“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” Barack Obama wrote in a series of tweets. 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 every day in between.”
The Portuguese Water Dog was brought to the White House in April 2009. According to Obama.org, the Obamas promised their daughter’s Sasha and Malia Obama a family pet no matter who won the 2008 presidential election. “I love you both more than you can imagine,” he said in a victory speech. “You have earned the puppy that is coming with us!”
Sunny, a female Portuguese Water Dog, was added to the family in 2013.
“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,” Barack said of Bo in another tweet. “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”
Michelle Obama also shared a tribute to Bo on Instagram. “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 on May 8. “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.”
Similar to her husband, the former First Lady referred to Bo as a “constant, comforting presence” in her life. “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,” Michelle continued. “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.”
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,” she added. “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.”
She signed the post from “Michelle, Barack, Malia, Sasha, and Sunny.”