A special memorial service is planned for this weekend in Idyllwild for the beloved Maximus Mueller— honorary mayor for the town.
Known fondly to locals as "mayor Max," the 12-year-old canine passed away April 2 after a three-year battle with cancer, according to owner Phyllis Mueller.
"We will have some darling videos and photos of Max, and anyone who wants to say something will be able to do so," said Mueller. "This is a very casual service ... In fact, Max would be delighted if you would wear comfortable clothes that don't mind dog hair."
The tribute is planned at McNeil Hall in Idyllwild Pines.
Residents in the mountain community selected Max to serve as their ceremonial leader last June in a fundraiser sponsored by the Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends.
Fourteen dogs and two cats competed for the honorary title, with people donating in the name of the animal they preferred. The pet that generated the most bucks was Max, who was declared the winner.
A total $31,000 was raised for the rescue shelter, according to organizers.
Afterward, Mueller initiated a promotional campaign to attract more business and general interest in Idyllwild, mainly through the Internet, using Max's sweet, shaggy face -- sometimes complemented by a hat and tie -- on invitations to tour the local area.
No public funds were used. There is no city government in Idyllwild, only a chamber of commerce.
According to Mueller, "after a period of grieving," she and her husband will begin the process of looking for a Maximus Mighty-Dog Mueller II to bring into their home and serve out the remainder of Max's term, which expires on June 30, 2014.
—City News Service contributed to this report.