WASHINGTON – On a beautiful sunny Valentine’s Day on Capitol Hill, the fur was flying, but not for the usual reasons.
The ASPCA joined the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus in hosting “Paws for Love,” an animal adoption event on Thursday that honored shelter animals and rescue organizations across the country.
“We are here to celebrate the millions of lovable homeless dogs and cats currently waiting to be adopted, and to stand united in our appreciation for the vital services provided by the thousands of community animal shelters nationwide,” Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations, said.
Ten local rescue and shelter organizations gathered on the plastic-lined floors of the Cannon Caucus Room with over 50 homeless dogs and cats, all doing their best to wiggle their way into the hearts of the representatives, staffers and members of the media in attendance.
Jackie Gosnell, a staffer for Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), said with a smile on her face that she was thrilled to attend and support animal adoption.
When asked why he was part of this event, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, responded exuberantly.
“Why? Because it’s fun!” he said. “We see more and more animals each year that were adopted on Adoption Day. I have my own adopted pet that rests under my desk here every day. At one time, he was like all of these dogs and cats, just a scared little mongrel. Now he’s part of my family and my staff.”
Throughout the room, the same sentiment kept surfacing that this was the only event on Capitol Hill where everyone leaves the room smiling.
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) perhaps summed it up best.
“In a town where the discourse isn’t always civil, there doesn’t seem to be anything that we can find to fight over when it comes to puppies and kitties,” he said.
While bi-partisanship was a hot topic of conversation among the attendees, Bob Ramin, CEO of the Washington Animal Rescue League, said because of the stress on the job, everyone on Capitol Hill needs a pet to come home to.
“They’re not a Democrat, they’re not a Republican, they’re staunchly independent,” he said.
Harry Truman once said if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. It turns out, quite a few people wanted a friend. Tally, a Lab-Pitbull mix from Washington Humane Society, who had been in foster care for over a year, finally got the love she was looking for on Valentine’s Day in a warm and loving “Fur-ever” home.
Dr. Katy Nelson is an emergency veterinarian in Alexandria, Va. Tune in to “The Pet Show” with Dr. Katy every Saturday at 11 a.m. on Washington D.C.’s News Channel 8, and listen on WTOP for her Dr. Pawz segments every two weeks. Have questions for Dr. Katy? You can follow her on Twitter @drkatynelson, on Facebook or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.