As timing would have it, Seamus is now a metaphor for the characteristics that Romney critics find unappealing — out of touch, lacking in compassion, pragmatic to a fault. Who puts his dog on top of a car speeding down the highway? Will HUD be next?

By contrast, in a photo now in circulation, Obama is shown extending an outstretched hand to an eager Bo. The president is crouched down at dog level, balancing on his toes with his jacket slung over a shoulder, and smiling. Unlike Romney, by implication, Obama is friendly, approachable and at one in bow-wowness.

Pet owners have noticed. A Facebook page created by the president’s campaign, “Pet Lovers for Obama,” gives animal lovers a place to show their pets’ support for the Obama-Biden ticket. Members of the group “Dogs Against Romney” have staged protests. Stand by for more canine chicanery.

When national issues are so complex, such distilled calculations may provide political relief, but is this really the way to pick a president?