US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on Saturday, June 19, announced the passing away of their pet, Champ. “Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home”, read a statement released by the President and the first lady.
Our family lost our loving companion Champ today. I will miss him. pic.twitter.com/sePqXBIAsE
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
Biden continued the tradition of having pets inside the White House. Champ was one of two German Shepherds living at the White House with the Bidens. The other one is Major, who is the first rescue dog to live in the White House. The Bidens adopted him in November 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. Champ, also a German Shepherd, joined the family in 2008.
However, Major had to be briefly removed from the premises after two incidents of nipping staff at the White House.
Former President Barack Obama was dog-less while campaigning, but promised his daughters Sasha and Malia a puppy during his acceptance speech after winning the 2008 election. The Obamas eventually had a Portuguese Water Dog called Bo who was gifted to the family by the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
The Obamas adopted a second dog of the same breed, Sunny, in 2013, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.
The ‘first pets’ of America enjoy perks as well. Like George W Bush`s Scottish Terrier, Barney, flew on Air Force One and starred in `Barney Cam` videos to celebrate the holiday season. “He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend,” Bush said when Barney died in 2013.
The Clintons` Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Buddy, joined cat Socks at the White House; while George HW Bush and family had several dogs in the White House, including Millie, the star of a children`s book written by Bush`s wife Barbara.
About 67% of all U.S. homes had a pet in 2019, up from 56% three decades ago, the American Pet Products Association reported last year.