Littleton has a new leader. He likes belly rubs and smelling the flowers when he walks.
Murdoch, a 5-year-old basset hound, will be the city’s first honorary dog mayor after winning the recent election hosted by the non-profit Historic Littleton Inc. that ended midday Dec. 7.
“We’re very, very excited about it,” said Beverly Pillow, Murdoch’s owner. “He will be a great mascot for the city.”
Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22, Historic Littleton rallied owners to nominate their dogs to serve as Littleton’s new canine cheerleader, with 10 candidates making the final cut before voting began.
Over the next two weeks, Historic Littleton received more than 6,000 votes for the dog mayor election, according to Katherine Roxborough, a board member who led the project.
Murdoch beat out the nine other candidates with 2,495 votes. He is joined by Netty, a 6-year-old French bulldog, who will serve as mayor pro tem after coming in second with 2,194 votes.
Kalena Murib, Netty’s owner, said she was constantly checking results in the leadup to election day as Netty and Murdoch jockeyed back-and-forth in a nail-biting matchup. But she believes Netty will be a great No. 2 alongside the new dog mayor.
“They’re going to be real good friends, and that doesn’t always happen in politics,” she said with a laugh. “People love dogs, it will create good conversation, it will be a good way of sharing information.”
The election also served as a campaign for Historic Littleton to further its mission of educating residents about Littleton’s history.
During the nomination process, dogs were often photographed outside landmark sites throughout the city. For Pillow, it presented a unique opportunity to experience a place that she and her husband have called home for decades.
“The history that we found out in the City of Littleton was amazing to us,” Pillow said. “We had quite an education … it’s been a really, really cool experience for us.”
Roxborough, the Historic Littleton board member, said that voters’ involvement in the dog mayoral election showed the strength of the city’s community.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled,” she said. “The fact that we were able to get over 6,000 votes I think is telling of how many people responded to this and wanted to participate, and it was such a great way to engage a community in something that is fun, and behind the fun there’s education.”
After finding success, Roxborough said the nonprofit intends to hold future dog mayoral elections every two years to coincide with the city’s council elections.
Murdoch and Netty are set to take up their new roles during a barking-in ceremony tentatively set for Jan. 18, according to Roxborough. From then, they’ll serve as the city’s newest mascots and will be featured in future city events and Historic Littleon tours.
“It’s been a really awesome experience for us and for Murdoch,” Pillow said. “I mean, if he could talk he could tell you all these really cool things.”
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