When looking for amazing stories about dogs, I came upon Shanda, a golden retriever, who served as mayor of Guffey, Colorado, from 1993-1998. Sadly she died in office.
As with most internet stories, a paragraph about Shanda cycles from site to site with some changes. This is a somewhat old story so I thought I ought to touch bases with the people of Guffey so I had some new information to share. This became problematic immediately. I could not locate Shanda’s owner who no longer seems to live near Guffey. I believe I found him in Florida but he did not return my call so I turned back to the townspeople.
Town of Guffey
Guffey is a small mountain town and has its own website on which I found a telephone number that seemed to be for tourism-type calls. My call to that number was answered promptly by Charlie Morreale, who identified himself as an employee at Guffey’s Garage. (The website mentions that Guffey’s Garage is no longer a working auto garage; the site says “we can help you with propane, ice, and custom welding jobs. We also carry an assortment of new and used plumbing and electrical supplies.”)
The Garage people also seem to have collected “oddities.” If you want to see the museum’s collection, “ask for the key at the Garage” and you can let yourself in. Love it….just like a New York museum!
Dog Who Was Mayor
But back to Shanda, the dog mayor. I asked Charlie about Shanda, and his reply was a guffaw: “Boy are you out of touch!”
“I know that Shanda’s term ended in 1998,” I replied. “I’m calling to find out who replaced Shanda.”
Shanda was unique in Guffey for being a canine mayor. The “Democats” had dominated since 1988 when a cat named Paisley took office. Paisley died and was replaced by Smudge le Plume. Sadly, Smudge was murdered by a never-apprehended owl. A third cat, Whiffey le Gone, was then elected.
Whiffey was forced to step down when her owners moved to a ranch. This left an opening for Shanda, whose owner was quoted reporting that Shanda was against any leash law, and “unlike other politicians, she really does listen to you.”
About the Current Mayor of Guffey
After Shanda died, “Monster the Cat” became mayor and is now serving a second term. (Monster is owned by Bill Soux who also owns the Guffey Garage.)
In our phone call, Charlie volunteered that schoolchildren are the primary voters for the mayoral election. (Thank you, Charlie, I would have assumed it was the townspeople .)
Charlie also noted that Guffey’s population is about 20 people and that Guffey has a fire department, a public works office, a library, a community center, two bars, and three restaurants.
When I asked Charlie to explain Monster’s mayoral responsibilities, he said, “You’re serious, aren’t you?
“Well, Monster shows up here every morning for breakfast and then he goes out and spends the day politickin’.”
As nearly as I can tell from the website, Guffey relies on tourism to a great degree so the idea of having a cat or a dog as mayor is actually brilliant. However, I was concerned about the fact that there were still issues like firefighting and trash removal that needed to be taken care of. I made several more phone calls and learned that Guffey is unincorporated and is part of Park County.
Tom Locke at The Flume, a website that covers news from Guffey, informed me there are at least two local boards: a school board and a fire department board of directors. The Park County Sheriff’s Office provides law enforcement services, and trash removal is carried out by a private company, probably as part of a county contract. (I did not get responses from a good number of the people I contacted, but my timing was bad. Fairplay, a nearby community, was having their annual Burro Pack Race that weekend.)
From the people I reached, it seems that Guffey’s services are well taken care of. Therefore, a mayoral figurehead that attracts publicity is probably a very wise move.
More about the Mayor
While searching for a little more information about the sitting mayor, I came upon Monster’s MySpace page. The page gives Monster’s age as 22. (I hope the community is grooming a successor.) It notes that Monster serves “with disinterest and occasional violent outbursts against tourists and local animals.”
Under music preferences, Monster specifies “No violins!” and notes that television “rots your brain, but I do like Judge Judy.”
As to who Monster would like to meet: “Other independent elected officials. Preferably pussies. Dick Cheney.” (Not clear whether Cheney is on a separate list or considered part of the former grouping.)
Monster’s hero? “The guy with the sardines.”
Book preferences? “I can’t read, [expletive]. I’m a cat. And don’t get smart about how I created this page. I’m dictating.”
A recent article on the website Top Reveal provides a fun and fascinating comparison of dog owners and cat owners. Among the many facts you’ll learn that dog owners are more likely than cat owners to be extroverts… The article tells much, much more. Visit “The Little Things that Separate and Unite Cat Owners vs. Dog Owners.”
This article was written a few years ago, and I am trying to reach someone in Guffey to check on Monster’s health and to be sure he is still mayor. From the above article, I think you can assume that reaching anyone on this topic may take some time. Stay tuned!