Shelters Offer Obamas Celebrity Treatment
While many stars just show up at the door, shelters offer them a chance to meet dogs after hours or in a VIP area. And they'd even bring a selection of dogs to the First Family.
"We have a fleet of mobile units that can transport animals safely and comfortably to Washington, DC.," says Devera Lynn, spokesperson for the world's biggest no-kill shelter, the North Shore Animal League.
"He's the President. We'll pretty much do anything he needs us to do," says Kim Saunders, co-founder of Petfinder.com, which lists 300,000 pets in shelters and breed-specific rescue groups nationwide.
Saunders has been talking with the incoming administration and says individual groups would decide whether to send their pup to the Capitol, but "I have to say it would be hard to find a group that wouldn't be thrilled to have a dog end up in the White House."
Last week Obama said the family is focused on hypo-allergenic Labradoodles and Portuguese water dogs and would "start looking at shelters to see when one of those dogs might come up."
Petfinder's specialized searches makes that easier than Obama may realize. The site has seven water dogs and 2,075 of poodle mixes.
Lynn said she would be willing to hold appropriate dogs for the Obama's approval if asked.
The Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society reached out to the Obamas but didn't hear back. "We could have them come up to the executive office instead of the shelter--after hours or during regular hours," says spokesman Nadine Walmsley.
Obama's new local shelter, the Washington Humane Society gets lots of poodle mixes and would offer in-home training, says spokesperson Tara de Nicolas. "If they came to us, we would certainly go above and beyond to get them the right dog."
After decades of presidents showing off by hunting animals, rescuers would be ecstatic to have one adopt a shelter pet instead.
"It would do so much for the country and for the animals," says Walmsley. "Of course we're all hoping it's going to be from our shelter, but the important thing is the animal gets a great home."
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