First shelter dog to inhabit the White House

A picture of a German Shepherd (NOT Major Biden)

Jorden Jeffers, Writer

Major Biden, presidential-elect Joe Biden’s 2-year-old German Shepard will be the first rescue dog in the White House come January 2021 when Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States. One of two beautiful German Shepherds owned by the Bidens, Major was adopted from the Delaware Humane Society when he was 10 months old in November of 2018. The Delaware Humane Society is a no-kill shelter founded in 1957 located in Biden’s home state of Delaware. The DHA serves the community by offering neutering/spaying, a pet food pantry, and vaccinations. Even though the Bidens initially set out to foster Major, the family fell in love with Major and decided to adopt him from the DHA. 

Major and Champ will be filling a significant role at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue- one that has been empty for four years: the President’s dog. Donald Trump, the 45th president is the first and only president to be petless in the White House. While the White House has a long history of pets, from George Bush’s terrier Barney to Franklin Roosevelt’s terrier Fala, dogs have had a long-time seat in the White House. Initially, dogs in the White House were bred for a dual purpose- working and being pets. Even though dogs have had a role in the White House since it’s construction, there has never been a shelter dog in the White House until now. 

CJ Boggs, a United States navy jag who runs a puppy rescue out of Manama, Bahrain states, “It is so good to see a President-elect with a regard to the many animals in shelters without homes. These animals need homes more than puppies bred for profit.” Many agree with this statement- it is significant to see a President, the most powerful man in the country, simply adopt and not shop for a pet. The choice of adopting a dog softens Biden’s image: it makes him more relatable and more personable.

Tina Jeffers, also a collaborator on CJ’s puppy rescue says, “Although I am not a fan of presidential-elect Biden, it is a great message to our nation to favor shelter pets instead of supporting unethical breeders.” Unethical breeding is a large issue in the United States, causing many pets to have defects such as hip dysplasia and other problems. Making the choice to adopt, Biden portrays the message that he does not support unethical breeding.

If you are also interested in adopting a pet, there are many steps you can take to support animals in need of homes. Firstly, contacting a local shelter will render large results. Oftentimes, shelters are more than happy to walk you through the process itself. Secondly, making an appointment to visit a local shelter. Visiting a shelter will allow you to see all the animals available and possibly create a bond with your new pet. If you cannot adopt, there are many other ways to support shelters. You can donate to shelters on their websites or by calling. It is also beneficial to volunteer in your free time- shelters do not generate a large amount of profit and have many expenses. By volunteering your time, you aid in alleviating some expense for the care of homeless animals.

While there have been many canine-companions in the White House, Major Biden contributes a component never seen before- a shelter dog in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Joe Biden’s decision to adopt Major demonstrates an overarching moral: it is better to adopt than shop.