Home for the Holidays Pooches & their Papas
“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” HARRY S. TRUMAN
Washington may be a dog-eat-dog town, but not during the holidays. How treasured the time spent at home in jeans and a sweater with loved ones and man’s best friend. No questions asked just lots of adoring looks. Unconditional love has paws.
PRODUCED & STYLED BY Barbara McConaghy
Bill Frist, M.D.
with Tucket & Camo
“Just last night, Senator Kennedy brought Splash and his well-chewed tennis ball to the Majority Leader’s Office.” Senator Frist and his wife Karyn live a fast-paced political life, which means they split the holidays between Washington and Nashville, Tennessee, where they are remodeling their family home. They spend the first part of December here and then return home around mid-month when their three sons are home from school. As a result, both houses are festively decorated. When asked about Truman’s quip that in Washington a dog is a politician’s only true friend, Sen. Frist said that apart from his wife, the quote is absolutely true. He recalls that in his early career as a heart transplant surgeon, with his adrenalin still racing as he returned home in the early morning hours, his white lab Teysha would greet him at the door without waking the household. Sadly, he notes that even with a surgeon’s schedule, he was able to spend more time with his dog than his Washington schedule now permits. Reflecting on dogs in the workplace, Sen. Frist says he was recently joined in the Majority Leader’s office by Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose Portuguese Water Dog, Splash, brought along his wellchewed tennis ball. The Frists’ current Virginia-bred canine companions are Tucket, a black Labrador, who became their eldest son Harrison’s dog, and a white Labrador Camo (for camouflage) chosen by their middle son, Jonathan.
Chip Reed and Buster
As a reporter with MSNBC, Chip Reed spends plenty of amount of time on the road. Down time is treasured and never more so than during the holidays. Chip and his girlfriend Nina Black share their historic Washington house with Buster, clearly the object of their affection. Reed waxes poetic about Buster’s heritage. A friend found Buster’s mother by the side of the road during a rain storm in rural Georgia. The mother died after giving birth and the friend raised nine puppies by giving them milk first from an eye dropper and then a bottle. The smallest of the litter, who started life as “Runt Runt,” has just turned three. Reed confides, “I always say that someday I am going to write a country song about Buster entitled ‘My Mama Died the Day I Was Born and I Never Knew My Daddy’s Name.’” Now a model of decorum, Buster’s early unruliness brought two trainers to the rescue before he finally decided to “be a good boy.” Reed boasts that Buster, whose “love name” is “Buttabean,” has a vocabulary of at least 30 words (“Swim” rates instant recognition.) Buster’s sister Cassidy lives in Georgetown and they have frequent play dates.
Jack Valenti and Lily
A native of Texas and former White House assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jack Valenti served as president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America until recently. His life continues at a hectic pace, so no wonder he delights in retreating to an inviting home in Northwest Washington which he shares with his wife Mary Margaret and beloved chocolate Labrador Lily. Valenti queried about the validity of President Truman’s advice he says, “It may be one of the greatest maxims in life ever uttered by anybody.” He goes on to quote Mark Twain: “If you have a dog, feed him well, take good care of him. He will never bite you. That is the difference between dogs and men.” Lily was a “six-week-old, spindly legged, awkward” pup bred in the Shenandoah Valley when she had the good fortune to be chosen by the Valentis. She has matured into a 19-month-old lady trained by the Olde Town School for Dogs. Jack calls Lily “the smartest and most affectionate of any dog I’ve had.” She immediately reacts to a tone of voice and understands to the extent of being almost clairvoyant. “I am terribly in love with this dog,” he concludes.
Dr. Robert Adrian
On dog as man’s best friend: “I guess that’s true, as long as they don’t provide any leaks.” Dr. Adrian lives with his wife and four sons in a sun-dappled house in Kenwood filled with family photographs and great love. The Adrians’ dog Sadie was rescued from Golden Retriever Education and Training in Virginia. She was discovered at a GREAT sponsored pet store adoption event. The family was “just looking” when they spotted a Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix about one year old. They waited out other onlookers and, after a family poll, Sadie had a home. Dr. Adrian says Sadie’s behavior requires no discipline. Her reward is their daily run. Sadie is now 12 but for many years she ran six miles a day. During a recent visit she knew something special was happening because she had been groomed, then coyly waited upstairs before being called down to make a grand entrance. The only downside to her sweet personality is her adverse opinion about the mailman, whom Sadie has deemed her “natural enemy.”
with Willie & Blanca
David Keller is a personal trainer whose client list reads like an international Who’s Who. A favored client, Katherine Graham once said, “If you want to be around to enjoy your friends, you’d better be working out with David Keller.” Keller treasures the holidays in a Georgetown house that he has exquisitely remodeled for the enjoyment of family, friends and children, both two- and four-legged ones. Never having had a dog before, his heart was immediately captured by Willie, a rescued German Spitz. In a weak moment, Blanca, a “purple ribbon purebred” American Eskimo Dog, also found a new home after a charity auction. The white fur ball currently rules the roost, deferring only to majestic 25-pound Sam, a Maine coon cat. Keller totally concurs with President Truman’s advice to trust a dog for friendship and rather shyly granted Willie “best friend” status. Treating his pets “as the intelligent, rational, thinking human beings that they are,” Keller credits “über dog trainer” Diana Legg for their good manners, acknowledging that “you don’t’ get a trainer for the dogs, you get a trainer to learn how to be a good parent.”