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Bronco Nation mourns the death of Cowboy Kohl

Before his sudden death, Kohl was set to pass the torch of official dog tee duties to his son, Blitz, during Boise State's home opener on Sept. 10.

BOISE, Idaho — Bronco Nation continues to mourn the loss of one of the true treasures of the Boise State University football team. On Thursday, Cowboy Kohl, the university's official tee dog, passed away at the age of 11 after a cancerous tumor was found on his spine.

According to Kohl's owners, his death was sudden and unexpected. Earlier in the week, Kohl was spending time at his owners' ranch near Pocatello. He started not feeling well and was taken to a veterinarian in eastern Idaho to see what was wrong. There, doctors found a cancerous tumor on Kohl's spinal column.

On Thursday, Kohl collapsed and was unable to walk. He died later that day.

According to a Facebook post, Kohl passed away in the loving arms of his owners, Kristi and Cade Closson.

Kohl was set to pass the torch of official dog tee duties to his son, Blitz, during Boise State's home opener on Sept. 10.

"He loved the crowd, he got so amped up when that cannon went off and you could see him all sorts of riled and excited," Devin Martin, a trainer at Positive Pets Dog Training, said.

For those who weren't fortunate to see him in action, Kohl ran onto The Blue to retrieve the tee following the Broncos' kickoffs.

“The passion in that dog. The more that crowd screamed, the more animated he becomes," Sarah Closson.

Kohl was adopted by Kristi and Cade Closson nearly eight years ago when he was found in rough shape. Kohl was found with a broken tooth, a tooth infection, underweight at 13 pounds and with bleached fur from the Las Vegas sun.

Eventually, with enough time and love, Kohl's confidence soared with training.

Kohl grew close with the daughter of Kristi and Cade, Britta Closson, who would become his handler and trainer.

“From the day that Britta and him met, it was perfect. You could tell that there was a past in that dog. It’s like it all went away when he met her," Britta's sister Sarah Closson said.

The Closson family said Kohl inspired so many other dogs and owners to follow his four-legged footsteps.

While Kohl leaves behind some large paw-prints to fill, his son Blitz is ready to take over official tee dog and bat duties.

Kohl's handler, Britta Closson, told KTVB that she was too emotional to speak on camera. She did write a heartfelt message on Instagram.

"Thank you Kohly man for all the wonderful memories over the years, all the love, all the loud snoring cuddles," she wrote. "You made me the dog trainer I am today. And for that and a zillion other things, I want you to know how much I adore and love you."

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