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President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Mourn Death of Dog Champ

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President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden's dog Champ has died at age 13.

The U.S. leader and his wife announced the death of their pet, the eldest of their two, on Saturday, June 19.

"Our hearts are heavy today as we let you all know that our beloved German Shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home," the Bidens said in a statement. "He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family."

The statement continued, "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. 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."

Presidential Dogs and Other Pets at the White House

After being elected Vice President in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the current U.S. leader acquired Champ from a Pennsylvania breeder when the dog was three months old, keeping a promise he made to Jill to get her a puppy if President Barack Obama won. Obama also made the same promise to his daughters and brought home their first dog, Bo, who died of cancer this past May at age 12.

President Joe Biden, Champ
President Joe Biden, Champ

The Bidens' granddaughters named Champ, and the dog's name also has sentimental significance for the president, who shared in his 2008 vice presidential campaign speeches how his father would tell him, "Any time you get knocked down, champ, get up!"

President Joe Biden, Champ, Major
President Joe Biden, Champ, Major

In their statement on Saturday, the Bidens recalled how in his younger days, Champ "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," they said. "We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always."

Jill Biden, Biden Family, Dogs, Champ, Major
Jill Biden, Biden Family, Dogs, Champ, Major

The Bidens also own a younger German Shepherd, Major, who they adopted as a puppy from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018. He is the first dog rescued from an animal shelter to live at the White House.

Following news of Champ's death, the Bidens' eldest grandchild, Naomi Biden, 26, posted on her Instagram page a photo of her grandparents' two dogs playing in the snow on the White House lawn.

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"Rest easy sweet Champ," she wrote. "We love you forever, we'll miss you for always."