Less Than Year After Retiring As Small Town's 'Mayor,' Duke The Dog Sadly Passed Away

Politics can be a tricky business, so who better to take on the daunting task of uniting a small Minnesota town than man's best friend.

When Cormorant Village began looking for a mayor in 2014, an unlikely candidate suddenly surfaced. During the annual Cormorant Daze Festival's contest for a town mascot, a local pub owner submitted Duke the Great Pyrenees mountain dog as a contender.

Tricia Maloney came up with the crazy idea after meeting the affectionate pup and falling in love. News of the town's first pup candidate spread fast, and when the votes were counted, has Crowne downed the winner.

“So many people went, ‘oh, you can vote for mayor. Let’s vote for Mayor Duke,’” Maloney told NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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The proud dog served the town for four years before old age sent him into retirement in 2018, according to KFGO. During his time as "mayor", Duke took his role seriously. He was a frequent guest at local events, even cruising around in a red convertible during the town's yearly parade.

He was always ready to greet the town's residents with a wagging tail and cheerful doggy smile. The residents of Cormorant Village lapped it up, too- especially the town's youngest inhabitants. Children loved to pet and love on Duke, and the sweet pup enjoyed it just as much.

After his retirement, Duke spent the remainder of his time in the arms of his devoted owner, Karen Nelson. Nelson often kept the town informed of Duke's happenings through posts on the mayor's official Facebook page.

Sadly, Nelson had some unfortunate news to share with the residents of Cormorant Village in late February. In a heartfelt post dated February 21, 2019, Nelson wrote,

"Our beloved mayor Duke went to doggie heaven today. He will be greatly missed."

'He will be greatly missed. we will have a memorial for him in March or April at the Cormorant town hall.'

As condolences for Duke poured in from the town's residents, Nelson was humbled by the outpouring of support for her furry companion. Duke's death has left a large void in the town- one that will never be filled.

After all, it's not very often you find a dog that's willing to tackle the difficult- albeit rewarding- job of representing a small, midwestern with such grace, humor, and enthusiasm. May Duke the Great Pyrenees mountain dog forever rest in peace after a job well done. 

What do you think of Duke? Let us know in the comments - and make sure you pass this along to your friends and family!