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Dog Tales: Biden, Obama, Bush & FDR

I admit I was one of those dog lovers who cheered the news that President Biden and the First Lady had moved their shelter dogs into the White House. As people.com put it, “The first dogs have arrived!”

It gave me common ground with a progressive president whose views are far different from mine, and whose views I believe are destructive for our country. But at least we had dogs.

But now, I have a bone to pick with the president. First Dog Major evidently didn’t like folks at the White House and expressed it. That meant guilt by association for his brother, Champ. Both have been banished.

First dogs Major and Champ were sent back to the Biden family home in Wilmington, Delaware, last week, CNN and TMZ reported.

Major, who made history as the first rescue dog in the Executive Mansion, is said to have bitten a member of White House security, according to the reports.

The 3-year-old pooch has also reportedly been barking and lunging at staff and security.

I have two of my own. They’re family. Like people, dogs can have trouble adjusting. I moved two dogs to a new home and was unpleasantly surprised at how anxious they were with the change. But I didn’t say adios amigos. So while I can relate to President Biden’s situation, I can’t relate to this solution. It’s heartless to banish the dogs back to Delaware when the Biden family has every resource at its fingertips to train and monitor the dogs. How you treat your dogs says a lot about you.

Major isn’t the first presidential dog to lash out. In a really interesting blog, George Washington University constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley reminds us of several things and points us to pictures and video of White House dog history. I credit him for what you’ll see below.

First, that President Barack Obama’s dog bit a tourist in 2017. See the damage that required stitches in the photo to the right, courtesy of tmz.com.

Second, that President George W. Bush’s dog went after a reporter back in 2008. There’s video of Barney snapping at Reuters White House Correspondent Jonathan Decker, posted on You Tube. Watch it below.

The dog tales go all the way back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his dog, Fala. Turley posted this amusing video of FDR making fun of Republicans who evidently cooked up a scandal about FDR supposedly leaving his dog behind on a trip.

It turns out, the times we’re living in aren’t really that unique when it comes to the tug-of-war between the political parties. Watch and enjoy.

I can’t thank Professor Turley enough for this dog history, and for his blog overall. If you’re not following his blog, you can find it here.

And finally, a request to President Biden: please bring Major and Champ home to the White House.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...