US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden have paid tribute to their dog Champ following the death of their beloved pet.
The 13-year-old German shepherd died “peacefully” at the White House.
Mrs Biden confirmed the death on Saturday, tweeting: “RIP to our sweet, good boy, Champ. We will miss you always.”
The Bidens released a statement and a photo as they paid tribute to one of their two dogs.
They said: “Our hearts are heavy as we let you all know that our beloved German shepherd, Champ, passed away peacefully at home.
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“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.
“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.
“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.|
The Bidens bought Champ after the 2008 presidential election, when Barack Obama became president and Mr Biden became vice president.
Champ and the couple’s other dog, Major, joined the Bidens when they moved into the White House in January.
Three-year-old Major, also a German shepherd, was the first rescue dog to live in the White House.
Major has bitten staff in the White House grounds since arriving in Washington.
In March, a person suffered a “minor” injury when they were bitten by the dog.
Sources had told CNN at the time that Major had been jumping, barking and charging at White House staff and security.
Major was sent back to the Biden family home in Wilmington, Delaware, to receive training to help him adjust to life at the White House.
But later in March a second person – identified as a National Park Service employee by CNN – required medical treatment after being bitten on the South Lawn.
A spokesman for the Bidens said at the time: “Major is still adjusting to his new surroundings and he nipped someone while on a walk.”
Mr Biden had told ABC’s Good Morning America that Major was still getting use to his new surroundings and having so many new people around him.
The president said: “You turn the corner and there’s two people you don’t know at all and they move, and he moves to protect.
He added: “Eighty-five per cent of the people (at the White House) love him. All he does is lick them and wag his tail.
“I realise some people, understandably, are afraid of dogs to begin with.”
The arrival of Champ and Major marked the return of pets to the White House after a four-year hiatus under former President Donald Trump, who was the first president since Andrew Johnson in the 1860s not to share the presidential digs with a dog or a cat.