Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are mourning the loss of their family dog Bo. The former First Lady shared the heartbreaking news that Bo had passed away on May 8. “This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend—our dog, Bo—after a battle with cancer,” the 57-year-old wrote on Instagram. “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.”
This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend—Bo—after a battle with cancer. We are grateful for 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. pic.twitter.com/zOk3SPABsT
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) May 8, 2021
The Obamas welcomed the Portuguese Water Dog puppy into the White House in 2009 — and he quickly became the fifth member of the family. “For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, comforting presence in our lives,” Michelle continued. “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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/qKMNojiu9V
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 8, 2021
She 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. 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.”
Meanwhile, the former POTUS paid tribute to Bo on Twitter. “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. He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”
Friends like Jill Biden sent love on Twitter after the heartbreaking loss. “My heart is with you @MichelleObama, @BarackObama, Sasha, Malia, and Sunny. Bo brought smiles to us all,” she wrote, re-tweeting Michelle’s photo and letter.
“RIP Bo. Those Obamas (and the rest of the world) sure did adore you. Nothing quite like the love and loyalty of a dog,” one Twitter user wrote, while another replied to Barack’s tribute, “A dog more honorable than our last president. RIP Bo.” After the Obama family moved out of the White House in 2017, Bo and his little sister Sunny, who joined the family in 2017, had to adjust to living in a “regular” home.
The former First Lady revealed on her Becoming book tour in 2018 that the pair had never heard a doorbell before. “Bo and Sunny were like, ‘What’s that?'” she told the crowd. “They’re just now going to the door when the doorbell rings. It’s taken them two years. It’s the door, people are coming.”