Dog Days on Capitol Hill,

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April 1990 Issue [Readings]

Dog Days on Capitol Hill


From a press release faxed to reporters last summer by the office of Representative Les Aspin (Dem., Wis.). Aspin is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

washington, d.c.—Representative Les Aspin today announced the death of his longtime canine companion, Junket. Junket, a fourteen-year-old sheepdog, had been suffering from arthritis, digestive troubles, and other infirmities associated with old age.

Junket was rarely far from Aspin’s side. She spent nearly every day in Aspin’s Washington office, except when she was in Wisconsin with him during congressional breaks, relaxing in odd-numbered years or campaigning in even-numbered ones. In fact, Junket was an integral part of Aspin’s campaigns. She was the official campaign mascot, and T-shirts and mugs bore her picture. Junket was given to Aspin by his ex-wife, Maureen Shea, as a Christmas present in 1975.

Junket was delighted with children and adults alike and showed no bias between Democrats or Republicans—although in one brief digression from good behavior, she deposited a sign of visitation on the doorstep of Louisiana Republican Dave Treen’s office.

In her later years, Junket kept a fairly quiet schedule. If the office seemed warm, she often would spend the day sleeping on the tiled bathroom floor. Otherwise, she would sleep under the desk in Aspin’s office.

“Junket was a big bundle of friendliness whose eyes were perpetually hidden behind a pound or two of hair. I’ll miss her every morning when she isn’t climbing into the car beside me for the ride to what many people on Capitol Hill call Junket’s office,” Aspin said.