This undated photo obtained from US President Joe Biden’s Twitter account shows the Biden’s new German Shepherd ‘Commander.’ —AFP

A welcome, furry distraction from political morass and flagging approval ratings has arrived at the White House, with Joe Biden introducing the residence’s newest inhabitant Monday - a German shepherd puppy named “Commander.” “Welcome to the White House, Commander,” Biden tweeted along with a photo of the pup running with a tennis ball in his mouth. The Democrat then shared a video introducing the US public to “the newest Biden.”

In the clip, the US commander-in-chief walks over to the four-legged Commander, saying, “Hey, pal.” The clip also shows Biden throwing a ball for the new dog, who later enters the White House led on a leash by Biden, alongside his wife Jill. The new arrival is certainly a welcome distraction for the president, whose approval rating has dropped in recent weeks and is staring down a rejection of his signature social spending bill amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The White House has given no further details on Commander. He is the third dog to join the Bidens at the White House. They had revived the long-standing tradition of White House pets that was broken under former president Donald Trump, when they arrived at the White House with German shepherds Champ and Major. The president and first lady announced in June on Twitter that Champ had died at age 13. Their other pooch, Major, has had some trouble adapting to life at the White House.

In March, he was briefly sent back to the Biden family home in Delaware after at least one biting incident, and in April the first lady’s spokesman announced some “additional training” for the dog. Joe Biden attributed Major’s unpresidential behavior to the way he gets surprised by Secret Service agents and others appearing around every corner in the busy White House complex. The dog-loving Bidens had also announced they were getting a cat, which press secretary Jen Psaki once warned would “break the internet,” although the feline has yet to arrive at the White House. —AFP