Bo, former ‘first pet’ and Obama family dog, dies at 12

Bo, a dog who was “a true friend” and “loyal companion” in the Obama White House, died Saturday, former President Barack Obama announced on social media. He was 12.

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The canine was a Portuguese water dog, according to the Presidential Pet Museum. Born in Texas on Oct. 9, 2008, Bo was originally named “New Hope” by breeders Art Stern and Martha Stern, the museum website stated.

The puppy was a gift to the Obamas in 2009 from Sen. Ted Kennedy, People reported. The Massachusetts senator presented the puppy to the Obamas’ daughters, Sasha and Malia. The gift helped Barack Obama fulfill a promise to his daughters.

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “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 every day 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,” the former president wrote.

Former first lady Michelle Obama also took to social media to pay tribute to Bo.

“This afternoon was a difficult one for our family,” Michelle Obama wrote 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.”

“For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, comforting presence in our lives,” Michelle Obama wrote. “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.”

A companion dog, Sunny, joined the family in August 2013, according to the Presidential Pet Museum.

Bo was featured in several books through the years, including “Bo Obama: The White House Tails,” by Paul J. Salamoff and Keith Tucker; “Bo Obama: First Dog of the United States of America,” by Koji Kondo; “First Dog,” by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello; and “Bo, America’s Commander in Leash,” by Naren Aryal.

“We will miss him dearly,” Barack Obama wrote on Twitter.