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There Are Going To Be Dogs in the White House Again—And One Is a Rescue!

Joe Biden’s German Shepherd Major to be the first shelter dog in the White House

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Photo: Courtesy of the Biden Campaign

This January we'll see dogs once again return to the White House—and one is a rescue! Major, Joe Biden’s German Shepherd, will be the first shelter dog to reside at the White House. 

Photo Stephanie Gomez/Delaware Humane Association, via Associated Press

The Bidens adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 when the pup was ten months old. The Bidens fostered Major for eight months before making it official. 

And the new DOTUS has a friend! The Biden family also includes another GSD named Champ who is no stranger to the grounds himself, having lived at One Observatory Circle, the Vice President residence, when Biden served as VP under the Obama Administration. 

Dogs and the presidency go hand in hand, appearing together at the White House since the 1700s with few exceptions. President Trump was the first president not to have a White House pet in more than 100 years, says Andrew Hager, the historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.

Though Major is the first shelter dog in the White House, he is not the first rescued dog. President Lyndon B. Johnson’s mixed-breed dog, Yuki, was found by his daughter at a Texas gas station.

Some of the presidential pooches became mini celebrities in their own rites, like Barack Obama’s Portuguese Water Dog Bo who is featured in several children’s storybooks and appeared on late night television.

Photo: Delaware Humane Association

“Dogs remind you to live in the present,” Biden told The Union Leader in a story on political pets earlier this year. “They love unconditionally and they savor every moment with you. When I’m with Champ and Major, I get to live in the “now” for a moment with them, enjoy the simple act of throwing a ball around or taking a walk.”

Biden sometimes posts about his dogs on social media. “No ruff days on the campaign trail when I have some Major motivation,” Mr. Biden posted on Instagram in October with a pretty darn adorable accompanying video. 

Pets are a tradition for presidents for good reason. Not only do presidential dogs provide companionship during stressful times, they also serve to make the president more relatable to the public, softening the image. Plus, who doesn’t love to work with an office dog? 

If you’re considering a rescue pup to call your own, fostering is a great first step to find a dog that’s right for you, and who knows—you might just find your own Major!

» Ready to take the leap and adopt? Here’s how to help your new shelter pup settle in. 



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