The Lake Tapawingo City Hall meeting Thursday welcomed a unique guest – Stanley, a 3-year-old English bulldog.
The canine is no stranger to events like this. He and his owner Deborah Pack have visited and collected proclamations in more than 27 towns, with the ultimate goal of eventually reaching the White House. Pack hopes Stanley, born with a cleft lip, a curved spin and deformities in his back legs, will be honored with a national Stand Up for Stanley Awareness Day to celebrate differences.
Lake Tapawingo Mayor Thomas Goddard expressed his support at the meeting.
“Stanley is a symbol of acceptance,” Goddard said. “He teaches us that we are all different, and through our differences we bring talents and beauty to our world.”
Stanley’s impact on a larger community can be seen through his partnerships. He is an ambassador for the Smile Train, an organization that provides free cleft repair surgery in developing countries. He has also partnered with suicide prevention organizations, veterans groups, homeless shelters and the American Childhood Cancer Organization.
Above all, Pack sees Stanley as an anti-bullying role model. As a preschool teacher in Liberty, she has brought Stanley into the classroom to help children learn about disabilities and acceptance.
Yet Stanley almost never had the chance to do any of this. According to Pack, disabled animals like Stanley are often euthanized, leaving no records of births or deaths.
However, she believes Stanley can counter this trend and show that disabled animals and people are more valuable than many realize. Pack fully embraces this message, and has gone on to adopt many deaf bulldogs as Stanley’s siblings.
“Tonight we’re going to take this proclamation as another step forward,” she vowed to city hall attendees. “We want to take acceptance ever further, to the White House.”