By Nikhila Natarajan
New York, Jan 18 (IANS) On January 20, presidential pooches Champ and Major Biden will mark the return of First Pets to the White House after four years of outgoing President Donald Trumps pet-free reign. A cat is also said to be in the running to join the furry sidekicks.
German shepherds Major and Champ will be rolling in with the Bidens as they move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. Major is 2, Champ 12.
“He thinks he’s Secret Service, and he is,” President-elect Joe Biden likes to say about Champ, a Washington insider by now.
The Bidens got Champ from a Pennsylvania breeder in late 2008, post-election.
The new pup was named Champ on Christmas Day, after the word Biden’s father used to help his son recover from hard knocks while growing up.
Major joined the Biden family in 2018, 10 years after Champ. He was rescued with the help of the Delaware Humane Association (DHA) and will be the first shelter dog to be called “First Dog”.
Major got an early shot at the spotlight when his playdate with Biden ended with his master suffering a hairline fracture on his right foot.
Champ’s a veteran at headline hunting. When Biden was Vice President, he used to hand out Champ soft toys to kids he met as part of his official tours.
Before Biden, Barack Obama was the most recent president to have pets on campus.
Obama rewarded his children with two Portuguese water dogs Bo and Sunny, after his inauguration. Bo was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy.
Presidential pooches have done more than just good PR for their famous masters. Former President George Bush’s English Springer Spaniel Millie is the author of a dogobiography called “Millie’s Book”.
President Harry Truman famously said that, “if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog”.
Many Presidents have taken him up on that advice.
The first President Bush once said: “There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.”
Before 2017, every single first family for over 100 years had an animal member.
Trump was one of only four Presidents who left the First Pet slot vacant.
On this, Vice President Mike Pence broke with Trump.
The Pences had a rabbit and a cat at the start of term and added two puppies and a beehive during their stint at One Observatory Circle – the new home of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff.