Pet Projects

Posted May 7, 2012 at 12:01am

You can thank us later, but HOH may have found the solution to the pall of partisanship hanging over Capitol Hill.

It spends its days sniffing around the office of Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), enjoys kibble and sleeps in a small bed alongside a tiny pink pig and a little blue dog.

(Courtesy Anthony Foti)

Her name is Briar, a 4-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel who has been leaving her mark — literally and figuratively — around the Capitol campus since March.

“We think through a little bit of effort she may be able to break the gridlock and get bipartisanship to flow through the halls of Congress,” suggested Anthony Foti, Ross’ deputy chief of staff and Briar’s owner. “Because it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat or Republican … both parties alike tend to find some common ground in her.”

The runt of the litter, Briar weighed just 2.1 pounds when Foti began escorting her to the office. Now a bit bigger, Briar spends her days greeting visitors to Ross’ office in the Cannon House Office Building, tweeting (@FloridaBriar) with constituents and fellow canine companions and sitting in on meetings in the Florida Republican’s office.

“She’s an all-hands-on-deck dog,” Foti said.

Foti claims Briar, who’s renowned for bounding down the Cannon hallways, has captured the affection of even the gruffest Capitol Police officers. And he intimated that she’s helped bridge the gap with folks from the opposing team, citing Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) as a Briar fan.

“I think she helps resolve differences and issues,” Foti said, asserting that “she brings a sense of calmness and common ground that otherwise wouldn’t exist in some of these meetings.”