Capitol Hill offices have found that there’s nothing like a dog to break the ice.
Constituents can’t get enough of Colt the corgi, Cali the dachshund and other House canines.
We’ve featured Hill pets before, but the pups keep coming. From rigorous job interviews to conservative credentials, here’s how these dogs earned their spots.
Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif.
Pablo, French bulldog, 1 year
“Pablo became our official ‘office dog’ last summer, shortly after he joined [chief of staff] Sam [Oh]’s family,” Rep. Mimi Walters said. “Sometimes the dog chooses the office. From the day Pablo set foot in Cannon 215 he has had us wrapped around his little paw, quickly earning the title ‘President Pablo.’ President Pablo is a frequent visitor to our office during recess days, checking in on everyone and greeting visitors. He especially loves meeting new people from Orange County.”
“Pablo has the ‘it’ factor,” she added. “He has a great personality, and has become a bit of a celebrity in the Cannon HOB. Thankfully, the local fame hasn’t gone to his head. He is always looking to lift the spirits of members and staffers working hard for their constituents!”
Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif.
Billy Donovan, left, and Betsy Ross, Cavachons, 4 and 3 years old
“The dogs, like the rest of our staff and interns, underwent a rigorous application process with multiple rounds of interviews and writing samples. They were ultimately selected from a crowd of other competitive candidates for their leadership abilities, expertise in their legislative fields, and interpersonal skills,” Communications Director Chris Jusuf said.
The dogs are owned by Megan Zavertnik, legislative director, and they joined the team in early 2017.
Jusuf added, “Billy and Betsy are invaluable members of our team by providing moral support to the congressman and staff as well as supervising the interns. One of their favorite activities is to greet constituents and sit in on important congressional meetings.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.
Mia, blue nose pit bull, 6 years
“Mia has owned Bee [Bertha Guerrero], our chief of staff, for the last four and a half years. When they first met at the Humane Rescue Alliance, Mia (formerly known as Cassette) was a little shy. Fortunately, after a few years of belly rubs, pillow explosions, and hikes around the DMV, Mia got her groove back,” said S. Ali Zaidi, special assistant to Rep. Jimmy Gomez. “Mia regularly assumes the role of Acting Office Dog when Austin, Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s rescue dog, is not in Washington to perform his official duties. Those duties include but are not limited to greeting constituents, eating leftovers, and helping staff deal with the stresses of working in the House of Representatives.”
Zaidi added, “Mia is notorious on the Hill for being a ‘go-getter,’ shamelessly demanding treats from Capitol Police and belly rubs from staff. While she may sometimes get carried away with barking at other dogs (or even the president) when they show up on TV, the congressman, staff, and interns all enjoy the playful energy that Mia brings to the office. The same, however, can’t be said about the mail carrier.”
Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
Cali, dachshund, 10 years
Cali is owned by Legislative Director Rebecca Keightley and first came into the office in February 2008 when she was 8 weeks old.
“You want to see a friendly face. You know, Harry Truman said if you want to have a friend, get a dog. Sometimes that’s true around here in Washington, D.C.,” Rep. Ken Calvert said. “You never know when tough times are going to come around. She’s a saver. Good conservative dog.”
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.
Carmela, mini goldendoodle, 7 months
“Congressional offices are high-stress, fast-paced environments, and having a cheerful pup like Carmela around keeps spirits high. She is a 7-month-old mini goldendoodle and a source of constant joy for our office and its visitors. As our Chief Morale Officer, Carmela is in charge of all things adorable and tasked with putting a smile on the face of those who visit our office. It was love at first sight from the moment our deputy chief of staff, John Laufer, introduced her to Team Murphy,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy said.
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.
Colt, Welsh corgi, 9 years
Colt’s owner is Ryan Rusbuldt, legislative director. Colt comes into the office during recess days and hangs out in Tenney’s office. You can usually find him asleep on the couch.
The office hangs a “Colt the corgi is in” sign on the door, and it always brings in numerous visitors.
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