Monday, August 31, 2009


Senator Kennedy and His Dog, Splash

Posted: 31 Aug 2009 05:43 AM PDT

Good-dog-Miles-with-DrLarry By now we have probably read an account of the life and myriad accomplishments of Senator Ted Kennedy. By any stretch of the imagination he had a full and meaningful life and many of us are indebted to Senator Kennedy for legislation he helped shepherd through the Senate. It would certainly be nice to have him now as we debate meaningful reform for our broken health care system. 

Whether we always agreed with him politically or not one thing we pet lovers share with Senator Kennedy is a love and appreciation for dogs. His gift of a Portuguese Water Dog puppy to the President and his family overshadowed his own story about his relationship with his dog, Splash.
Most politicians like to have their pictures taken with dogs and babies to show how down to earth they really are. I can just imagine some handler rushing in to brush away the dog hair and the dog as soon as possible so the pol can get off to the next photo opp awarding a blue ribbon to some 4H kid at the state fair.
Not so with the Senator. Splash, AKA Champion Amigo's Seventh Wave, was his constant companion.
He and another dog went to work every day at the Senate Office Building with their master. According to reports I've read Splash would sit at the Senator's feet and get up and follow him around where ever he went. Except the Senate floor, of course. According to Senate rules there are no dogs allowed on the floor but Splash had full run of everything else, including conference committee rooms where he sat in as legislation was debated. Personally I don't get that no dogs rule. If James Inhofe is allowed on the Senate floor, why not Splash?
Senator Kennedy spent time each week reading to elementary school kids at a local magnet school. ItMy-senator-and-me seems the kids really enjoyed books about animals but the pickings were kind of slim. That got the Senator thinking about doing a book on his favorite topic; his relationship with Splash. Apparently the first draft was kind of dull and got luke warm reviews from his grand kids.
The rewrite put Splash in the drivers seat and told the tale from his point of view. Much more interesting according to reviews.
My Senator and Me was published in 2006 and according to reports is a delightful children's book with fantastic illustrations by an award winning artist, David Small.
I have no doubt that Splash helped make life tolerable in the Senator's last year. I wrote a post about a cancer patient and his dog a while back. The point was that dogs keep us focused on life and help us stay in the present.
You don't have time to dwell on the negative if your friend needs to go for a walk or needs to have his food or water bowl filled. And these friends won't desert you in a time of need because they don't know how to deal with your illness. 
That is the type of relationship Senator Kennedy had with Splash. We should all be so lucky.  


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