(NEXSTAR) – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden announced on Saturday the passing of Champ, one of their German shepherds.
The president and first lady described Champ as a “constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years” in a joint statement shared via the White House’s Briefing Room.
“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. Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything was instantly better when he was next to us,” their statement reads, in part.
Champ’s favorite hobbies, according to Saturday’s statement, included curling up in front of the fire and “sunning himself” in the White House garden. In his earlier years, he would often chase golf balls and play with the Bidens’ grandchildren.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Champ originally joined the Biden family in 2008. He was one of two German shepherds to move into the White House in 2021, along with Major, a rescue dog adopted by the Bidens in 2018.
Both dogs, meanwhile, had temporarily been moved out of the White House in March after Major bit a Secret Service agent. They returned weeks later, after which Major was involved in another biting incident. At the time, a press secretary for Jill Biden blamed the incidents on Major “still adjusting to his new surroundings,” the Associated Press previously reported.
Jill Biden had also previously said the family would be welcoming a cat, though it was unclear when the First Cat would make its first appearance.
German shepherds have a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years, according to the American Kennel Club.