Farewell, Friend: Cesar Millan Says Goodbye to Daddy

The trainer's calm, submissive pit bull – who was often his costar – passed away on Feb. 19

01 of 06

DADDY & ME

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Meredith Jenks

Who was the leader of Millan’s pack? Daddy, the 16-year-old pit bull, who passed away on Feb. 19. “He’s my sensei. He totally showed me what mastering acceptance looks like,” the trainer, seen here at his two-story home outside L.A., told PEOPLE in September. “I’m gonna miss him.”

02 of 06

BIG MEN ON CAMPUS

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Meredith Jenks

Daddy was so nurturing that he actually helped Millan raise puppy, Junior, on his own. “Daddy’s changing people’s minds about the reputation of a breed,” he said. “His existence has helped and touched a lot of people.”

03 of 06

WE ARE FAMILY

WE ARE FAMILY
Meredith Jenks

Millan (with wife Ilusion and sons Calvin and Andre) told PEOPLE that Daddy was tolerant of creatures big and small. “Everywhere he goes he spreads peace, love and transformation. I love Buddhas because of that – he’s the epitome,” he said. “He accepts anything; he accepts a cat, he accepts a rabbit, he accepts people who don’t like pit bulls. He accepts them all.”

04 of 06

POSH PIT BULL

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John Sciulli/WireImage

The chesnut-coated pit bill, Millan’s date at the 58th Annual Creative Arts Emmys, was a staple on his hit National Geographic show Dog Whisperer. He even got to present an award at the 2006 honors!

05 of 06

CALM CANINE

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Gary Gershoff/Getty

Daddy, at a New York adoptathon in May 2009, became a living symbol of Millan’s mantra of calm and submissive canines. When he worked with actor Joaquin Phoenix and his pit bull for an episode, “I brought Daddy with me,” Millan told PEOPLE. “Because I always bring a dog – especially when people have pit bulls. I show them, ‘This is a balanced pit bull.’ “

06 of 06

FINE EXAMPLE

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Neilson Barnard/Getty

When Millan worked with Oprah’s pooch Sophie several years ago, Daddy, left with Junior in 2008, also tagged along. “When I said one of [my dogs] is a pit bull, she was like, ‘A pit bull?!’ My hero was expressing that [fear] about a breed,” he recalled to PEOPLE. “I said, ‘Don’t see it as a pit bull; he’s just wearing the outfit.’ The mind is the most important part.”

Read more about Cesar Millan’s beloved buddy on PEOPLEPets.com.

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