Thanks to the dogged determination of a woman from South Portland, Maine, her state may soon join 11 others that recognize an official state dog.
Maine has an official animal (the moose), bird (chickadee), fish (Atlantic salmon), and state berry (blueberry). And action during the current state legislative session is on track to provide The Pine Tree State with an official dog – the Labrador retriever, thanks to the effort of Stacy Gile.
Gile, who has owned Labs most of her life and now spends her days with two black Labs, Jack and Amos, helped research and draft LD 107, after she realized the state was lacking an official canine representative.
“We realized really quickly that everywhere you went (in Maine) you saw Labs,” said Gile. “I think they would make an excellent symbol for what Maine stands for outdoorsmen, hunting, fishing, friendliness, and a healthy outdoor lifestyle.”
And this week, on February 11, the Lab had its day before state Senators, as Giles’ bill was heard in committee for the first time, with many representatives of the retriever community in attendance, as reported by the Bangor Daily News.
“Here we are, with the most anticipated bill of the month,” Sen. Michael Willette (R-Mapleton), said as he gaveled a roomful of dogs and dog lovers to order.
If there were any Pomeranian or Shih Tzu supporters among the senators or hearing room gallery, they remained respectably silent.
“Like Mainers, the Lab is capable of working under very harsh conditions and has one of the friendliest personalities around,” Dutremble said. “I believe that the Labrador retriever does fit the state of Maine and stands for the very things we as Mainers believe in: hard work, versatility and most of all a friendly demeanor.”
Gile presented the State and Local Government Committee with a plethora of Labrador information, including data that showed there are numerous Maine towns and cities from Arundel to Vinalhaven where more than 1-in-5 registered dogs is a Labrador retriever.
“By sheer numbers alone, they are the de facto state dog,” Gile said.
She also pointed out that Maine is the closest U.S. state in proximity to the breed’s namesake Canadian province.
The committee also heard testimony from a host of other Lab lovers, including a teacher and three students from South Elementary School in Rockland.
“They are excellent family dogs,” 8-year-old Sophia Clayton said. “They can retrieve ducks without damaging them.”
How about it? Do you think the Lab would make a great “state dog” in Maine – or just about any other state, for that matter?If not, and if you don’t already have a “state dog,” please tell us below what breed you believe should be your “state dog.”