Marnie the Dog, a beloved Shih Tzu who became an internet celebrity thanks to her unique and lovable look, died on Thursday. Owner Shirley Braha shared the sad news on Instagram with Marnie's 1.8 million followers. Marnie, who was named after musician Marnie Stern, was 18 years old.
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"It is with much grief I share the news that Marnie passed away painlessly & peacefully in my home on Thursday afternoon at the age of 18," Braha wrote. "Her comfort had been notably declining over the past few days with little hope for improvement and she let me know she had had enough. She enjoyed her chicken until the very end."
Braha went on to thank Marnie's fans for being a part of an "unexpected journey with the ultimate love of my life."
"All I can feel right now is loss but beneath that I have so much gratitude," she wrote. "I'm grateful to the universe for entrusting me with her beautiful soul and providing me with the perfect best friend and companion. I'm grateful I was able to give this magical creature the fun and deeply loving life she wanted and deserved. 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."
Braha adopted Marnie when she was 11 years old, and she was not expected to live as long as she did. Braha said she was touched to hear how Marnie inspired others to adopt senior dogs as well, calling it the "most beautiful legacy she and I could hope to leave in this world."
"The night of her passing I had a dream where I watched her awake from her death like it hadn't happened at all, and she was running around at a party completely happy and invincible," Braha wrote. "She approached a descending staircase and I wanted to interject to protect her from falling, but she sailed right down the stairs and landed on her feet and stopped and looked at me and laughed and just kept going. Maybe this was a message from her from heaven, but at minimum I can take solace knowing that for a long stretch of time, prior to her aging body taking its toll, heaven for her was right here on earth."
"Marnie will be buried in a pet cemetery in LA and hopefully there will be a public memorial gathering whenever safe (due to Coronavirus)," Braha concluded.
As a sign of just how much joy Marnie brought to the world, hundreds of people have already sent Braha their condolences, including celebrities.
"One of the most painful things a human can go through is the loss of a pet," Riverdale actress Lili Reinhardt wrote. "So sorry for your loss of this little angel."
"I love you Marnie. Thank you for inspiring us all. Forever in my heart my sweet, gentle friend," Julie Steines, the owner of Norbert the Dog, wrote.
"Wow I'm so glad I got to meet her!!!!" former The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco wrote.
Braha adopted Marnie from a Connecticut shelter, even though she was told about the dog's various health problems. In 2014, she began posting photos of Marnie on Instagram a year after she adopted her and Marnie quickly became an Internet celebrity. Her distinct look was partly thanks to her head being permanently tilt to the left thanks to a case of vestibular disease, which may have also caused her hearing impediment.
"I always thought that, if I had a dog or a baby, I wouldn't be the person who went around showing people pictures of it," Breha told The New Yorker in 2015. "When people were so attached to their dogs, I thought they were delusional. That's why I didn't put Marnie on the Internet until a year after I got her. But she's so special."
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