President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to restore a centuries-old tradition of having a presidential pet in the White House.
From January, the two German Shepherds of the Biden family, Champ and Major, will roam the executive residence.
President Trump was the first president in over a century not to have pets of any kind, said Andrew Hager, the historian in residence at the Presidential Pet Museum.
In 2008, the Biden family obtained a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder after Mr. Biden was elected vice president, according to Politico. The Bidens named the dog Champ because Mr. Biden’s father said to him growing up, “Get up, champion,” when his life was tough.
In 2016, Lois Pope, a veterans and animals philanthropist in Palm Beach, Florida, said she gifted Mr. Trump a goldendoodle puppy named Patton, after George Patton, the WWII general that Mr. Trump said to admire, The Washington Post reported.
At a rally in February 2019 in El Paso, Mr Trump said he did not have a dog because he did not have time and believed it would be ‘wrong’ for him to get one for political reasons.
“You love your dogs, don’t you? Mr. Trump said. “I wouldn’t mind having one, honestly, but I don’t have time. How would I look like walking a dog on the White House lawn? “
Mr Biden’s dog Major reflects a broader trend for Americans to adopt pets from shelters and their views on animal rights, Mr Hager said.
“In a way, I made the point that you can look at the history of Americans and animals by looking at the president and their pets,” he said.
Mr. Biden occasionally posts about Champ and Major on social media.
“No campaign ruff days when I have a major motivation,” Biden wrote on Instagram last month.
There was even a separate campaign called Dog Lovers for Joe. Its slogan: “Choose your humans wisely.”
“Red State or Blue State, we can all agree on the power of dogs,” the website said. “It’s about time we had a dog lover in the White House.”
From the earliest days of the country’s formation, pets have been a tradition for presidents.
President Theodore Roosevelt owned dozens of animals, including a one-legged rooster, snakes, guinea pigs, kangaroo rats and horses, said Jennifer B. Pickens, author of “Pets at the White House.”
One of the strangest animals in the White House was a raccoon later named Rebecca who was sent to President Calvin Coolidge to be served at Thanksgiving dinner. In November 1926, Mr. Coolidge pardoned the raccoon and adopted it.
Pets humanize the chair and help people connect with their owners. Dogs are cuddly presidential props and provide companionship when presidents are making tough decisions, Ms. Pickens said.
When President Richard M. Nixon ran for vice-president in 1952, he withstood a financial irregularities scandal, in part because he was talking about his dog, Checkers.
President Herbert Hoover’s muffled and stilted image improved when he humanized by posting a photograph in which he held his German Shepherd King Tut.
President Barack Obama and his family brought Bo, then Sunny, Portuguese Water Dogs, to the White House. They were adored, even after Sunny knocked down a 2 year old visitor.
“Americans have always had pets, so the White House has always had pets,” Ms. Pickens said.