Dog mayor and goat mayor raise money to renovate playground in Vermont town

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. get involved in (something) / gɛt ɪnˈvɒlvd ɪn / (idiom) – to actively participate in something

    The principal encouraged all the students to get involved in the school’s volunteer program.

  2. chip in (something) / tʃɪp ɪn / (phrasal v.) – to contribute something, such as money, to help a person or a cause

    My brothers and I chipped in five dollars each to buy our parents a gift.

  3. honorary / ˈɒn əˌrɛr i / (adj.) – holding a title or position only as a sign of achievement or honor and without the usual requirements or duties that it involves

    As an honorary member of the organization, the pro athlete isn’t required to attend its meetings or events.

  4. take (something) up with (someone) / teɪk ʌp wɪθ / (phrasal v.) – to discuss something, usually a problem or complaint, with someone

    If you have an issue with the service, you should take it up with the store’s manager.

  5. chuckle / ˈtʃʌk əl / (v.) – to laugh quietly

    My dad chuckled when he read something funny in the newspaper.


Read the text below.

A dog and a goat have helped raise money to renovate a community playground in the town of Fair Haven, Vermont. What makes this couple different is that the dog is the mayor and the goat is the former mayor.

Fair Haven residents elected Lincoln the goat as mayor in 2018. Murfee the Cavalier King Charles spaniel is the current mayor.

The couple has raised a total of about $30,000 (¥3.1 million) to rehabilitate the playground and to help get local kids involved in the community. The town chipped in another $20,000 (¥2.1 million).

The oddball idea of pet mayor elections to raise money came from a local town manager. The pets serve as honorary mayors.

Ironically, Murfee is not welcome on the playground. There is a “No dogs allowed” sign.

“Murfee is going to take that up with the town,” said his owner, Linda Barker, with a chuckle. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The town started pet mayor elections to raise money. Do you think your local community should do the same? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Children are encouraged to participate in the pet mayor elections in order to teach them about the importance of voting. Do you think it’s an effective way to teach children about elections? Do you think enough adults participate in elections in your country? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think pets that win the elections should have special privileges (ex. free pet food, permission to go on the playground)? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • If you had a pet, would you consider entering it in an election to be mayor? Why or why not? Discuss.