AUSTIN (KXAN) – KXAN’s beloved mascot Kaxan, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in February, has died.
Over the past decade, Kaxan has served as the handsome ball of fluff that appeared alongside KXAN Senior Forecaster Jim Spencer.
Kaxan was found in an alleyway behind the KXAN studios more than a decade ago. He was taken to Austin Animal Center by Spencer, and his former owners were notified. They decided to surrender Kaxan back to the shelter, and Spencer decided to make Kaxan a part of his family and KXAN’s.
Kaxan began radiation treatment in February after his diagnosis.
Toward the end of 2022, Kaxan’s story was adapted into a children’s novel called “Becoming Kaxan.”
Read Kaxan’s obituary below:
Longtime KXAN mascot and spokesdog Kaxan died Friday after a brief battle with brain cancer.
Kaxan was diagnosed with a brain tumor in early February, but despite his doctors’ best efforts and a brave struggle, he passed away peacefully Friday morning.
After nearly 11 years of on-air appearances, Kaxan became a local celebrity, with many fans and a large social media following. He received numerous awards and much recognition from many local animal welfare and rescue groups and other nonprofit organizations, as he promoted their causes over a decade with Jim Spencer on KXAN weathercasts.
Kaxan appeared on KXAN in many public service and event promotions. Often seen in his tuxedo as he “emceed” fundraising events, he helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for many area organizations over the years, including Austin Humane Society, Austin Dog Rescue, Emancipet, and Family Eldercare, just to name a few. He annually promoted Puppy Mill Awareness Day in Texas, and his advocacy helped many of his own foster brothers and sisters, who were in and out of his home over the years, find their forever families.
Kaxan’s most important role came about thanks to his favorite human and best friend, Edward Flores, who trained him to become a therapy dog with Divine Canines, after which he spent years at Edward’s side providing comfort to special needs students at schools, patients in hospitals and soldiers at Fort Hood, among many others who requested his soothing presence.
Kaxan’s public service work was so recognized, he was named the top therapy dog in Texas and was one of only three finalists for the national American Humane Hero Dog award in 2019.
In addition to being featured in local magazines — sometimes as the cover story — state and national product brands took notice of Kaxan’s popularity, resulting in commercial work for Tito’s Vodka, H-E-B, the Texas Lottery, Stainmaster, Chevrolet, Hartford Insurance and various dog food companies.
Kaxan’s story with KXAN began in May, 2012 when the scruffy, dirty stray dog wandered up the alley behind the television station. A photojournalist brought him into the newsroom, where someone immediately said “we should keep him and call him Kaxan.” Jim Spencer volunteered to take him to Austin Animal Center in case he was just lost. In fact, he was a runaway, and had been adopted out of the shelter several times before. When his owners surrendered him, Jim, Edward and KXAN took him in. Estimated to be two years old at the time, Kaxan spent the next 11 years building an incredible legacy.
Kaxan wasn’t just the KXAN mascot — he was an inspiration for many to advocate, rescue, adopt, volunteer and fundraise. Kaxan brought attention to the fact that there are thousands of dogs just like him sitting in shelters waiting for their chance to become someone’s hero.
Sadly, now Kaxan’s friends, fans and KXAN family must say goodbye to our little hero.