Inauguration Day countdown: Shoes, service, labradoodles

Three items of West Seattle news related to next week’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States:

SHOE DRIVE: The WSB Forums shoe-collection drive has just kicked off. Read all about it here; collection boxes are now in place, including the one shown at left at Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Another one’s set up at Full Tilt Ice Cream in White Center. Please take new (or lightly used) shoes to one of those spots between now and Inauguration Day; they will all be donated to Soles4Soles (read about that organization here). If you have a question, here’s where it’s being discussed in the forums. And here’s the official flyer.

DAY OF SERVICE: One day before Inauguration Day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday 1/19, is a National Day of Service – and Laura calls our attention to a link where you can find West Seattle-area events and opportunities. We found five atop the list in this configuration; if you know of more West Seattle service opportunities that day or the preceding weekend, please add a comment here, or e-mail us ( – thanks!

WEST SEATTLE LABRADOODLES: Dog lovers know the Obama family has been talking about bringing a new pet to their new home, and in an interview yesterday (see the video here), the President-elect revealed they’re considering either a labradoodle or a Portuguese water dog. Longtime WSB’er Amy Gates is a labradoodle breeder – here are two of hers:

Amy is the owner of Sound Labradoodles, breeding multigenerational labradoodles. She tells WSB, “This means our dogs breed true — we’re not just putting a poodle and a labrador together. Australian labradoodle breeders have refined the breed over the past 30 years, including infusing a few other breeds like Irish Water Spaniel into the breed.” She says the breed is appealing to the Obama family because of the allergy-friendly aspect (Malia Obama is allergic to most dogs): “Due to the breed refinement, our dogs are more reliably non-shedding and allergy friendly. A simple poodle-lab cross will not have a reliable result. It might shed, and it might cause allergies.” Amy also says Labradoodles are perfect for the kind of busy environment that’ll constitute life as First Dog: “Labradoodles are really people-focused. They were first bred as service dogs, and many labradoodles are still used as service dogs and therapy dogs. This means they can be trained to be very calm and patient with lots of people around, which is definitely a factor in the Obama household!” Amy’s website is at

16 Replies to "Inauguration Day countdown: Shoes, service, labradoodles"

  • westseattledood January 12, 2009 (4:31 pm)

    My heart is full. My cup runneth over.

    Westseattledood is a six-year old trained therapy dog.

    \|/ \|/ \|/ \|/ \|/ \|/

  • miws January 12, 2009 (7:06 pm)

    “Westseattledood is a six-year old trained therapy dog.”

    And a pretty darn prolific WSB Blog and Forum poster! ;)



  • huh January 12, 2009 (8:56 pm)

    I read that Australian Labradoodle breeders have been refining the breed for over 30 years. However, the first labradoodle was bred in 1989. Maybe my math is off but wouldn’t that be 20 years? It’s also important to note that the AKC does not recognize a labradoodle or goldendoodle as a breed. They vary widely in demeanor, look, size, weight, color, short hair, long hair, curly hair, straight hair, etc.

    There are groups working to have both labradoodle and goldendoodles recognized by the AKC. From what I’ve read and talked to AKC registered breeders about this, the variations in these dogs being labeled as goldendoodles and labradoodles are a big part of why they have not been added as a recognized breed.

    That being said, these dogs can be excellent companions and if somebody wanted one and can care for it properly, it would probably be a great fit.

    For anyone looking at getting one, do a long background check on the people breeding these dogs. Verify their experience and quality in care of these dogs and paperwork. These are living beings, don’t take it lightly.

  • grr January 12, 2009 (9:12 pm)

    ugh. I hate AKC breeder bs politics crap. I was really hoping the Obamas would just go to the pound and rescue a mutt.

  • huh January 12, 2009 (9:27 pm)

    Why do you hate AKC?

  • huh January 12, 2009 (9:35 pm)

    For anyone looking at getting a dog or even if you have one now, I recommend for working with your dog to train YOU. Great people there and they DO NOT follow the Cesear Milan concepts of choking your dog.

  • xoxo January 12, 2009 (9:51 pm)

    probably the allergy thing is why they need a certain type of dog, but there are so many dogs that need homes…

  • huh January 12, 2009 (10:06 pm)

    totally agree many dogs need homes. maybe if people got dogs from reputable breeders (those that make you spay or neuter, give the dog BACK to the breeder if for any reason you can’t care for it) then we would not have so many dogs looking for homes that can properly care for them.

    We did 2 150mile round trips to just be qualified to get our dog and it took less paperwork to buy our new vehicle than it did to take our puppy home. Quality breeders are on the ball in helping keep dogs from being placed in bad situations and help keep dogs from being homeless. Puppy Mill and backyard breeders scare me.

  • Amy Gates January 13, 2009 (6:37 am)

    There are differing accounts of when Wally Conron began trying to create the service dog which became what we now know as the Labradoodles. By his own account, which was published in Readers Digest, it was the early 1980s. Read a copy of the article here:

    You are correct that AKC does not currently recognize the labradoodle. However, breeders of the Australian lines of labradoodles do have their own association with health requirements which are actually above those required by the AKC. It is called the Australian Labradoodle Association of America. Breeder members must adhere to a strict regimen of health testing, as well as puppy contracts which contain certain language, including the ability to return the dog to the breeder at any time. If those requirements do not designate a “quality breeder”, then I don’t know what does. See the requirements here:

    I would recommend anyone considering the purchase of a labradoodle to be sure the breeder is a member of the ALAA. You can read the ALAA’s Breeder Code of Ethics here:

  • Amy Gates January 13, 2009 (6:42 am)

    Also, to address grr’s comments about getting “a dog from the pound”… from what I understand, that is what the Obamas ideally would like to do. Personally, I think they will have a very hard time finding a dog at a shelter which is allergy-friendly enough to be tolerable for daughter Malia.
    I am hopeful that they will work with a resue organization to find their dog, such as IDOG Labradoodle Rescue .

  • Steph January 13, 2009 (8:11 am)

    I don’t like getting a dog from the breeder. There are SO many dogs out there that need homes and for the allergy thing, they could go to Pure Bred Rescue for the breed they want and need. I hope they know about that option.

  • Steph January 13, 2009 (8:16 am)

    To huh: Why do you think Cesear Milan chokes the dogs? I have never seen him use that type of training.

  • John January 13, 2009 (8:53 am)

    I can’t believe we still allow breeders to pump out dogs to make a profit. I hate the idea of the Obama family picking a breeders dog when there are millions of loving dogs looking for homes. Why breed more????…if not for a profit. Soundlabradoodles should be ashamed.

  • Sound Labradoodles (Amy) January 13, 2009 (1:02 pm)

    If you think breeders make a profit, you are mistaken. The only breeders who make a profit are puppy mills.
    The breeding standards by the AKC, or even by a labradoodle organization like the ALAA, require health testing that costs literally thousands of dollars. Breeding stock labradoodles cost thousands of dollars. Breeding puppies must be raised until they are 2 years old to receive final hip testing results — and then the dog might not pass muster and you have to start over! Then there are the costs of yearly vet visits, stud fees, pregnant dog vet visits, vet help if something goes wrong with whelping, WEEKLY vet visits for a litter of 6-12 puppies… the list goes on and on.
    Breeding dogs is a hobby, not a money-making business. Generally speaking, breeders do not break even until after five years — if they last that long — and after that profits are still minimal. I know of only one breeder who rests her livelihood on her breeding business, and she is always in a precarious position, working part-time jobs, etc. The only breeders making money are the puppy mills. That is due to business volume, and also in most cases lack of expensive health testing.
    Breeders are in this business because we love the breed and want to see it continue. I am grateful that I am able to raise these wonderful dogs, and to help others enjoy them as well.
    As I said above, there is a labradoodle rescue organization called IDOG:
    If anyone came to me — even the Obamas — and said they adopted a rescue from IDOG instead of buying a puppy from me (or any other breeder) I would cheer them on! But a rescue dog is not for everyone, and that is why breeders do continue with their businesses.

  • Bender January 13, 2009 (3:23 pm)

    There is nothing wrong with getting a dog from a reputable breeder. For those that have the hardcore stance of adopting dogs instead, why have your own child if there are plenty out there that need homes?

  • John January 14, 2009 (1:44 pm)

    Bender…. I totally agree with your comment. If you talk to any of my friends they will tell you I feel the same. There’s an estimated 100 million children world wide looking up for adoption, yet we continue to pump them out as if we have unlimited resources. I can understand wanting 1 of your own, but after that you should stop and adopt. I child is a ‘want’ not a ‘need’.

Sorry, comment time is over.

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