Presidential Pets


Emilie Matthews, Managing Editor

Joe Biden, the President-Elect and soon to be 46th President of the United States, will be moving into the White House on January 20, 2021. Not only will Joe Biden be living in the White House, but so will his wife Jill and their two dogs, Major and Champ. Both of the dogs are German Shepherds, but only Major will be making history as the first Presidential Pet to be rescued from a shelter. The Biden Family adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association, and he will be brand new to the White House, but Champ, on the other hand, is 12 years old and has been in the White House before while Joe Biden was Vice President. Although Presidential Pets have become more famous in the past few years with the rise of pet-centered social media pages, the White House actually has an extensive history with Presidential Pets, ranging from domesticated cats and dogs to more bizarre animals like raccoons. 

The last pets to occupy the White House were Bo and Sunny, the Obama Family’s two Portuguese water dogs. Bo was given to the Obama’s as a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy, and in 2013, the Obama’s adopted Sunny. While President, Bill Clinton had a Labrador Retriever and a black and white cat named Socks, who was loved by the paparazzi and often visited the Oval Office. According to Hillary Clinton, “But it wasn’t until Socks arrived with his toy mouse and Buddy walked in with his rawhide bone that this house became a home. Pets have a way of doing that.” Both of the Bushs’ also had dogs while they were President. George H. W. Bush had an English Springer Spaniel named Millie, who gave birth to Spotty, the future pet of George W. Bush. 

Outside of cats and dogs, the White House has been home to a variety of animals. President Eisenhower had a Parakeet named Gabby, who he kept at the White House for his grandchildren. When in office, John F. Kennedy and his family had many horses, dogs, and birds, but one of their most notable pet was a pony named Macaroni, who appeared on the cover of Life magazine with Caroline Kennedy. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, had a raccoon named Rebecca, who was known to walk on a leash. 

Despite the White House’s interesting past with Presidential Pets, the arrival of Major and Champ Biden is especially important. Donald Trump, the current President, does not have a pet, so for the past four years, the White House has been without the companionship of a furry friend. Many Americans are excited for January 21, 2021, not because Joe Biden will become President, but because there will be animals in the White House once again.