In between fighting with Sen. Joe Manchin and belatedly scrambling to distribute free COVID-19 tests nearly two years into the pandemic, Joe Biden got a new puppy. The president announced on Monday the arrival of three-month-old German Shepherd Commander with a photo and a video of the big-eared little tyke. It is, how do you say, “12/10 cute doggo alert”?
The Bidens are known to be dog lovers, which, as everyone knows, makes them morally superior and better suited to executive leadership compared to people without pets. They had a German Shepherd named Champ who died at the age of 13 in June. Their other dog, a three-year-old named Major — also a German Shepherd, okay breed obsessed — was lauded as the first shelter dog to move into the White House before he promptly had to move out again for special training because he had a biting problem. And now they have Commander, who is a recent birthday gift for the president from his brother and sister-in-law.
Speaking of Major, you may be wondering: how is he doing with this new puppy? Is he so happy to have a new brother, yes he is, good boy, good boy? If you, like me, get all of your presidential dog news from the official unofficial “Oval Pawffice” Twitter fan account, you might assume that Major is, as the Oval Pawffice tweeted, “pawsitively thrilled” to have “a new baby sibling” in the house — “[a]wooooof!” — and is happily giving Commander “a tour of the White House” and lessons in “fetching zoomies.” After all, it would be sociopathic to tweet this way if Major were no longer part of the family, but actually given away to new owners while the Bidens upgraded to a younger model.
Well, actually, that seems to be what has happened. Tucked deep into the New York Times story about Commander’s arrival is this revelation that Major has been rehomed. This is what’s known as “burying the lede”:
“After consulting with dog trainers, animal behaviorists and veterinarians, the first family has decided to follow the experts’ collective recommendation that it would be safest for Major to live in a quieter environment with family friends,” [Jill Biden spokesperson Michael] LaRosa said in a statement. “This is not in reaction to any new or specific incident, but rather a decision reached after several months of deliberation as a family and discussions with experts.”
The Bidens will also be getting their long-awaited cat (now confirmed to be a female) in January. New year, new cat, new puppy (minus old dog) — new you!