5 Minute Listening: Loss of much-loved pet dog


US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have announced the death of their beloved German shepherd Champ, who had been with them for 13 years.

Doris Wai |

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Listen to the audio

Voice 1: Welcome back from the commercial break. For our next segment of “This Month in Focus”, we’ll move on to the animal kingdom in our special news roundup. President Joe Biden announced on June 20 that Champ, the older of the family’s two dogs, had died peacefully at home. The German Shepherd was 13.

Voice 2: The Bidens got Champ from a breeder after Biden was elected vice-president in 2008. Champ was a constant presence at both the vice-president’s residence at the Naval Observatory and subsequently, the White House.

Voice 1: In their statement, Biden and first lady Jill said that when Champ was a little pup, he was happiest chasing golf balls and that he spent his later years joining the couple in their meetings and sunning himself in the White House garden.

Voice 2: Champ, who showed his age in recent months in his greying fur and slower gait, was often a comforting presence in the White House. The Bidens added that Champ was with them in their most joyful moments and in their most grief-stricken days, and was very sensitive to their feelings.

Voice 1: Champ’s death leaves the Bidens with their younger German Shepherd, Major, whom the family adopted from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018. The Bidens could occasionally be seen walking their two dogs on the White House South Lawn, and the dogs sometimes would join the president on retreats to Camp David or visit homes in Delaware.

Voice 2: Major, who is the first shelter dog to live in the White House, has drawn headlines for his bad behaviour in the past. Major caused Biden to suffer a foot injury last year, after the then-president-elect tripped over the younger dog while they were playing. Major and Champ were brought home to Delaware at one point, and Major went through training after the younger dog was involved in two separate biting incidents. They returned to the White House soon after. 

Voice 1: And with Champ’s passing, the Bidens are expected to bring a cat to the White House to join the family in the coming days.


1. B

2. B

3. D

4. A

5. C

6. A

7. D

8. B

9. B

10. D

11. C

12. A

13. B

14. D

15. A

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