Presidential Pup: Local SPCA reminds public to adopt not shop as Biden brings first rescue dog to White House

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NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)- As President-Elect Joe Biden prepares to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he’ll be bringing along a special someone who’s making history. His dog Major will be the first shelter dog to call the White House his home.

FILE – This Nov. 16, 2018, photo, provided by the Delaware Humane Association shows Joe Biden and his newly-adopted German shepherd Major, in Wilmington, Del. On Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, The Associated Press reported on a manipulated version of this photo circulating online, distorting the size of the dog. (Stephanie Carter/Delaware Humane Association via AP)

“It’s great news and the valuable publicity that it has to encourage other people to adopt and not shop is very meaningful. We’re very happy it’s getting national attention,” said Kimberly LaRussa director of community engagement at Niagara County SPCA.

With shelter pets getting more attention, even being featured in films like ‘Call of the Wild’ and ‘Lady and the Tramp’, LaRussa says it’s validation that you don’t need to go to a breeder to find an amazing pet.

“It’s really saving a life and giving a chance to someone who’s so deserving.”

Barkley is an adoptable pet at the Niagara County SPCA. (NCSPCA Instagram)

Tim Brennan Deputy Director of the Niagara County SPCA says he’s excited for the world to see just how far a rescue dog can go given a good home and a little love.

“It really gives a lot more focus to the advantages of having a rescue dog. It gives the owner purpose and fulfillment. I wish they could read some of the stories from our adopters. When they get home with their dog and they send us pictures and tell us how they didn’t realize they needed the dog as much as the dog needed them.”

For information on how you can provide a fur-ever home for a dog in need, visit

Kelly Khatib is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.


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