The Obamas announce death of beloved dog, Bo, after battle with cancer
Former President Barack Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media.
"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," Barack Obama posted.
He also posted more on his Instagram account.
"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," the former president continued.
Bo, a male Portuguese water dog, joined the Obama family in April 2009. He was a gift from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.
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According to the New York Times, the family settled on the name "Bo" because the Obamas’ daughters have cousins with a cat of the same name. Michelle Obama’s father was also nicknamed "Diddley" as in the musician "Bo Diddley," according to the outlet.
In 2013, the Obamas took in a second dog, Sunny, a female Portuguese water dog.
Both were constant presences around the White House and popular among visitors there, often joining the Obamas for public events. The dogs entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo occasionally joined Michelle Obama to welcome tourists. The dogs also cheered wounded service members, as well as hospitalized children the first lady would visit each year just before Christmas.
In a post featuring a slideshow of images of Bo — including one of him sitting behind the president’s Resolute Desk in the Oval Office — Mrs. Obama recounted his years bringing some levity to the White House.
"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," she wrote.
Bo once had a job as a "helper" to Dale Haney, the head groundskeeper at the White House, which happens to be a national park.
"He leaves every morning and he goes down with Dale ... and he’s with all the National Park Service guys. And you’ll see him, and he’s like walking around with them, and looking at the plants," Mrs. Obama previously said. "I think he thinks he has a job because he takes it very seriously. So if I go out and see him, he kind of ignores me when he’s with his worker crew people."
Many presidents kept dogs as companions. President Harry S. Truman famously advised: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."
President George H.W. Bush’s English Springer Spaniel, Millie, "wrote" the best-seller "Millie’s Book."
President Bill Clinton’s chocolate Labrador Retriever, Buddy, helped Clinton weather the scandal over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
President George W. Bush’s Scottish Terrier, Barney, had an official web page and starred in "Barneycam" videos that were filmed from a camera hung around his neck. Like Mrs. Obama, first lady Laura Bush was involved with the video scripts and the taping schedule.
President Lyndon B. Johnson angered animal lovers by lifting his pet beagle, Him, by the ears in front of news photographers.
President Joe Biden and his family brought their German shepherds Champ and Major to the White House and will soon take in a cat. Major will get professional help adjusting to the White House after a pair of biting incidents in March.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.