Gov. Larry Hogan said his "best friend" — his dog, Lexi, of 16 years — died Tuesday in his arms while he "kissed her goodbye."
Hogan made the announcement on Facebook shortly after the dog's passing, drawing more than 1,000 comments within hours.
"They say that a dog is man's best friend. That sure was true for me," Hogan wrote on his Facebook page. "For 16 years our dog Lexi has been a much loved member of our family. Through good times and bad, she was always happy, and her love was unconditional. It is hard to describe how much she meant to us and how much joy she brought to our hearts."
Hogan said Lexi died while he held her at 10:40 a.m.
He shared three photos of the dog along with his message. One shows Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan seated in front of a Christmas tree with the small white-and-gray dog in the governor's lap. Another pictures Lexi outside on a field of green grass with the tag, "Lexi, the first dog" on her collar.
"Our family is so thankful, not only for the 16 years we got to spend with her, but also that we got to spend this one last Christmas with her," the governor said. "Dogs have a way of finding people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn't ever know we had. We sure will miss her."
In the comments on his Facebook post, many people told the governor they believe Lexi would join their beloved pets who also have crossed over the "rainbow bridge." Others shared stories about their dogs that died at Christmastime.
One woman wrote, "I'm sorry for your loss, Governor and Mrs. Hogan; I know your sweet pup saw you through important times. She was a blessed girl to be well loved right through her last breath."