WASHINGTON DC, USA: Major, President Biden's shelter rescue dog, has been hitting the headlines for all the right reasons. Major and Champ, both German Shepherds, will be the first dogs to occupy the White House since their predecessors, the Obamas' pups, Sunny and Bo, left four years ago. 

Major's new residency is particularly sweet, as the Bidens adopted him in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. The last four years has seen no pets in the White House and this announcement drew smiles and applause from animal lovers across the country. 

Hints have been circulating that President Biden's wife, Dr Jill Biden, are looking to add a feline companion. If so, it will be the 'first cat' since George W Bush's time in the White House.

Other high-profile pets include Dilyn, a rescue dog that moved into Downing Street in September 2019 along with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Dilyn, a Jack Russell, was rescued from a breeder by animal charity Friends of Animals Wales before being adopted.  

Back in 2011 Larry the Cat, a rescue from London's Battersea Cats and Dogs Home moved into Downing Street too. Larry is one of a long line of Downing Street cats, known unofficially as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. 

Biden's dog Major is not the first dog shelter rescue to live in the White House. President Lyndon B Johnson's mixed breed dog Yuki was found by Johnson's daughter, Luci. Luci gave the dog to her dad as a birthday gift in 1967.

The story of Major is a happy one and it raises awareness about pet abandonment. Animal shelters are desperately in need of owners for the many strays that fill their centres.

Covid has created an explosion of pet ownership with many owners truly appreciating the companionship of their new addition(s) during these difficult months. Equally, reports show Covid has also created a growing number of pet abandonments. These have occurred for a variety of socio-economic reasons such as unemployment or a lack of research from owners.