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Fourth-graders say Delaware needs state dog

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By Kathy Canavan


House Majority Whip John J. Viola has introduced a bill to make the golden retriever Delaware’s state dog – at the request of a fourth grade class from Learning Express Academy in his district.

The class is assigned to write letters and do research to get a bill passed. Viola said he will add a sunset provision to the bill – meaning the bill, if it’s passed, will help the class meet its objective for the year but it will no longer be in effect after one year.

Viola said he does not currently own  a dog.

The bill cites the retrievers’ prowess as a hunting dog, a detection dog, a therapy, a bird dog, a guide dog, an assistance dog and a search-and-rescue dog.

It points out that Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford had retrievers as pets when they were in the White House.

The bill lauds the golden retriever’s intelligence and gentle temperament and says it is the third-most popular family dog breed by registration in the US., the fifth most popular in Autralia and the eighth most popular in the United Kingdom.

And the last plaudit on the bill:

WHEREAS, they are known to take care of other animals, even cats;”

Neighboring Maryland was the first state to name a dog breed as a state symbol. The Chesapeake Bay Retreiver became the official Maryland state breed in 1964. Pennsylvania chose the Great Dane as its breed in 1965. New Jersey has no state dog.

Some states’ dogs are predictable. Alaska chose the Alaska Malamute. Massachusetts’ state dog is the Boston Terrier.

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