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No doubt about it, all signs are pointing to Champ and Major Biden as breakout video stars of the Biden administration.
Latest evidence: The first dogs and first lady Jill Biden are set to star in a wear-a-mask PSA for the always-appealing Puppy Bowl XVII, on Animal Planet and streaming on Discovery+ Sunday (2 EST/11 PST).
Call it a "unifying" public service ad for our times: It combines Americans' longstanding passion for dogs, their delight in the return of canine cuties to the White House and the massive TV audience on Super Bowl weekend with the first lady's ongoing efforts to promote the efficacy of face masks in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also: All hail shelter dogs! As everyone knows, the puppies featured in the annual Puppy Bowl extravaganza come from shelters, as does Major Biden – the historic first shelter dog to reside in the White House.
The younger of the two Biden German shepherds was acquired from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018.
Dog ownership has soared since last spring's pandemic lockdown, nearly emptying many animal shelters across the country as dejected Americans stuck at home rushed to adopt what actress Kristen Bell, featured in Puppy Bowl XVII, calls "nature's antidepressants."
"We reached out (to the White House) since Puppy Bowl is a celebration of shelter dogs and we now have the first shelter dog in the White House," Laurie Goldberg, a spokeswoman for Discovery, told USA TODAY.
In the PSA, Biden is shown seated before a fireplace in the Diplomatic Room, with Major and Champ, the elder of the two Biden pets, sprawled on the rug at her feet. Each gets a closeup, of course.
"For a lot of us during this pandemic, our pets have been such a source of joy and comfort, and maybe a bark or two on a video conference," Biden jokes, alluding to barks heard by reporters as they left a press conference in the Oval Office last week after Champ and Major officially moved in.
"The unconditional love from a dog is one of the most beautiful things on Earth and we owe it to them to keep ourselves healthy," she said, holding a mask. "So please keep wearing your masks even when you're walking your dogs.
"Right, guys?" "Woof."
Goldberg said the PSA is also scheduled to air on other Discovery channels.
Major and Champ also starred – on their own – in the Bidens' Christmas video, a gentle spoof of the age difference between the two shepherds in terms of their energy.
Although the Bidens suggested before the election that they might also acquire a cat, there's no sign yet of any feline in the White House. The last kitty to roam the grounds was President Bill Clinton's cat, Socks, who was mostly Chelsea Clinton's pet and periodically enchanted photographers when he loitered near the White House fence.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: First lady Jill Biden first dogs Champ Major star mask PSA Puppy Bowl