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Published September 13, 2011, 12:59 AM

Sen. Conrad's Dog 'Dakota' Diagnosed With Cancer

WASHINGTON – The furry and faithful companion of North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad has been diagnosed with cancer.

By: Kristin Daum, Forum Communications

WASHINGTON – The furry and faithful companion of North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad has been diagnosed with cancer.

Conrad learned last week that his beloved Dakota, a bichon frise, is battling lymphoma, according to a report from The Hill.

“It hit me like a bolt out of the blue,” Conrad told the D.C.-based newspaper.

Although Conrad was “visibly upset,” he told The Hill the disease is treatable.

To the casual observer, Dakota might just be a pet, but to many on Capitol Hill, the curly white canine is among the most popular and well-known additions to Congress.

Conrad and his wife, Lucy, adopted Dakota in spring 2009 from a shelter in Maryland.

The dog was found starving to death after being abandoned. Because of that trauma, Dakota needs extra care and attention.

That means the dog often accompanies Conrad around Capitol Hill, attending committee hearings or waiting in the office while Conrad casts votes on the Senate floor.

Dakota’s popularity around the Capitol was marked by his inclusion in MSNBC’s documentary report on Congress this summer.

Anchor Brian Williams introduced Dakota as “the Senate’s unofficial 101st member,” with various senators praising the personable pup.

Conrad’s office said the senator was unavailable to comment for this story.

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