Great Dane Is Also a Great Lobbyist

ANNAPOLIS — A good lobbyist knows how to work a room and schmooze with lawmakers.

And Moon is no different.

The snow-white Great Dane circulated Wednesday among lawmakers, accepting compliments and pats on his massive head before flopping down on the carpeted floor outside a delegation room in the House Office Building.

Moon rested at the feet of Deb Clatterbuck, an animal control officer with the Garrett County Humane Society.

Clatterbuck explained they were visiting as part of “Maryland Humane Day,” when advocates from across Maryland visit the state capital to push animal welfare bills.

“He loves to come and visit,” Clatterbuck said. “Yesterday when we testified, he visited with all the delegates, and it helps them remember our bills.”

One of the bills Clatterbuck hopes to see pass would establish a fund that helps animal control agencies care for animals impounded in hoarding or cruelty cases. One recent case cost $23,000, she said.

Along with having the ability to charm lawmakers, Moon is a service dog. He helps Clatterbuck walk. The animal control officer, who has a titanium leg, had been in a wheelchair for three years.

When she needs to brace against something on ramps or steps, she can hold a handle attached to the dog’s vest for support. When going down a ramp, for example, “I push on him and he holds me back. And if I fall, he has me on my feet almost before I can think.”

Moon never stops working — from baby-sitting abandoned puppies that come into the care of animal control to assisting passers-by.

Clatterbuck said Moon recently spotted a woman with a cane on an icy patch of ground, and positioned himself so that the woman could grab on to him with her free hand. He stayed by her side until she made it off the icy ground.

After speaking to reporters about the bills under discussion, Clatterbuck called to the big dog. It was time for this canine lobbyist to get paid — in treats.

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