This weekend, the Obamas took to social media to share that their oldest dog, Bo, passed away from cancer.
“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” former President Barack Obama wrote on Instagram. “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 [sic] in between. He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”
The family got Bo back in 2009, after promising their daughters, Malia and Sasha, they could get a puppy after the election. Once in the White House, Bo was always there when the family needed him.
“He was there when the girls came home from school, greeting them with a wag,” Michelle Obama wrote on her own Instagram post. “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.”
Michelle continued that when the entire family was under the roof this past year during the pandemic no one was happier than Bo. “I will always be grateful that Bo and the girls got to spend so much time together at the end.”
Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, was a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. He came from breeders in Texas, who were big fans of Obamas, initially naming the dog, “New Hope,” a nod to the former president’s campaign slogan. (The Obamas changed his name to Bo in part after their cousins’ cat and to pay homage to Michelle’s dad’s nickname Diddly, after singer Bo Diddley.) Sunny, a female Portuguese Water Dog, joined the family in 2013. (In 2016, the duo were reportedly target os a dognapping scheme.)
“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,” Michelle wrote. “Please hug the furry members of your family a little closer tonight—and give them a belly rub from us.”