ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – While many people know Gov. Mark Dayton got a new puppy a few months ago, named Mingo, what they may not know — is that 4-month-old pup is a bona fide celebrity in her own right.
Mingo’s Facebook site draws glowing comments from prominent Republicans as well as Democrats. Mingo has even authored a guide to Minnesota for young people.
This new puppy was also just what Dayton needed. Two days after he was sworn in to office, his beloved dog Dakota died of cancer.
“When Dakota died in January, Mesabi and I were both very depressed about it,” said Dayton.
It didn’t take long for the governor to realize Dayton and his German shepherd, Mesabi, needed a companion.
“In government, you put out an RFP — request for a proposal. So I put out an RHP — request for puppy — on Facebook,” he said.
A Clara City High School student sent back a picture of a black female from her family’s litter
“About a year ago, I picked out the name Wanamingo just going through the state map. As soon as I saw the picture of her I said ‘Bingo, that’s Mingo,” recalled Dayton.
In early March, Mingo moved in to the governor’s mansion.
“She is absolutely undaunted. She has a fabulous personality,” said Dayton.
But Dayton admits it’s been work juggling being governor and handling all the puppy stuff.
“It’s like having a toddler. She’s into everything. She severed my computer power cord,” he said. “She knows it’s good to go outside. She hasn’t quite figured out that it’s really bad to go inside.”
Mingo’s Facebook page has been an instant hit.
“She had 450 friends on the first day. That’s more friends than I have in a year,” said Dayton.
It features updates on mansion life.
“I feed them little tidbits about Mingo’s daily life … how to wake up a governor at four in the morning,” Dayton said.
Mingo also has her own interactive guide to the state of Minnesota for kids.
She has brought the fun back for not just her four-legged friend Mesabi, but for Dayton as well.
“She is just a bundle of joy. I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world,” he said.
For links to Mingo’s Facebook site as well as to her interactive guide for children, click on the links below.