The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

An important update on the pets of the executive branch

We are nearly 151 days into the Trump presidency, and many government positions remain unfilled. So does a crucial White House job: first pet.

Although Melania Trump and 11-year-old Barron have moved in with him, the nation’s 45th president remains the first pet-less U.S. leader in 150 years. This is, as we have noted, a lost opportunity for bipartisan appeal and good press.

Fortunately, Vice President Pence’s swelling menagerie is there to fill the presidential pet void. Over the weekend, the Pences added a puppy and a kitten to their brood, which already included a rabbit named Marlon Bundo, a cat named Pickle and a hive full of anonymous bees. (Another Pence cat, Oreo, passed away earlier this month.)

The arrivals of Australian shepherd Harley and gray tabby Hazel were, of course, heralded by adorable photos on social media.

Marlon Bundo, who is colloquially known as “Bunny of the United States,” or BOTUS, announced via his very popular Instagram account that he had spent time getting to know his new “siblings.”

Speaking of Marlon: Pence spokesman Marc Lotter deemed Harley the nation’s “Second Dog,” which seems a bit unfair. There is no First Dog, after all. And if the rabbit is BOTUS, shouldn’t Harley be DOTUS?

The absence of a White House dog would also seem to eliminate “Vice Dog” as a possibility. Perhaps the right title is “Honorary First Dog?” Maybe “Substitute First Dog.” (Pundits and political opponents who argue that Trump is deserving of impeachment might prefer “First Dog-In-Waiting,” though that is not really what “in-waiting” means.)

In any case, bestowing the proper titles on the new Pence pets is a confusing endeavor. It would be far easier if Trump would simply get a dog.

Read more:

The crucial White House position Trump has neglected to fill

Donald Trump really needs to get a dog

Meet Patton the Goldendoodle. Will he become Trump’s first dog?

Long before they conquered the Internet, cats took over the world