Monday, April 13, 2009

Dog Daze

If there's one thing that drives any resident of the White House absolutely bonkers, it's the fact that there are no secrets at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So, despite the Obama Administration's best efforts, and a planned revelatory press conference scheduled for tomorrow [Tuesday], no one should be surprised that one of the bigger questions about the still-new President's home staff has already been answered, albeit unofficially; namely, the identity of the breed of the White House dog.

A quick review: on Election Night, President-Elect Obama promised in his acceptance speech that First Daughters Malia and Sasha would receive a dog when they moved into the Presidential mansion [presumably a reward for good behavior during the campaign. At the time, the promise of another First Dog in the White House drew as many headlines as the oft-repeated rumor that Malia and Sasha would be guest-starring in an episode of Hannah Montana]. Complicating the choice; one of the Obama children [I honestly forget which one] has allergy issues. This, of course, would limit the number of breeds that could be considered.

Public opinion was split on what the national [and international] media quickly named the Dog Question: the President said he was leaning towards "a mutt, like [himself]". Critics pointed out that a non-purebred puppy would be beneath the dignity of the nation's highest office. As the debate raged on, the business of America, already crippled by the on-going financial crisis, ground to a virtual halt.Finally, the Administration realized that the Dog Question needed resolution, and fast.It sprang into action.

The first step was the creation of an internal think-tank, called the Office of Dog Selection, Vetting [no one wanted to bring a scandal-ridden canine into the still-popular Obama White House], and Acquisition (ODSVA). Following the long-time Washington tradition that the most undesirable jobs go to one man, Vice-President Joe Biden was quickly appointed head of the new office [a Democratic insider noted, "Let's face it, he's got the time"]. Biden's first appointments to ODSVA included:
Cesar Millan - TV's "Dog Whisperer"...

Lassie - America's best-known dog [as well as America's best known female impersonator, since Lassie is always portrayed by a male dog; Biden received wide praise for this master-stroke, including both Middle America and the transvestite communities in a single choice], and, in a nod to bipartisanship...

Ron Paul - failed Republican candidate for President in the 2008 election ["Let's face it", one GOP insider noted, "he's got the time"].

The ODSVA was quickly established in a former missile silo in South Dakota. A series of rapid-fire meetings soon produced a "short list" of candidates [leaked to me by a former high school classmate now working in the State Department; sorry I can't be more specific than that]:

Fifi- a toy poodle. Met the hypoallergenic problem, but fell short on the "image" issue [reportedly, even Lassie turned "paws down" on her];

Shredder - a pit bull. Got surprisingly high marks from the Secret Service, but reportedly "unnerved" one of the Obama children;

Scoobie-Doo - iconic cartoon character. Actually went over quite well with the Obamas, but difficulties with the 3-D generation technology [especially outdoors] made his selection problematic, at best. In an effort to save the choice, White House officials reportedly experimented with...

an actor, dressed as Scoobie-Doo - unfortunately, he reportedly "creeped out" one of the Obamas [not the children, interestingly enough]. Perhaps it was his demand for "cigarette breaks" every two hours?

Finally, the committee decided on:
Bo - a Portuguese Water Dog. Reportedly offered by ailing Democratic patriarch Edward M. Kennedy [whose switch from supporting Hillary Clinton to Obama in the Presidential election may have helped push the President "over the top" in the campaign. A suggestion by the Secretary of State to gift Kennedy with "Shredder" was rejected as "mean-spirited" by the ODSVA].

At any rate, the new First Dog will be officially introduced sometime Tuesday. Don't say this blog didn't try to give you the news before it happened...

-Mike Riley