Obamas to adopt Portuguese water dog in April

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portuguese water dog 2.jpg

Bear is a Portuguese water dog mix available for adoption at Homeless Pets Foundation in Atlanta, GA.

Michelle Obama tells PEOPLE magazine the First Family has settled on a breed and date for their long-promised dog adoption.

The Associated Press reports:

The family wants a rescue Portuguese Water Dog who is the appropriate age and match.

they’re supposed to be pretty good,” Mrs. Obama said. “From the size
perspective, they’re sort of middle of the road — it’s not small, but
it’s not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved
about them. So that’s where we’re leaning.” (Read the full story.)

This breed is not common in shelters — there are only two adoptable Portuguese water dog mixes listed on Petfinder right now (Wema, who’d had a major PR effort behind her, has already been adopted from the Martin County Humane Society in Fairmont, MN).

The Obamas’ situation is common among adopters: They know what kind of dog they want and when they want it. But the reality is, their ideal dog may simply not be available in a shelter by their deadline — and if the right dog IS there, the adoption process might not fit their timetable.

As many posters to this blog have pointed out — and even Petfinder
staffers have experienced — rescue groups may take a while to respond
to inquiries (although I doubt this will be the case for the Obamas),
and once they do, the adoption screening process can be somewhat
involved, depending on the organization.

No potential
adopter should take this personally. Even the co-founder of Petfinder
had to give references — which were checked — when he applied to adopt a dog (and a special-needs dog at that).

My point is, I hope the Obamas, and other adopters, are patient enough to stick to their guns about adopting and don’t give up and buy a dog just so they can make their April deadline. My advice to anyone who wants a dog with less waiting is that there are a few ways to make that happen:

  • Go to your local open-access shelter (often your region’s animal-control facility), where the turnaround time is faster.
  • Broaden your definition of the perfect pet to include adults, mixes and special-needs dogs.
  • Open your mind to breeds that are more common in shelters, such as pit bulls. Trendy breeds are often highly sought-after and get adopted soon after they’re posted on Petfinder.

If your criteria is firm (perhaps because you’ve got allergies, like Malia Obama), please be patient and don’t give up. Your dog — and the knowledge that you’ve saved a life by adopting — will be worth the wait.

Previous entries:

Canadian Petfinder member offers Obama doodle puppy

Thanks to the Obamas for choosing a dog responsibly

Obamas narrow dog search; plan to start ‘looking at shelters’

Joe Biden says he’ll adopt a shelter dog!

Disappointing news: Joe Biden buys a puppy

On Obama, hypoallergenic dogs, goldendoodles and allergies

Hey Obama, you CAN adopt a labradoodle!

Obama’s puppy and more good news for animals

Nominate a Petfinder dog for the Obamas!

HSUS urges Obama to cast a vote for homeless pets