You've Got to See It to Believe It: Meet the Dog Mayor of This California Town
Phyllis Mueller is a loving pet parent with an incredibly unique job. Mueller is the chief of staff for the mayor of the town of Idyllwild, Calif.—and the mayor is her 8-year-old golden retriever, Max.
Yes, Mayor Max is literally the mayor of Idyllwild, and has been nearly his whole life. Mayor Max's full name is Maximus the Mighty Dog Mueller II, and he began serving as mayor when he was just an 11-week-old puppy.
"He's been the mayor his whole life," Mueller tells Daily paws. "He knows what to do when he's out in public. He loves people, he loves to pose for photographs, and he just loves his job."
Idyllwild is a small mountain community outside of Palm Springs, and their local animal rescue organization ran a campaign to elect the non-incorporated town's first mayor. The only catch? No humans could run, but locals could submit their pets as candidates.
Mueller's previous golden retriever, Maximus the Mighty Dog Mueller, was the winner of the first election and served as dog mayor until he passed away halfway through his second term. Because of Max's enormous popularity in the community, Mueller sought out another retriever from Max I's bloodline to come in and serve in his place—and that's how she found Mayor Max II.
Along with the new Mayor Max came Deputy Mayor Mitzi and Deputy Mayor Mikey, all relatives of the original Max. The three pups helped finish out the original Mayor Max's first's term in office. They were then elected for life during the third election. Max has now even been officially recognized as the mayor by the county of Riverside.
Mueller and her doggie mayor and his deputies spend their days as goodwill ambassadors for the town of Idyllwild, greeting locals and tourists, visiting homes, hospitals and hospice organizations, and doing as many good deeds as possible. Mueller says that Mayor Max's office is non-partisan, and non-political—and his approval rating is unsurprisingly high.
"We only do kind and loving things for people," Mueller says. "[Mayor Max] doesn't know what Republican or Democrat means, but he does know how to love you unconditionally."