Radar, KPRC2's weather dog, has died

HOUSTON – For longtime KPRC 2 viewers, we have some sad news to pass along. Radar the weather dog, whom our station adopted more than a decade ago, has passed away at the age of 12.

Radar first joined our team in 2004 when he was just a puppy. Radar quickly became a fixture both on air and in the community.

It was puppy love when the KPRC 2 team first met Radar during a routine pet adoption segment with the Houston Humane Society.

The Wheaten Terrier mix with a soft shaggy coat and a bounce in his step found a home at KPRC 2, but he needed a name.  Sunny, Twister, Muggy, Windy. KPRC 2 viewers got to decide and the leader of the pack was Radar, with more than 60 percent of the votes. When he made his on air debut in April 2004, he was only supposed to appear on the news on occasion.

But Radar's charm quickly had Houstonians calling in asking for more.

He went to school, learning basic dog manners and much more.

Our furry forecaster's potential was unleashed and he proved he was born to be on air.

By 2005, Radar was everywhere. He was even dubbed the Houston Humane Society's most famous alum.

Sales of a plush Radar toy led to a big donation to help other shelter animals.

"Whether it was raining cats and dogs or we were in the middle of the dog days of summer, Radar was there by my side," Frank Billingsley said.

"I never miss seeing Radar and Frank. I've got to put Frank in there," one viewer said years ago.

Of course there were some critics of a news station with a weather dog, but Radar seemingly loved every second.

He was in fact a publicity hound. He loved the camera and even pawed the occasional autograph.

Radar never really worked like a dog. He played, he ran, he ate, he ate well.

"He could certainly sniff out a treat in a heartbeat," Dominique Sachse said.

Radar was more than man's best friend. He was a companion to dozens of employees in the newsroom. 

In 2007, Radar went to live full-time with one of KPRC 2's long time managers, still getting pampered and still making public appearances.

He visited families at Houston's Weather Museum and would drop by the station on occasion to see his people.

Radar was a symbol of how pet adoption works. He took part in segments training people how to be better pet owners. And quite simply, he just made people happy.

Late in 2014, Radar had his first major health scare, a cancerous tumor on his paw. In January 2015, the tumor, along with part of one of his toes, had to be removed.

At that time, he received an innovative cancer vaccine designed to give his immune system a boost to fight any remaining cancer cells.

The surgery was a success, but Radar's age still slowed him down.

Throughout his life, Radar didn't just run with the big dogs at KPRC 2, he was the biggest and he is already missed.

So many members of our KPRC 2 family have stories about Radar. One of the best is the day Radar was in the news director's office and started pawing at the door and barking. Someone went to check on him and he bolted for his seat at the anchor desk. It was time for his weather hit and he knew it, even though the others in the room hadn't been paying attention to the clock.

Radar, you will be missed.

KPRC2 wants to thank everyone for all the kind messages and condolences after the passing of our beloved weather dog, Radar.

After the outpouring of responses, we have come up with a way our entire community can honor him. KPRC2 is going to partner with the Houston Humane Society for a pet adoption day.

KPRC2 is still finalizing the details, and we will give more details in the coming days, but for now, just mark your calendar for Sept. 23 for our pet adoption day" in Radar's honor.

Leave your condolences for Radar in the comments section below.