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Trenton Thunder 'bat dog' dies at 13

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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Chase, a golden retriever, longtime mascot and beloved bat dog for the Trenton Thunder, died Monday, days after celebrating his 13th birthday at a retirement party at the team’s stadium.

The pup — full name: Chase That Golden Thunder — made his debut with the team in 2002, and gathered bats, grabbed frisbees and entertained fans for more than a decade.

"Chase was such a tremendous part of the Trenton Thunder identity for more than 10 years," Thunder General Manager Will Smith told NJ.com. "His presence at Arm & Hammer Park or in the community was the epitome of the wholesome family entertainment for which we strive."

In February, Chase was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma, and he made sure to make the most of his last few months at the ballpark. In June, Chase became the first dog to be honored on the field at Yankee Stadium (the Thunder are the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate), and on Thursday, the Thunder hosted a birthday bash that also served as Chase’s retirement party.

“He’s just a one-of-a-kind dog," Eric Lipsman, the Thunder's senior vice president of corporate sales and Chase's owner, told NJ.com at the retirement party. "That’s all I can say. He lived for this. He just absolutely loved to be out there on the field."

Chase leaves behind a bat-fetching legacy that includes his 5-year-old son Derby, the Thunder’s new bat dog, as well as another son, Ollie, the bat dog for the New Hampshire FisherCats.

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