The Obama family is mourning the loss of their beloved dog, Bo, who died on Saturday at age 12 following a battle with cancer.
Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, joined the Obamas at the White House in 2009 when he was six months old. He was gifted to the first family after being returned to his breeder by his original owners and quickly won over not just the Obama family, but the hearts of anyone who met him.
Barack and Michelle Obama each posted tributes to Bo on Saturday following his death.
“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” Barack Obama wrote in his post. “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. 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.”
Michelle Obama shared more of Bo’s backstory with the family in her post, which was signed by the entire Obama family:
This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend—our dog, Bo—after a battle with cancer. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
—Michelle, Barack, Malia, Sasha, and Sunny
Our thoughts are with the Obamas during this difficult time.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.