Feature

Portuguese water dog: First Pet?

President Obama and his family have chosen a Portuguese water dog . . . maybe

What happened

The Obamas have finally chosen a dog, and they’ll pick it up in April, after spring break. First Lady Michelle Obama told People magazine the family has chosen to rescue a Portuguese water dog from a shelter—one who is “‘old enough’ and a ‘match’ for the family dynamic.” The first family is still debating the best name. (People)

What the commentators said

Daughters Sasha and Malia seem partial to “really dumb names,” like Frank and Moose, said Alex Pareene in Gawker. But why are we even talking about this? Isn’t there a better use of “Michelle’s time and intelligence” than talking dogs with People? Maybe not—these “fuzzy, unimportant” stories are great at boosting approval ratings. “Maybe Bobby Jindal should get a dog.”

People might have spoken too soon, said Rebecca Cole in the Chicago Tribune online. Michelle Obama’s press secretary “threw cold water” on the Portuguese water dog “scoop,” saying the First Family was also still considering a Labradoodle—which might be a better choice. PWDs are not only nonstop bundles of activity, they’re also hard to find, with a “long waiting list” for rescue candidates.

If they can get the Jonas Brothers to play for their girls, said Emily Yoffe in Slate, “I have no doubt that the Obamas have the kind of clout to have their pick of rescue PWDs.” Besides, the Portuguese water dog has a weighty political patron—it’s Sen. Ted Kennedy’s favorite breed. Obama may well want to pay “tribute to the man who put the power of the Kennedy name” behind his campaign.

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