Future first dog Major Biden, adopted from a shelter, to get virtual ‘indoguration’

Did you know that President-elect Joe Biden is not the only one getting fanfare as he enters the White House?

His rescue dog, Major, is being honored by the shelter he came from.

The Bidens adopted Major, a German shepherd, in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association (DHA). The shelter is hosting a virtual event to celebrate the first shelter dog in the White House.

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The “indogeration” event is scheduled for January 17 and will be hosted by Jill Martin of NBC’s “Today.”

A $10 minimum donation is required to join the Zoom event and all proceeds go to the DHA.

Major is the first shelter dog in the White House, but he’s not the first rescue. Before Major there was Yuki, a mixed breed pup abandoned by his owner at a gas station in Texas. Yuki was rescued by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughter Luci. Bill Clinton’s family cat, Socks, was also a rescue.

And Major won’t be the only canine in the White House because the Bidens also have Champ, another German shepherd. Here’s a little more about both the Biden’s dogs.


Champ is one half of the duo moving into the White House!

Joe Biden promised his wife a dog after the 2008 presidential election should Barack Obama manage to win the race. Jill Biden taped different pictures of dogs on seats of Biden’s campaign plane for him to see. He purchased the dog as a puppy from a breeder in Pennsylvania. It was named Champ (born October 2008) by his granddaughters. Champ’s name reminded Biden of advice given to him by his father who said, “Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!”. Biden would give children little plush toys of Champ during his vice presidency.


Major on his adoption day!

His previous owner was unable to afford the expense of veterinary care for him. He was fostered by the Bidens earlier that year from the Delaware Humane Association’s shelter. He’s been with them since late 2018. On the day Joe Biden adopted the dog from the shelter, he stayed “telling stories and taking selfies with staffers” for over an hour. Major joins several other dogs adopted by world leaders. They include French president Emmanuel Macron and his Labrador-Griffon cross Nemo, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and his Portuguese Water Dog Kenzie.

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Major and Champ are getting their own book!

On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, will publish children’s picture book Champ and Major: First Dogs, by Joy McCullough, illustrated by Sheyda Abvabi Best.

The book, aimed at children ages two through five, will have a 75,000-copy first printing. The book originated with McCullough, according to Lauri Hornik, President and Publisher at Dial Books for Young Readers, who said it was the author’s pleasure project during the election season.

Best completed the book’s illustrations in only two weeks. Hornik said, “It’s amazing that she was able to bring so much warmth and specificity to each illustration (with perfect details like Kamala Harris’s Converse sneakers and Joe Biden’s passion for ice cream).”

Champ and Major: First Dogs

Of her interest in the project, Best said, “ I’m a big animal lover, so I jumped at the opportunity to illustrate such a cute story about our next First Dogs. How cool is it that one of them is a rescue?”

McCullough, who’s also an author of middle grade and young adult novels said, “I learned to love dogs during an extremely difficult time, and have had one in my life ever since. Their boundless devotion, affection, and unconditional love is essential to my mental health. I celebrated by writing this story!”

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Dana Chidiac, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, said in an interview that McCullough “wanted to use this book to highlight how great shelter pets are. So her text focused on that element of the Bidens’ story, and we included a bit of kid-friendly info about shelter pets in the back of the book to inspire families to adopt.”

German shepherds Champ, 12, and Major, 2, have already proven popular on social media; a Twitter account named @TheFirstDogs has over 13,000 followers. According to The New York Times, 30 of the first 45 U.S. Presidents have been dog owners. Do you need help communicating with your canine? Contact us NOW!

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