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Originally published Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM

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Dog becomes Snohomish Co.'s '6th council member'

The most loyal public servant in Snohomish County government starts each day with a burst of energy that sends his mop of black and brown hair bouncing.

The Herald

EVERETT, Wash. —

The most loyal public servant in Snohomish County government starts each day with a burst of energy that sends his mop of black and brown hair bouncing.

He drops by his favorite staffers on the eighth floor, jumping on desks, looking ready to do a back flip at any moment. Then, full of treats and attention, he abruptly patters to his master's office and takes a nap.

Meet Hewitt, the dog referred to as the sixth member of the County Council.

In reality, there are five elected council members. Hewitt is a terrier mix about the size of a small poodle. He's been a fixture at the office for about a year and a half, after being handed through a car window one day as County Councilman Dave Somers sat in traffic.

"He could stay at home, but he's just so much fun," Somers said. "He enjoys us, and he fits right in. So we've settled into a routine here."

The routine traces its origins to a sunny fall afternoon about two years ago.

Somers was heading home from work. He had his car windows down as traffic lurched down Everett's Hewitt Avenue toward U.S. 2. Two men who appeared to be in their 20s pulled alongside in a pickup.

"Hey, you wanna buy a dog?" the man in the passenger seat shouted.

"Not really," Somers answered, thinking about the three dogs he already had at home.

Traffic pitched forward and Somers lost sight of the truck. When they were even again, the man asked, "Will you take the dog?"

Worried about the dog's safety, Somers said, "Yes." The man jumped from the pickup and handed him the dog - before Somers even got a look at it.

"The guy says, 'Be good to him, give him a good home,'" Somers remembered. "Then they took a left, and they were gone."

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The councilman drove to Cascade Animal Clinic where the vet estimated the dog's age at about a year. When she asked the dog's name, "Hewitt Avenue" popped into Somers' mind. It stuck.

Somers checked for similar missing dogs. Finding none, the two continued to bond.

The councilman had Hewitt a few months before bringing him by the office. He hadn't done this with other dogs, but this one liked people so much. In turn, people at work took a shine to the friendly critter -- and to the story behind his name.

"He lightens the mood," said Eric Parks, Somers' legislative aide.

Hewitt's daily rounds usually include a stop by the office of Sharie Freemantle, a council analyst. Earlier this week, he hopped on her desk.

"Everybody seems to know him," said Freemantle, who doesn't own a dog. "People on the elevator he doesn't even know say, 'This must be Hewitt.'"

Somers said when he walks the county campus, more people seem to recognize the dog than the owner.

"About a month ago," he mused, "five people said 'Good morning' to Hewitt and none to me."

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Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com

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