A very sad day . . . Dog Loving Senator Ted Kennedy has died.

I hear that the Obama family fell in love with Senator Kennedy’s Porties, so inspiring their bringing Bo into the family. I got to meet two of Senator Kennedy’s dogs three years ago during a second tour at the White House with my Senate pal, Patty Kennedy. I had originally visited the US Senate in 2000, helping Patty with the publicity of her incredible book, Bailey Bymyside: Golden Lessons for Life (to see some of the lessons from the book, click here).

Senator Kennedy’s dogs were being walked by staff members as he was, of course, busy doing the people’s work. I was told that the Senator brought his dog to work about once a week. And, he brought a tennis racket as well so that he could hit balls for his dog to retrieve and bring back to him.

In the May 2006 Boston Globe Interview, Making a Splash, reporter Susan Milligan speaks to folks not really knowing Ted Kennedy, despite 40 years in the Senate and speeches galore. For, it was when you could catch him playing fetch with his dogs that one could really see him come alive. How disappointing it was that I was not able to see him do just that with his dogs.

Follow the senior senator from Massachusetts, known for beating up tobacco lobbyists and conservative Supreme Court nominees, into his Capitol Hill office – the inner office, the one decorated with a framed, handwritten note from John F. Kennedy as a child, with pictures of Edward M. Kennedy standing alongside Martin Luther King and past presidents – and he quickly morphs into 8-year-old Teddy Kennedy. “Do you know how much I missed you? Do you KNOW how much I missed you?” Kennedy coos at Splash, his Portuguese water dog who has been awaiting his owner’s return from a Senate committee hearing. Kennedy bounces a tennis ball, sending the large, curly-haired canine running around the bustling office before settling comfortably next to the senator.

It was endearing to hear him interrupt the interview to ask Susan if she wanted to see a trick. But, as we all know, our dogs do not always perform on command.

Splash, Susan would like to see the ball, if you would show it to her. Can you show me the ball? Will you show me the ball? Splash. Please. SPLASH. Will you show me the ball? Come on, come on, show me the ball. Thank you. You know I want that ball, and you know I want that ball now. SPLASH. Please. Now you know I want that ball, and you’re not going to give the ball to me? Come on, come on. Look. Show it to ME. Where are you going with that ball? Why are you teasing me? You know I want that ball more than anything in the world. Well, I guess you won’t let me see it.

In the February 2006 Washingtonian article, Love Your Pet: A Senator’s Dogs, you can see how lucky the Senator’s dogs, Sunny and Splash, are.

Senator Ted Kennedy’s dogs, Sunny and Splash, have quite a life. They wander the halls of Congress most days, spend summers on Cape Cod, and play ball with one of the country’s most powerful senators.

The Portuguese water dogs each have their own talents: Splash is the faster runner, while Sunny, pictured here, is a stronger swimmer. “She can stay in the water longer than you can walk,” the senator says.

The dogs often can be found under the senator’s desk. Sunny mainly sleeps, although both dogs have been present at many important meetings. “Splash sat through the markup for the No Child Left Behind bill,” Kennedy says.

Splash, the older of the two, has achieved some fame of his own. He won Best in Show at a Virginia dog show.

The 2006 book, My Senator And Me: A Dog’s Eye View Of Washington, D.C., is a lovely children’s book that highlights his guy, Ch. Amigo’s Seventh Wave (nicknamed Splash). One gets to follow Senator Kennedy and Splash through a busy day in D.C., from press conferences to meetings with school groups to committee discussions to a floor vote.

Kennedy’s introduction to the political process is clear, informative, and loaded with child appeal, in part due to his choice of Splash as the fun and furry narrator.

The Whole Furry Family

The Whole Furry Family

I was happy to know that the good Senator was enjoying his last months by immersing himself in what he loved best — being by or on the water . . . with his beloved dogs by his side.

I only worry about how Splash and Sunny will handle his absence, as us dog lovers do understand that dogs go through a grieving process as well.

Honestly, it is hard to believe that we will no longer hear that recognizable New England voice, speaking out for one and all. . . . “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die”

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