From the state fossil (shark tooth,) to the state fruit, (peach, of course,) to the state folk dance (square dance,) Georgia is rich with state symbols and mascots. So it's puzzling to find that Georgia doesn't have a state dog — at least not yet.

State Sen. Joe Wilkinson would like to change that. His nominee for the honor is not the bulldog as you might expect; it's the "adoptable dog," any one of the thousands of homeless dogs currently living in Georgia's animal shelters.

This isn't the first time a state dog has been proposed. In 1991, then state Sen. Frank Albert proposed a bill that would have made the golden retriever the official canine mascot. That attempt failed in a vote of 37-10. Since that time, various interest groups have proposed different breeds of dogs to represent the state, but none have ever been voted in.

But in a recent 172-0 vote, Georgia House members unanimously voted to make the "adoptable dog" their state representative. The bill's next stop is the Senate. In describing his reasoning for proposing the bill, Wilkinson said, "Georgia was founded as a colony to give people a second chance at life. That's exactly what we're trying to do with these adoptable animals. Give them a second chance."

If the bill passes, Georgia would become the second state to pay tribute to shelter pets. In 2013, Colorado school children launched a campaign to designate dogs and cats adopted from Colorado shelters as the official state pets. The campaign was successful and was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper in May of that year.

The 'adoptable dog' could be Georgia's newest state symbol
If the bill passes, Georgia would become the second state to officially honor shelter pets.