Game show host Pat Sajak is pretty much synonymous with the name “Wheel of Fortune.” So many people have watched him for years, but he tends to stick to the professional and doesn’t bring up a lot of his home life.
But some unusual circumstances called for a tribute at the end of the game on Monday, and Sajak shared news that left more than a few viewers in tears.
As Sajak and Vanna White spoke about their respective Stellas (Sajak named his dog Stella and White named her cat Stella), Sajak specifically used the past tense to describe his pet of the shared name.
“You and I have a lot of things in common,” he said to White, as the New York Post reported.
“We both have two kids, we both have the same unusual blood type — but the weirdest of all, we independently, without anyone knowing it, we both named our pets the same name.”
“I use the past tense because we recently had to say goodbye to Stella,” he explained. “It was a very sad time for the Sajak family.
“But we wanted to salute Stella by showing you happier days.”
Sajak then shared two photos of himself and Stella, who according to a pet sitter’s post is an Australian shepherd. She was 12 years old at the time of her death, a respectable age for a dog of her size.
“We’re gonna miss her,” Sajak said at the close of the slideshow. “She was a good friend.”
Sajak managed to stay composed in front of the camera, but fans could see the loss had cut him deeply, and they flocked to social media to offer their condolences.
One viewer could relate to Sajak’s pain as she, too, had recently lost her four-legged friend.
“Um woah my dog just passed away Friday & tonight Pat’s talking about his recently deceased dog too?” she tweeted. “(Recently as of whatever this episode was taped.) Freaky! #WheelOfFortune”
“So sad to hear about the passing of Pat’s dog Stella,” another viewer wrote. “My condolences are with you, Pat! #WheelOfFortune”
“I don’t usually cry during Wheel of Fortune, but here we are,” a third tweeted.
Based on the photos and Sajak’s tribute, Stella seemed to have enjoyed a very full life, and the dog-loving fans of the show have certainly made themselves known as they rally around the Sajaks with words of comfort during this difficult time.
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