So, the Obamas have finally gotten a dog -- thanks to Ted Kennedy Kennels, Inc. TKK specializes in placing Portuguese waterdogs with VERY special families. We all know, of course, that the Obamas chose this particular dog because, breeders claim, the Portuguese waterdog won't trigger asthma or other allergic reactions in children. Apparently, waterdogs don't shed much -- unlike, say, wienerdogs -- so the White House living quarters won't fill to the rafters with offensive pet dander. mention of second-hand smoke here and its relationship to childhood asthma. An unfair insinuation, you gasp? Hardly, I reply. I'm an asthmatic myself, due in part to having grown up in a house as smoky as Madison Square Garden during those televised boxing matches of yesteryear. (I was raised with wienerdogs -- but their biggest offense was tinkling in corners or leaving occasional, aromatic "calling cards," as my mom called them, near the radiators).

Still, I wish the Obama family all the best with their Portuguese waterdog. I hear this breed is a lovable handful, with the emphasis on "handful," straight out of "Marley & Me." Of course, the White House staffers and the Secret Service will perform most of the cleanup and exercise duties, regardless of any photo-ops to the contrary. And I'm sure publishers and film studios are already battling over the book and film rights to Bo's life in the White House.

...I wish someone would pay ME to write about my favorite cat, Claudius. I can assure you that Claudius would have made a name for himself in the White House -- and not in a negative way, like the Clintons' cat, Socks.

However, one thing about the Obama/waterdog story gives me serious, uh, pause. I'm not yet convinced that the Obamas are really a "dog family," or any kind of genuine pet owners. Perhaps Bo will grow on them, and turn them into true pet lovers? But the Obama family hoopla over their search for a suitable dog seemed a bit phony to me. Fulfilling a "campaign pledge" more than anything else. This is unlike the Bush family, which, for all their faults, are devoted to their dogs -- and have been for generations. It's something I admire about the Bushes. Not to mention FDR, who loved his dog, Fala, so much that they share a burial plot.

I just hope the Obamas don't turn out to be like the Clintons, who have been among the sorriest pet owners to occupy the White House in my lifetime. As bad, or worse, than LBJ. Both Socks and Buddy got a raw deal, in my opinion. That Buddy met a tragic end, unleashed and run down on the street outside his Chappaqua home, was not exactly surprising. But, then, in the Clinton White House, there was really only room for ONE top dog!

Well, thanks for visiting -- even if this blog was a bit of a downer. If you'd like to see additional samples of my cartoons, please click here.