Rest in peace, Boots McMaster.
South Carolina’s First Dog has died.
Gov. Henry McMaster’s English bulldog passed away Sunday morning after being treated for lymphatic cancer for several months, McMaster wrote in a Facebook post.
“Sadly, this morning we had to say goodbye to our beloved Boots. Our hearts are heavy, but full of love. Everybody loved Boots. We will miss him greatly,” McMaster wrote.
Boots had risen to celebrity status in political circles, appearing with McMaster in campaign ads.
As lieutenant governor, McMaster kept a place for Boots in his office. When he ascended to the governor’s office, the dog followed.
Before he was sworn in as governor, McMaster said Boots wouldn’t be a distraction in the State House.
“He has bursts of energy, then he’ll sleep several times a day,” McMaster said. “Often, people will hear him snoring.”
Shortly after McMaster posted on Facebook, he began receiving condolences. As of 7 p.m., nearly 120 people had left messages.
“Governor, I am so sorry to hear this,” wrote one person. “The loss of a family member is devastating, no matter if they have two feet or four.”
The bulldog was reported to be 6 years old.
Staff writer Noah Feit contributed to this report.
Boots was the latest in a line of famous animal visitors to the State House, including:
▪ Pork and Barrel, two squealing piglets carried into the State House lobby by then-Gov. Mark Sanford to protest the Legislature’s spending priorities. The stunt is blamed for hurting Sanford’s relationship with lawmakers, who were offended both by the piglets’ symbolism and the fact they defecated on the floor.
▪ Noel the pony, the name for an animal ridden up the north steps on Christmas Day 1990 and abandoned there. The unidentified rider reportedly said Noel was a Christmas present for George H.W. Bush. Noel, who appeared malnourished, had to be taken out through the building’s main elevator, and eventually found its way to a children’s petting zoo.