WEB EXCLUSIVE: Osseo dog, "Gunnar," dies; "Gunnar's Wheels" lega - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Osseo dog, "Gunnar," dies; "Gunnar's Wheels" legacy continues

Jason Parker and Gunnar. (Courtesy: Jason Parker) Jason Parker and Gunnar. (Courtesy: Jason Parker)
Courtesy: Jason Parker Courtesy: Jason Parker

Osseo (WQOW) - A legacy of love and lesson about a 10-year-old black lab will continue for years to come.

His companion, Jason Parker, said Gunnar passed away on Friday, Oct. 6.

News 18 has been closely following Gunnar's Wheels since the non-profit organization started in August 2016. Gunnar was partially paralyzed after being hit by a car nearly four years ago. He later received a set of wheels so he could get around.

Since then, Parker said they've distributed more than 470 carts all over the U.S. and several countries, including Canada and Portugal, to give other dogs in similar situations the same freedom Gunnar enjoyed. The carts are given to the dogs at no cost to their owners.

With Gunnar's passing, Parker said his four-legged friend has touched many lives and his story has been told worldwide. "Gunnar's memory will live on through his foundation. I want people to know that he was loved by everyone that followed him on his journey," Parker told News 18.

You may remember in April, Gunnar and Parker were nominated for the "American Humane Hero Dog Awards," an annual campaign that recognizes heroes on both ends of the leash. Gunnar was one of 54 semi-finalists for the "Emerging Heroes" category.

"He provided hope to animals around the world that help is out there. He raised global awareness that being special needs animals can still be a part of the family," Parker said. "I got to tell his story. The lessons he taught us were unbelievable, but the lesson he didn't teach me is how to cope with his death. My heart is shattered with the unexpected loss."

Parker said Gunnar's Wheels will be creating a video tribute to honor Gunnar in the coming weeks. He said the video will be shared on social media.

RELATED: Osseo man heads to Texas to help animals affected by Harvey

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