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A "true hero" dog with a big smile who spent her life protecting a small colony of penguins in Australia has died. Eudy, a Maremma sheepdog, was 12 years old.
She was the longest-serving guard dog on Middle Island, a small Australian island right off the coast of the city of Warrnambool. That's where the penguins live, but the colony's numbers had dwindled to as little as 10 of them in 2006, according to ABC News. Fox attacks were the main culprit.
That year, the nearby humans decided protection was needed. The first Maremma sheepdog to protect the penguins, Oddball, was even immortalized on the silver screen. Eudy began her protection dog duties in 2010 and spent 10 years watching over the penguins. The Middle Island Penguin Protection project on Tuesday announced that Eudy died.
"Eudy and her sister, Tula, have been the heart and soul of the project; they're the true heroes," Trish Corbett, the penguin protection project coordinator, told ABC News, adding that there might not be a colony still there without Eudy.
Corbett mentioned that Eudy sported a "beautiful smile" when she was on the island, where her ashes will be scattered. She spent her final moments with a full belly of roasted chicken and a cool sea breeze in her face. She died from an "aggressive form of bone cancer," ABC reported.
Warrnambool Mayor Vicki Jellie said Eudy carried out her job with "aplomb."
"While it attracted so much global attention, the project itself is delivered by a small, dedicated team, and I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies to everyone who worked with Eudy over the years who I know will be feeling this loss immensely," she told ABC.
Rest easy, Eudy.