By Frank Vascellaro

By Frank Vascellaro, WCCO-TV

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:

Comments (13)
  1. Sandy Martin says:

    I’ll miss you, Ri. Love you. Sandy& Balou

  2. Bob from Mankato says:

    Riley was a great added feature to the sports. We always watched and we are going to miss him much. Hopefully they can find a replacement.
    Our deepest sympathy for Rileys owner. I had to have our dog put down after 13 years due to cancer. It is hard as they are part of the familiy

  3. Gwen says:

    Anne, so sorry for the loss of your beloved Riley. Our pets leave a pawprint in our hearts forever.

  4. Lori Gilmore says:

    Dear Anne;
    So sorry for your loss of Riley. It broke my heart when I heard the news. Riley
    made Friday nite high school football games soooooo much fun. Where he got the sense of who was going to win was his great to all who watched him. I will
    miss Riley and think of him every Friday nite.

  5. Mark from Minnetonka says:

    Some say the loss of a pet is like a loss of your child. In this case I believe it to be true. God bless you Riley.

  6. Marsha says:

    I so enjoyed watching Riley on Friday nights and would pay attention to scores later in the evening to see if he was right…and he always was! I will certainly miss seeing him. The same type of cancer took one of my dogs almost four years ago. I still miss her. You have my sincerest sympathy.

  7. Amber says:

    Where ever he is now I hope he’s enjoying his favorite kibble and lots of love.

  8. Nancy Aleshire says:

    So sad–as an animal lover I feel his owner’s pain. I know he’s in heaven with my cats, birds, and son. Please donate to the Humane Society or any other shelter. Riley we’ll miss you old buddy!!!!

  9. Carole says:

    Anne, I am truly sorry for your loss. I know the feeling of losing a precious pet.
    And now wherever he is (doggie heaven) he is watching you. God bless you .

  10. Ronnie says:

    So sorry to hear of your loss of such a beautiful dog. There may be others, but never another Riley…

  11. Anne says:

    Thank you everyone for your heart felt sympathies. It’s so true. There will never be another Riley. I’m overwhelmed with grief and all the support and love from all of you is so felt and appreciated. Riley was never happier than when he was doing Sports Rally. He could tell when he was performing for people and it made him happy.

  12. Virginia Ashenberner says:

    Oh, so sad. It’s always so hard to lose a dear friend.

    1. ABC says:

      Yes it is …. isn’t it?!?

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