Friday, April 17, 2009

Who Doesn't Love a Puppy?

On Tuesday of this week the first family introduced the world to Bo, First Puppy, a six month old Portuguese water dog. Presidential pets have long been an object of fascination with both the media and the American public. Pets such as President Clinton’s dog and cat, Buddy and Sox, have gained notoriety and even book deals. A presidential pets museum was even opened in 1999 in Williamsburg, VA.

What’s all the hype about? Well, the tough political decisions Presidents have to make mean it's impossible for them to please everyone. But, who doesn’t love a puppy? There are very few people who cannot be won over with those big eyes and wagging tails, and the President gains instant popularity with children, animal lovers and dog enthusiasts. That’s not to say people will automatically agree with the President or start supporting him. But, there are approximately 74.8 million dog owners in the U.S. and when the President also owns a dog, he creates a connection to the general public. Getting a puppy can boost approval ratings as well as the President's public image.

It is a great time to discuss Presidential image with your students. Have students discuss and come up with other ways Presidents have sought public approval . It may be helpful to bring up specific examples of Presidents and discuss why they were popular or not.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, I think you are partially right. Animal rights groups were protesting the President's choice and source for a pet - and did exactly the same thing to the Vice President. It's a different world from "Scotty" and "Checkers".