Historic Long Grove is in the midst of a heavily contested dog mayoral race.
By Danielle Braff
(Chicago) Yogi Fisher represents a true rags-to-riches story.
Born on the streets of the South Side of Chicago, he was believed to have been homeless for the first year of his life. After being hit by three cars, Yogi went into foster care before he was adopted by the Fisher family in Long Grove, a quaint village of about 8,000 people 35 miles northwest of Chicago.
Today, Fisher is campaigning to be the next mayor of Long Grove. He’s a 180 pound Mastiff rescue who enjoys donating blood to other dogs in need, relaxing on his massive dog bed and getting belly rubs.
Fisher is one of 20 dogs running to be the first dog mayor of Long Grove, a race created by the Long Grove Historical Society to raise money for the village - but also a race taken very seriously by the dogs and their owners. Each vote costs $1, and there are unlimited votes per person. Long Grove is following in the footsteps of Fair Haven, Vermont, which elected Lincoln the goat as its honorary mayor and Murfee, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as its current mayor in 2018, raising $30,000 total to renovate their community playground.
In Long Grove, the winning dog will preside over a number of events and ceremonies throughout the year, says Aaaron Underwood, the Long Grove Historical Society Historian.
“We’re a very dog friendly town with lots of outdoor dining, events and festivals throughout the year, and our local dog owners frequently enjoyed the town in the company of their pets,” Underwood says. “So I think this is a natural extension and celebration of the town’s synergy with their dogs.”
The race so far is a very close one, and many of the dogs have been pulling all-nighters campaigning.
“One candidate had several people vote from a local bar around midnight, so I assume their meet and greet went pretty late,” Underwood says. Other dogs were spotted wandering throughout Long Grove bribing voters with candy - and some were even audacious enough to bride with actual kisses (Underwood is looking into the legality of that move).
Fisher, who won’t sink so low as to kiss his potential voters, has logged time on Facebook, trying to convince friends and family that he’s worthy of being mayor.
“He wants to show the world that you can come from the streets, and rise to become mayor,” says Mollie Fisher, one of his campaign managers. Yogi Fisher has plans to go out for beers this week to meet other people in Long Grove, and he just may hand out candy. If residents spot him sleeping in the bar, they may wake him with a gentle nudge, and he’d be happy to talk politics, Mollie Fisher says.
Other dogs have secured social media accounts to help with their campaigns. Yappy Yani, a lifelong resident of Long Grove, loves to document her excursions throughout her village via Instagram (where you may also vote for her). She’s been busy campaigning at the Long Grove Strawberry Fest and at her local private pool.
And then there’s Bella Starburst, a chihuahua determined to distribute resources such as free bundt cakes for all, to install a Long Grove dog park and to normalize neck rolls. As a female mixed dog, Bella has a perspective that’s different from her fellow candidates - so she can offer fresh ideas that will make Long Grove a better place.
She sounds like the purrr-fect candidate.
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