Instead of attack dogs, Wildrose party bus has 'happy, friendly dogs'

St. Paul, Alberta — The Globe and Mail

(Dawn Walton/The Globe and Mail/Dawn Walton/The Globe and Mail)

It’s official: the Wildrose Party has gone to the dogs.

Or more specifically, two dogs, which have joined the party’s campaign bus as it crisscrosses the province.

“A lot of campaigns have attack dogs,” said Wildrose campaign adviser Jim Armour, “We have happy, friendly dogs.”

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith has brought her beloved pooches Turk, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Caine, a Labradoodle, along for the ride. The animals bear geographic homage to holiday hotspot Turks and Caicos, where Ms. Smith and her husband, David Moretta, once vacationed early on in their courtship.

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Travelling with canines, however, comes at a cost.

A supply of lint rollers for the frequent removal of dog hair. Paper towel to deal with wet dog. Doggie bags in the event of accidents. And, of course, animals don’t care about fine-tuned election campaign schedules. They just won’t use the on-board bathroom.

And during unplanned stops, Ms. Smith is the first to grab the leashes to trot them outside to do their business. During one such break in northeastern Alberta, both animals lifted their legs onto wooden fence posts.

“There,” Ms. Smith said, “that’s what they think of the polls.”