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A Rare Breed of Love

How a three-legged dog won the hearts of everyone from an angry homeless man to Barack Obama.

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America has a love affairs with dogs. I should know. As the director of the White House website during President George W. Bush’s first term, I couldn’t help but notice that, whenever we put first dog Barney on the website, traffic soared.

(In fact, the highest-trafficked day on the site was Dec. 17, 2003 – the day we released the second annual Barney Christmas video, “Barney II: Barney Reloaded.”)

So with President Obama now in the Oval Office, it isn’t a surprise to me that anytime I write about the Obama family’s search for a pet dog, it becomes one of the most visited stories on the Monitor’s website.

There’s even a dog who has enjoyed a resurgence in media attention as the result of Barack Obama’s election. That’s Baby, the star of A Rare Breed of Love, a book published last summer by Dr. Jana Kohl.

Baby, a small white poodle with only three legs, has a high-powered connection to the president of the United States. In fact, you may have seen a photograph of her in his arms.

So how did this little poodle – a three legged one at that – meet the most powerful man in the world? The story, of course, is in the book.

It all started when Kohl, who describes herself as a “one-time unlikely dog lover,” decided she wanted to buy a poodle. She went to see the dogs at a breeder – only to be horrified at the conditions under which the dogs lived.


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