The first time I heard about a Labrador retriever as the Maine state dog, I envisioned issues (“Labrador retriever could fetch a state honor,” Feb. 2). Most of us dog lovers think that our dog would be the best to represent Maine.

This stimulated my thinking. Let’s declare our state dog to be the shelter dog. After all, Maine has one of the highest adoption rates of rescued and abandoned dogs in the country, according to the Maine Federation of Humane Societies.

But I would go further. Let the federation establish a program whereby each month one of its member agencies would share a photo of its “Shelter Dog of the Month.”

Fans of that breed could support it by sending a donation to the federation, with each dollar representing a vote. Ultimately, the organization would use those donations to help support its 53 member affiliates.

This would give exposure to a variety of breeds, with the intention of enhancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of those breeds. It would call public attention to the need for adoptions and it would show Maine’s compassion for man (and woman’s) best friend!

Additionally, some businesses (veterinarians, pet stores, etc.) might support the project, and media sponsors might find some cute, clever, compassionate feature stories.

Seems like this could be a win-win solution. I do love dogs. I only have “granddogs,” who are loved dearly!

Marlise Swartz