An Interview with Idyllwild’s Mayor Max


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Mayor Max, official Mayor of Idyllwild, California, and occasional columnist for Pet Companion Magazine, was named one of The CW Network’s Dogs of the Year for 2019 and featured on its television special in mid- December. He’s been making the rounds lately, with a September 22, 2019, role on the popular game show, To Tell the Truth, where his fine acting skills helped him fool actors Rita Moreno and Chris D’Elia into believing he was not actually the elected Mayor of Idyllwild. He was also a special guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show in October 2019. Most recently, Max was featured on CBS News in a segment that aired just before the State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020.

Max has been the focus of numerous news stories in some of the largest markets and publications, including People, ABC News, Business Insider, The Guardian, Travel and Leisure, Associated Press, San Diego Union Tribune, New Zealand Herald, The Daily Mail, and many more.

We chatted with Mayor Max—with the help of Phyllis, his Chief of Staff—to hear all about his explosive worldwide fame and to catch up with the Mayor.

PCM: Congratulations, Mayor Max, on being named one of The CW’s 2019 Dogs of the Year! Can you tell us how you were selected?

MM: The CW was researching candidates for their top 10 Dogs of the Year and contacted us, asking if Mayor Max would be interested in being featured on the show. We said, “Yes!” of course.

PCM: We saw photos of you on the green carpet in southern California. Did you enjoy the excitement of paparazzi or were you anxious to get back to giving kisses back home in Idyllwild?

MM: I love the attention, so I stayed until the last minute! There were so many dogs at the party that there was never a dull moment. I love the celebrity life.

PCM: Did you meet any favorite celebrities — dogs or humans?

MM: Yes, I met many of both. It was great fun!

PCM: We saw you in September on To Tell the Truth, where you had two of the judges fooled. Was that your first appearance on national television? Were you nervous?

MM: I think I have been on national television for news many times. But this was the first non-news national segment. I am never nervous, because I don’t really understand that as a concept. I’m just happy being where people want to see me and pet me. So for shows, everyone is very interested in me. I am very comfortable in any situation like this.

PCM: Is it true that you’re now featured in The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in New York City?

MM: It is true, and I am so happy about that. I’m thinking of taking a ROAD TRIP to go see it.

PCM: How are Mikey and Mitzi dealing with your growing international celebrity? Are they helping you keep your four paws on the ground and not get too carried away with all the adoration from new fans?

MM: Mitzi and Mikey are fine with it, because they are almost always with me. When we did an ABC News segment not long ago, Mitzi and Mikey were at the TV station. When I go out visiting, they are usually with me. So for them, things are the same. I think they feel like they are celebrity dogs, too— because they are! They have many fans. Nothing really fazes me about adoration from fans. People have adored me since I was a puppy, and this is normal to me. When I come out for posing, I am always scanning to see where the visitors are. And in seconds, they always show up. Phyllis sees me looking and scanning, and she always says, “Don’t worry, they will be here.” And she is always right.

PCM: What’s next for Mayor Max? Has your message changed, now that you have a worldwide platform? Any chance you’re considering running for higher office?

MM: Thousands (and maybe hundreds of thousands by now) have asked me to run for office in 2020. Phyllis always tells them that she appreciates the sentiment, but she doesn’t think we would be taken seriously. However, several of my fans have also suggested that I should be “Mayor of the World.” Now, this is something to consider!

My charter has not changed. It is to help make the world a better place by conveying unconditional love and doing as many good deeds for others as possible. We believe that the individuals of the world can create peace on earth by being loving, even when it is difficult. Phyllis, Glenn, and we Mayors of Idyllwild are working toward peace on earth in our lifetime. That has not and will never change. We work every day to create as much happiness and love as possible with everyone with whom we come in contact, whether by an in-person meeting or through social media.

PCM: What’s new in your beloved Idyllwild? Lots of excited hometown supporters? Do we have any new Mayor Max-friendly stores or restaurants opening up?

MM: This year, the tree-lighting group lit all the trees in the Idyllwild Park, and it was extraordinarily beautiful. Mark your calendars for next year, any time in December. You will love it. We have a huge number of home-town supporters, and there are artists who feature Mayor Max in their art. Phyllis is contemplating a store or online Mayor Max shop, but she has not yet taken any action on that.

PCM: What are your best tips to canine visitors to make the most of their visit to Idyllwild?

MM: All of the restaurants are dog friendly. On hot days, please come prepared with some type of protective wear for your dog’s feet. Do NOT lock your dog in the car on hot days, even with the windows open. It’s too hot. Keep the dogs in the shade. Keep water with you at all times. On hiking trips, keep your pets on a leash and keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. Watch carefully for yourself and your pets.

PCM: If our readers want to meet Mayor Max, how do they contact you?

MM: Just have them call Phyllis, my Chief of Staff, at (949) 525-0100 to arrange a visit. Or they can email me at

If you missed it, you can catch Mayor Max on The CW’s Dogs of the Year here:

FAVES of Mayor Max:

I really love everything. I guess bacon would be at the top of my list, along with pizza and ice cream. But I am now overweight, because people bring me so much to eat. So Phyllis is asking everyone to cut back!

I love any kind of ball and toys that squeak.

Place to sleep:
I have several dog beds all over the house and our couch, but my favorite place, no matter how cold or hot, is to sleep on the balcony upstairs in our home. I even like to sleep there when it’s 20 degrees.

Pastime activity:
Retrieving balls or sleeping in a comfy place. I like swimming, too.

Favorite place to be petted/scratched:
Belly rubs is #1, but I like back scratches, too.

It’s my registered first name, Maximus.

Afraid of:
When Phyllis screams for some reason, that scares me. Like when a rattler almost got us. But I’m not really afraid of much unless she’s afraid.

Being out in the public with my fans. I really love how much they love me, and it makes me wag my tail and bark with excitement. Phyllis always tells them I like it when they clap and say “Yay!” That really gets me going. And I adore all types of food, of course.

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