California’s First Dog, Governor’s Beloved Sutter Brown, Dies

Sutter Brown, the charismatic corgi who seemed to soften the rough edges of Gov. Jerry Brown and in the process became a social media sensation as California’s first dog, died Friday after an illness that had sparked a bipartisan outpouring of support.

Gov. Jerry Brown gives his dog, Sutter, a snack before a Los Angeles press conference to promote the California Pet Lover's License Plate in 2012. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown gives his dog, Sutter, a snack before a Los Angeles press conference to promote the California Pet Lover’s License Plate in 2012. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The 13-year old dog, the oldest of two canines belonging to the governor and First Lady Anne Gust Brown, had emergency surgery in October to remove some cancerous masses. News of the dog’s prognosis traveled quickly through political circles, but his condition improved and he returned home with the governor. In recent days, his health took a turn for the worse, the governor’s office said.

The pets of politicians often hold a unique place in public life, and perhaps no California governor has more steadily relied on a four-legged family member for companionship and political peacemaking than Brown did with Sutter.

“It took a dog to humanize the Capitol,” said Jennifer Fearing, a lobbyist for animal rights issues who became one of Sutter’s unofficial caretakers in Sacramento.

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