Farewell, Bo: Obamas Announce Death of Loyal Companion

The Obamas’ loyal dog battled cancer. 

Former U.S. President Barack Obama announced the passing of Bo (named after his initials), the family’s Portuguese Water Dog who was brought to the White House in 2009 shortly after Obama took up residence. 

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion,” Obama wrote in an Instagram post. 

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A post shared by Barack Obama (@barackobama)

Bo the dog had been with the Obamas for more than a decade. The Obama daughters-Malia and Sasha-begged their father in 2009 to let them keep a dog in the White House. One of Barack's conditions was for the dog to have a coat that was hypoallergenic. 

Official Portrait of Bo Taken at the White House Lawn

Photo by Chuck Kennedy.

In a separate Instagram post, former first lady Michelle Obama said she had no idea what Bo would eventually mean to the family. 

“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.”


Bo was born on October 9, 2008, and died of cancer on May 8, 2021. He was 13 years old (72 years old according to this dog age calculator).

Bo and Obama Running Through the East Wing of the White House

Photo by Pete Souza.

Bo typically lightened the mood at the White House whenever he made his unexpected cameos during press conferences or tours. Many times, he made the former first family’s stay at the White House feel like a normal life, despite all the politics. 

“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,” wrote Michelle. 

The Obamas Walking with Bo

Photo by Chuck Kennedy.
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“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.”

When the pandemic hit, Michelle revealed no one was happier at home than Bo because everyone was under one roof again. 

“All his people were under one roof again-just like the day we got him,” she wrote.

Photo by The White House.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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