Who are Champ and Major? Joe Biden's German Shepherd to have 'indoguration' as pets return to the White House
President-elect Joe Biden is bringing back a bipartisan norm as he prepares to move into the White House. Biden's two German shepherds, Champ and Major, are set to become presidential dogs and are reportedly going to have their own "indoguration" on Sunday.
Major, especially, will now become the first dog to go from a shelter to the White House. The shelter – run by the Delaware Humane Association – has planned to "indogurate" Major in a virtual ceremony that people and pets alike are invited to attend, NPR reported.
The future first dog was born as part of a litter of six German shepherd puppies at the shelter in early 2018. At the time, however, the pups were in a medical crisis. "They were very sick," Patrick Carroll, executive director of the Delaware Humane Association, told the outlet. "They had gotten into a toxic substance. We're not sure what. The dogs were lethargic, vomiting, and hospitalized for a few days," Carrol added.
However, the pups soon recovered with fluids and medication, and the shelter posted to Facebook in March 2018 in search of foster homes for them. Ashley Biden subsequently sent the post to her father, according to Carroll, as she knew he was looking for a companion for the elderly Champ.
Carroll recalled to the outlet how the future president showed up "on Easter Sunday of all days, and wanted to meet the puppies."
Major went on to become an indispensable part of the Biden family after he returned to the shelter to officially adopt him in November 2018. However, it hasn't all been sunshine and rainbows for Major and Biden. In November 2020, Biden fractured his foot while playing with the young dog. Furthermore, it recently emerged that Major and Champ will have to share space with a cat, according to CBS Sunday Morning.
The "indoguration" scheduled for Sunday will be co-hosted by Pumpkin Pet Insurance and feature "notable rescue dogs and their parents," according to Jill Martin of NBC's Today show. Proceeds from the event will go towards the Delaware Humane Association. Cory Topel, the shelter's marketing manager, described the event as "a monumental moment for shelter dogs."
That said, Major will also be accompanied at the White House by Yuki, another rescue dog that is set to reside with the first family. "He is the friendliest, and the smartest, and the most constant in his attentions of all the dogs that I've known," Yuki's owner (and President) Lyndon B. Johnson said.
According to the Presidential Pet Museum, Johnson's daughter picked up Yuki at a gas station in Johnson City and the former president was fond of singing with the white terrier mix.
Meanwhile, Major's story does more than just encourage pet adoption, according to Carroll. "This is shining a light on all of the resources animal shelters bring to a community," he told NPR. "If you need pet food because you're struggling, or you need low-cost vaccinations to keep your pet healthy, all the things people need, they should see their shelter as a resource."