Biden brings back presidential pets
January 20, 2021 - President-elect Joe Biden is expected to restore the time-honoured tradition of having pets at the White House. Donald Trump was the first U.S. president in more than 100 years not to have a pet.
The Biden family is set to bring two German Shepherds to the executive office after his inauguration on January 20 – Champ, a gift from Joe Biden’s wife Jill when he was elected vice-president in 2008, and Major, who was adopted from a rescue shelter.
While still running for president, Barack Obama promised his daughters Malia and Sasha that they could have a puppy after the election in 2009. Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy, with the breed specially selected to help accommodate Malia’s allergies. A second dog, Sunny, arrived in 2013.
President George W Bush had two Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss
Beazley. “BarneyCam” videos, filmed from a camera around Barney’s neck and released on the official White House website, became a popular Christmas tradition.
The rivalry between Bill Clinton’s chocolate labrador Buddy and cat Socks was immortalised in a 1998 children’s book by First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Lyndon B Johnson’s favourite dog, Yuki, was a mixed-breed found by Johnson’s daughter, Luci, at a Texas gas station. Well-known for her singing, Yuki and Johnson did everything together, from attending cabinet meetings to swimming and even dancing.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s beloved Scottish Terrier Fala was constantly at his master’s side, even accompanying him overseas. Fala is the only First Pet to have been immortalized in statue form in a presidential memorial.
John F. Kennedy and his family were given a dog as a gift by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Pushinka, meaning “fluffy”, was the daughter of Strelka, the first Russian dog in space.
Other “first pets” include birds, hamsters, ponies and even snakes. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson aided the war effort by stationing a flock of sheep on the White House lawn.