Roll over golden retrievers, Delaware has a new top dog

Rescue dogs like Gracie are Delaware’s newest official state dogs. She was recently up for adoption at the Brandywine Valley SPCA. (Brandywine Valley SPCA)

Rescue dogs like Gracie are Delaware’s newest official state dogs. She was recently up for adoption at the Brandywine Valley SPCA. (Brandywine Valley SPCA)

It was a good run for golden retrievers, but after a year as Delaware’s official canine, the First State has a new official dog. State lawmakers unanimously approved legislation naming “rescue dogs” as the state pooch, replacing the state’s former top dog.

“This is a message to everyone in the public about the value of rescuing, what we like to call the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ message,” said Linda Torelli of the Brandywine Valley SPCA.

The new designation is a sign that more people in the state are choosing to rescue pets from a shelter, she said.

“We are hoping this brings awareness up for those who just maybe never thought to go to a shelter,” Torelli said. “This is a great way to let them know what terrific pets are waiting at the shelter and give them something else to think about when they’re looking for their next furry companion.”

Golden retrievers were named the state’s official dog in 2016. That title expired after one year to give another breed its day in the sun. Nearly three years later, it’s time for rescue dogs to be featured.

But don’t feel bad for the deposed golden retrievers.

“I don’t think the golden retrievers are going to suffer any reputation damage from the changeover,” Torelli said. “I’ve seen lots of golden retrievers welcoming rescue dogs into their life, so we can all live happily together.”

While every dog has its day, rescue dogs have a year before their reign as state dog of Delaware expires.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.