The town of Idyllwild, California is nestled within the San Jacinto Mountains. There are hiking trails, quaint neighborhood streets, and best of all, a dog serving as mayor. The residents are full of town pride, and the tight-knit community elected Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II in a landslide election in 2014. Mayor Max has been faithfully serving his town ever since, and the people of Idyllwild wouldn’t have it any other way.
The story of how a town elected a dog as mayor starts in 2012. As a non-incorporated town, Idyllwild can have no human mayor. To fill the void, the local animal shelter, Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), decided to host the town’s first-ever mayoral election. Human candidates were out of the question, but ARF filled the ballot with 14 dogs and two cats. All candidates were locally nominated, and townspeople were encouraged to pay one dollar to vote.
Among the candidates, Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller (the current Mayor Max’s uncle) was an obvious favorite. He ran as an independent with a platform of conveying unconditional love to all people and performing random acts of kindness. After the votes were tallied (and an incredible $31,000 were raised), the first Mayor Max was officially sworn into office.
Mayor Max upheld his post for over a year until he passed away in 2013. In need of an interim mayor, ARF approved a mayoral transition plan that named Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II as the temporary town mayor. The successor was only a puppy at the time, but the new Mayor Max took on the role with gusto. He proved his worth to his townspeople, and in 2014, another election was held. Mayor Max II was officially voted into office, and he’s been the proud, lovable face of Idyllwood ever since.
Now an experienced town Mayor, Max fulfills his duties with all the goofy devotion you’d expect from a Golden Retriever. He has his deputy mayors, Mitzi and Mikey, to help, and together the mayoral trio attend town functions, advocate for ARF, and promote town pride. It’s the mayor’s goal to spread as much love as possible, and it’s clear he’s good at his job.
Children and adults alike love spotting Mayor Max out on the town and at events. They run up to him calling him by name and offer him head scratches and belly rubs–and occasionally a yummy treat. Mayor Max soaks up all the love and then spreads it to every town person he meets. His human Chief of Staff, Phyllis Mueller, is always there to help him perform his duties. Together, they help make Idyllwood a fun and compassionate place to live.
Check out Mayor Max’s Facebook page to stay updated on all his good deeds.
Featured photo via Facebook/Mayor Max