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Obama family dog, Bo, is dead

Bo on the South Lawn of the White House, November 23, 2010. [Reuters]

The former first dog of the United States, Bo, is dead.

Bo, 12, died of cancer.

Former President Barack Obama said his family has lost a true friend and loyal companion.

“For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives—happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and every day in between.”

Bo was a gift to the Obamas from the family of senator Ted Kennedy and his wife Vicki.

White House and Air Force staff carry clothes and personal bags belonging to President Obama, along with Bo, on a wet tarmac at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, August 4, 2010. [Reuters]

Though Bo was a water dog, he didn’t know how to swim.

His favourite food was tomatoes – and toys.

Bo’s first day at the White House was April 4, 2009.

The Portuguese water dog's unofficial title was “First Dog of the United States”, which meant the goal was to make friends with foreign dignitaries.

In his tweet, former President Obama added, “He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair.”

Michelle Obama walks down the Cross Hall with Bo to an event to welcome children of White House employees to the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day in the East Room of the White House, April 22, 2010. [Reuters]

The former President went on, “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”

 In 2016, a North Dakota man who allegedly plotted to kidnap one of the Obama family’s pet Portuguese water dogs was arrested with guns and ammunition at a downtown Washington hotel, The Washington Post reported.

The man, Scott D. Stockert, 49, of Dickinson, North Dakota, first came to the attention of the Minnesota field office of the US Secret Service, which learned of his intention to kidnap Bo or Sunny, the Obamas’ two dogs, the Post said, citing a court filing.

Bo climbs the back stairs of Air Force One at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, August 15, 2010. [Reuters]

The Secret Service said in a court document that Stockert acknowledged being in Washington to kidnap Bo or Sunny when he was arrested.

Stockert was charged with carrying a rifle or shotgun outside of his home or place of business, which is generally illegal in the District of Columbia, the Post said.

 On her part, former First Lady of the US Michelle Obama, said, “We are grateful for the love you showed him over the years. Please hug the furry members of your family a little closer tonight—and give them a belly rub from us.”

Cancer in dogs

The most common type of cancer in dogs is Hemangiosarcoma. This form of dog cancer is an incurable tumor of cells that line blood vessels, called endothelial cells.

Although dogs of any age and breed are susceptible to hemangiosarcoma, it occurs more commonly in middle-aged or elderly dogs.

Keep an eye out for these early warning signs of cancer in your dog:

  • Abnormal or rapidly growing swellings.
  • Sores that do not heal.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Bleeding or discharge from body openings.
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing or breathing.
  • Lameness.
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating.

According to Wondercide, based on the rise of cancer in domesticated dogs, leading holistic veterinarians theorize that many of our modern conveniences and medicines are contributing to cancer in dogs. "In years past, many dogs died from common illnesses or were hit by a car.”

Web MD says 50 per cent of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point. “We see malignant lymphoma, which is a tumor of the lymph nodes. We see mast cell tumors, which is a form of skin cancer.”

It adds that there are mammary gland tumors, or breast cancer, and soft tissue sarcomas.

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