It’s official! The Obama family has adopted a pup named Bo. Every journalist, commentator, and blogger will be looking for a unique angle on this fabulous story. Some will extol the virtues of Portugese Water Dogs compared to other breeds. Others will write about reputable breeders versus puppy mills, mutts versus purebreds, positive versus negative reinforcement training techniques, and even which pair of White House slippers will be the first to fall prey to puppy shenanigans.

Here’s what’s important to me about the “BObama story.” Although they may not know it yet, by saying, “yes” to a family dog, Michelle and Barack Obama will be providing their daughters with a gift of a lifetime! As the mother of three children who grew up with dogs, and as a veterinarian who has enjoyed countless wonderful stories of kids and their dogs, I predict the following for the First Family:

-Bo will be a “keeper of secrets” for Malia and Sasha when they are not sure anyone else can be trusted.

-The girls will turn to Bo for unconditional approval when they are feeling judged by the world around them.

-Bo will be allowed in the girls’ bedrooms when their need for privacy precludes all others from entering.

-During the “turbulent teens,” Bo will be the soft fluffy shoulder of choice for Malia and Sasha to cry on.

-When Mom and Dad are deemed to be utterly embarrassing, Bo will remain in Malia’s and Sasha’s good graces.

-When the girls leave home for college they will miss their mom and dad, but they will pine for Bo.

The President and First Lady are bound to be in store for some “Bo headaches” such as accidental puddles, over exuberance with White House visitors, and the creation of fringe on unfringed area rugs. Such nuisances will pale in comparison with the incredible reward of observing the giving and receiving of unconditional love in one of its purest forms- that which defines the relationship between a child and a dog.

Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. SPEAKING FOR SPOT is available at, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

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