For once, all the barking and screeching on Capitol Hill was coming from real animals rather than rabid political types.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got members and their congressional aides to forget party differences and join together in “ooohing” and “aaahing” for hours Tuesday during their second annual “Paws for Celebration!”, a pet adoption fest featuring ready-to-race-you-home critters currently cared for by various local animal shelters and rescue organizations.
An ASPCA spokeswoman said previous adoption outreach efforts on the Hill — the inaugural “Paws” gathering in 2012 and a Valentine’s-themed version earlier this year — have resulted in almost two dozen adoptions by staffers.
Barry Londeree, animal welfare legislative assistant to Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va. — who, as co-chairman of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus has helped organize the various “Paws” shindigs — met his new bestie, Bunker, toward the end of last summer’s meet-and-greet. The dog now has the run of Moran’s office — a duty that evidently entails policing the area for stray foodstuffs and checking the softness of the carpet.
“He basically naps and begs for treats the entire day,” Londeree said of Bunker’s MO. “I don’t think there’s any dog that gets doted on as much as he does … by the extended family that is our office.”
The ASPCA was obviously hoping to replicate the matchmaking magic again today, loading the Cannon Caucus Room with companions to fit every lifestyle:
Pampered puff balls
And, of course, wildly entertaining kittens.
“That’s the smallest living creature I’ve ever seen,” purred a dude who seemed captivated by a weeks-old fur ball.
“Oh my god, that’s going to be my new Facebook picture!” squealed a young woman who had just finished posing with a perfectly behaved pooch cradled in her arms.
“You know we’ve been in here for like an hour,” one House aide alerted her co-worker after snapping out of the free-sweet-tea-and-carrot-cupcake-fueled trance that had apparently kept them bouncing from one furry-footed attraction to the next. (There were 45-50 pets for folks to ogle.)
Others were slightly more disciplined.
“Are you gonna get a cat?” one wavering soul inquired of her wide-eyed friend.
“No, I just wanted a flier,” the pragmatist explained.