I hope you and your staff will indulge one of your volunteers for a moment in something that has been a deep passion in my life for the last four years. I know that you have promised your daughters a puppy if the election was won, and now that it has been, and that work is behind us, I hope you will take a moment to consider where you get that puppy as we go forward into the work ahead.
I am sure that you are already aware that puppy mills are a real problem in the United States, contributing to the overcrowding of shelters and the horrible truth of euthanization. The problem of overcrowding is something that I saw myself four years ago when I lived in North Carolina.
I was never much of a dog person, to put it mildly; I was attacked by a dog when I was nine and was frankly terrified of dogs. The man who is now my husband had just moved to North Carolina to live with me and, living in a rural area and knowing no one, wanted a dog. We discussed it at length and I agreed that we could go and "look" for a dog at the local Humane Society.
The problem of overcrowding became so apparent to me when I stepped into the kennel area. Puppies were kept three and four to a kennel simply because there was nowhere else for them to go. As a matter of fact, my husband was already down at the end of the row, standing over a little stand-alone kennel with something in his hands.
Any dog-lover can tell you what happened next: I fell completely in love with a little brindled mutt, and she - without a shred of exaggeration - healed my heart and turned me into a "dog person," full stop. I credit her with my passionate advocacy for dog rescues and against the terrible, abusive practices of puppy mills. She is different from the puppy we got second, who we rescued before he had ever been in a cold, lonely prison. She loves our family differently, in a way that is visible. It may be foolish to believe so but in my heart I know that she knows that we saved her.
Of all the decisions you must make as you begin your journey to the White House, this is certainly not the most crucial to you. However, to the puppies currently in kennels in the South - where this problem is the most dire - and all over the country, this could change their lives. You have the opportunity to address very simply and very quickly the suffering felt by literally millions of innocent creatures, and to raise into our national dialogue the wonderful work done by millions of volunteers who work to rescue those companion animals from their terrible circumstances.
Rescue operations like these are one of the most brilliant, shining examples of the good-heartedness of the American people, the sort of community work and sincere advocacy for the least among us that your campaign has spoken of from the beginning. I sincerely pray with all my heart that you will take this opportunity to raise them into the light, and give your daughters the utter joy of not only bringing a dog into their lives, but rescuing one of God's most loving creatures and giving it the sort of permanent, joyful home that it deserves.
There are many sites that list reputable rescues, many of which specialize in a specific breed or breeds. www.petfinder.org is where we found our younger dog. Whatever breed you choose, make the First Dog a rescue, and bring hope to those of us who'd give homes to all of them if we only had room.
I sent this earlier today - I have heard since that they already decided to do this, but I hadn't heard that at the time, and I wanted to share this.