Mannie Garcia  /  Reuters file
President Bush and Spot stand on the South Lawn of the White House on Feb. 5. Spot, who was plagued by health problems, was put to sleep, the White House said Saturday.
updated 2/22/2004 10:18:32 AM ET 2004-02-22T15:18:32

President Bush’s dog Spot, the 15-year-old English springer spaniel who had remained eager to please despite increasing health troubles, died on Saturday.

Bush and his wife, Laura, went along with a veterinarian’s recommendation to put Spotty, as the longtime Bush family pet was known, to sleep, according to White House spokesman Allen Abney. She had suffered a series of strokes recently, including one this week, he said.

"The president and Mrs. Bush and the entire Bush family are deeply saddened by the passing of Spot," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Saturday in a statement. "A loyal and loving companion, Spot was a beloved member of the Bush family for nearly 15 years. She will be missed."

Spot was no stranger to the White House. She was born there to Millie, the well-known dog of Bush’s parents, former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, in 1989.

Video: The tradition of the presidential dog The friendly brown-and-white spaniel was regularly seen ambling around the West Wing and the South Lawn alongside the more energetic other Bush dog, Barney, a black 3-year-old Scottish terrier.

The two dogs were routinely brought out to greet the president upon his return to the White House from trips, no matter the hour, and often traveled with the Bushes to Texas or Camp David. Spot was always the more obedient, dutifully clambering onto a helicopter or Air Force One with no prompting while Bush often had to chase Barney down and hand him off to an aide to be carried aboard.

Mrs. Bush has often said that — especially with Bushes’ two daughters off at college — talking about and playing with the dogs and the family’s much more reclusive cat, Willy, make up a significant portion of the First Couple’s entertainment.

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