Last year at Independent Journal Review, we unveiled a list of Cutest Dogs on Capitol Hill, which became a fun and welcomed distraction from the seriousness of Congress. In 2016, the year in which virtually everyone involved in politics is at each other's throats, we decided to do it again.
There are some old faces from last year's list, and many more new ones. We even added a couple dogs not affiliated with any congressional office, but from politically active groups working extensively on the Hill.
Here is how we did it: Owners submitted their dogs, who were individually photographed by IJR's photojournalists at a location of their choosing on Capitol Hill. The IJR staff then voted on the dogs, without knowing their political affiliations (to maintain objectivity of course).
Here is the final product: 18 of the cutest dogs on Capitol Hill.
18. Heidi, office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
From the office of Darrell Issa, Heidi the miniature schnauzer begins the list of cutest dogs on Capitol Hill.
At eleven years old, Heidi no longer has any teeth, so her meals consist of baby food instead of dog food.
17. Rocco, office of Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE).
Rocco belongs to Joe Hack, the Chief of Staff for Sen. Fischer. While his age is unclear, Hack estimates Rocco is between 5 and 6.
The shitzu is part of a Georgetown dog play group called “small breeds” that meets on Sunday mornings. Rocco is living his best life. According to Hack, Rocco was once baptized, and has even met President Obama.
16. Carmen, Senate Republican Conference.
Carmen, a two-year-old, purebred wire haired dachshund, enjoys killing rats in her spare time. According to her owner, Robbie Myers, the digital director for the Senate Republican Conference, she once found a mouse in the Hart Senate office building.
The same dog that enjoys snatching rats also licked Minnesota Senator Al Franken's face once, according to Myers.
15. Ike, office of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC).
Ike is a boxer and a fighter. Ike's owner, freshman Senator Thom Tillis, admitted to once administering CPR on the hound after he stopped breathing in 2014.
Tillis described Ike as “the ultimate traveling dog,” who loves going on the road during campaign season.
14. Fozzie, office of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Fozzie, full name Fozzie Bear Lebowski, is a one-year-old mini goldendoodle who frequents the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Fozzie's owner Anna Taylor, who works on Schumer's tax counsel, added that the pup's big brother belongs to a staffer for former Maine Senator Olympia Snowe.
13. Leon, office of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
Leon, an 11-year-old standard poodle owned by Jennie Wright, a legislative aide to Sen. Jim Inhofe, is number 13 on our list.
Like the snowball-throwing rebel who runs his office, Leon sometimes causes trouble. According to Wright, he once escaped the office, only to be caught by Capitol Police.
12. Truman, office of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Truman, a six-year-old cocker spaniel, keeps his buddy Heidi young in Issa's office.
Heidi is a two-time Cutest Dog on Capitol Hill, who showed off her tricks on the 2015 list.
11. Ranger, office of Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).
Ranger, a golden retriever born in 2015, frequents the Whip's office “when the boss isn't here,” according to Cornyn's scheduler, Aaricka Oliver.
Like the Senator whose office from which he hails, Ranger is an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment, evidenced below.
And now, the top 10 of the cutest dogs on Capitol Hill.
10. Maddie, office of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
Nicole Tieman, the communications director for Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, claimed that Maddie:
“is the most chill dog in the world.”
At almost two-years-old, the silver labrador retriever is already a patriot. She can even salute like one of the troops.
Another fact about Maddie: She was born one of 16 puppies, which tied the record for the largest litter in North Carolina.
9. Oliver, office of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).
Ten-year-old Oliver is a staple in Bridenstine's office. He even has his own business cards, which communications director Sheryl Kaufman assured Independent Journal Review are not paid for with taxpayer dollars.
8. Daisy, The Heritage Foundation.
Daisy, a two-year-old basset hound and labrador mix, belongs to Lyndsey Fifield, who works at the Heritage Foundation's office just blocks away from the Senate on Capitol Hill.
Fifield said that while Daisy's front left paw is deformed, she has “a heart of gold.”
7. Alibi, office of Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
Alibi, named after the legal term, is a purebred black lab owned by Mac McKinney, a legislative staffer for Rep. Renee Ellmers.
6. Lemon, office of Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).
Lemon is a yellow lab who visits the office of Montana Senator Steve Daines on Fridays and recess days. Lemon, a two-year-old, lands sixth on our list.
5. Kaya, lobbyist.
Kaya, like her master and former U.S. Marine Cole Lyle, are lobbyists for the PAWS Act, which aims to provide service and therapy dogs to veterans.
The German shepherd roams Capitol Hill, getting members of Congress to sign onto a bill that would provide an alternative or supplement to traditional therapy and drug treatments for veterans.
4. Glory, office of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).
When Glory is not posing for stunning photos in the garden of the Florida House on Capitol Hill, she is retrieving birds for Bale Dalton, a military policy legislative aide to Sen. Bill Nelson.
3. Emmie, office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Emmie, a five-year-old Maltese-yorkie mix, belongs to Alec Torres, who works in the communications department for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
As you can see, Emmie is very concealable.
2. Cowboy, office of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR).
Cowboy, a bichon frise owned by Sen. Tom Cotton, is very well trained.
Cowboy has a variety of outfits, including an American flag-themed sweater, a Hawaiian shirt, and a tiny little necktie.
1. Emmie, office of Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), tops this year's cutest dogs on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Ed Whitfield may have resigned Tuesday after a long and difficult investigation by the House Ethics Committee, but there is a silver lining: his staffer's golden retriever puppy is forever immortalized as the 2016 Cutest Dog on Capitol Hill.
As the youngest puppy on the list, Emmie was an obvious choice for the number one dog.
The smallest of her litter, Emmie loves going to the Old Town Alexandria waterfront in her downtime.
Congratulations to Emmie and all the dogs that made our list! They earned it. And don't forget: Our cutest dogs on Capitol Hill list returns in 2017.
Disagree with our list? Vote for yourself, below:
Rob Groulx, Kayla Brandon, and Anfon Ha contributed to this report.