Champ, one of President Joe Biden’s two dogs in the White House, has died.
The senior German shepherd “passed away peacefully at home,” Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement on Saturday morning.
Our family lost our loving companion Champ today. I will miss him. pic.twitter.com/sePqXBIAsE
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
“We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always,” the statement said.
The couple eulogized Champ’s good nature and love for his family.
“Even as Champ’s strength waned in his last months, when we came into a room, he would immediately pull himself up, his tail always wagging, and nuzzle us for an ear scratch or a belly rub,” said the statement, which did not give a specific cause of death for the senior dog. “Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us.”
White House Champ Biden in a photo that accompanied a statement about his death, released by Joe and Jill Biden.
The Bidens purchased Champ as a puppy in 2008, drawing some criticism for going to a breeder rather than adopting from an animal shelter or rescue. (Their next dog, Major ― also a German shepherd ―was adopted from a shelter in 2018.)
This photo of Champ as a puppy gets me every time. pic.twitter.com/EuxtWjfyPi
— Rob Flaherty (@RFlaherty46) June 19, 2021
During Biden’s time as vice president, Champ lived with the family at U.S. Naval Observatory.
“He thinks he’s Secret Service,” Biden once said of Champ, according to the Presidential Pet Museum, “because he is.”
The museum noted that the dog got his name from Biden’s granddaughters Finnegan and Maisy, who decided to call him “Champ” because of their grandfather’s penchant for saying, “Any time you get knocked down, champ, get back up!”
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images Champ (right) and Major on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., in March 2021.
Although Major’s time at the White House has been somewhat checkered with a series of nipping incidents, Champ’s life was relatively controversy-free, aside from a bizarre right-wing attack about his appearance and a minor mystery pooping incident.
The news of Champ’s death comes just weeks after Barack and Michelle Obama announced the death of former first dog Bo.
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