After the 2020 election resulted in a call for President-elect Joe Biden it became quickly apparent that the incoming administration would bring along with it many firsts. Kamala Harris will be serving as the country’s first woman Vice President. Additionally, she’ll be the first Black woman and person of South Asian heritage to take the office. Her husband will become the first Jewish spouse of either a President or VP.
But, it is the Bidens who’s bringing an under-discussed sort of first into the White House this January. His dog, Major, will be the very first shelter dog to ever move into the residence.
Joe and Jill Biden will bring two German shepherds named Major and Champ to come live with them at the White House.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be living with their two beloved dogs at the White House. Both dogs are German shepherds. Champ came from a breeder in 2008, BuzzFeed News reported. And, Major was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.
Major arrived at the facility as a puppy along with his five siblings. The puppies were handed over to the shelter after exposure to toxins. All six dogs underwent life-saving medical care at a local veterinary emergency center and were all later adopted.
The President-elect first heard about Major after his daughter, Ashley Biden, sent him a Facebook post from the shelter saying they were looking for homes for the puppies, the News Journal reported. Biden then called the shelter and wound up fostering and eventually adopting Major.
Major will be the first shelter dog in the White House, however, he technically will not be the first rescue dog. That title belongs to Yuki, a stray mutt President Lyndon B. Johnson adopted after his daughter found him at a Texas gas station on Thanksgiving Day 1966.
Champ and Major will bring back a long tradition of dogs in the White House as President Donald Trump has no dogs. He was the first president without one since William McKinley, who served from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. (McKinley did, however, have some rather interesting pets: roosters, cats, and a parrot named Washington Post who notably could whistle “Yankee Doodle.”)
In 2019, according to the Washington Post (the newspaper, not McKinley’s parrot), Trump described why he did not have a dog, saying he thought it would seem “phony” and that he was too busy.
“I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have any time,” he told the Washington Post. “How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?”
Biden included his dogs in his campaign for the presidency, noting many of his supporters’ wanted to bring back the beloved White House tradition. The campaign cut a number of videos and for social media posts with the encouraging slogan, “Let’s put dog’s back in the White House!”
It’s hard to say if this country’s love of dogs helped push Biden over the top, but we do no a great many people were excited about the prospect of them inhabiting the Presidential residence. The posts about dogs collected hundreds of thousands of likes and shares from supporters of Biden and supporters of dogs.
We’re excited to see Major’s major glow-up from shelter to Oval Office in the coming months. Biden is set to be sworn in on January 20th and we imagine his dogs will be ready to congratulate him shortly after.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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