ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has shared a heartfelt goodbye to his dog, Mesabi, who died Thursday at the governor's residence.

Dayton posted word of the passing on his Facebook page. He says the German Shepard died suddenly while recovering from surgery earlier in the week to remove its spleen and a potentially cancerous tumor.

In his posting, Dayton paid tribute to his "loyal, devoted friend." He wrote of watching him patrol the front yard of the official Summit Avenue mansion, barking at other dogs that walked by with their owners.

Mesabi was almost 11 years old. Dayton lost a second dog earlier in his term. He has two younger German Shepards, Itasca and Wanamingo, which like Dayton's other pets were named after places on the Minnesota map.