Today's "44" blog on the The Washington Post's website contains an interesting bit of information from President Obama's financial disclosure forms: that the value of Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog given to the Obama family by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and his wife, was $1,600.
My first reaction was that Bo's reported monetary value makes an interesting parallel to his current street address. My second reaction was, "Oh God, people are gonna be bellyaching about this." The comments to the article have borne out my prediction, although the range of idiocy in the comments is breathtaking. Some examples:
-- "This is a white man's dog. It's a Kennedy dog ... Obama thinks he's white."
-- "Remember how the Washington Post dutifully reported that Obama was getting a "rescue dog ? Yeah, right. This is just standard operating procedure for Obama."
-- "Obama didn't really need a dog. He already had a lap dog in the White House press corps."
-- "I wonder why O would claim 1600 for the dog when it was a gift? Why would the taxpayers pay for the dogs food, if in fact that is where the 1600 comes from? "
-- "Obama couldn't find an animal shelter with a map, much less adopt an animal in need of a home. Instead his buddies went to a breeder for one of their 'genetically pure' dogs. "
You get the idea. That said, I was also pleasantly surprised by the intelligence of some of the other comments:
-- "There's nothing wrong with adopting a purebred dog, people ... I have no problem with people who adopt from shelters. I think that's great. But simply put, a lot of people aren't comfortable adopting a dog when they have no idea what kind of personality or temperament it will have. Never mind all of the different kinds of psychological or emotional baggage the dog might have as a result of previous owners/living in a shelter."
-- "The Obamas' daughters are allergic. Portugese Water Dogs are virtually hypoallergenic. They don't shed. A rescue dog really wasn't an option. "
I don't know which is worse: the unbelievable degree of ignorance among the naysayers, or the fact that I'm surprised that not all of the comments reflect such ignorance.
And for the record, my family and I paid $1,000 for Allie back in 2002. An inflation calculator would put that amount at about $1,185 today. For that amount, we got a healthy puppy with a sound temperament whose parents had passed screenings for genetic diseases, and who'd had the very best of care during those crucial first eight weeks of her life. She was (and even more so today is) worth every penny. But the best defense of buying a dog from a reputable breeder I've ever seen is here.