The Obama family mourns the death of pet dog Bo: 'He lived such a joyful life full of snuggles'

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Former president Barack Obama, depicted in 2010, announced that the family dog Bo died on May 8, 2021.(Photo: YURI GRIPAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Former president Barack Obama, depicted in 2010, announced that the family dog Bo died on May 8, 2021.(Photo: YURI GRIPAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Obama family is grieving the death of their dog Bo, a beloved pet with "a big bark but no bite."

"Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion," former president Barack Obama wrote on Instagram Saturday. "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."

Former first lady Michelle Obama share her own tribute to the Portuguese Water Dog. "This afternoon was a difficult one for our family," she posted on Instagram. "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."

When Barack won the 2008 presidential election, he addressed his then-young daughters at the podium. "Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine," he said. "And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House."

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Michelle continued, "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." 

Michelle described Bo's joy at having a full house last year when Malia, 22, who attends Harvard University and Sasha, 19, a student at the University of Michigan, returned home to quarantine with their parents. "All his people were under one roof again—just like the day we got him," recalled Michelle. "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," she wrote. "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." The message was signed by all four members of the Obama family. 

In 2013, Bo was upgraded to a big brother when the Obama family brought home Sunny, a female Portuguese Water Dog. 

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