Beloved TV Star, Guide Dog, And K9 Has Passed Away

Wrangler was a 6-year-old lab with the life experience of a much older dog (and most everyone else around him).

As a puppy, Wrangler filmed 288 episodes of The Today Show as the resident service puppy-in-training, starting when he was just 8 weeks old.

After 16 months of training, Wrangler — now a certified guide dog from Guiding Eyes For The Blind–spent a year helping the visually impaired.

Screenshot: YouTube/The Today Show

The third chapter of Wrangler’s career included retraining to become a K9 Detection Dog in Connecticut, where he kept passengers safe by patrolling mass transit for explosive devices.

But the accomplished dog’s life was cut short after a sudden bout of illness, which led to Wrangler’s unexpected passing at just 6 years old.

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“I’m sad to write that last night Wrangler passed away suddenly from liver disease,” the late dog’s handler, Saxon Eastman, wrote on Instagram.

“In his short 6 years, Wrangler did more than most humans. He started a wave of national media coverage for guide and service dogs, he worked as a guide dog, and most importantly, he protected thousands of people every day as a Connecticut State Police Explosives Detection K9,” she wrote.

Screenshot: YouTube/The Today Show

To Eastman, who trained Wrangler since he was a puppy, the friendly guide dog/K9 was more than just a very good boy.

“To me, Wrangler was my super early morning buddy,” the grieving trainer wrote. “He had the most perfectly squishable neck rolls. He rarely caught the ball, but never stopped trying. He was one of the few Labs I know who wasn’t fickle with his love. And I know that my life would look very different today if he hadn’t been a part of it.”

Eastman also sent her condolences to Kevin Reed, Wrangler’s human partner with the Connecticut State Police.

“I’m so grateful to Kevin and his family for giving Wrangler the most incredible life, and for loving him so much,” Eastman wrote. “It’s never lost on me how lucky I am to have known this dog. Love you, Wrangles.”

Wrangler’s former colleagues at The Today Show also put together a touching memorial to the late pup, who befriended every guest and host on set. Check it out in the video below. RIP, Wrangler!

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