Marnie, the adorable Shih Tzu whose abnormally long tongue and tilted face made her a beloved internet celebrity — and a favorite of more than one actual celebrity — died Thursday at her owner’s home. She was 18.
In an emotional post, Marnie’s owner, Shirley Braha, updated her 1.8 million followers with the news that Marnie had “passed away painlessly & peacefully” after her “comfort had been notably declining over the past few days.”
Braha explained that the famed dog “let me know she had had enough” and “enjoyed her chicken until the very end.”
After adopting Marnie — formerly named “Stinky,” due to her smell before being rescued, according to The New York Times — Braha had no intention of her pet becoming a social media sensation, let alone living for nearly two decades.
Not only has Marnie has touched the hearts of millions online, her owner explained that she also opened doors for other senior dogs to be adopted.
“Most of all, I’m amazed that the sweet little hot mess of a pup that I picked up from a shelter at age 11, who at first didn’t seem like she would be around very long at all, has managed to inspire others to adopt senior dogs,” Braha wrote on Instagram.
“When I hear from people that Marnie has made them adopt their senior dogs it’s truly the most beautiful legacy she and I could hope to leave in this world,” she added.
Since going viral at the age of 12, Marnie had the chance to meet tons of stars, including (but definitely not limited to) Betty White, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Tina Fey.
The pup-fluencer even earned herself a book deal, and in 2015 she was named the Most Famous American Dog on Instagram by the New Yorker.
While Braha is mourning the loss of her furry friend, she shared, “All I can feel right now is loss but beneath that I have so much gratitude. I’m grateful to the universe for entrusting me with her beautiful soul and providing me with the perfect best friend and companion. Im grateful I was able to give this magical creature the fun and deeply loving life she wanted and deserved.”
She added: “I’m thankful I was chosen to be the conduit for Marnie to bring joy into the world. And I’m thankful for all the human and dog friends Marnie and I made along the way, and the strangers on the streets and on the internet, who have shown us so much love.”
According to Braha’s post, Marnie will be buried in a pet cemetery in her native home of Los Angeles.
As the international community continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus outbreak, Braha said she hopes to hold a “public memorial gathering whenever safe.”
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