The comedian rescued the pup from a kill shelter in 2009
Rest in peace, Chunk.
“Thank you to everyone who has sent so many goodies, doggy treats, toys, clothes, paintings, stuffed animals, and everything else over the years,” she wrote. “He loved being famous and getting recognized, especially without me. So many people loved him, and I really appreciate that and so did he.”
Handler, 42, rescued the German shepherd-Chow mix from a kill shelter in 2009, when he was 9 years old. He soon became her constant companion, a permanent fixture in her dressing rooms and even the cover star of her book Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang. Between his Twitter and Facebook accounts, he had 170,000 adoring followers, too.
However, Handler always knew his heart was with her. “Everyone loves him, but he only cares about me,” she told PEOPLE in 2011. “He’s completely devoted to me. He’d rather follow me around than eat.” A tweet from his account on Thursday reiterated that fact: “Although he didn’t enjoy many humans, he loved his mother more than a brand new tennis ball.”
In her Instagram tribute, Handler recalled her favorite memory of the pooch: “I was paddle boarding on the Hudson River in upstate NY and he was following me on the shoreline by the trees, and finally jumped in and swam a quarter of a mile to get on my paddle board with me. I cried that day at how much he loved me. And today I’m crying because of how much I loved him.”
She finished the post with, “My chunky monkey. I love you, baby. Softest doggy in the world. A true gentleman.”
It’s been a tough few months for Handler, who in August lost her other dog, Tammy, after a bout of renal failure. At that time, the comedian had promised to adopt again. “I will get another dog that needs a home and it will remind me every day how much I miss you. Lub lub lub. @realtammyhandler.”