Reporting Frank Vascellaro
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Riley the dog was a popular part of our High School Sport Rally coverage every Friday night. Sadly, Riley passed away suddenly on Sunday.
Riley enjoyed doing the show as much as WCCO and the fans enjoyed having him there. Nothing would get the pregame crowd screaming like Riley — his record this year was a stellar 7-2.
“He was so intuitive. So much more than most dogs,” said Riley’s owner Anne Hendrickson.
Riley had a great life. He was king of the hill at Downtown Dogs in Minneapolis. The 8-year-old German short hair/lab mix died Sunday morning. An aggressive form of cancer ruptured his spleen.
“It happened really fast which, I guess, is a good thing,” said Hendrickson.
WCCO loved having Riley make the picks and so did the kids. There was real disappointment when he didn’t choose your squad.
But he was right nearly every time. That, a loveable face and a gentle manner, made him a star. And it turns out having Riley on the show meant as much to him as it did to us.
“He never once screwed up. He never once dropped the hat or didn’t bring it back or took off in the other direction. Just that he could understand exactly what people wanted and it made him so happy to do it,” said Hendrickson.
Riley became so popular and his picks meant so much there were actually a couple of schools who rubbed their caps with hot dogs before they gave them Riley would pick. Of course, Riley didn’t take the bait.
Nov. 19 report: