President Joe Biden on Saturday announced the death of his 13-year-old German Shepherd, Champ.
“Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home,” Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, said in a statement. “He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden 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.”
Our family lost our loving companion Champ today. I will miss him. pic.twitter.com/sePqXBIAsE
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
“Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us,” the statement adds. “He loved nothing more than curling up at our feet in front of a fire at the end of the day, joining us as a comforting presence in meetings, or sunning himself in the White House garden.”
It continues: “In his younger days, he was happiest chasing golf balls on the front lawn of the Naval Observatory or racing to catch our grandchildren as they ran around our backyard in Delaware. In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion. We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always.”
Champ was one of two dogs the Bidens brought to the White House with them when the president took office. The family got Champ as a puppy from a breeder in 2008 after Biden was elected vice president, according to Politico.
As a child, Biden’s father would tell him to “Get up, champ,” when his life was difficult. Biden later drew upon the phrase when selecting a name for Champ.