By Bonnie Culverhouse
When it’s your first term as mayor of Minden, you experience a lot of firsts – first snowstorm, first water main burst, first phone call in the middle of the night.
Maybe not all “firsts” for Mayor Terry Gardner, but recently he made an addition to his staff that was definitely a first for Minden. A First Dog – Chairman of the Board.
A black lab mix (probably with cur), Chairman was picked up on Hwy. 371 S. between Minden and Sibley.
“A lady saw him, picked him up and took him to the (Minden) police station,” Gardner said. “C.J. Cheatham (police department employee) brought him up to my office and said, ‘do you want a puppy?’ I just looked at him and said, ‘yeah.’”
The veterinarian told Gardner he feels Chairman is mostly lab, but there is brindle coloring on each of his legs – almost as if he’s wearing argyle socks.
Gardner, who hasn’t owned a dog in years, said this time it feels “meant to be.”
“I now know why I have Chairman,” Gardner said. “My son, Harold is buried in Shreveport. The other day I was close, so I thought we would just go by the cemetery and check on things.”
Chairman, who goes a lot of places with the mayor, was along for the ride that day. Apparently, Gardner’s son is buried far from parking in “a maze of headstones.”
“Chairman jumps out and runs right to Harold’s grave and lays down on it,” Gardner said. “And I said to myself, ‘this is why I have him.’ Then when we got back in the car to leave, he gets up against the car window, looking out that way and just whining.”
Many folks have offered to take Chairman off the mayor’s hands, but now he isn’t going anywhere except home in the evenings.
And if the mayor travels where Chairman isn’t welcome, he has many puppysitters at Minden City Hall, anxious to do their part.
“There are certain places I can’t take him, but I have an amazing support group in my private sector,” Gardner said. “And just about everybody at city hall wants to play with him, take him outside, give him treats. He’s well-loved.”
Chairman of the Board of the City of Minden – it’s not a bad gig for a little puppy left on the side of the road.
Photo: A typical, enthusiastic puppy, Chairman does something rare – sits still on the desk beside Mayor Terry Gardner. Photo by Bonnie Culverhouse