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California town's dapper dog mayor marks one year in office: 'He ate three of his ties in a month'

Mayor Max III is the Golden Retriever mayor of Southern California’s mountain town of Idyllwild. Idyllwild is a non-incorporated town and as a result, has no human mayor.

California town's dapper dog mayor marks one year in office: 'He ate three of his ties in a month'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @mayormax1

It's been far from a "ruff" year for Mayor Max III who just celebrated one year in office. The pooch is the Golden Retriever mayor of Southern California’s mountain town of Idyllwild. For over a decade, three generations of golden retrievers have held the mayoral seat in the town and Mayor Max III is the latest canine to be sworn into office. Idyllwild is a non-incorporated town and as a result, has no human mayor. Max III was elected after his predecessors, Mayor Max I and Mayor Max II, paved the way, according to their official website, MayorMax.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), a non-profit 501, sponsored Idyllwild's first-ever mayoral election and any local resident was permitted to nominate his or her dog or cat, according to the website. Fourteen dogs and two cats were nominated and ran for office. Constituents cast their votes via $1 donations each, and all $31,000 of the proceeds benefited ARF, it added. Max I won a full two-thirds of the votes and became Idyllwild's first mayor in June 2012 in Idyllwild.

According to the furry politician's website, his position involves jobs like “promoting this mountain community on and off the Hill,” “supporting commissioners in their projects,” “striving to be present at community events such as outdoor concerts, festivals, fairs, and the July 4 parade” attend “mixers” and “speak out on behalf of the animals of this mountain, domesticated and non-domesticated.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

Sadly, on April 2, 2013, Mayor Max I passed away after just nine months in office. Then came Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II, who arrived in Idyllwild on July 21, 2013. The vibrant and happy pooch served for nine years before passing away on July 30, 2022. Mayor Max II was survived by his Deputy Mayors, Mikey and Mitzi. Now Mayor Max III continues to serve the town of Idyllwild, along with (new member) Vice Mayor Meadow, Deputy Mayor Mikey and Deputy Mayor Mitzi.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

It seems the spirits of his predecessors have passed on to Max III who performs the same mouth-closing trick where he can close his mouth on command. “I just held the treat above his mouth and he knew exactly what to do, without any instruction,” his chief of staff (and owner), Phyllis Mueller told The Guardian.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

The four-legged politician recently celebrated his birthday with a party attended by roughly 1,000 guests. For the past year, Max has been making daily public appearances in the center of town, while also visiting hospitals, schools and nursing homes. He spends time spreading joy and even provides comfort sitting by hospice residents during their final moments. He's one politician everyone seems to love.  “It’s a fun way to do politics because we don’t do anything divisive, ever,” said Mueller, who takes his position very seriously. "We try to emanate a loving energy towards everyone because positive energy leads towards life, whereas negative energy leads towards the opposite."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

The mayor lives with Mueller in their home at the top of a mountain. The pooch is a snappy dresser and even has two tie closets just for him. “He has around 3,000 ties,” she shared. “He ate three of them during his first month in office.” Well, he's still a good boy, isn't he? The 72-year-old is determined to keep the mayors in office for as long as she is alive. “With the mayors, I want to remind people that there is good in the world. Every day, people do good things,” she said. “These dogs here, they are living angels, and they love you with all their heart.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mayor Max (@mayormax1)


 

 

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