The Statehouse goes to the dogs — and cats

By Nicole Hernandez, Logan Macaluso
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – After a long day of making tough decisions, researching legislation and working with constituents, there’s always one creature happy to see a lawmaker — their pet.

From the new first dog to a chinchilla, get to know some of the Statehouse pets.

Gov. Eric Holcomb

“Hard at work, Henry takes his responsibilities as Indiana’s first dog very seriously.”
Photo via Twitter @GovHolcomb

The governor’s Schnauzer, Henry, is enjoying his new position with his special embroidered blanket labeled “first dog.” Holcomb said Henry is adjusting very well to the new position.

“Henry is becoming comfortable and he knows where is water bowl is and he can find it from any floor [of the new residence],” said Holcomb.

Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville

Eberhart admits he’s unable to say no to their daughter when she wants to welcome a new pet into their home. Over the years, the Eberharts have been home to almost a dozen dogs, seven cats, two rats, a rabbit, a hamster and a chinchilla.

“We’re softies,” he said.

Just a few weeks ago, their Great Danes, Ledo and Maia, gave birth to seven puppies. Even though she’s only a senior in high school, Eberhart’s daughter Danielle has over 17,000 followers on her Instagram account, @danetastic, where she posts photos of her dogs. She has even found homes in Colorado and Texas for some of the newborn puppies through the social media site.

When it comes to thinking ahead to the future when Danielle will be moving away for college, Eberhart predicts that he’ll be left to take care of the animals.

“I tell her and others that I’m not going to like it, that it’s going to be too much work, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay with it,” said Eberhart. “I think it relaxes me and it gives me a good feeling to be around animals.”

Rep. William Friend, R-Macy

For Friend, his pet story is one of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. Friend’s Golden Retriever of 11 years, Buddy, experienced an accident that cost him his left front leg.

About four years ago, Buddy followed Friend down the street while helping a neighbor. As a school bus was passing by, it ran over Buddy’s left paw causing him to go into an emergency surgery that ultimately ended in the amputation of his leg at the shoulder.

Despite his traumatic accident, Buddy continues to be a happy pup that loves to run around the yard. Friend is proud of Buddy and his successful recovery.

“Buddy adapted very quickly and he didn’t even realize that he had a handicap,” said Friend. “He’s just been well adjusted for being a three-legged animal he’s done very well.”

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, and her Siberian Husky named Mercury.
Photo provided by Wendy McNamara.

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville

McNamara treats her 5-year-old Siberian Husky, Mercury, like her child because she has had him since he was just a puppy. Just like a child, McNamara says Mercury has gone to daycare or “school” every day since he was six weeks old.

Because he is a regular at his doggy daycare, he is very well adjusted with other dogs and he is the chosen trainer dog when new pets are introduced.

McNamara doesn’t know where he gets it from, but she loves Mercury’s strong personality. Out of the three Huskies that she’s owned, he is the most behaved.

“You might have a bad day, but your pet never has a bad day,” she said. “You see all the sorts of quotes about having animals in your life, and pets in particular, and there is a truth to that that. They calm you. They are your companion and the loyalty part of it and those sort of things really do make an impact on your own life.”

Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie

Errington has two cats, Hansel and Gretel, that are brother and sister.

“They are both hunters. Hansel has even brought living chipmunks in the house, twice,” Errington said. 

Gretel is friendly and laid back but tends to get aggressive around dogs. Errington adopted Hansel and Gretel from the American Rescue Fund in Muncie two and half years ago.

“They are both so entertaining, loving, and just want to be pet,” Errington said.

Rep. Melanie Wright, D-Yorktown

Three adopted dogs — Peyton, Bianca, and Duke — are an important part of Wright’s family.

“They are great companions and stress relievers from work that are so unconditional,” Wright said.

Bianca is a Maltese, while Peyton and Duke are maltipoos, a crossbreed between Maltese and Poodles.

Peyton, named after retired NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning, notifies Wright whenever something moves or is not in place. “He’s my 6-pound watch dog,” she said.

Bianca, born from a puppy mill, displays a low self-esteem and finally after nine years will snuggle with Wright.

Wright said that her third dog, Duke, is a cute puppy that loves to travel and behaves well around children.

Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond

Lawson loves her two dogs Sophie Joe, an Australian Shepherd, and Hank, a border collie. 

“They love to play with each other. Sophie has even lost weight from running around with Hank,” She said.

Sophie, 12 years old, is a “calm character” that enjoys playing tug-of-war. Hank “wild as a March Hare” is a 2-year-old pup that loves to play catch.

Nicole Hernandez and Logan Macaluso are reporters for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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