Wichita Kansas often has capitalized on its designation as the home of Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz," and now one woman thinks the state should honor Dorothy's buddy, Toto.
Annette McDonald is leading a petition drive to designate Toto's breed - the cairn terrier - as the state's official dog.
The Wichita resident acknowledged that she has a special interest in the breed, having owned cairn terriers for 25 years and shown them in national shows. She currently owns five of the animals.
She said the breed exhibits a "true character" that "fits Kansas nicely." They can be "a little ornery," but are "jovial" and "game for just about anything," she said. "They think they're a big dog in a small package," and they "love to be a full member of the family."
Less than half of the states have designated an official state dog, and McDonald said some people have asked why Kansas needs one.
"Well, we have a turtle (official reptile) and salamander (official amphibian)," she replies.
McDonald has enlisted the help of Sen. Mike Peterson, who wasn't sure at first that lawmakers would be interested in an official state dog, she said.
But after the Wichita Republican found some legislators positive about the idea, she said she started collecting petition signatures to prove the public supports such a designation.
She's also seeking letters of support from dog lovers and asking Kansas veterinarians to display the petitions. In western Kansas, which has fewer veterinarians, she hopes county extension offices will promote the petitions.
"I think that's a terrific idea that the lady had," said Paul Miller, interim director at Dorothy's House in Liberal, which has collected more than 100 signatures. "They all say, 'Well, gosh, that's a natural."'
In Wamego, where The Oz Museum's toll-free number is (866) 458-TOTO, more than 200 people have signed the petition, said gift shop manager Ellie Coots.