Major, the first shelter dog to live in the White House, was adopted by the Bidens in 2018.
“Today is Major’s lucky day!” the Delaware Humane Association posted on Facebook at the time. “Not only did Major find his forever home, but he got adopted by Vice President Joe Biden & Dr. Jill Biden!”
President Biden has had German shepherds before, telling reporters on a 2008 campaign plane trip, “I’ve always had a big dog my whole life since I was a kid, big German shepherds and Great Danes and Labs and golden retrievers.”
The presidential pooches are yet another sign of change at the White House now that Biden has moved in. Donald Trump was the first president in a century to not have a pet. He said it was because he didn’t have time.
“How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?” he asked a crowd in 2019, adding that he thought it would be phony to have a dog even though his political handlers had suggested it. “That’s not the relationship I have with my people.”
But Trump, who often complained that he did not receive positive or fair coverage in the media, may have missed out on an opportunity to gain some positive pet publicity.
Presidential pets have long been a source of media fascination — and a key part of the public’s image of its leaders. Now-Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) used an ad with a dog to win over White voters in his bid for office earlier this month, the New York Times reported.
Dogs can make leaders and their families seem more relatable.
The Obamas were often photographed with their Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Bo. In 2015, first lady Michelle Obama shared with a group of visiting children that Sunny had a “naughty” habit of sneaking off to poop at the other end of the White House.
After George H.W. Bush died in 2018, his yellow Lab, Sully, was still by his side as the former president lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda.
In addition to making history with Major’s presence in the White House, the first family will also welcome a cat soon, Jill Biden said.
Several of the most recent presidents brought cats to the White House. Bill Clinton’s tuxedo cat, Socks, was among the most famous, with a dedicated Wikipedia page marking his life’s journey.
The first lady’s office did not confirm whether the cat will be adopted or bought from a breeder.