Michelle and Barack Obama weren’t the only ones making campaign promises last year to get a dog. Turns out Vice President Joe Biden was also owed a puppy once the 2008 election was over. So, meet Champ-the three-month-old German shepherd with the floppy ears who joined the Biden family at Christmas and has been lying around the Vice Presidential residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory ever since Inauguration Day Jan. 20.
“I promised it to Joe,” Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice President’s wife told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. “Joe said to our little granddaughters, ‘You can name him’ and Champ is the name they came up with. It’s perfect and it sort of fits him. It’s like naming a child; when you see the child, then you know which name fits.” Champ was the nickname the vice president’s father had for him when he was a boy.
For a PEOPLE photo shoot on Feb. 5, the no-dogs-on-furniture rule was bent-but not broken. Sources say Champ hasn’t been back up on a sofa since his day of modeling. (Same sources also say he’s not been doing so well at training. There have been several “accidents” on the carpets of the Vice Presidential residence, which is maybe just as well; Dr. Biden told PEOPLE she intends to tear up the off-white carpeting the Cheneys’ had used in favor of hardwood floors.)
Champ enjoys napping in the bay of windows beneath the famed house’s turret, Dr. Biden says. Next up for the puppy, is making a few friends: he’s not yet made the acquaintance of any of the Secret Service German shepherds that work security on the grounds of the Naval Observatory.
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