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‘We will miss Bo dearly’: Michelle Obama reminds us of the importance of our pets

The pandemic has given us a newfound appreciation for many things, not least how we've come to utterly depend on the furry, four-legged friends in our lives. As the Obamas mourn the loss of their beloved dog Bo, we're making sure to cuddle our pets extra close this weekend.


by Jennifer McShane
09th May 2021

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It cannot be just this writer who has seen an influx of dog-walkers during Covid-19. Pet adoption has skyrocketed during the pandemic as we seek normality, routine, another hug – all things (especially the hugs) we must give our creatures at any time of the year, deadly viruses notwithstanding.  If ever we needed reminding how much our pets mean to us, it has been in the last year. For those living alone, for those who seek something with a reassuring presence who will not judge, but love unconditionally, never have we been more grateful to have them by our sides.

Because even now, as we work our way out of a pandemic, our pets, just like our children, mean life will and does go on regardless. They need care, devotion, attention. Covid-19 or not, their world, their needs remain unchanged and we have to keep going, even on the bad days, for them as we do for each other.

It is for these reasons that Michelle Obama’s sad news has really struck a chord. Much like President Higgins and his direct association with his beautiful dogs, the Obama’s pup Bo, was, at times, as well known as the family themselves.

The Obamas welcomed Bo into their family in 2009 shortly after Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration and on Saturday, the former first lady shared the heartbreaking news that Bo had died at 12 years old.

“This afternoon was a difficult one for our family. We said goodbye to our best friend —our dog, Bo— after a battle with cancer,” she wrote on Instagram. “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. 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,” she added.

“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.”

“This past year, with everyone back home during the pandemic, 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,” she continued.

“As a family, we will miss Bo dearly.”

And if ever we were to heed her many wise words of advice this day, it is perhaps this:

“Please hug the furry members of your family a little closer tonight—and give them a belly rub from us.”

RIP, Bo.