Utah groups want Obamas to adopt a shelter dog

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When President-elect Barak Obama spoke to the media today, an economic recovery wasn't the only thing he talked about. It was something quite different: a dog.

The Obamas are looking for a dog, and the Best Friends Animal Society and the Utah Animal Adoption Center hope they will adopt their "first dog" from a shelter.

It's a puppy promise from the president-elect to his daughters. "You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House," President-elect Barak Obama told his daughters shortly after winning the election.

Now it's turning out to be more than the Obama bargained for. "This is a major issue for our family," he said.

Because there's specific criteria to finding the perfect pooch. "One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but obviously a lot of shelter dogs are mutts, like me," Obama said.

But Temma Martin, with the Utah Animal Adoption Center said, "They can easily find whatever purebred they're looking for in a shelter."

She even sent the first family an e-mail telling them she'd be happy to help them find a rescued pup. She even has an idea of what breed would be the best.

"Poodles and poodle mixes; it's true, they do tend to do a little better for people with allergies," Martin said.

She says it'd be a great opportunity for Obama to show America the value of shelter dogs. "If a shelter dog is good enough for the White House, it's good enough for any house," she said.

When the Obamas do decide what puppy will end up in the White House with them, you can be certain it'll get its fair share of attention.

Just as Lyndon B. Johnson's beagles did, and Nixon's King Timahoe, and Clinton's Buddy, and the elder Bush's Millie. And just yesterday, one of the current president's Scotties, Barney, showed a reporter what he thinks of the media when he bit him.

"We hope very much that as the Obamas are starting their search and starting to shop, that there's a lot of attention paid to how many options they really have to find a perfect pet to live in the White House," Martin said.

The Utah-based Best Friends Animal Society has also created a Web site to convince the first family to select a shelter dog. There they've posted pictures of dogs up for adoption.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

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Courtney Orton


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