NEW YORK: When President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated next week, why shouldn’t incoming first dog Major Biden get his own celebration, ahem, indoguration?
That’s the premise of a campaign from Pumpkin Pet Insurance and the Delaware Humane Association that will include a virtual fundraising event on January 17.
The campaign was set to launch on January 6, the morning of the U.S. Capitol riot, so it was put on hold for two days.
“As soon as we saw what was happening at the Capitol, we said, ‘Let’s pause’ and didn’t do outreach until things calmed down,” said Dini von Mueffling of Dini von Mueffling Communications, which supported the campaign.
Planning began in November. No other changes to the campaign are planned.
“There was nothing for us to change because this was a virtual event,” said von Mueffling. “People are so excited about this event because it’s providing a feel good moment at a time where our country is in such turmoil, and between COVID-19 and what happened at the Capitol, there has been so much bad news.”
Pumpkin Pet founder and CEO Alexandre Douzet said this campaign aligns with the pet insurance company’s mission to enable a world where pets can get the best care possible. He added that the company is very passionate about rescue dogs, and Biden’s pet, Major, will be the first rescue pup to live in the White House.
“Because of COVID-19 and what is happening this year, we have seen a huge increase in pet adoptions,” said Douzet. “But also because of COVID-19, other people going through financial hardships are having trouble providing the right care for their pets in terms of food and medical care.”
The indoguration will not only celebrate Major’s journey from the shelter to the White House, but it will also raise funds for the Delaware Humane Association to help more shelter animals like Major find their forever homes. Another goal is to spread awareness about the need to help pet owners who are financially struggling to care for their pets.
The association and Pumpkin are inviting people and their pups to set a record for the largest virtual gathering of dogs, with a goal of 1,000 attendees. Jill Martin, lifestyle contributor for Today, will emcee the event. Each attendee has been asked to donate a minimum of $10, with 100% of the funds directly benefiting the shelter’s pet and pet owner community services.
Participants will also have the opportunity to nominate their pup to be part of Major’s “cabinet” as “Secretary of Rescue Dogs.” The top nominees will be announced during the virtual event and the winner will be “elected” by philanthropist, animal advocate and founder of Beaux & Paws, Darius Brown.
Pumpkin Pet Insurance gave People an exclusive on the story. Even though it was unfortunately overshadowed by events in Washington, DC, it still went viral on Twitter and Reddit, von Mueffling said. It was also picked up by media outlets including NPR, CNN, Fox News, CBS News, NBC, Mashable and The Independent.
Nearly 700 applications for "Secretary of Rescue Dogs" have been submitted. On Monday, singer Josh Groban caught wind of the campaign and posted on Instagram Stories asking if he could perform at it.
“We are in the works of having that happen,” von Mueffling said.
Aside from promoting the campaign on Pumpkin Pet Insurance’s Instagram and Facebook channels, Douzet posted about it on his own social media pages. The event will also be live streamed on YouTube.
“We are optimistic that Major will make some kind of appearance,” said von Mueffling. “We know Major’s pet family knows about the indoguration.”