Guide dog for ex-Michigan state rep dies


ADRIAN - The yellow Labrador retriever who guided former state Rep. Doug Spade (D., Adrian) during his six years in the Michigan Legislature died Sunday at his home in Adrian.

Toby became Mr. Spade's guide dog in October, 1997, just months before Mr. Spade began his first campaign for state office.

The dog became a fixture in the Michigan House of Representatives during his master's six years there. He made occasional return visits when Mr. Spade, who subsequently went to work for the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth, attended committee hearings on his employer's behalf.

Toby was 12, and died of complications from a tumor and other health problems.

"In many respects, he was treated as much like a legislator as any of the members. Both caucuses tried to claim him," Mr. Spade said yesterday, while insisting his dog was certainly a Democrat.

"People used to say that they really appreciated being able to confide in him, knowing that he would not talk to the press."