Family Friday: How Major, the White House Dog, Is Living the American Dream

… the Delaware Humane Association cosponsored an “indoguration” virtual fundraiser to celebrate [the Biden’s rescue dog] Major’s journey from shelter pup to first dog. The Delaware Humane Association said that Major is the first shelter dog to ever live in the White House and “barking proof that every dog can live the American dream.”

Marcy Nighswander, The Associated Press

Dogs in the White House humanize the occupants, just as they make us all better people. Our life with Kumba shows us that every day.

Dogs Humanize Presidents

If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

Harry Truman

There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to help you get through the rough spots.

George Herbert Walker Bush

“Pets have played an important role in the White House throughout the decades, not only by providing companionship to the presidents and their families, but also by humanizing and softening their political images,” said Jennifer Pickens, White House historian and First Lady expert. The previous White House occupant, a noted germaphobe, does not have pets, although I suggested he might want to get one in a recent post.

Dogs humanize us all

Take a walk with a baby or a puppy and you’ll meet people you would otherwise not even notice.

When our daughter was born and I was home on maternity leave, an entire daytime neighborhood came to life. Older couples out for a stroll paused to ooh and ahh and give me advice. Babysitters materialized down the street. The counter at the Five Corners Luncheonette became our noontime hangout. The barking dog on the corner gave V one of her first words. “Ooof ooof!” It was as if she’d conjured up this new world to support her befuddled new mommy.

Our rescue Lab, Kumba, has also brought out the best in us, first by exposing us to the compassionate Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida volunteers who have, in the past 20 years, rescued, healed, fostered, and found forever homes for 10,000 forgotten dogs. When we were accepted into their fold, LRRoF gave us the chance to earn our dog-angel wings. Like Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life, we earned our wings by saving Kumba’s life, just as he saved ours. And our walks through the neighborhood during this dismal year of lockdown have introduced us to good people we would have never met.

Kumba helped us celebrate the biden dogs

To commemorate the anniversary of the day he joined our family — and the new White House dogs — we finally took Kumba to Dog Beach, the miles-long stretch of dog-friendly sand in Jupiter where our chocolate Lab, Django, was most at home. Kumba’s nervousness about other dogs — and the uncharacteristic aggression that overtakes this sweet boy — had receded, and he’d gotten used to riding about in the car without worrying that we were going to harm or abandon him.

The good news was that he was calm and relaxed during our entire outing. The bad news was that he doesn’t like the water, so going to the beach is neither here nor there to him. We have felt a little guilty leaving him at home during our weekly outings to beaches where dogs are not allowed, and now we know that he and we do need a little apart time, too.

That way, we’ll all keep getting better and better.

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