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In an exclusive interview with The College Reporter, the two-year-old German Shepherd looks back on his brief but eventful tenure as the nation’s Pupper-In-Chief, offering a fascinating glimpse into the White House.
Wilmington, DE – Aside from James K. Polk, Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump, every US president has had at least one pet while in office. This makes the office of Pupper-In-Chief as old as the presidency itself. On a calm October afternoon, Commander let me know that the importance and history of the position is something he immediately found appealing.
“When I discovered that I was going to be the next presidential pet, I just couldn’t stop myself from chewing on all the shoes in the house. My owners at the time were unhappy with me, which is confusing because chewing on a squeaky toy is obviously nowhere as satisfying as tearing a brand new pair of loafers to shreds,” Commander growled, as we strolled around the yard at his private residence.
Commander first came to the White House on December 20, 2021, 11 months into the Biden administration. While everyone else was preoccupied with post-Covid recovery, jobs, foreign policy and the $1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan, Commander admits that he was focused on other priorities.
“When I first got to the White House, I immediately noticed just how large the lawn was. It was like having the park right at home! However, I quickly noticed that the job of protecting my humans from all the bad things out there was going to be harder than I expected. No one had told me how many people that are not my humans were going to be around the place,” he admitted.
At any given time, the White House has up to 1,560 people working there with approximately 400 of them being full-time staff. One would understand why this might be difficult for a then 3-month-old puppy.
“I absolutely love my family, so I was sad that Jill, Joe and the kids were often too busy to spend time with me. Everyday, a strange new person took me on my walks. They kept talking into their sleeves and none of them ever had any treats to offer. It was all very strange,” Commander revealed as he slobbered all over a tennis ball.
I asked whether the stress of his new surroundings and the lack of familiar faces are what led to the alleged 10 biting incidents involving White House Secret Service agents, but Commander seemed to have a different version of events.
“This is what is wrong with our country today,” he barked. “I may be a dog, but I have heard what you folks in the media are saying about me. No, the stress didn’t get to me and I did not attack anyone. All I ever did was protect my family, bark at the occasional mailman and fetch as many sticks as possible. Yes, there might have been a playful nibble or two here and there, but it has all been exaggerated by the media as just another attack on my dad.”
After a few ear scratches and some treats, I was confident enough to press him further on the biting allegations. With a frustrated huff, Commander made an astonishing confession.
“Fine I’ll admit it, there was some biting, but that’s only because the strange men in dark suits wouldn’t let me chase a squirrel. It was a very difficult decision to make, but it had to be done. Squirrel-chasing is one of the main duties of the office and I could not let anything get in the way of fulfilling my responsibilities.”
When I asked him about the number of incidents, Commander insisted that the information was classified and declined to provide further details.
Later that day, as we walked back home from the dog park, Commander revealed some of his plans for life after the White House.
“As I see it, nothing has changed as far as my duties are concerned,” he panted. “I am as dedicated as ever to my humans, and I love spending time with them whenever they’re around for the weekend. I also intend to continue my fight for an increase in the minimum daily amount of treats for the nation’s pets. We made a lot of progress on the dog-cat situation during my time in office, and I will always advocate for better relations between our species.”
Junior Ian Rubimbura is a Contributing Writer. His email is email@example.com.
Photo Courtesy of Official White House Photo by Adam Shultz