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Toast, the rescue dog who became a social media sensation, has passed away

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel who was rescued from a puppy mill and wound up with modeling contracts and thousands of fans, died this week.
/ Source: TODAY

A Cavalier King Charles spaniel named for a breakfast food and made famous for having a lolling tongue and photos of herself dressed up in goofy costumes, died this week.

Heaven has a new star tonight. We’re heartbroken to share the news that Toast has passed. This puppymill rescue had an exceptional life. She wrote a book, had a televised wedding, appears on billboards across the country promoting rescue and modeled for an international eyewear campaign. But above all, she was a best friend, a world champion little spoon...but she was far from being an angel. Toast was often a little devil. Grabbing rolls of toilet paper off and dragging them into the living room for a snack. Peeing whenever/wherever she wanted to. Pretending not to be able to jump on the couch because she just wanted a ride. And snoring like a 400lb trucker. In the next few weeks we will be doing tributes for her. If Toast has inspired you or taught you about rescue please consider donating to the link in the bio. 100% off the donations will go to her three favorite charities. If you would like to show your love for Toast and the tongue that will never be forgotten, please post a photo using #ToastMeetsHeaven so we can see. Toast loved meeting fans at meet ups and on the streets. She knew she was loved and adored by people around the globe and we are so grateful to have known her. Our hearts will eventually heal knowing that she will live on forever in people’s hearts ❤️ her account will live on as a place to watch her siblings @muppetsrevenge and @underpantsthedog as well as to support rescue efforts near and dear to Toast’s heart #toastmeetsheaven

A post shared by TOAST MEETS WORLD™ (@toastmeetsworld) on

Her owner posted a eulogy on Instagram Friday, and implored fans to share their own stories and donate to a fund called Toast Meets Heaven, which goes entirely to animal rescue groups.

Toast, whose visage helped advocate the adoption of rescue dogs – she was originally a puppy mill rescue – was first adopted by her owner, Katie Sturino, in 2011. Sturino set up a website, Toast Meets World, where fans could learn about her history, buy merchandise of Toast, and follow news about the pup.

On her website, Toast is self-described as "Ageless. Like Pharrell."

Toast's Instagram profile says that she "has no teeth, like a cute hobo." In a WNBC interview from 2016, Sturino said the dog "feels like a baby when you hold her. She melts in her arms."

Sturino and Toast used their social media platforms to get the word out about the nation's puppy mill problem - the often inhumane warehouse-style production centers which supply commercial pet stores with new puppies.

By the time of her death, she had 378,000 Instagram followers and Sturino said the little honey-colored dog had helped her break out of her own shell personally, and as a publicist.

"I started Toast’s account because she was literally the cutest dog I’d ever seen, but soon I realized she was destined for fame," wrote Sturino in her own eulogy for the pup.

"As a shy person, she provided me a way to showcase my creativity without putting myself on display. I was able to help dogs and live out my crazy dog fantasies," she wrote.

While Toast's antics may have trumped her mission at times – she wound up with a televised wedding and landed a Karen Walker international modeling gig – the goal was to always encourage future pet owners to adopt from a dog rescue group.

In the WNBC interview, Sturino was asked what Toast would say to people who were thinking about getting a new dog.

"Don't get a puppy because puppies chew your shoes and pee on your house," said Sturino. "Older dogs have their personalities out and developed and are more grateful for you."