Former President Barack Obama’s family dog, Bo, who spent two terms in the Obama White House, has died of cancer, Barack and Michelle Obama announced on Saturday. 

The Obamas posted a series of photos of Bo on social media on Saturday, paying tribute to the role the dog had in their family. On Instagram, former first lady Michelle Obama said they had to say goodbye to their “best friend” after his battle with cancer. 

She said that Bo, who was gifted to the Obama’s in 2009 from the late senator Ted Kennedy, was originally adopted as a companion for their daughters. The Obama’s other Portuguese water dog, Sunny, moved into the White House in 2013. 

“On the campaign trail in 2008, we promised our daughters that we would get a puppy after the election,” the former first lady wrote. “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.” 

She described Bo’s presence in their lives, noting that he greeted their daughters with a wag when they came home from school. 

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,” she wrote. “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.”

Malia Obama walks with new dog Bo, followed by President Barack Obama, Sasha Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 14, 2009. (AP Photo./Charles Dharapak

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

And when the pandemic hit, forcing everyone back home, Mrs. Obama said, “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.”

Mr. Obama posted a similar tribute on his social media accounts, saying that, 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,” Mr. Obama wrote. “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.” 

The day Bo made his press debut on the South Lawn of the White House, Mr. Obama said Bo had “star quality.” 

“You know what they say about if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog?” Mr. Obama joked. “Well, I’m finally going to have a friend.”

President Obama and his new dog Bo run through the White House halls.

White House Photo