This story of a historical first is one we can all get behind. It is a nice palate cleanser from the day’s usual news stories. Major Biden, the Biden’s shelter dog, was honored with a virtual indoguration. The Delaware Humane Association (DHA) and Pumpkin Pet Insurance hosted the event along with Jill Martin of NBC’s Today. The shelter called it the “largest virtual party for dogs.”
You may remember Major from recent headlines – he is the dog that broke Joe Biden’s foot. For whatever creepy reason, Biden was chasing Major, a German Shepherd, after exiting the shower at his Delaware home. The vision of a naked Biden running through his home after his dog and pulling his tail is one that no one needs. Who can blame the dog for tripping the old man?
Major will be the first shelter dog to live in the White House, though not the first rescue. Before Major, there was Yuki, a mixed breed pup rescued by President Johnson’s daughter Luci in Texas, and Socks, the Clinton family cat who moved from Arkansas with them. Major’s older brother, Champ, is also a German Shepherd and moving in with the First Couple. A donation of $10 gave viewers access to join the Zoom event and all proceeds went to the DHA.
The “indoguration,” raised over $100,000 for the DHA, a nonprofit no-kill animal care and adoption center. It was a family-friendly virtual event.
Participants had the chance to nominate their own animals for a position in Major’s cabinet. Organizers collected over 700 nominations for the title of Secretary of Rescue Dogs.
Each of the five dog finalists appeared in bow ties designed by teenage entrepreneur Sir Darius Brown, who announced the winner. Harper, a certified therapy dog, was awarded the position for her work visiting nursing homes, overcoming heart worm disease and “becoming the best support system for everyone she meets,” said Brown.
Leave it to Democrats to create a government job at the drop of a hat, fictional or not. Secretary of Rescue Dogs, indeed.
Singer Josh Groban closed the ceremony with his rewrite of “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” by Patti Page, changing the lyrics to “I’m adopting that doggie in the window.”
“In this crazy, insane, divided world, we need animals to bring us together,” Groban said as he offered his congratulations to Major and Major’s owner.
Stephanie Shain, chief operating officer for regional sheltering organization Humane Rescue Alliance, believes having a rescue dog in the White House is “an incredible thing.”
“Why not a rescue? Why not a shelter? There remains a lot of misconceptions about animals in shelters still today and the biggest hurdle animals in shelters face is getting people in front of them,” Shain said.
It’s a sweet story, though I feel kinda bad for Champ. He’s not getting the attention that Major is getting. Biden purchased Champ the old-fashioned way. All of my family’s dogs and cats have been rescues. Rescue animals make the best pets. There are always plenty of animals in need of a forever (furever) home.
Andrew Hager, the historian in residence at The Presidential Pet Museum, says presidential pets become celebrities. For the record, I had no idea there is a Presidential Pet Museum. Hager says people can learn a lot about a point in history by studying presidential pets of the past.
President William Howard Taft had a cow roaming around the White House, for instance.
“When you start looking into the history of that a little bit more you realize. If you wanted to have milk in 1912, you need to have a cow nearby,” said Hager.
“I think Major being the first shelter dog is also kind of reflective of Americans and our history as well. We are at this point where Americans are much more inclined to adopt a pet now than we’ve ever been, and the Bidens reflect that change,” he said.
Major didn’t get to attend his indoguration. Jill Martin said they were too busy getting ready for their move to the White House. What, one of the Biden grandkids wasn’t available to plop Major and Champ in front of a computer screen for a few minutes to make an appearance? C’mon, man.