AUGUSTA (AP) – Maine’s first family has added a second dog.

Sam, a 9-week-old springer spaniel, joined Gov. John Baldacci, his family and fellow springer Murphy Brown at the Blaine House last weekend.

The two dogs are unrelated, but they so closely resemble one another that Baldacci spokesman Lee Umphrey has dubbed Sam “Mini Murph.”

The governor’s son Jack came up with the idea of a second dog and will be in charge of caring for Sam, Umphrey said.

Jack was on hand Tuesday when Sam made an appearance in Umphrey’s office at the State House. While Jack looked on, Sam chewed on his leash and nibbled on one of Jack’s shoes.

“Every time a substantial accomplishment is made in this administration, the governor will get a new dog,” Umphrey joked, referring to last week’s passage by the Legislature of Baldacci’s health-care reform plan. “By the end of this administration, the State House will look like ‘101 Dalmatians.”‘

State Rep. Joseph Perry, a Democrat whose district includes Baldacci’s old Bangor neighborhood, offered his own take on why the Baldaccis have taken in another pooch.

“Murphy was polling through the roof” because the public likes her so much, Perry quipped, “so why not add another one?”

Springer spaniels appear to be a popular breed with politicians of both parties. In addition to Murphy and Sam, who belong to a Democratic governor, a spaniel is one of two canine residents of the Republican-controlled White House. Spot “Spotty” Fetcher, a 14-year-old springer spaniel, shares canine duties there with Barney, a 2-year-old Scottish terrier.

Although Baldacci bills Murphy as “Maine’s First Dog” on his official Internet Web site, that may have to change now that Sam has arrived.

Umphrey moved in that direction Tuesday by insisting that “there are no firsts or seconds in this administration,” only a newcomer who is now “the co-dog” at the Blaine House.


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