In memory of Dakota, the “101st senator”
A Maryland dog who was adopted by a member of the U.S. Senate — and who went on to become a familiar and soothing presence in that chamber’s hallowed and often contentious halls — has died.
Dakota, a bichon frise, was adopted by former North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad and his wife, Lucy, in the spring of 2009 from a rescue shelter in Maryland
Conrad confirmed Sunday that Dakota died last week, due to complications from lymphoma, Inforum.com reported.
During Conrad’s time on Capitol Hill, Dakota was popular among lawmakers, staffers and reporters, and he was once dubbed the “101st senator” by NBC’s Brian Williams.
“He went to work with me every day,” Conrad said. “People just took to him. To have an animal in that setting, it warmed people up. It made them feel more at home.”
Conrad said the dog’s calm disposition had the power to soothe seething lawmakers.
“In some of our (budget) negotiations, colleagues would call and ask if I could bring Dakota. He calmed everyone down.”
Dakota was diagnosed with the lymphoma in September 2011, and had fought the disease for a year and a half.
In the past eight months, Conrad and Dakota had flown four times to Houston, where the dog was participating in a T-cell cancer research project at the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
“He was part of experiments that are very important, that they think could help save many people’s lives,” Conrad said.
While his prognosis was promising, the cancer returned and last week Conrad was informed that Dakota probably only had a few days left.
“He was such a jaunty, confident and happy little dog,” Conrad said. “And he was cute – he just put a smile on people’s faces. And so that’s how I’ll remember him.
“He improved people’s days. He certainly improved mine.”
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, bichon frise, calm, cancer, dakota, death, dies, dog, dogs, kent conrad, lymphoma, maryland, north dakota, pets, politics, rescued, senate, senator, soothing, washington