Former First Dog, Barney Bush has passed away

Today President George W. Bush and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush, are mourning the loss of their friend and perhaps the world’s most famous Scottish Terrier, former First Dog Barney Bush. Barney was 12-years-old when he died.

During his tenure as the nation’s FDOTUS from 2001 to 2009, Barney was sometimes more popular than his owner.

“Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away,” President Bush announced in a statement on Friday, February 1. “The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.”

Barney is survived by his sidekick, the Bush family’s other Scottish Terrier, Miss Beazley.

President Bush says he will never forget his little buddy Barney, the dog who had become his constant companion during his retirement at the family ranch in Crawford, Texas.

“Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors,” President Bush remembered. “He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter. At Camp David, his favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush took to her Facebook page to share the sad news of Barney’s loss, posting a touching photo slideshow of some of Barney’s happiest memories: hanging out on the South Lawn of the White House, playing with a golf ball in the Oval Office, and taking a walk on the beach with his famous dad.

The slideshow also includes an image of an oil painting of Barney painted by President Bush himself.

Despite managing to become a sort of furry bipartisan icon during his time in D.C., Barney wasn’t without his critics. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has dogs of his own, once proudly remarked that his dogs were “tougher, stronger, [and] meaner” than the FDOTUS. Republican political advisor Karl Rove infamously referred to Barney as “a lump,” and the always-feisty Barney did bring scandal upon himself when, in 2008, the little guy bit a Reuter’s reporter on camera (see below):

But these incidents did nothing to tarnish the beloved Scottie’s reputation. During his tenure serving as the nation’s FDOTUS from 2001 to 2009, Barney was sometimes more popular than his owner. The little Scottie did his part to help cheer up the country after the tragedy of 9/11, starring in a web series called “Barney Cam,” which quickly became one of the first true Internet sensations during a rapidly evolving web-based media age. The videos show Barney giving tours of the White House, hanging out with his famous family during the holidays and just generally being cute. The “Barney Cam” videos drew a whopping 24 million views in 2002.

Barney and his sister Miss Beazley became fixtures at the White House, visiting everyone from children to some of the most powerful people in the world with manners befitting his role as the First Dog.

“Barney greeted queens, heads of state, and prime ministers,” President Bush remembers in his statement. “He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.”

But perhaps the little guy’s most important role was to serve as the former President’s best friend through thick and thin.

“Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House,” President Bush said poignantly. “He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.”

Sources: Yahoo! News, KXAN.com, DallasNews.com