Sutter Brown, the charismatic corgi who seemed to soften the rough edges of Gov. Jerry Brown and in the process became a social media sensation as California’s first dog, died Friday after an illness that had sparked a bipartisan outpouring of support.
The 13-year old dog, the oldest of two canines belonging to the governor and First Lady Anne Gust Brown, had emergency surgery in October to remove some cancerous masses. News of the dog’s prognosis traveled quickly through political circles, but his condition improved and he returned home.
Sutter was last seen in public on election day, accompanying the governor to vote at his Sacramento polling place.
In recent days, Sutter’s health took a turn for the worse, the governor’s office said. Sutter died with the governor and his wife at his side, and was buried Friday afternoon on his family’s Colusa County ranch, according to a statement from the governor’s deputy press secretary, Deborah Hoffman.
“It’s a sad day for all who loved Sutter,” Hoffman said.
The pets of politicians often hold a unique place in public life, and perhaps no California governor has more steadily relied on a four-legged family member for companionship and political peacemaking than Brown did with Sutter.
“It took a dog to humanize the Capitol,” said Jennifer Fearing, a lobbyist for animal rights issues who became one of Sutter’s unofficial caretakers in Sacramento.
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