The Obama family has lost a loyal, beloved member of their family — Bo, their Portuguese Water Dog, who died Saturday after a battle with lung cancer. Bo was 12.
“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives–happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between,” former President Obama tweeted on Saturday, accompanied by a photo of him with his furry BFF running down a corridor in the White House.
“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Obama wrote in another tweet as caption to a photo of a smiling Bo surrounded by children and loving all the attention.
President Obama concluded solemnly, “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”
“This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend — our dog, Bo — after a battle with cancer,” she wrote alongside an album of photos of their lovable pooch.
“On the campaign trail in 2008, we promised our daughters that we would get a puppy after the election. At the time, Bo was supposed to be a companion for the girls. We had no idea how much he would mean to all of us.
For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, comforting presence in our lives. He was there when the girls came home from school, greeting them with a wag. He was there when Barack and I needed a break, sauntering into one of our offices like he owned the place, a ball clamped firmly in his teeth. He was there when we flew on Air Force One, when tens of thousands flocked to the South Lawn for the Easter Egg Roll, and when the Pope came to visit. And when our lives slowed down, he was there, too–helping us see the girls off to college and adjust to life as empty nesters.
This past year, with everyone back home during the pandemic, no one was happier than Bo. All his people were under one roof again–just like the day we got him. I will always be grateful that Bo and the girls got to spend so much time together at the end.
As a family, we will miss Bo dearly. But we are thankful that he lived such a joyful life full of snuggles, games of fetch, and evenings spent lying on the couch.
We also know we weren’t the only ones who cared for Bo, and are grateful for all the love you showed him over the years. Please hug the furry members of your family a little closer tonight–and give them a belly rub from us.
–Michelle, Barack, Malia, Sasha, and Sunny”
Born Oct. 9, 2008, Bo — named after a cousins’ pet cat and also R&B singer Bo Diddley — joined the Obama family when he was just six months old as a gift from their close family friend, Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Obama had promised his young daughters Malia and Sasha (10 and 7, respectively, at the time) a puppy as a reward for coping with his hectic presidential election campaign. Bo was chosen because his breed does not shed hair, making him a perfect match for the girls, especially Malia who suffered from allergies.
Shortly after Bo became an official Obama, four children’s books were published and a stuffed animal was made in his likeness.
In early 2016, a North Dakota man, Scott Stockert, was arrested for planning to kidnap the first dog. During the course of police questioning, Stockert he was Jesus Christ and his parents were John Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, according to Time.
Bo has an 8-year-old “sister,” Sunny.