getting and, for goodness sake, when?
Speaking to PEOPLE at the White House recently, Michelle Obama leaned in and confided: “You’re getting some scoops here.”
So, when? In April, Mrs. Obama says – after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.
Here’s a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: “So Sasha says, ‘April 1st.’ I said, ‘April.’ She says, ‘April 1st.’ It’s, like, April!,” Mrs. Obama recalls. “Got to do it after spring break. You can’t get a new dog and then go away for a week.”
And what kind of dog will soon be frolicking on the South Lawn? Mrs. Obama says the family is looking for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is “old enough” and a “match” for the family dynamic.
Here are some pics of a Portuguese Water Dog. I got a mutt I named Ajax when I was six who looked like a light brown version of this, and he was a great dog but a horrible pain in the rear. My parents called him “swampfoot,” because he had this unique ability to sneak off into creek and get filthy in under two minutes. He was also ornery as hell. He would not respond when you called him if he didn’t think you had visual contact, and you had the great spectacle of my parents standing in the backyard yelling “AJAX! AJAX, DAMNIT, I SEE YOU.” Then and only then would he come. My other enduring memory of Ajax is with his beard coated red with spaghetti sauce. He just loved the stuff. What a great dog.
At any rate, the kids are getting their dog soon it seems. Huzzah.
Canine we can believe in. Yes we canine!
I still say they should get a schipperke, as they’re smart, playful, and great with kids. But perhaps a dog commonly nicknamed "little black devil" isn’t such a good idea in this situation.
all my web-developer friends’ dogs are named AJAX. that’s why i chose "JSON" for my dog, and "XSLT" for my cat.
Heh. I’ve never heard of the breed before and I try not to follow links at work because the filter is pretty strict, so I go to Google. I’m not totally sure how to spell "Portuguese" off the top of my head, so I type in the first four letters and let Google’s autocomplete function fill in the rest.
Just based on the letters PORT, "Portuguese water dog" was second in that list of search terms, with 894,000 hits. I shouldn’t be surprised that a lot of people had the same reaction as me, I guess.
(To be clear, I realize that the number of hits has nothing to do with searches. However, I think the order in the list does, and "Portuguese water dog" came ahead of "Portugal," "Portland and "portable." The zeitgeist hivemind works quickly.)
@cleek: This was 1976. I am thinking the name came from dish soap, and not codespeak.
Who knows, I was nuts then just like I am now. I did learn COBOL, Fortran77, and Pascal in highschool.
SOAP would work too… if i ever get a really stinky hound.
@cleek: God do I wish I didn’t get this.
man, i’m loving that image of the dog with a face full of marinara.
and of course, a look of no repentance whatsoever.
"yeah, so i got some mushrooms in my fur. what are you looking at?"
Hypo-allergenic was a requirement too, and is one of the reasons why any breed at all is specified.
True. Schips shed constantly.
Yeah. Figures they’d get a European dog. Of course they didn’t get a manly American dog like a boxer, or German Shepherd…
Seriously? Those dogs are AWESOME. Like having a poodle, but cool. I believe hypo-allergenic, which was an issue for one of the girls.
I though they were going with a Dood? I’ve already told my labradoodle that he is related to the First Dog. He’ll be crushed.
Those are socialist-pinko-commie-terrorist dogs for sure. I hear they’re Muslim, too.
Hopefully, the dog’s first official act will be to take a dump on that carpet Dubya liked so much.
@zzyzx: "God do I wish I didn’t get this."
i kinda wish i didn’t POST it.
Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon)
Ahh, Fortran. I spent many a long night at the Math/Science Bldg. at Purdue, anxiously awaiting the return of my printout and my punch cards. Check the printout, FAIL, make the corrections, punch new cards, resubmit them and wait another 5 hours. That was the life.
Perhaps you should just have a nice REST.
Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse
I just heard on the radio that the girls’ favourite two names for the dog are Frank or Moose. I love how kids either choose pretty predictable names ("Fluffy") or completely bizarre names.
ETA: OK, apparently that tidbit about names is from here.
Oh shit! Marshall Whitmann has gotten to them! That bastard!
@cleek: I’ll stick with Ruby Rails if I had to name a dog after my job.
Having bad dog and cat-related allergies I always thought the hypo-allergenic dog thing was a myth, ’til my wife rescued a wheaten terrier from a shelter. It’s great to have both clear lungs and a dog! The downside is I occasionally forget I’m still allergic to other people’s dogs.
Most "hypodogs" have odd wooly coats (we looked at a Portugese Water Dog ourselves at one point) but it’s not really the hair that’s the principal allergen, it’s the dander and saliva.
I was hoping the Obamas would go for a wheatie, but they can be somewhat high-strung (the wheatens, not the Obamas). Hope the PWD works out for them.
A friend in undergrad had a golden retriever named Moose that I used to take care of from time to time. He had been through obedience school, and you could go to class, tell him to sit on the grass right outside the building, tell him “Stay,” go to class, and come back 45 minutes later and he would be there happy as hell to see you. He also loved to go canoeing, and unlike every other dog I have been in a boat with, understood the concept of balance.
Portugese Water Dogs are adorable! Full of character and charm, and definitely great for those with allergies.
Breed info. I like how it says "This dog may out-think its owner!" Some owners, perhaps, but if this dog can out-think Obama, he’ll have proven himself to be smarter than 99% of politicians.
DaddyJ, Wheatens are great dogs too. A pal of mine has one, and he’s just a sweetie. And yeah, they can be a little…exuberant (ever hear of the "Wheaten greetin’"?)
That’s weird…I made a comment and it just disappeared into the ether. It didn’t say I was in moderation, it just never showed up at all.
@Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon):
Memories. Bad memories of programming in Fortran on one of these. Except not at Purdue or in the Math/Science Bldg.
Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse
I think they should call the puppy Frank, get it a little trucker’s cap, and go for the 30 Rock trifecta.
While I believe that story, John, I find it hard to believe that yo fellow undygrads didn’t happen upon a lonley dog and decide to feed it whatever the hell fell outtie the backpack. Methinks such dog grew up on jerky, jelly-bellys, and hash.
Meh. Not a fan. But at least it’s not a freaking labradoodle.
Mutts Rule! Oh and any dog that has Australian before its name. :-)
(Had to post my own dog pix since John Cole clearly hates my dogs so much he refuses to post them on this glorious blog.)
“There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic, but on the other hand our preference is to get a shelter dog, but obviously, a lot of the shelter dogs are mutts like me.”
Barack Obama, Nov 7, 2008
You had a pet named after a household cleaner?
My Golden understands the concept perfectly.
We simply don’t agree about whether its highest application is keeping the family on the dry side of the hull, or increasing the trajectory at which Youngest Girl hits the water.
‘Dammit Ajax! I see you!’ must have been quite a treat for the whole neighborhood.
No, no, it must have been named after the hero, the son of Telamon, cousin of Achilles, King of Salamis. Beat the snot out of Hector when Achilles was taking a powder. A noble dog, surely. Those bronze age guys had lousy table manners, so it fits.
Anyway, the Portuguese Water Dog is the breed of Ted Kennedy’s best buddy, Splash. Takes him sailing, and to work every day.
Person of Choler
They might want to name the dog "Checkers" and get Mrs. Obama a nice cloth coat just in case any Chicago political swamp mud gets tracked into the White House.
Obviously nobody here has ever read about Ajax: Golden Dog of the Australian Bush.
Bad Horse's Filly
It’s been my experience that really smart people are happiest with really smart dogs. I think this is a good choice for the First Family.
My boss brings his PWD to work every day, and I’ve kept him for days numerous times when bossman vacationed.
That is one scary smart dog. And funny and lovable and intense and all things you’d want in a dog. And he goes after dogs on the TV screen.
I like the idea of a smart dog in the WH. I’m not sure whether a Dalmation is the dumbest dog around, but cute counts too.
Now, the challenge for the Obamas is to find a way to get the dog into swimmable water occasionally. Does the Secret Service do water tricks?
I do think they should name the non-lapdog Rahm, however.
@JenJen: and in the even more important news of the day, are you ready for tonight? Who’s gonna be TC?
I don’t think there is a choice other than Stefan. He’s been consistently impressive and solid. If whackadoodle Carla gets even close to winning, it’s ‘cuz she love-vibed the judges into some sort of heart chakra attack. I can’t believe she is still standing.
(Edit: Hey! Maybe Jindal will be a surprise guest judge since it’s happening in NO! Dare we hope?)
Heh…I’m picturing the dog happily paddling around in the reflecting pool at the Washington Monument.
Couldn’t disagree with you more on all points.
edit: Well, there probably would be room for more disagreement, but not a lot.
@KRK: I’m listening. What’s your take then?
Any of the three could win it and deserve it. I grant you that it will probably be Stefan, assuming he stops being so impressed with himself and just focuses on doing something amazing with food, because he’s most likely to average the best over four dishes. Carla and Hosea are each capable of wowing the judges. Whether either can do 4 courses of wow without any clunkers is another thing.
To me, Stefan seems Hung-like (skill >> heart), but not at Hung’s level. Carla has done the best of anyone at benefiting from judges’ feedback and learning to edit and improve over the course of the season to where her Finale-Part I dishes were considered really top notch. Hosea is just all over the place, but he can occasionally be great.
And then of course the sous chef dynamic can always throw a wrench in things.
My friend has a dog named Skype.
Oh, yeah, Krista! Most amusing to come home and have your dog pogo up and down in the air like a super ball. I’m 5′-11" and he can lick me in the face if I don’t lean back.
@KRK: I think Stefan will take it for consistency over the four courses, pretty much. I think he’s just stronger overall. And believe me…I suck at predicting this show. The only season I can recall being really sure about a candidate winning early on was One with Harold. I think I knew Hung would take it pretty early for his technical proficiency. I actually had my pennies on Jeff this season. Oops. I am MUCH better at predicting Project Runway, which is beyond-ironic since I eat far better (and more often) than I dress.
Here’s the pathetic part…since posting here I realized I MISSED part one last week, and obviously Carla reigned?! I got it in my head that tonight was the finale (yes) but between my bday and the Nightline deal on the meltdown falling on last Tuesday, I totally lost Wednesday somehow. So I’ll be catching up tonight with Part One. Idiot.
I keep meaning to google to see if they kept LeAnne in whatever production role they awarded her the season following Harold’s victory. I sure liked that Harold.
If you’re a Jeff fan (as I was), you definitely want to catch the Finale-Part I.
As I understand it, LeeAnne basically designs the challenges. She has a blog at bravotv.com with some interesting behind-the-scenes observations and also recreates the winning elimination challenge dishes in video clips that are on bravotv.com and hulu. So, yeah, she’s become a pretty integral part of TC.
Here’s the pathetic part for me…I don’t even have a TV. I was on a business trip and staying in a hotel for a week during TC Season 3 and got hooked. So I follow it online. It’s killing me that they aren’t putting the TC seasons out on DVD like they’ve done with Project Runway (which I only started "watching" midway through Season 4).
When my dog was in his puppy training class there was a family with a Portuguese water dog. Their ten year son had wanted a dog his whole life but was allergic, so they had finally found this breed he could live with. This kid’s eyes just shone every time he worked with his puppy. So did his parents, actually. She was a nice dog, as I remember, but then, it was a class full of exuberant puppies.
The "secret" your allergist won’t tell you is that *most* people acclimate to their own household dog(s), or even cat(s). If you want to live with a dog badly enough, you’ll put up with some days/weeks/months of snuffling & wet noses (yours, not the dog’s) as your overactive histamine system realizes that this specific form of canine dander isn’t a dangerous invader. Scrupulous cleanliness helps a LOT… I knew a woman with severe allergies who lived with malamutes, which are about the worst allergen producers in existence, because she just loved the breed too much to not have them around. She also lived with bare wood floors, shutters instead of curtains, bedding that got washed every week, and the expense of paying professional house-cleaners and dog-groomers. One reason the non-shedding breeds — poodles, PWDs, wheatens — have been labelled "non-allergenic" is that their owners tend to keep them clean & well-groomed, frequently by paying someone else to wash & brush them on a regular basis.
I’m glad that the Obamas will be shining more attention on the whole subject of breed rescue, since two of the three papillons we currently share a home with are rescues. I’m also glad they didn’t fall for the ‘labradoodle’ scam (and yes, I’m sure your precious labradoodle is the most perfect dog in the entire universe, but it’s still a revolting marketing scam that exists to enrich soulless monsters, sorry).
And finally, I’m glad that Teddy Kennedy got this little extra "present" for his birthday, which I do suspect had something to do with Michelle’s timing.
I’ve interacted with PWDs from time to time. My daughter desperately wants a dog and my wife is finally coming around…I think having the same kind of dog as the Obamas will make everyone happy.
Seriously, they are pretty wonderful critters. I grew up with standard poodles and the water dogs are very similar…just more, well, optimistic. A good match for the First Family!
@Laura W: And it’s Hosea FTW!
Meh. Alligators. Meh.
I can’t talk about it. Fiddle-dee-dee!
@Laura W: Oh, and Laura, have I told you that Strider is now My Pet Goat? Oh, yes, he is. Ate my tres-spendy Under Armour longjohns whole. Rushed to Emergency Vet. Five hours and four hundred dollars later, told he’s a Miracle Goat-Dog.
Little f!cker will eat anything. Now, look at that photo, does it seem as though I’m starving the little bastard to the point he has pangs for undergarments? FLOTUS probably made a wiser choice than I did. Also, FFOTUS likely has better/cheaper access to midnight veterinarians.