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How Past ‘Pawliticians’ Reflect The Evolution Of America’s Feelings Toward Furry Companions

Kevin the dog sleeps while wearing a
Kevin the dog sleeps while wearing a "dogs for Biden" bandana as people celebrate Joe Biden being elected President of the United States in the Castro district of San Francisco, California on November 7, 2020.
JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

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Dog lovers rejoice: with a new presidential administration comes a return of dogs to the White House. President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden are expected to bring their two German shepherds, Champ and Major, to the White House with them. 

Major will make history as the first shelter dog to do so. According to historians, that says a lot about the evolution of how America feels toward pets in general. According to the New York Times, the Bidens adopted Major through the Delaware Humane Association a couple years ago. Dog lovers across the internet rejoiced at the news of the soon to be First Dogs, but Biden is far from the first president to bring pets to Pennsylvania Avenue. Today on AirTalk, Larry talks with a presidential pet historian about past “pawliticians” and why they can reflect the evolving feelings Americans have toward their own pets. 


Andrew Hager, historian-in-residence at the Presidential Pet Museum, an online curation that started about 30 years ago