President Joe Biden reported this Saturday the death of
, the oldest dog in the presidential family. The 13-year-old German shepherd accompanied the couple since December 2008, shortly after the Democrat took office as vice president. In a statement, the US president said that Champ "passed away peacefully" in the White House. "We love our sweet and good boy, and we will always miss him," concludes the note. The Biden family has another foster dog, another
German shepherd named
"In our happiest moments and in our most painful days, he was there with us, sensitive to all of our unspoken feelings and emotions," Biden wrote.
"Wherever we were, he wanted to be, and everything instantly improved when he was by our side," added the president in the farewell statement, where he noted that Champ will always be missed.
The Democrat's grandchildren named the dog that way because that's the nickname Biden used to refer to his son Hunter.
Our family lost our loving companion Champ today.
I will miss him.
- President Biden (@POTUS) June 19, 2021
Champ's physical condition had recently deteriorated. "Even when Champ's strength waned in his last months, when we entered the room, he would immediately get up, always wag his tail, and nuzzle us so we could scratch his ear or give him a belly rub."
Months before the Democrat kicked off his presidential campaign, Joe and Jill Biden adopted
, a puppy from a Delaware animal shelter.
The addition of the new family member was a recommendation from a veterinarian to liven up Champ's life.
Both arrived at the White House on January 20, along with the president and the first lady.
"In his youth, he was happy chasing golf balls on the Naval Observatory's front lawn or running to catch our grandchildren as they ran through our backyard in Delaware."
In the presidential residence he had his bed in front of the fireplace.
US First Lady Jill Biden with her dog 'Champ' outside the White House on January 24, 2020.WHITE HOUSE / Reuters
The Bidens revived the bicentennial tradition of US presidents having pets in the White House. As the White House Historical Association reviews on its website, with six decades of history, the White House mascots "have provided company and have humanized the political image of presidents." But Trump decided to break that unwritten rule and not bring dogs, cats, or any other pets to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.