Tensions are high on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Therapy dogs are there to help.
Not to help William Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine, or George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, the first witnesses in the first open hearing of the impeachment inquiry, though they could surely use it.
Instead, teams of therapy pooches are camped out in House and Senate office buildings, offering their services to stressed-out Hill staffers. The dogs are all registered by the therapy animal organization Pet Partners, which sponsored the event along with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.
Officially, the dogs’ presence has nothing to do with impeachment. The animals’ mission is to “offer congressional staff a break from the stress of wrapping up an exceptionally busy year,” organizers said in a statement. “Who better to bring comfort and relief to the hard-working folks on Capitol Hill than a furry group of loving, intuitive, and bipartisan Pet Partners therapy animals?”
The organizers added that the dogs were also deployed to promote the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, although researchers say the scientific evidence for its efficacy remains murky.
But these good dogs don’t know that, nor do they know where Ukraine is, or what quid pro quo means, or what a whistleblower does. (They probably do know a bit about whistling, though.) Their appearance on the Hill, without a doubt, is unimpeachably pure.