“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 every day in between,” Obama wrote.
Thousands responded immediately with condolences and pictures of their own dogs.
Former first lady Michelle Obama took to Instagram to make her own announcement.
“This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend—our dog, Bo—after a battle with cancer,” began her thoughtful post.
“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,” she wrote. “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,” wrote the former first lady, “I will always be grateful that Bo and the girls got to spend so much time together at the end.”
She added, “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.”
Bo came to the Obamas in 2009 as a gift to their daughters, Sasha and Malia, from then-Sen. Ted Kennedy and his wife Victoria not long after their father’s first inauguration, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. He was named after the former first lady’s father.
“He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly,” tweeted former president Obama.
The Portuguese water dog was born in Texas on Oct. 9, 2008.