The Obamas aren’t the first family to get a dog, but they are among the few families who have had to get their dog under a microscope. As long as we’re analyzing every microscopic detail about Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, let’s put on a green filter and see what turns up. Hmmm…interesting that President Obama and his family woud choose a breed with “water” in its name…
Bo is People, Too
The American Veterinary Medical Association has a simple formula for estimating the number of pet owners in your community, based on national averages. For dog owners, it comes out to 37% of all households. If you consider all pets, the nubmer goes up to 57%. That compares pretty favorably with the number of households that have children under 18 living at home, which is about 46%. When you look at the numbers, it’s clear that pets are just as much a part of the household landscape as children.
…But Bo is Also Not People
As much as we consider our pets to be part of the family, we do have to admit that there is one crucial difference between our pets and our children. We do not, generally speaking, approve of any child under age 18 using the out-of-doors as a restroom.
Not Bo’s Fault!
Preventing water pollution from outdoor pet waste is a big issue for many communities, especially those in environmentally sensitive areas that are already stressed by stormwater runoff from various sources. That includes the Chesapeake Bay region, not too far from the White House. The problem? People, naturally. People not picking up after their dogs, to be more specific.
Urban areas are not off the hook, either. Rain washes everything into strom drains some of which can feed into sensitive sites. In dry periods, pet waste lying about on the streets turns into dust, which gets into the air we breathe and oh – yuck.
Bo: Part of the Solution!
Will Bo the Water Dog help raise awareness about pet waste? For that matter, will Bo help raise family awareness about the full spectrum of pet ownership issues related to sustainability, from strays to puppy mills and green pet products, too? That’s a heavy load to put on one dog, but if you know anything about Portuguese Water Dogs, you know they’re up for just about anything.
Image: jelene on flickr.