One black Lab mix is so popular that he has become the exception to his town's "no pets allowed" rule.
Bear Dog, as he's called, belongs to Castle Rock, Wash., resident Don Caulfield, 62, who owns a mobile home near the town's riverfront. According to the Longview Daily News, locals love him so much that he's been written into posted signs barring animals.
"No pets allowed inside baseball complex or on soccer fields, except Bear Dog," the signs read.
The dog frequently greets out-of-town visitors, attends sporting events and hangs around fishermen and children, the Daily News said. After school, Bear Dog walks students home, returning when he's finished with one group to escort more.
One day, Caulfield lost track of Bear Dog during a trip into town, and when he got home, 36 people had already left messages about his companion's location, the Daily News reported. On another occasion, someone tried to pass off their large, black dog as Bear Dog, sparking furious calls from residents.
“How he got so popular, I don’t know," Caulfield told the paper. "He done that himself.”
At 18 years old, Bear Dog's health has deteriorated -- limiting his visits to the baseball field, where he is the unofficial mascot.
"I can tell him he can't go, and I catch him sneaking out," said Caulfield, who is a retired trucker. "He hears them kids, he’s gotta go ... Them kids love him. They love him by the dozens."
The town will likely erect a monument when Bear Dog passes away, Mayor Paul Helenberg told the paper.
It's not the first time an animal has made an impact on locals.
Student crossing guards outside a middle school in Washington state get daily visits from a black cat who arrives at the same time every day. The cat, Sable, has become an honorary guard.
Last year, officials in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, changed their leash law to let Blue the dog, a community icon and national star, continue roaming free, the AP reported.