JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — She's become a bit of a social media darling, and chances are you've seen her Twitter, @FirstLadyPuddin. The perfect pup belongs to Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, but he shares the superstar with the city.
"I don't know what I'd do without her, but she's definitely become the mascot for the city of Jeff,” Moore said.
Mayor Moore adopted Puddin from the J.B. Ogle Animal Shelter in Jeffersonville about six years ago. Back then, she was Bayley.
"My kids told me I needed a dog. I'd been recently divorced, and my kids said, 'Dad, you need somebody,'” Moore said. "A husky dog that was just full of love and, I don't know, the word Puddin just came to mind and it stuck. I just knew this is my dog. I couldn't ask for a better friend. I'm told she is part border collie and part basset hound. She has short legs and God made her tongue a little bit longer than her nose, so it's always hanging out it seems."
She started coming to City Hall shortly after she got adopted and quickly became a staple.
“I don't know what I'd do without her. She is my best friend, my therapist and she hears everything. She never barks in disagreement,” Moore said. "She is the First Lady of the City of Jeff. I can't imagine coming to City Hall without her."
Puddin is a fixture at most meetings and makes her daily rounds to different offices in the building. Moore said she doesn't know a stranger and will gladly take a treat from anybody.
"Her role is to sit around, give you those big old brown eyes and wait for you to pet her,” Moore said. "She may not shake your hand, but she'll shake your paw."
She's got an admirable work-life balance, making time for naps and plenty of pets throughout the day.
"She's well taken care of,” Moore said.
Government work isn't always easy, but Moore said Puddin's presence makes everything better.
"No matter how tense the mood may get, when Puddin walks in, everything calms down. That was kind of what I was looking for. City Hall sometimes, for somebody who doesn't always come in here, can be a little intimidating, and I just wanted to make the mood a little softer. If you come in here with something on your mind you're a little upset about, chances are Puddin is going to calm you down and you're going to leave with a smile on your face,” Moore said. "She's been awfully good for me. This job from time to time can be a little frustrating, and it's always good to look into her eyes and think it's time to sit back and rethink things for a minute. Everybody needs somebody to talk to and bounce ideas off of, and Puddin does that for me."
Politics can be polarizing, but Moore said felines fuel the only Puddin pushback.
"She doesn't like cats. She's scared to death of cats,” Moore said.
Puddin provides a positive presence no matter the problem.
"I've not encountered somebody who doesn't share an affection for Puddin,” Moore said.
Moore hopes his story inspires others to adopt.
"Take a look at the shelters. They're full of lovable dogs that want a second chance, and that's what Puddin was for me,” Moore said. "I not only rescued her. She rescued me."
You can catch Puddin in the Fourth of July Parade in Jeffersonville Thursday. No surprise, she'll be front and center sporting her red, white and blue bandanna.