You've heard of Punxsutawney Phil and Smokey the Bear, but does the name Maximus Mighty Dog Mueller II ring any bells? Better known to his constituents as "Mayor Max," this furry Golden Retriever just started his fifth year as mayor of the town of Idyllwild, CA. Preceded by his uncle, also called Max, Mayor Max II has been the town's elected incumbent for the past five years.
So, how did a furry friend come to hold a position in the public office? Back in 2012, Idyllwild decided to switch things up a bit when it came time for their elections.
Phyllis Mueller, Mayor Max's Chief of Staff and human counterpart explains how the 2012 election procedures changed history for this town: "You had to be a local resident, but you couldn't run yourself, you could run your pet. In a voted election, 14 dogs and two cats ran and we decided to have an election to raise money for the animal rescue. So you paid $1 a vote and you were encouraged to vote a lot."
The extremely good boy who won the race for mayor was Max, who passed away just a year after the election. His nephew, Maximus, just a puppy at the time, was unanimously chosen to take Max the elder's place.
After a stellar year of fulfilling mayoral duties, the residents of Idyllwild appealed to extend his term, per Mayor Max's official website. He will now maintain his duties for the rest of his fluffy, adorable, and hopefully long days.
And speaking of duties, Max's include public appearances (twice a day), ribbon cuttings, and performing commands for treats.
In fact, Max's website details his responsibilities as follow:
"The Idyllwild Mayor shall do his/her best to be a positive representative for the communities of Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Fern Valley, and Mountain Center.
The Mayor shall:
- endeavor to promote this mountain community on and off the Hill.
- support commissioners in their projects.
- strive to be present at community events such as outdoor concerts, festivals, fairs, and the July 4 parade.
- do his/her best to accept invitations for official visits, such as ribbon cuttings, "mixers," etc.
- speak out on behalf of the animals of this mountain, domesticated and non-domesticated."
“His role is to make the world a better place by conveying unconditional love and doing as many good deeds for others,” said his Chief of Staff. While Mayor Max gets to take all the credit for the work performed around town, his human half Phyllis is the one who actually carries the brunt of the day-to-day labor.
But Max's cabinet wouldn't be complete without some trusted deputies, and thankfully, that's why he keeps Deputy Mayors Mikey and Mitzi around.
His Golden Retriever cousins have been backing Mayor Max since day one, and the three together attend fundraisers and community events all year round.
Around the town, the trio is referred to as "the Mayor and the spares" and "the Mayors of Idyllwild."
Upon beginning his fifth year as mayor, Max took to Instagram to reminisce on his time in office.
He captioned a photo of himself as a puppy with "This was my first tie that I ever had. I hope you think I look cute here. I was just 11 weeks old. This was just about my first day on the job ever. I like sticking my head out the window but I could barely reach the window. You're in my heart dear friends. Love always, Mayor Max."
Unsurprisingly, his fans adore him, writing "Finally!!! An elected political official we can all get behind!!!," "Max for President of the world! 💖" and "You are the best of boys."
We think five years of public office should be enough to consider Mayor Max in the next big elections. But, at the very least, we hope he remains mayor of Idyllwild for a very, very long time.