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Joe and Jill Biden’s dogs Champ and Major star in face mask PSA

Jill Biden enlisted two canine aides to help her encourage Americans to mask up amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in a new PSA that features the First Lady and her beloved German Shepherds Champ and Major. 

In the clip – which was filmed at the White House and is due to air during the 17th annual Puppy Bowl on Sunday – the 69-year-old professor urges her fellow pet owners to protect themselves against COVID-19 by wearing a face covering, insisting that they ‘owe it’ to their pets to stay healthy. 

‘The unconditional love from a dog is one of the most beautiful things on earth – and we owe it to them to keep ourselves healthy,’ she says, while glancing down at her dogs. ‘So please keep wearing your mask, even when you’re out walking your dog.’ 

Paws-itive message: First Lady Jill Biden enlisted her dogs Champ and Major to star with her in a new PSA about the importance of face masks amid the ongoing pandemic 

'Right guys?' The two German Shepherds lay at the 69-year-old's feet as she urged Americans to protect themselves against COVID-19 by wearing a face mask

‘Right guys?’ The two German Shepherds lay at the 69-year-old’s feet as she urged Americans to protect themselves against COVID-19 by wearing a face mask 

Champ and Major remain seated at the First Lady’s feet throughout much of the 30-second clip, which was filmed in front of a fireplace at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – although she briefly joins them on the floor at one point for a quick cuddle. 

At the start of the video, Jill praised her dogs for being ‘such a source of comfort and joy’ throughout the pandemic, saying: ‘Hi there, I’m Jill Biden here at the White House with our two dogs, Champ and Major. 

‘For a lot of us during this pandemic, our pets have been such a source of joy and comfort, and maybe a bark or two on the video conference.’  

Despite a rousing call from Jill to agree with her statement – ‘Right guys?’ – her dogs seemed much more interested in catching some shut eye during the video, which captures Champ nodding off at one point, while Major casts a lazy eye around the room. 

The canines did seem to perk up when Jill, who was dressed casually in a blue shirt, black blazer, black jeans, and ballerina pumps, got down on the floor to give them a pet, with Major happily rolling onto his back in the hopes of a tummy scratch. 

The commercial’s debut comes as America saw its deadliest day on record; more than 5,000 COVID-19 sufferers were reported to have died on Thursday, despite a huge drop in new infection numbers. 

There were a staggering 5,077 fatalities in 24 hours on February 4, dwarfing the previous record of 4,466 deaths on January 12 by 611. 

Companions: Jill called on her fellow pet owners to look after themselves, insisting that 'we owe it to our pets' to stay healthy

Companions: Jill called on her fellow pet owners to look after themselves, insisting that ‘we owe it to our pets’ to stay healthy

Tribute: The First Lady also praised her dogs Champ (pictured) and Major for being such a 'source of comfort and joy' during the pandemic

Tribute: The First Lady also praised her dogs Champand Major (pictured) for being such a 'source of comfort and joy' during the pandemic

Tribute: The First Lady also praised her dogs Champ (left) and Major (right) for being such a ‘source of comfort and joy’ during the pandemic 

Less than impressed? Champ and Major seemed unfazed by the cameramen, and spent much of the video lying down quietly at Jill's feet

Less than impressed? Champ and Major seemed unfazed by the cameramen, and spent much of the video lying down quietly at Jill’s feet 

The US records its deadliest day: More than 5,077 people died of COVID-19 on Thursday, shattering the previous record of 4,466 fatalities on January 12

The US records its deadliest day: More than 5,077 people died of COVID-19 on Thursday, shattering the previous record of 4,466 fatalities on January 12

It comes despite encouraging and sustained declines in daily coronavirus infections. At 121,645, the average number of new daily infections is half what it was at the peak of the pandemic, on January 12, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

But the trend in fatalities consistently lags weeks behind trends in cases and hospitalizations, which have both been falling for the past three weeks, with fewer than 90,000 people getting inpatient treatment for COVID-19 for the first time since Thanksgiving, COVID Tracking Project data shows.

Hospitalizations fall after cases, and deaths are expected to follow hospitalizations, despite yesterday’s record-high fatalities. 

Jill’s pet-focused PSA will air on Animal Planet on Sunday during the Puppy Bowl, an annual event that precedes the Super Bowl and sees dozens of shelter puppies playing in their own televised football game in a bid to find a new family to adopt them. 

The event no doubt holds special meaning for the Bidens, who adopted their second dog Major from a shelter in Delaware in 2018. The pooch went on to make history this year when he became the first-ever rescue dog to take up residence in the White House – a moment that was captured in several sweet snaps shared by the first couple.   

According to a White House spokesperson, Champ – who was purchased from a breeder in Pennsylvania in 2008 while Biden was serving as Vice President – and Major have quickly settled into their First Dog lifestyles. 

When the first images of the pets at the White House were shared, it was revealed that Champ had been spending most of his time in his bed in front of the fire, while Major was doing laps around the South Lawn.  

Home sweet home: Joe and Jill Biden's dogs officially took up residence in the White House last month, with Major becoming the first rescue to ever live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Home sweet home: Joe and Jill Biden’s dogs officially took up residence in the White House last month, with Major becoming the first rescue to ever live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 

It's a dog's life! President Biden and his wife purchased Champ (pictured with the First Lady) from a Pennsylvania breeder in 2008, shortly after Barack Obama won the election

It’s a dog’s life! President Biden and his wife purchased Champ (pictured with the First Lady) from a Pennsylvania breeder in 2008, shortly after Barack Obama won the election 

Strutting their stuff: Official White House photos showed Jill strolling into the White House with Champ by her side

Strutting their stuff: Official White House photos showed Jill strolling into the White House with Champ by her side 

Super star: Adopted pup Major is making history as the first rescue dog to live in the White House, less than three years after the Bidens fostered him from the Delaware Humane Association

Throwback: The Delaware Humane Association recently shared an image of Major as a young puppy

Super star: Adopted pup Major (pictured right as a puppy) was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 

The two German Shepherds certainly seemed to feel right at home when they were heard barking outside of Biden’s Oval Office window shortly after their arrival, just as he finished signing an executive order to overturn the military’s transgender ban – a sweet moment that was caught on camera as the media was cleared out of the room. 

A C-Span clip shared on Twitter featured the less-than-dulcet tones of the two Biden pups barking in the background while the President put down his pen, and an aide escorted the White House press corps outside. 

Twitter users were quick to joke about the ‘chatty’ canines, with one person suggesting that the dogs were trying to tell the media that it was ‘time to go’. 

Another added: ‘A happy, lovely, and normal sound! So glad dogs are back in the people’s house!’

First dogs Champ and Major are reviving a tradition that goes back to George Washington – the first President to have a dog – after four years of a dog-free White House under the leadership of former President Donald Trump, who was the first US leader in decades not to have a canine companion.

Champ, who was named by Biden’s granddaughters, has already enjoyed eight years of D.C. life, having lived with Joe and Jill at the vice presidential residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory during Obama’s presidency. 

However, Major was rescued by the family from the Humane Society in Delaware in 2018, and this will be his first time living in the nation’s capital. 

The adopted German Shepherd is making history as the first-ever rescue dog to take up residence in the White House, less than three years after the Bidens fostered him from the Delaware Humane Association.  

Who let the dogs out? The two dogs made their presence known by barking outside the OVal Office as Biden signed an executive order to overturn the transgender military ban last month

Who let the dogs out? The two dogs made their presence known by barking outside the OVal Office as Biden signed an executive order to overturn the transgender military ban last month

According to the DHA, Major was ‘from a litter of German Shepherd pups that were surrendered and not doing well at all’, with the organization celebrating the news of Major’s adoption in a Facebook post: ‘Not only did Major find his forever home, but he got adopted by Vice President Joe Biden & Dr. Jill Biden! 

‘The Bidens have gotten to know Major while fostering him and are now ready to make the adoption official. Best of luck and thank you for being one of our Friends for life!’ 

Major’s adoption came ten years after the Bidens faced backlash from animal rights organizations for choosing to purchase their first dog from a breeder instead of rescuing an orphaned canine. 

During Biden’s presidential campaign, Champ and Major skyrocketed to social media stardom, thanks to Joe and Jill’s regular posts about their beloved pups. 

Throughout his presidential campaign, Joe regularly shared images and videos of his dogs, including a clip of Major licking his face, which was posted in October alongside the caption: ‘No ruff days on the trail when I have some Major motivation.’

On Christmas Eve, President Biden shared a sweet festive video featuring Champ and Major celebrating the holiday season, with the former resting quietly under the tree, while the latter ran riot around the house. 

‘No matter how you celebrate, Merry Christmas,’ the caption read.  

Promises: Biden brought his dogs into his official campaign when he urged supporters to help him 'bring dogs back to the White House' in a tweet posted days before the election

Promises: Biden brought his dogs into his official campaign when he urged supporters to help him ‘bring dogs back to the White House’ in a tweet posted days before the election  

Family: Champ and Major have been regular features on the social media accounts of Joe and Jill (who is pictured cuddling the dogs at home)

Family: Champ and Major have been regular features on the social media accounts of Joe (seen adopting Major from the DHA) and Jill

Family: Champ and Major have been regular features on the social media accounts of Joe (seen right adopting Major from the DHA) and Jill (who is pictured left cuddling the dogs at home)  

The dogs also played a small role in his official campaign; during the presidential race, the 78-year-old urged his supporters to help him ‘bring dogs back to the White House’, while sharing an image of himself posing with Champ. 

Recently, the Delaware Humane Association shared a sweet photo of Major as a tiny puppy, sparking an outpouring of excitement from Instagram followers who couldn’t help but remark on how ‘cute’ he was. 

Champ and Major Biden have now had their first official photo shoot with White House photographer Adam Schultz, who captured the dogs running around the South Lawn with Jill, 69, who is seen crouching down to cuddle Champ in one image, while another shows Major gleefully running around on the grass. 

A third photo shows Jill walking inside with two aides behind her – and faithful Champ close by her side. 

The First Lady celebrated her pets’ White House arrival on Instagram on Monday morning, when she posted three of the photos from their shoot, and wrote: ‘Champ and Major have joined us in the White House,’ before adding a two-heart emoji and some pawprints.  

Champ and Major’s arrival at the White House marks the return of an unofficial presidential pet tradition, and comes four years after the historic building last served as home to a first family pup: Barack and Michelle Obama’s pets, Portuguese water dogs Bo and Sunny. 

His predecessor George W. Bush had a Scottish terrier, called Barney, and Bill Clinton had a chocolate Labrador retriever named Buddy. 

New friend? In late November, the first couple (pictured with Champ) revealed that they are also planning to get a cat

New friend? In late November, the first couple (pictured with Champ) revealed that they are also planning to get a cat 

Fluffy friends: Joe and Jill are joining a long line of first families who have had pets in the House, from the Obamas who had two dogs, Sunny and Bo (pictured), to the Bushes, who had a Scottish terrier, called Barney, and a cat, India 'Willie' Bush

Fluffy friends: Joe and Jill are joining a long line of first families who have had pets in the House, from the Obamas who had two dogs, Sunny and Bo, to the Bushes, who had a Scottish terrier, called Barney, and a cat, India 'Willie' Bush (pictured)

Fluffy friends: Joe and Jill are joining a long line of first families who have had pets in the House, from the Obamas who had two dogs, Sunny and Bo (left), to the Bushes, who had a Scottish terrier, called Barney, and a cat, India ‘Willie’ Bush (right)

The Bidens are also understood to be planning an expansion of their fluffy brood with the addition of a cat in the near future. 

CBS Sunday Morning reported in late November that the first couple were hoping to find a feline pal for their two dogs, although they are not yet thought to have located the perfect pet just yet. 

‘President-elect @JoeBiden and his wife @DrBiden won’t just be bringing their German Shepherds, Major and Champ to the White House. The Bidens tell us exclusively that soon they’ll be joined by a cat. #sundaypets,’ the news show posted on Twitter. 

Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked by a Twitter follower for ‘first feline updates’, and she revealed in a Q&A video that she is just as curious about the Bidens’ plans to get a cat as their supporters.

‘I’m also wondering about the cat because the cat is going to dominate the internet whenever the cat is announced and wherever that cat is found,’ she said. 

Although cats are not quite as popular a presidential pet as dogs, Joe and Jill will by no means be the only first couple to be joined by a feline in the White House. 

Abraham Lincoln’s cat Tabby was the first cat to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, while Gerald Ford also had a cat named Shan, although it technically belonged to his daughter. 

Then Jimmy Carter had Misty Malarky Ying Yang, Bill Clinton had Socks, and George W. Bush had India ‘Willie’ Bush.




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