Mattie the pug flies to doggie heaven wearing pink

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDFebruary 23, 2014 

Fairhaven Rain Festival

Taimi Dunn Gorman laughs as "Queen" Diane Phillips pets her pug, Maddie, at the 10th annual rain festival at the Fairhaven Village Green on Feb. 11, 2012, in Bellingham. Each year at the festival the queen pets the pug to see whether she is wet or dry and determine how much more rain Bellingham will get.

GINA COLE — FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

A longtime Fairhaven figure has died after suffering from blindness, diabetes and arthritis. She was 14 years old.

Madeline "Mattie" Tonasket Albright Gorman - the pug who became the mascot and fashion model for a short-lived but well-known Fairhaven business, Doggie Diner - died Monday, Feb. 17.

"She knew she was great," said Mattie's owner, Taimi Dunn Gorman. "Even the vet said she was particularly beautiful for a pug."

For many years Mattie also was the canine version of a weather-predicting groundhog, serving that function at the annual Pacific Northwest Rain Festival in Fairhaven. Mattie is immortalized as one of several figures, human or otherwise, in the outdoor mural at Fairhaven's Village Green.

When Gorman, a co-owner, was opening Doggie Diner & Pet Paraphernalia 14 years ago, she wanted a dog to model canine clothing sold at the business and to be the diner's mascot. Her other dog, a chow chow, wasn't interested, so Gorman bought Mattie from a breeder in Tonasket.

The diner, reportedly the first business in the country to serve food to dogs and humans together, became the focus of widespread media attention, with Mattie posing patiently for photographs.

Mattie wore doggie clothes most days, usually pink, and had her nails painted pink on a regular basis. Stories about the diner, and Mattie, appeared in People, Good Housekeeping and many other publications, and were broadcast on regional, national and foreign TV shows.

After the diner was sold, Mattie became a regular at the rain festival. She would sit on a couch while humans carried her to the festival queen, who would pet Mattie.

As Gorman explained it, if Mattie was dry, the forecast was for seven more weeks of winter. If Mattie was wet, the forecast was usually the same. If the day was stormy, everyone went to Skylark's Hidden Café for drinks while Mattie sat near the fireplace.

Mattie was named after the first female secretary of state in the U.S.

"I admired Madeleine Albright," Gorman said. "She was feisty and always got what she wanted."

Much like Mattie.

MATTIE ONLINE

A video about Mattie the pug is on youtube.com. Search for "Mattie's Beautiful Life."

SCARING UP GHOSTS

Two ghost researchers who helped Taimi Dunn Gorman with her book "Haunted Fairhaven" are offering a class for people who want to learn how to hunt for ghosts. Chuck Crooks and Elena Stecca are two lead investigators with BOOO - Bellingham Observers of the Odd and Obscure.

Their class includes a how-to session from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 1, followed by a ghost "investigation" from 9 to midnight. The $30 class will meet at The Bureau of Historical Investigation, 217 W. Holly St. Cost is

Details and registration are at ghosthuntclass.wix.com/Bellingham. Send questions to ghosthuntclass@gmail.com.

SALE BENEFITS LYNDEN MUSEUM

If you're in the mood to do some housecleaning, you can donate collectibles and other unwanted items to a sale to benefit Lynden Pioneer Museum. Donations and some items from the museum's collection will be on sale 9 a.m. to noon March 21 and 22.

People are encouraged to drop off items well ahead of time at the museum, 217 Front St. Donations are tax-deductible. Admission to the sale is free. Details: 360-354-3675.

Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-229 or dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com .

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