The Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association in Annandale, Virginia had a problem getting someone to run for president of their group.
In order to make the meeting move faster, only the names and qualifications of the candidates were announced during the last election.
Running for president, Ms. Beatha Lee was described as a relatively new resident, interested in neighborhood activities and the outdoors, and who had experience in Maine overseeing an estate of 26 acres.
Though unfamiliar with Lee's name, the crowd of about 50 raised their hands, assuming that the candidate was a civic-minded newcomer. These days, it's hard to get anyone to volunteer to devote the time needed to serve as an officer. The slate that Lee headed was unanimously elected. Everyone ate ice cream, watched a karate demonstration and went home.
Only weeks later did many discover that their new president was, in fact, a dog. Ms. Beatha Lee is a shaggy, dirty-white wheaten terrier.
The news broke in the association's newsletter with Lee's promise to "govern with an even paw."
The duly elected president is actually the pet of the former president, Mark Crawford, who inherited Beatha (pronounced Bee-AH-tah) in 2008 from his mother and stepfather in Maine.
Crawford had served three consecutive terms as president and, according to association bylaws, could not run for the office again.
For weeks leading up to the election, he begged, pleaded and cajoled neighbors to run for the often-thankless volunteer post. No one bit. Newer, younger families told him that they were too busy juggling work, long commutes and kids.
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So how has the canine managed? "Well, she delegates a lot," Crawford said. "That's what executives are supposed to do - delegate."
The dog occasionally attends the monthly board meetings, usually held the first Tuesday or Wednesday of the month in Crawford's home. "She's sometimes sitting under the table, listening to what goes on," Frederickson said. "Until she gets bored and wants to be let out."
By all accounts the dog is doing a very good job as President of the homeowner's association.