By Ben Cable
Muse Network, November 5, 2008 -- Best Friends created a few friendly barks around the Obamas' search for a dog in
mid-July when it launched the web site, ObamaFamilyDog.com. In a matter of 24 hours approximately 20,000 dog lovers had signed
a petition urging the Obamas to adopt from a shelter. The petition was capped at 50,000 in just a couple of weeks.
On the September 30th broadcast of
Entertainment Tonight, Michelle Obama stated her family will “adopt a rescue dog. With the news that Barack Obama and
his family plan to adopt a dog from a shelter, Best Friends offered to help. Dog lovers across the United States know Best
Friends Animal Society which operates the nation's largest facility for homeless, companion animals including hundreds
of dogs as the home of the show “DogTown”.
Julie Castle, Director of Community Programs and Services said, "We're so happy that the Obamas have decided
to adopt rather than purchase a pet. Best Friends is the home of second chances, and adoption is so much a part of what we
do that we are delighted to help in any way possible."
John Polis, Manager of Public Relations for Best Friends Animal Society, told Cable
Muse “we have approximately 500 dogs available for adoption”. Julie castle stated, "Mixed breeds, pure breds,
young, old, big, small, long-hair, short-hair, black, brown, white or any color in between--we can help the Obamas locate
the perfect dog for their home." About 1,400 other animals also call Best Friends home. "Whether it's a mutt
or a special breed on their list, we can tap our vast network of shelters and rescuers around the country to help match the
Obamas with just the right dog," said Julie.
Dogs at Best Friends live in "DogTown," the subject of
a national television series airing on the National Geographic Channel. It is also home to 22 of the pit bulls from the Michael
Vick dog fighting case, a subject covered in one of the DogTown episodes.
Polis said, "DogTown has been
an exceptionally rewarding experience for all 450 employees here at Best Friends. It's allowed us to share our great work
with all of America and countries around the world on the National Geographic Channel. We've also been able to showcase
our little town of Kanab. We had our own ‘DogTown World Premier’ here where everyone came out. It was standing
room only in our little 200-seat theatre.”
Best Friends has been aggressively working to expose and shut down puppy mills, large
breeding operations that mass produce and warehouse puppies before finally selling them in pet stores. Best Friends' "Puppies
Aren't Products" national campaign spreads the word about the poor quality of life of young dogs that come from puppy
mills. Each year, it is estimated that around 4 million dogs are bred in puppy mills, and Best Friends as an organization
says this contributes significantly to the 4-5 million animals that die each year in shelters.
"In addition to overpopulation, many dogs are killed each year in shelters because
not enough families know they are available for adoption," Castle said. "Best Friends believes that adopting a homeless
pet is the right choice, and the Obamas' choice to adopt will surely help get the word out about this very important issue."
John Polis told Cable Muse, "It's been a joy for us that the high quality of
our daily work with dogs, accomplished by Best Friends’ veterinarians, dog trainers, vet technicians, adoption experts
and care givers, is showcased to animal lovers around the world. Best Friends is the home of second chances and as we prepare
to celebrate our 25th anniversary in 2009, we continue to work at our longstanding pledge of making the world a better place
through kindness to animals."
President Elect Obama, told his daughters in his historical acceptance speech,
“Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with
us to the new White House”.
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For more information about adopting a dog, Best Friends suggests a visit to a local
shelter or looking online at any of the following web sites:
Potential adopters can also find a purebred dog from a breed rescue organization by
searching the Google Search below and enter a city or state, the breed you are looking for,
and the word "rescue."