Sunday, August 30, 2009

Probably not as much as Mary Jo Kopechne

"Kennedy's dogs will be missed on Hill"

But Kennedy's dogs weren’t saints either. Like a parent of spoiled children, the senator was loving but a poor disciplinarian.

Splash has been known to bark impatiently during long meetings. The dog once sent White House staffers into a frenzy when the pooch began barking in the Oval Office. Kennedy and his pets were at the White House waiting for the start of a religious freedom bill signing ceremony with President Clinton.

“Kennedy was working the room, and Splash starts barking incessantly. The president was off in a side room having a meeting and the White House staffers start freaking out,” said Sutphen, a former staffer who attended the ceremony with Kennedy.

After Splash was excused, Clinton walked in, asking why he’d heard barking.

“No one fessed up,” said Sutphen. “But it showed the light-hearted, jovial, jokester side of [Kennedy].”
The dogs’ antics could turn Capitol Hill into a dysfunctional family scene.

While interning on Capitol Hill, then-Maryland University student Scott Shewfelt met Kennedy as he stumbled upon the Porties, unleashed and fresh from a haircut, digging in the shrubs outside the Russell Senate federal building where Kennedy kept his office.

“Teddy was yelling at them, but they weren’t listening at all,” Shewfelt said. “It was absolute chaos.”

Could be worse for the dogs. The ancient pharoahs used to take their pets with them.