Michael Schaffer is a writer in Philadelphia. One Nation Under Dog, his book about petmania, the pet industry, and what modern petkeeping says about modern America, is available from Henry Holt. For more visit www.michaelschaffer.net.

When he left office in January, George W. Bush's popularity plunged. But with Cheney and Rummy back in the headlines, Michael Schaffer says that opinion is shifting once again: the loveable, bumbling Bush of old is back.

Sure, it's all smiles for Bo, the first pooch, now. But whether he knows it or not, Barack Obama has entered a cultural minefield, in which everything about Bo—what he eats, where he sleeps, whom he bites—will bring a fierce national debate.

In an exclusive excerpt from the new book One Nation Under Dog, scientists argue that as people have gotten lonelier and more disconnected, they’ve filled the gap with more pets.

The author of the new book One Nation Under Dog set out to discover why we spend thousands on doggie cancer surgeries, pet taxi services, and "human-grade" chow. What he found is that the pet universe has become a strange reflection of the human one.

Canine mineral water! Parrot outerwear! Capitalism was running amok at this week’s Global Pet Expo. But look closely, and you could see that the sour economy was hounding even our four-legged friends.

When Richard B. Cheney exits his undisclosed location next month, he will probably be the last major figure in American life to answer to the name “Dick.”