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Shell Shocked: Security clearance for the new White House dog

By ART STEVENS - | Dec 8, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Art Stevens

Somewhere in this country a search is being conducted under the strictest cloak and dagger protocol — the search for background information on the first dog to be in the White House in many years.

The outcome of secret discussions among Senate Democrats and Republicans on the confirmation hearings of the new White House dog isn’t being made public at this time because of national security considerations. Each political party is in the process of positioning itself to present its pro or con findings to the full Senate when it reconvenes after the inauguration. Republicans will resist confirming the dog as a new Cabinet member and Democrats are pushing for the dog to be ambassador to China.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is presently scrutinizing the background and demeanor of various breeds to determine if a German shepherd is up to the job. They want to be certain that the dog would be up to the rigors of life in the White House and the responsibilities of presidential first pets. The way in which the new dog deals with the mass media is a crucial element in its selection.

In addition, the new White House dog will need to put on a good show and jump through hoops as it’s being questioned by the Senate during confirmation proceedings. The Senate hearings might sound something like this:

Chairman: Mr. German shepherd, our Senate committee on presidential appointees has reviewed your resume and would like you to state in your own words why you feel qualified to be the First Dog of the United States.

First Dog: I believe I was destined to become the First Dog. I knew it the day I was napping in my kennel at the dog breeder’s when three black limousines showed up and Secret Service agents got out. I watched as they had discussions with the breeders and were then sent over to my kennel. They studied me for what seemed to be an eternity as I played with my toys, stuck my nose through the wiring and sniffed their badges to make sure they were who they said they were.

The agents then interviewed the other puppies in the kennel and asked them if I had the right stuff. I didn’t know what they meant at first but three days later when the candidates’ grandchildren paid me a visit — surrounded, of course, by tons of Secret Service agents — I knew something was up.

The kids entered my kennel and looked me up and down. I recognized them from the kennel TV set and understood that I was being considered for the top doggie spot in the country. Boy, did I then go through my bag of tricks. I rolled over on my back and let them rub my tummy. I licked their faces. I sat on their laps. I fetched, ran through a hoop and even sang a doggy song.

I knew I had them when they began to cry before they had to leave. So, ladies and gentlemen of the U.S. Senate, the love that has been given to me by each First Family during our initial meetings is what qualifies me to be the First Dog. And, of course, I promise to uphold the constitution of the United States.

Chairman: If approved by the Senate, what will be your primary duties as First Dog?

FD: The most important item on my agenda for the next four years is to see to it that the president’s face is licked daily. I plan to provide such joy to the incoming president that he will instantly become not only president of all the people but of all dogs as well. In addition, I will visit dog kennels throughout the country and encourage puppies to grow up to be useful and productive pets. While it is true that not every puppy can become First Dog of the U.S., there are still wonderful opportunities for U.S. puppies to become part of very important households.

After all, how could humans survive without puppies around the house to make them laugh and bring out their love? That’s our role. And as First Dog my job will be to make Americans smile, be kind to one another and open themselves up to love and understanding.

I plan to visit our troops overseas and lick every one of their faces. It’s my sworn duty.

Chairman: This is all very well and good but can the American people count on you not to have accidents on the floor of the Oval Office while the president is meeting with a head of state?

FD: I will have been rigorously toilet trained before I set foot in the Oval Office. But can I in turn be assured that while I’m there, the head of state meeting with the president won’t have his own accident?

Chairman: Excellent point, Mr. First Dog elect. My final question to you is do you bring this committee any message to us from our president elect?

FD: Yes, the campaign team wants to assure the American people that there are other subjects that should be on the minds of Americans in addition to the pandemic, the economy, racism and Mexican walls. When I address a joint session of Congress later this year to give my State of the Doghouse address, I have the president elect’s personal assurances that I can reach out to American puppies everywhere and remind them to count their blessings that they were born in the U.S.

American puppies are blessed and my job will be to remind them of their duties and responsibilities. I intend to submit legislation along those lines to a bi-partisan Congress.

Chairman: Thank you for your candor, Mr. First Dog elect. I believe I speak for my entire committee when I say that your approval is in the bag. And now it’s time for all of us to join you to nibble on some delicious Alpos.