It’s ruff when no good deed goes unpunished.

That would certainly be the case with the governor’s recent adoption of a dog from the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston.

Wanting to replace his beloved Baxter, a Jack Russell terrier who died recently, Paul LePage stopped by the GAHS on Tuesday after his family spotted a possible first-family addition up for adoption on the society’s website.

It was puppy love at first sight, according to all accounts, when the governor was introduced to the Jack Russell mix. But what happened next prompted criticism of the governor that rightfully should have been directed elsewhere.

The details are a bit unclear. The governor’s staff say GAHS offered to allow the governor to take the dog — quickly named Veto by the governor — home immediately. GAHS staff say the governor asked to take the dog home right away because his schedule wouldn’t allow him to return the next day.

Who gives a doggone? The fact is GAHS broke its own rules. It allowed the governor to take the pup home even though the dog was not eligible for adoption until the following day. By the local society’s own rules, potential adopters were told they would have to wait until Wednesday. Often, after posting pictures on its website, the society offers a batch of new dogs for adoption all on the same day, sometimes prompting a line of adopters to form outside the building hours before opening.

One of those potential adopters had her eye on the dog the governor took home on Tuesday, and was outspoken in her criticism of the governor on social media for allegedly using his position to wrangle the much-coveted Jack Russell mix a day early.

While the governor is no stranger to criticism, in this case GAHS staff was at fault, not him. Although a spokeswoman said they informed LePage of the rules when he asked about adopting the dog, the staff was so pleased the governor wanted one of their dogs — and would potentially bring positive publicity to the society’s efforts — that it ignored the rules in order to give the governor a new canine companion.

The governor deserves a “good boy” for seeking out a pound hound to run the Blaine House.

As for GAHS: It’s hard to blame employees for their overzealous tail-wagging at the governor’s adoption request — hoping to promote their valuable work — but they’re the ones who deserve a warm night in the doghouse.

As every animal trainer knows, fairness and consistency always produce the best rewards.

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