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Mayor of Idyllwild, a Dog Named Max, Dies in Office; Stuffed Toy to Replace Him Temporarily

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Leadership in the small mountain town of Idyllwild has gone to the dogs (and cats), as they have had in office since last June a canine mayor, Max. Sadly, the Golden Retriever passed away last week, leaving the office of the "big dog in charge" vacant.

Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller was voted into office in the first-ever Dog Party versus Cat Party election held in Idyllwild—a non-incorporated town with no human mayor. The election was sponsored by the non-profit Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), and each vote came with a $1 donation to the ARF. The race had a wide selection of candidates: 14 dogs and two cats.

Max, a 12-year-old Golden Retriever, was inaugurated to a one-year term on July 1, 2012, however in February the term was extended by a year.

Sadly, Max, who had been living with cancer for just over three years, died the night of April 2. "He passed away peacefully in his sleep, first snoring, and then his heart stopped," according to Mayor Max's official site.

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Idyllwild residents and their pets are expected to gather on Sunday, April 14, for a memorial service—a "celebration of life"—for Max.

But what of Max's year-plus term as Mayor of Idyllwild? There are plans in motion to seek an appropriate replacement, and, frankly, breeding is key:

Going forward, Mini Me has agreed to step in as the Interim Mayor of Idyllwild while my husband, Glenn Warren, and I, Phyllis Mueller, AFTER A PERIOD OF GRIEVING, will go on the quest for our new Mini Max. Mini Max will be a Golden Retriever that will be named Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller, II, and will then officially take over as the Mayor of Idyllwild, completing Mayor Max’s mayoral term through June 30, 2014. Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends (ARF), the mayoral election sponsor, has also OK’d this mayoral transition plan.

In case you were wondering, Mini Me isn't another dog (or cat)—it's actually a stuffed animal version of Max. Locally, Mini Me toys are given out to kids.