A heartwarming and whimsical story emerged from the city of Fairhaven Vermont. If you’re an animal lover then you’re going to chuckle when you hear the tale unfold. AP News ran the story about a dog and a goat who became town officials to do their part for their local community.
Special barnyard elections
A special round of elections was called to encourage kids and other members of Fairhaven to get involved in local community projects. The city needed funds to renovate a playground in the community. The town manager of Fair Haven dreamed up a novel way to get everyone’s attention. Pet mayor elections had been previously held in the city and it had the impact that was hoped for. This was the perfect plan to rally the community together in a fun event that gave their pets some recognition and reignited a spirit of competition for a worthy cause. In 2018, the community elected a Nubian goat named Lincoln to serve as honorary mayor. The event was so touching that community members came out in droves and donated a total of $10,000. This was a good start in raising the needed funds for ensuring that local kids have a safe and enjoyable place to play outdoors. This year’s mayor is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Murfee. The second pet mayor raised double the amount that his Goatley predecessor raised.
The canine leader’s success was met with a matching donation from the city with another $20,000. The original plan was to sell T-shirts, but that was before the pandemic. This presented a new fundraising opportunity. As the need for face masks increased, Murfee’s owner Linda Barker made 1,000 and sold them for the cause. She earned $5,000 from the sale of the masks and other donations were made by members of the community and the city. There is an ironic twist to the story though. Since the honorary mayor is a dog, there is a city ordinance that prohibits him from being in the park that he worked to raise money for. A sign clearly warns “No dogs allowed.” It will be up to the city council whether or not to amend this rule.
Animal politics is trending
Lincoln and Murfee aren’t the only animals to be elected to honorary offices. Insider shines the spotlight on more dog leaders elected to public office. Most of them were put in these positions for the same reasons as Murfee and Lincoln. Bosco is a black Labrador-Rottweiler mix who served as the mayor of Sunol, California for a thirteen-year term. he was elected in 1981 and served until 1994. His state reminds the locals about his term in office as it stands in a public area. His campaign slogans were “a fire hydrant in every corner,” and “a cat in every tree.” Sadly, he passed away in 1994 at the age of 13 years, having served a long and successful term. he had spent the majority of his life serving in politics and helping to raise funds for worthy causes.
Idyllwild, California elected a golden retriever named Max II to the office of mayor in 2013. His predecessor was also a golden retriever named Max. His tenure resulted in funds being raised to benefit a local animal rescue organization, which was fitting. Max’s owner took him out on weekend dressed in a tie and occasionally a stylish hat to meet with constituents and raise funds for the worthy cause. Rabbit Hash, Kentucky elected a border collie named Lucy Lou as mayor in 2008. She made history as the first female mayor of the town. Lucy Lou remained on the job until 2016. This incredibly small incorporated area did not have a human mayor because it was too small to require one.
The election was based on the community members paying $1 to vote and they could vote as many times as they wanted, as long as they paid the dollar. The funds raised went towards making needed improvements in the town. She passed away two years after stepping down as mayor. She was succeeded by a pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro. It was a tight race but the pit bull emerged victorious over a donkey and a cat. The first mayor of Rabbit Hash was a dog named Goofy elected in 1998. He was succeeded by a black lab named Junior Cochran. This small community definitely has a lot of faith in the judgment and fairness of the canine contingency. They’re proud of their furry officials. The community members were happy to get involved. It might be nice to have a little more diversity. Perhaps they could allow a cat to win the next election, and what about that donkey?
Animals in politics are certainly nothing new, but they do profoundly touch our hearts. We love our pets. Whether they’re dogs, cats, donkeys, or goats, they bring us joy. These amazing creatures have a way of reaching us in ways that humans often cannot. They’re effective ambassadors for worthy causes. When we see an animal used to represent a good cause, it makes us stop and think, perhaps a little longer about helping to support a charity. These animals received their fair share of attention, but they’ve given us all a good dose of the whimsical and brought a smile to our faces. We’ve just scratched the surface by sharing Lincoln, Murfee, the Rabbit Hash political party, and the others’ stories. There are many more examples of towns welcoming pets to the fold. Their purpose, to help in outreach efforts in their local communities. They worked tirelessly to raise the funds needed to make the necessary improvements. Everything from playgrounds to rescue shelters benefited. The time and dedication that the owners of these honorary town officials give made a difference. We owe them a debt of thanks for sharing their beloved pets with the world to make their communities better places to live.