Heard on the Hill

Meet the Dogs of the House, Round II

Canine friends in Curbelo, Hoyer, Denham, Bridenstine, Ways and Means, and O’Halleran’s offices

Lily Denham goes to work with her owner, California Rep. Jeff Denham. (Courtesy Denham’s office)

Looking for a nonpartisan, furry friend? Check out out the halls of Congress.

In May, we featured a few House dogs who regularly hang out either as official “office dogs,” or because they belong to staffers who enjoy bringing them to work. Due to popular demand, we are back with more.

[Meet the Dogs of the House]

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

Riggins (Courtesy of Rodriguez)
Riggins breaks up his work day by napping and snuggling. (Courtesy Joanna Rodriguez)

Riggins, Welsh terrier, 2 years

“Riggins has been an office dog since he was 14 weeks old,” his owner Joanna Rodriguez, Rep. Carlos Curbelo’s communications director, said in an email. “After a year with Team Rubio in the Senate, he hit the campaign trail with me and met Team Curbelo in the months leading up to the 2016 election. We’ve both been with the Curbelo official office since December.” 

“Team Curbelo didn’t have any dogs in the office at first, but after a trial day shortly after I came on staff, it was clear Riggins was here to stay and he’s been coming in to help out during district work periods ever since,” Rodriguez said. “Riggins gets so excited when I say ‘Let’s go to work’ in the mornings, and that excitement only increases when we walk through the door to a chorus of ‘Hey, Riggins’ or ‘Riggs!’ from staff and interns.”

She added, “He starts every ‘work day’ by running to every desk and greeting every staffer and intern (and seeing if anyone has any breakfast leftovers they’ll share)!”

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.

Sophie was adopted after a ASPCA event. (Courtesy of Hoyer's office)
Sophie, here with Maryland Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, was adopted after an ASPCA event. (Courtesy Hoyer’s office)

Sophie, Maltese mix, 6 years

“I attended the annual Paws for Love event hosted by the ASPCA and the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus along with several fellow Hoyer staffers [in February 2015]. Sophie was the first dog we saw, and my colleagues suggested (in what I claim was a pre-planned effort) that I adopt her so that we could have an office dog,” Sophie’s owner Katie Grant, communications director and senior adviser for Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, recalled in an email. “Thankfully, their plan worked and I adopted her from the Washington Humane Society (now the Humane Rescue Alliance) the next day!”

“Mr. Hoyer loves seeing her when she’s in the office. He would bring in his English springer spaniel, Charlotte, to the Capitol every day before her passing, so he enjoys having a dog in the office,” she said.

Grant added, “Sophie comes to the office during recess and when we have late night votes — she even joined us during the sit-in! Everyone lights up when she comes in. She’s a great stress reliever, she enjoys going from lap to lap during staff meetings, and she lifts everyone’s mood.”

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif.

(AMTRAK)
Lily inspired Denham to write legislation to allow cats and dogs on Amtrak. (Courtesy Amtrak)

Lily, French bulldog, 5 years

“My wife and I had been looking for a new family pet when I met [Ohio] Rep. Bill Johnson’s French bulldog. I knew right away that this was the dog for our family,” Rep. Jeff Denham said in an email.

The congressman added, “Everyone is always excited when Lily is in the house! She enjoys spending her time in the office greeting visitors and going on walks around the Capitol. Lily is a ‘people dog’ and a political influencer; she was the inspiration behind my Pets on Trains legislation, which ultimately became law and allows cats and dogs to travel with their owners on Amtrak.”

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.

Oliver, a 10-year-old Cocker Spaniel, has been a regular in Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s office since his first term in 2013. (Courtesy of Bridenstine's office)
Oliver has been a regular in Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s office since the Oklahoma Republican’s first term began in 2013. (Courtesy Bridenstine’s office)

Oliver, cocker spaniel, 10 years 

“Oliver loves his job! He can be sound asleep under ‘his’ desk, but when the office door opens he dashes out to greet the visitors,” Sheryl Kaufman, communications director for Rep. Jim Bridenstine and self-proclaimed “personal servant” for Oliver, said in an email.

She added, “Constituents love playing with him, advocates enjoy having him join their meetings, interns from all over the building come to fawn over him, and security guards look forward to his excursions. Oliver adds a calm and friendly spirit to our office that most people find very refreshing. He is entirely bipartisan and likes to wander into any office with an open door.”

Oliver hangs out with the congressman while he works in his office. (Courtesy of Bridenstine's office)
Oliver hangs out with the congressman while he works in his office. (Courtesy Bridenstine’s office)

House Ways and Means Committee

Daisy, an 8 year old German Shepherd Mystery Mix, has hung out in the office since 2011. (Courtesy House Ways & Means)
Daisy has been hanging out in the office since 2011. (Courtesy House Ways and Means Committee)

Daisy, German shepherd mix, 8 years

“She just started coming into the office and her being here has evolved. Daisy and I retired from Search and Rescue last year and it was easier to go to weekday SAR trainings and callouts with her in the office,” Daisy’s owner Chris Stottmann, committee administrator for the majority staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in an email.

(Courtesy House Ways & Means)
Daisy retired from Search and Rescue last year. (Courtesy House Ways and Means Committee)

She added, “She is always happy to see people. Folks can come over to the front office for Daisy time. Several non-Hill staffers know her as well and will stop in to say hi too.”

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz.

Wilson, a 10 year old Goldendoodle, has been with Rep. Tom O’Halleran's office since Day One (Jan. 2017). (Courtesy of O’Halleran's office)
Wilson spent a term in former Nebraska Rep. Brad Ashford’s office. (Courtesy Rep. Tom O’Halleran’s office)

Wilson, goldendoodle, 10 years

“Before joining the Arizona delegation, Wilson was the mascot for [former] Rep. Brad Ashford’s office and proudly represented the Nebraska Huskers and Creighton Blue Jays in DC,” Wilson’s owner Jeremy Nordquist, chief of staff to Rep. Tom O’Halleran, said in an email. “He will forever be a Nebraska fan, but he has been known, from time to time, to enjoy University of Arizona basketball games.”

“Wilson serves an important role in our office. We realized we needed someone to meet with constituents during recess when Rep. O’Halleran is back in Arizona, and fortunately, Wilson was available,” O’Halleran’s press secretary Cody Uhing said in an email. “Everyone who comes in loves taking a break from the D.C. heat to spend some time with a loveable dog.”

“He adds excitement and fun to the office during recess,” Uhing said. “He has the energy and playfulness of a dog half his age, and he is always willing to play fetch or run around the office to keep us entertained. Wilson gets along with everyone, and you cannot help but smile and laugh when he comes up to investigate your lunch.”

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