How do you put a tough week behind you?

Get a new dog.

That’s exactly what Gov. Paul LePage did Tuesday.

And in typical LePage fashion, he also appeared to jab at some of his adversaries in the Legislature. The dog is aptly named Veto. LePage has vetoed more bills than any other Maine governor, over 210 by last count. Gov. James Longley set the previous record of 118 from 1975 to 1979.

LePage adopted the new family member from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society.

Veto is a 2-year-old male Jack Russell Terrier, said Zach Black, operations manager at the humane society. Black was pleased the pooch found a home; that it happened to be the Blaine House was irrelevant.


“We’re just happy to have anyone save a life – that’s what matters most,” Black said.

The adoption came a little over a month after the governor and his family lost Baxter, an 11-year-old white and brown Jack Russell terrier mix. Baxter died March 31 after his third bout with cancer. He had been with the family since 2008, when he was adopted from an animal shelter in Florida.

Baxter frequently greeted guests at the Blaine House. For a short period, he had his own Facebook page and a blog. There was even a children’s book written from his perspective.

Jack Russell Terriers are a small but sturdy breed known for being energetic and tenacious. They were originally bred as hunting companions.

A spokesman for the governor joked that Veto, who was previously a stray in New Orleans, will play a big role in the administration.

“The governor named him Veto because he is the mascot of good public policy, defender of the Maine people and protector of hard-working taxpayers from bad legislation,” LePage spokesman Peter Steele said in an email. “He will have a more prominent role in the administration than Baxter, perhaps even delivering vetoes to the second floor.”


Veto’s name had barely surfaced on social media when the Maine chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, a frequent critic of LePage and his policies, responded on Twitter, posting a photo of a black Labrador puppy.

“Funny – we just got an office dog, too,” the ACLU of Maine tweeted. “We’re naming her Override.”

Three minutes later they tweeted, “Just kidding! Cute dog, @Governor_LePage.”

The adoption comes on the heels of a difficult week for the governor, who is known for his abrasive style and frequent use of his veto pen.

LePage came under fire last week for using that veto pen to strike down a bill to expand access to a heroin overdose antidote – a veto that was overturned by the Legislature. He also was criticized for making fun of workers with foreign accents at the Maine Republican State Convention in Bangor, was accused by the Attorney General’s Office of holding an illegal meeting, and issued an apology after storming out of a dedication ceremony at the University of Maine-Farmington because two students were holding protest signs in the back of the crowd.

LePage has become frustrated by what he perceives as negative media coverage and a lack of progress on his efforts to reform state government, associates said.


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