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‘Today’ show’s first ‘puppy with a purpose’ dies at age 6 after a life of public service

Wrangler spent his life as a guide dog and a K-9 who patrolled New York City train stations

‘Today’ show’s first ‘puppy with a purpose’ dies at age 6 after a life of public service (Saxon Eastman via Instagram)

A life fulfilled for this “puppy with a purpose.”

In January 2015, the “Today” show introduced its morning viewers to then 10-week-old Wrangler, a yellow Lab who was on the path to become a guide dog. Now, the show is saying Wrangler has sadly passed away due to liver disease.

Wrangler’s original handler, Saxon Eastman, broke the tragic news on Instagram on Sunday.

“I’m sad to write that last night Wrangler passed away suddenly from liver disease. In his short 6 years, Wrangler did more than most humans. He started a wave of national media coverage for guide and service dogs,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

Wrangler put a national spotlight on the importance of guide dogs as the “Today” show’s anchors and staff teamed up with Guiding Eyes for the Bline, a nonprofit out of New York.

Past being a guide dog, Wrangler was also a public servant.

In December 2017, the “Today” show highlighted Wrangler’s graduation from the K-9 detection program before he started his new life alongside his police partner, Trooper First Class Kevin Reed. According to the “Today” show, the duo patrolled train stations to make sure commutes from New Haven, Connecticut to New York City were safe.

“I’m so grateful to Kevin and his family for giving Wrangler the most incredible life, and for loving him so much,” Eastman continued on her dedication post to the pup.

About the Author:

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.