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Alaska halfway to designating the Malamute as state dog.
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[UPDATE: On Thursday, April 16, the New Hampshire House takes up the question of the Chinook.]

 

While I had my eyes trained on the Northeast, waiting for New Hampshire to make the Chinook the 10th official state dog in the country (Bark, Mar/Apr 2009), the Alaska State House voted to designate the Alaskan Malamute that state’s top canine.

Spearheaded by students at the Polaris K-12 School in Anchorage, the effort was almost derailed by attempts to honor the sled dog or Husky instead. (I'm just glad no one suggested Iron Dogs.) In my story on state dogs, I suggested the Husky for Alaska, but the Polaris students won the day by emphasizing the Malamute’s history and origins in the Mahlemut tribe; its members relied on the dogs to haul game and guard children. The bill moves on to the Senate.

 

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Senate has approved the Chinook, and students and Chinook-lovers there wait on the House. Of course, this leaves 39 states bereft of an official—or almost official—canine ambassador. I think we need to do something about that, if only so we have some good legislative news to read. And I’m not saying we need to limit our vision to purebred dogs. I’d like to see some Heinz 57's in the mix. I'd love to be from a state that designated the mutt as its symbol. I live in Seattle, there has to be a group of enlightened elementary school kids around here who could get behind this effort.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

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