Joe Biden, 78, and Jill Biden, 70, have sadly announced that their German Shepherd Champ has passed away. “Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home,” the statement, posted to Jill’s Twitter account on Saturday, June 19 began. “He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family.”
RIP to our sweet, good boy, Champ. We will miss you always. pic.twitter.com/63hXXp8W9P
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) June 19, 2021
The trusty companion was regularly photographed with the first lady and president, originally joining the Biden family back in 2008 after Barack Obama‘s historic election win. Joe purchased Champ as a puppy from a breeder in Pennsylvania, and let his granddaughters pick the fitting name. The President has previously said that the pup’s name reminds him of advice he used to get from his late father: “Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!”
It’s unclear if Champ died of an illness, but German Shepherd’s usually have a lifespan of between nine and 13 years. “Even as Champ’s strength waned in his last months, when we came into a room, he would immediately pull himself up, his tail always wagging, and nuzzle us for an ear scratch or belly rub,” they wrote. “Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us,” they added.
The First Dogs—Champ and Major—arrived at the White House on Sunday from Delaware.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 25, 2021
Jill and Joe went on to reflect on Champ’s favorite activities since moving into the White House back in January. “He loved nothing more than curling up at our feet in front of a fire at the end of the day, joining us as a comforting presence in meetings, or sunning himself in the White House Garden,” they remembered. Back in January, Champ — along with his rescue brother Major — could be heard barking in outside as Joe signed an executive order lifting a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
“In his younger days, he was happiest chasing golf balls on the front lawn of the Naval Observatory or racing to catch our grandchildren as they ran around our backyard in Delaware,” they wrote. “In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always,” Jill and Joe concluded the deeply touching tribute.