Obama dog Bo, once a White House celebrity, dies from cancer

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FILE - Int his April 14, 2009, file photo Malia Obama runs with Bo, followed by President Barack Obama and Sasha Obama, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Former President Barack Obamas dog, Bo, died Saturday, May 8, 2021, after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)

WASHINGTON – Former President Barack Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday after a battle with cancer, the Obamas said on social media.

News of Bo's passing was shared by Obama and his wife Michelle on Instagram, where both expressed sorrow at the passing of a dog the former president described as a “true friend and loyal companion.”

“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,” Barack Obama wrote.

Bo, a Portuguese water dog, was a gift to the Obamas from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.

A companion dog, Sunny, joined the family in August 2013.

Both were constant presences around the White House and popular among visitors there, often joining the Obamas for public events. The dogs entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo occasionally joined Mrs. Obama to welcome tourists. The dogs also cheered wounded service members, as well as hospitalized children the first lady would visit each year just before Christmas.

In a post featuring a slideshow of images of Bo — including one of him sitting behind the president’s Resolute Desk in the Oval Office — Mrs. Obama recounted his years bringing some levity to the White House.

“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,” she wrote.

Mrs. Obama wrote that she was grateful for the time the family got to spend with him due to the pandemic, and said that over the past year, “no one was happier than Bo.”

“All his people were under one roof again,” she wrote.

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Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.