This is just a theory. But I can't get it out of my mind, because the more I review every first puppy story in the news, the more I suspect that Cappy, Senator Edward Kennedy's newest Portuguese Water Dog, might actually be the Obama family's new puppy.
Here, Columbo-final-scene-like, I will show you my reasoning…
First, you may not be aware that Senator Kennedy and his wife Vicki have three Portuguese Water Dogs. Many recent stories mistakenly indicate they have only two, Splash and Sunny, both of whom appeared last summer in the video tribute to Senator Kennedy at the Democratic National Convention. Cappy didn't make the video because he was not a part of the Kennedy family yet. He had not even been born yet.
In fact, John Berman of ABC News broke the story of the Kennedy's third Portie on Monday, January 12, 2009. Berman was following up on President Obama's own breaking news the previous day when he told George Stephanopolous that the family had narrowed their choice down to two breeds, a Labradoodle (not actually a breed) and a Portuguese Water Dog (the President said hound).
So, Berman set out that following Monday to get comments from "owners of both candidates." And, "after deploying the vast resources of ABC news," learned that Henry Winkler was a proud owner of a Labradoodle.
Winkler told Berman:
He also issued a broadside at the owners of Portuguese Water Dogs, …
"I understand that it must be terrible to feel so wrong, but the thing is that you are lovely people, enjoy your pets, the Labradoodle rules!"
Then, Berman contacted the most famous Portie owner in D.C., Senator Edward Kennedy, and seemed pleasantly surprised by the Senator's "amazingly fulsome" emailed response:
I take Sunny and Splash to the Senate with me, and they love being around people and being part of the action. In fact, they're so much fun that we've just added a new Portuguese Water Dog puppy to our family – Captains Courageous is his name. We call him Cappy for short. And he's another winner.
I think the Obamas' should double their fun and get two Portuguese Water Dogs. They love to be active, and they can help entertain each other.
I understand that a Labradoodle – also known as a Portuguese Water Dog wannabe – is also being considered. Hmmmm. I hope someone checks into the shedding situation. I know lots of people who have Labradoodles that are more Lab than Poodle – and they definitely shed. Sorry, Mr. Winker, but that's a fact.
I am proud to endorse the Portuguese Water Dog as the next First Dog (or Dogs) of the United States. They have a can do and hopeful spirit, they are smart, they are resilient, they are determined, they are optimistic and they are tireless. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Obama family and the Obama Administration."
Now, notice a few things about this written statement:
1. Senator Kennedy does not use the conditional like Henry Winkler did. Kennedy writes: "The Obama girls and their parents will love a Portuguese Water Dog. (Emphasis mine.)
2. Why is Senator encouraging the Obamas to get two Porties unless he already knows they are getting one? You can't double what you don't already own.
3. He mentions that he takes Sunny and Splash to the Senate. Not Cappy, who may be too busy being trained in First Puppy protocol.
4. Then he singles out Cappy as "another winner." Here, Kennedy is in full campaign mode and could be alluding not to his other dogs, but "another winner" in addition the winner he endorsed as President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Now, consider the President's dilemma as he expounded on it in November 2008 at his first press conference as President-elect. Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times asked him about his election night puppy promise to his girls, and the President pointed out that the family had to reconcile two criteria; their preference was to get a shelter dog, but because Malia has allergies the breed must be hypollagergenic.
And then, the President-to-be and skilled lawyer that he is, chooses his words very carefully…
He makes no promise to get a shelter dog, even thought there is tremendous pressure for his family to set an example and not go to a breeder when so many shelter dogs need a home.
Now, jump to this week. The President has already told Jay Leno that the dog "will be in place after the G-20." Mrs. Obama told People that they had to wait until after the girls' spring break (it was at the end of March). And Politico reports a dog has been spotted at the White House.
As puppy-mania intensifies, The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers, AKA The Sleuth, puts her detective skills to work and uncovers a few more intriguing details.
1. There are rumors that the girls will get a puppy for Easter.
2. There are rumors that Senator Kennedy will be acting as the Easter Bunny and will be bestowing said puppy.
3. Spokespeople from the Washington Animal Rescue League and the Washington Humane Society confirm that no one from the Obama Administration has contacted them about rescuing, meeting, or considering any of their dogs.
Now, to my own sources. Not a peep from the East Coast Portie people about a new Portie litter with candidates for the First Family. No word on a special Portie being summoned to the White House for a Fist Puppy audition.
So where would a Portie puppy come from who is young enough to still bond with a new family but old enough to be well trained, who has been vetted by a trusted insider, and who is not from a pound but not directly from a breeder either? Answer: Senator Ted Kennedy.
And if my theory is correct, and Cappy is the new Fist Puppy, we might all wake up on Easter morning and find out that low and behold, there is a Kennedy back in the White House!
Note: I contacted Senator Kennedy's office before posting this story. The nice person who answered told me she didn’t know anything about the Obamas' new dog, but confirmed that the Senator owns three fantastic dogs and spoke highly of the Portuguese Water Dog breed. She also said she had never met Cappy.
As the Senator would say…Hmmmm.
8:44 PM Update: Sue, the owner of eight Porties and the writer of The Portuguese Water Blog, informed me that within the Portie community, the Cappy/First Dog theory has been well known for several months. In fact, Sue posted about it on her blog back in February 26, 2009:
What the PWD community knows that the public doesn't is this. Several weeks ago Senator Ted Kennedy, who has two adult PWDs, Sunny and Splash, took possession of a new puppy called Cappy. We all wondered about the timing because the Senator is so ill, but the rumor is that he took the puppy with the intention of presenting it as a gift to the Obama girls when the time was right.
She also mentions her mixed feelings about what fame might do to the breed:
There have been a lot of rumors in the Portuguese Water Dog community for several months about this matter and most of us have mixed feelings. I'd like to see the breed I love and have lived with for so long recognized for it's great attributes. I'm also very worried about what the publicity might do to the breed. I've seen fame damage other breeds and I don't want to see it happen to my beloved Porties.