As sequestration continues to home in on Washington, it's worth pointing out that the 112th Congress' "101st Senator" — that would be Dakota, the beloved bichon frisé of ex-Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. — had calmer things in mind for the legislative branch.
According to Conrad's chief of staff, Sara Garland, Dakota, who passed away last week, was a "calming influence on the whole office, but especially on Sen.Conrad."
"If it had been up to Dakota, we would not be facing sequestration and we would have a balanced budget," she told HOH in an email. "But, alas, he left us too soon."
"Seriously, he was a great dog. He used to share my office chair with me when his idol [Sen. Conrad] was not around. For the most part, Sen. Conrad was the one who walked Dakota and cleaned up after him, and I never once heard him complain. He loved that dog, and the dog loved him back. We should all be so blessed to have a friend like Dakota," Garland continued.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about Dakota was how much he will be mourned by staffers and reporters. Nearly everyone who has worked in and around the Capitol Complex has a story about the lovable pup.
"I recall vividly one morning when the Senator was running late for an early morning Budget Committee hearing," Garland told HOH. "I turned on my TV monitor to watch the hearing, and there was Chairman Conrad on the dais with Dakota prominently situated on his lap, swearing in a witness.
"Dakota was part of our office 'family' for the past several years," she said. "And he will be missed."