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.
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."
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."