Editor's Notebook: Shelter dogs make wonderful pets

KC Compton

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By the time this CAPPER’S issue hits your mailboxes, the Big Decision might have been made. Or the entire country still might be in suspense.

What puppy will the Obama family choose as First Pet?

I know the dog that would be the best choice, paws down. He’s taken, because his last name is Compton. But if the Obamas could find one like my little cocker dog, those girls would be some happy kids.

CP came into my life when I saw a television news station’s story about our local Humane Society. In one of the cages, one little dog stood out. A cocker-spaniel-and-probably-poodle mix, he was pacing back and forth at the front of the cage, wagging his tail and clutching a squashed soda bottle in his mouth as if it were the best toy in the world.

The rest, of course, is easy to figure. I found him at the shelter, paid the appropriate fees and brought him home. I named him Cutie Patootie, which I shortened to CP, because I worried I’d scar him for life with such an un-macho name. But once he got out on the farm with no leash and plenty of wide open space, the initials also came to stand for Crazy Pet. That little boy has some energy.

Happily, so do I, so he gets at least two walks a day, and I get to tour the orchard in all kinds of weather. The best thing about CP, however, is that he’s the huggiest dog I’ve ever met. Not affectionate in that sloppy, demanding way some dogs have, but always completely willing to be loved on – which I consider the key qualification for a kid’s dog. He’s the kind of dog who’d wear doll clothes and ride around in a buggy, or go from guest to guest at a party and let himself be patted incessantly by strangers.

Once I realized CP’s wonderful capacity for affection, I thought I might try to find him another home with at least a couple of kids. Or maybe a nursing home where he could wag his way from resident to resident, lighting up hearts along the way. Upon further reflection, however, I’ve decided to be selfish and keep him for myself, as my own personal hug object.

So this one’s taken, but shelters all over the country are overflowing with equally wonderful pets. I hope the Obamas find their family dog among these legions of the unwanted. And during this holiday season, for your sake and for the animals’, I hope you might, too.

K.C. Compton
Editor in Chief