Obama Family Dog Bo, 12, dies; “He was exactly what we needed”

The Obama family’s beloved Portuguese water dog, Bo, gifted to them by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, died Saturday, May 8 after succumbing to cancer, the Obamas announced.

In an Instagram post on Saturday, former President Obama wrote:

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.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.

Bo joined the Obamas in the White House in April 2009, the fulfillment of a promise Mr. Obama made to daughters Sasha and Malia that they could have a puppy after the campaign, win or lose.

Former first lady Michelle Obama also posted about Bo on Instagram:

A passage from Mr. Obama’s memoir, “A Promised Land,” describing Bo’s arrival at the White House in April 2009:

But, of all the pleasures that first year in the White House would deliver, none quite compared to the mid-April arrival of Bo, a huggable, four-legged black bundle of fur, with a snowy-white chest and front paws. Malia and Sasha, who’d been lobbying for a puppy since before the campaign, squealed with delight upon seeing him for the first time, letting him lick their ears and faces as the three of them rolled around on the floor.

With Bo, I got what someone once described as the only reliable friend a politician can have in Washington. He also gave me an added excuse to put off my evening paperwork and join my family on meandering after-dinner walks around the South Lawn. It was during those moments—with the light fading into streaks of purple and gold, Michelle smiling and squeezing my hand as Bo bounded in and out of the bushes with the girls giving chase—that I felt normal and whole and as lucky as any man has a right to expect.

Barack Obama, “A Promised Land” excerpt from The New Yorker