We all need a break from partisan political bickering. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) is giving staffers and politicians just that by bringing back his annual “bipawtisan” dog costume parade.
People reported that Tillis started the annual event in 2017 but had to pause (paws?) it in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Senator Tillis has always had a very dog-friendly office and may have 2-5 dogs come in any given day,” a spokesperson Tillis told People. “In that spirit, Senator Tillis hosted the first Bipawtisan Halloween Dog Parade in 2017 so members of Congress and staffers on both sides of the aisle could come together for a cause everyone can unite for: dogs in costumes.”
As the outlet reported, the parade will take place on October 27, starting in the Dirksen Senate Office Building and ending in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. An invite for the event says that “All dogs & humans are welcome & encouraged to wear costumes.”
“Members of Congress weren’t in session in 2018, so he hosted his second event in 2019 that was a huge success and grew from the hallway outside our office to the Hart Atrium,” the senator’s spokesman told the outlet. “Unfortunately, Senator Tillis was forced to cancel last year due to COVID, so he is excited to host his third Bipawtisan Halloween Party on October 27th and invites everyone on Capitol Hill to join.”
In 2019, Tillis released a statement about the event that emphasized its bipartisan nature.
“Everyone thinks we all hate each other and we just came up with the idea that if you’ve got a dog, you’re a good person,” Tillis said at the time. “On any given day, I’ve got two or three dogs running loose in my office. They can join the pack.”
Tillis’ Twitter account shared video from the parade in 2019, showing a wide range of costumes (this author’s favorites: The Ty Beanie Baby and the little aviator), including some pups dressed as politicians. It’s also clear from the video that Tillis started this event so he could pet all the doggos.
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) October 31, 2019
Tillis’ own dog, Mitch, was unable to attend the 2019 parade, but the senator’s wife Susan posted a photo of him dressed as Iron Man to mark the occasion.
“Mitch hated to miss the bipawtisan parade on Capitol Hill today but he did dress up for the occasion as his favorite superhero,” she wrote.
— Susan Tillis (@susantillis) October 31, 2019
Tillis regularly posts about his dogs on social media. In January 2020, he posted photos and a video of his and staffers’ dogs in the office.
“The Tillis office dogs are in full force this Friday! Mitch Tillis, @teenietinytilly, Freddie & Bonnie and Blarney!” he wrote.
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The pets of Congress are a running source of entertainment for many inside the Beltway. In 2017, the Federal News Network posted photos of members of the House and Senate and their pets. And not everyone owns dogs, many lawmakers own cats as well. And though former President Donald Trump famously eschewed pets in the White House, many presidents have also had pets, including President Joe Biden’s German shepherds, President Barack Obama’s Portuguese Water dogs, and President George W. Bush’s Scottish terriers.
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