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First Dogs Return To White House After Major Biden Causes Minor Injury

Updated March 24, 2021 at 1:51 PM ET

First dogs Champ and Major Biden are back in Washington, D.C., after spending part of the month in Delaware, where Major underwent remedial training after causing a "minor injury" at the White House.

Michael LaRosa, spokesman for first lady Jill Biden, confirmed to NPR on Wednesday morning that the dogs are at the White House but did not specify when they returned. One of the family's two German shepherds can be seen on an Executive Residence balcony in a photo Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason snapped on Monday night.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday that Champ and Major joined the first family at Camp David in Maryland over the weekend and returned to the White House on Sunday. She said it "will not be uncommon" for the dogs — and their owners — to go back and forth to Delaware.

The news comes a week after President Biden defended Major in an interview with ABC's Good Morning America, calling the 3-year-old a "sweet dog" who was just startled by an unfamiliar person in his new home.

"You turn a corner, and there's two people you don't know at all," Biden said. "And he moves to protect."

He added that Major "did not bite someone and penetrate the skin."

Psaki said earlier this month that Major "reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury" to an unnamed individual, with NBC News reporting that he nipped the hand of a Secret Service agent.

She said that both dogs had been sent to the Bidens' home in Wilmington, Del., as part of a previously planned visit while the first lady was traveling.

"He was going home," the president said last week. "I didn't banish him to home. Jill was gonna be away for four days. I was gonna be away for two, so we took him home."

Major got some remedial training while he was there, according to Biden, who stressed that the rescue dog is still adjusting to his new environment.

The Bidens fostered and then adopted Major from the Delaware Humane Association — where he came from a litter of six puppies dropped off in poor condition after ingesting an unknown toxic substance — in 2018. According to the shelter, Biden was looking for a companion for Champ, who is now 12 years old.

Major is, famously, the first dog to go from a shelter to the White House — a historic journey that now also includes a brief detour to the doghouse.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.