Monday, Sept. 9, Tammy Nguyen and Blake Del Hoya, both of PETCO, visited with Mayor Max. They discussed many issues with him in preparation for a video on National Dogs in Politics Day, Sept. 23. Photo by JP Crumrine

National Dogs in Politics Day is Sept. 23 and PETCO will direct attention to Idyllwild’s Mayor Max.

Blake Del Hoya, of PETCO, came to Idyllwild Monday, Sept. 9 to interview and prepare a video of the mayor, his deputies and his staff, Phyllis Mueller and Glenn Warren. The video will be released on PETCO’s Instagram and Facebook pages Sept. 23.

As she was researching an appropriate canine subject, Del Hoya said they were quickly overwhelmed with references and recommendations for the mayor.

She works in San Diego, but grew up in Hemet, so Idyllwild was not an unknown, distant location. She and co-worker Tammy Nguyen had lunch and spent time with Max, Mueller and Warren.

“Everyone knows [Mayor Max]. He is the perfect opportunity,” she said.

PETCO along with National Dogs in Politics Day is an effort to celebrate what pets can do besides being house pets, according to Del Hoya. 

Nguyen added, “Max never raises controversial issues.” 

Mueller emphasized that he supports many nonpartisan issues such as education and health care, for humans, too.

Mueller admitted that the PETCO attention was not a total surprise. Max has been the subject of many media programs and online videos, including four times on ABC News, KTLA, the Drudge Report, People Magazine, the Boston Herald, HBO, Vice News, and many others.

“Between his Instagram and Facebook pages, he has more than 100,000 friends,” Mueller said. “And some of the videos have been watched by nearly 3 million viewers.”

“Many of these programs have gone around the world,” Mueller added. “We have been contacted by most every country. We have so many media events for upcoming programs in process for Mayor Max that the list is very long.”

While the public attention is focused on Mayor Max, his deputies, Mitzy and Mikey, quietly watched over the crowd. 

This is PETCO’s first year honoring canine politicians. However, it is not the first National Dogs in Politics Day. It was established in honor of former President Richard Nixon’s “Checkers Speech,” which was given on Sept. 23, 1952.

The speech was his personal response to charges of campaign contribution illegalities. During the speech, he made several references to Checkers, the family dog, a black and white cocker spaniel. 

With Checkers help, Nixon remained on the Republican ticket with Dwight Eisenhower and became vice president.