When President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden will move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January, bring their German Shepherds, the 12-year-old champ and the two-year-old major. Not only will the dogs occupy a notable position – in a break with a centuries-old tradition, the White House has been dogless since the Obamas moved out in 2017 – Major will also make history as the first guard dog to occupy the famous residence.
For Champ, the older of the two dogs, this return to Washington, DC is an encore. As a puppy, he joined the Biden family shortly before they moved into the Number One Observatory Circle, the vice president’s official residence, in 2009. (According to reports, he was also the reason why the Bidens replaced the carpet in the residence with wooden floors. Lovers can sympathize with them.) Major, on the other hand, has to learn how to navigate the politically rich surroundings of the state capital. Fortunately for both dogs, they have plenty of company and attention.
The Bidens are possibly the most well-known “care mistake” in the country. Two years ago, in March 2018, they agreed to sponsor Major, a litter of sick eight-week-old pups, in the care of the Delaware Humane Association, a killing-free shelter. Ashley, Biden’s daughter, alerted her parents to the puppies’ plight, and her father followed suit and called DHA with an offer to sponsor one of the puppies. The couple officially adopted him a few months later.
Biden has a longstanding affection for German Shepherds. A photo from 1954 (below) shows young Joe and his brother on their bikes. at his side is his dog, a big-eared GSD. He commented on ABCs This Week in December 2018: “I’ve had German Shepherds since I was a child and have actually trained and shown them in the past.”
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President Harry S. Truman is often quoted as saying, “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog,” and since the early 20th century almost all American presidents have taken this advice to heart. Many of the current world leaders have also found dogs to be firm allies, from French President Emmanuel Macron, who adopted a Labrador / Griffon mix, to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, whose family adopted six stray dogs. (For more information, please click on this interactive map created by MyPetChild.com. This website contains a list of nonprofit organizations and veterinary clinics that provide financial assistance to pet owners who have financial difficulties.)
While it is impossible to know what the future holds, it seems safe to predict at least one prediction: dogs will be heavily represented in the Biden White House, where the big dogs – unofficially FDOTUS (First Dogs of the United States) – take theirs become place in the history of the President’s pets.