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Puppy Love at the Veep's House

Vice President Joe Biden holds Champ, his German Shepherd puppy, shortly after purchasing it in December. (AP Photo/Brown Family)Enlarge Image

The newest member of the vice president's family is adorable, energetic -- and bad for the carpeting at the Naval Observatory.

Joe Biden's German shepherd puppy, Champ, came to live at the veep's official residence shortly after the inauguration and has been doing standard puppy stuff: racing around on the grounds, playing with the grandkids, learning the basics of house training.

"He's generally a good dog," said Courtney O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for Jill Biden. "I'd be lying if I didn't say there's been the occasional puppy accident." Not a lasting problem: The veep's wife told People magazine she intends to tear up the off-white carpet installed by the Cheneys in favor of kid-and-pet-friendly hardwood floors.

Champ -- named by the grandkids -- was a post-election gift from Jill to her husband. The veep selected the 3-month-old dog from a Pennsylvania breeder in December, and sent him for preliminary training with Mark Tobin, a friend of Biden's who runs Delaware's New Castle County Police K-9 unit and a dog obedience school.

"Champ's a laid-back, very fun, energetic puppy," Tobin told us. "He's great with kids, very, very, good-natured." Tobin trains dogs to fit into their future life -- in this case, he took the puppy to several locations. "We wanted him to get used to a lot of environmental changes."
The puppy has been traveling with the family to and from Delaware, but will head back to Tobin next month for advanced obedience lessons. Then, he might be ready to meet the German shepherds that work security at the Naval Observatory.

But he's probably not going to be the only Second Dog: Biden told George Stephanopoulos that the family intends to adopt another dog from the pound so Champ will have a buddy.

By The Reliable Source  |  March 18, 2009; 1:03 AM ET
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Champ is a cutie!!! I'm biased of course, since I own a GSD and think they're the best all-around dog ever, but Champ's an adorable baby. I hope we see pictures of him as he grows up. Also, glad that the Biden family's next dog will be from a rescue or shelter

Posted by: sickofit1 | March 19, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

So glad to see that VP Biden had the courage to stand up to all the people who think he should have "adopted" a rescue or shelter dog instead of purchasing the purebred dog he wanted. It is the choice of ALL Americans to decide where they want to get their next pet. A shelter dog or rescue dog is NOT the ideal pet for everyone. They frequently come with baggage and can be difficult to live with and train. The movie "Marley and Me" showed a dog purchased from a breeder, but that dog could have been a perfect candidate to be dumped in a shelter if his owner hadn't had tremendous patience - something that happens all too often. Could you imagine a "Marley" in the VP's quarters. I doubt a rescue dog or shelter dog would be a very good pet for someone as busy as our vice president is at the moment. And by the way, I don't believe anyone "adopts" a dog. We adopt children, we purchase dogs. If a shelter or rescue charges you a fee you just bought a dog. Let's not confuse dogs with children. Dogs are NOT four legged substitutes for human children. They are dogs and they do things like have accidents in a house, chew on things, bite people, and do embarassing things on a guest's leg unless they are TRAINED. The VP bought his dog from a breeder who is being harassed, threatened and libeled by many of the "animal rights whackos" because she breeds dogs and sold one to the Vice President. It has even gone so far as people trying to manufacture "evidence" against this breeder to further their own agenda. I know that information from several sources involved in the ongoing investigation. The Secret Service has even been notified that this breeder has received "death threats" because she sold a puppy to the VP. What has this country come to that people can be threatened with death for no other reason than they breed dogs and someone doesn't agree with that. Shame on those ignorant, un-American fanatics. They need to worry about carrying for human beings.

Posted by: etbmfa | March 19, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Outstanding update!!! Thank you from someone who loves Joe Biden and the Biden family as well as anything puppy dog. I've been wondering about little Champ and something tells me Champ Biden is no longer little (but still cuddly). Daily we read the worse kind of news, and an update on Joe's little friend warms my least for a little while. Thank you, WaPo, this made my day. If you happen upon future photos of Champ, especially with Joe Biden, many of us would love to see his growth. I am delighted and happy for my Vice President and Champ ;-) They will give each other a neat kind of unquestioning love that all of us need. I have two 100 lb retrievers and love in my home truly abounds! Thanks again.

Posted by: NBSsacramento | March 19, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

To etbmfa:
Um, like dog adoption, people also pay a fee to "adopt" children, so based on what you've written, essentially people purchase children too and not "adopt" them. And clearly, you have never owned a rescued dog/pound puppy or you would have never made such an ignorant, misinformed statement: "I doubt a rescue dog or shelter dog would be a very good pet for someone as busy as our vice president is at the moment." This is a statement based on the assumption that all rescue/shelter dogs are trouble from the start. Guess what? So are some dogs from breeders.

Posted by: rl5501 | March 26, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

We all know PA is full of backyard breeders, I hope they did their research in choosing to let a shelter dog die.

Posted by: Sarah281 | March 26, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

We need more pictures of Champ.

Posted by: cococo | March 27, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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