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It’s Major: Pets Poised for a Return to the White House

The arrival of the Biden pets will mark the next chapter in a long history of pets residing at the White House after a four-year hiatus during the Trump administration.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Major Biden is getting an early start in the spotlight as a presidential pet after a play date ended with his owner, President-elect Joe Biden, suffering a broken foot. As if that weren't enough for one weekend, it was also confirmed that Major will have to share the White House with, of all things, a cat.

It'll get better, Major.

In a few weeks, Major, fellow German shepherd Champ and the TBD feline are expected to make the move to the White House. Presidential pets provide their owners with a source of comfort, entertainment, occasional drama and generally good PR.

The arrival of the Biden pets will also mark the next chapter in a long history of pets residing at the White House after a four-year hiatus during the Trump administration.

"Pets have always played an important role in the White House throughout the decades," said Jennifer Pickens, an author who studies White House traditions. "It not only provides companionship to the president and their family, but I believe it also humanizes and softens their political image."

Having a dog or cat will give some pet-loving constituents a connection with the president, added Tom Whalen, a presidential historian at Boston University.

"When a president, the leader of the country, the leader of the free world really, is seen with a dog or a cat, you know, basically there is a bond that they have with their public, whether they're Republican or Democrat," Whalen said.

President Theodore Roosevelt had Skip, who is described by the White House Historical Association as a "short-legged Black and Tan mongrel terrier brought home from a Colorado bear hunt." Warren G. Harding had Laddie Boy, who sat in on meetings and had his own Cabinet chair. And President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his beloved terrier Fala. At night, Fala slept in a special chair at the foot of the president's bed.

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