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Senator’s dog Rufus steals spotlight during Senate health hearing

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) dog Rufus nearly stole the show from top health officials on Tuesday.

Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, led a hearing Tuesday that heard testimony from officials leading the U.S. coronavirus response, including National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield.

But sleeping behind the chairman through much of the hearing was Rufus, whose furry, zen-like state attracted a lot of attention from viewers, most of whom are also in their homes.

While pets appearing in video calls have become a regular event among people working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still rare for one to appear in a Senate hearing livestream. The hearing took place partly in the committee room and partly virtually, with some participants in self-quarantine or working remotely due to social distancing requirements. 

It seems Rufus is a pro at video chatting, though — it’s not his first time making a high-profile cameo from Alexander’s study. The pup appeared in nearly the exact same sleeping pose behind Alexander on Sunday during the senator’s appearance on “Meet the Press.”

Rufus is not impressed at being included in video appearances, according to Alexander.

Rufus was also blamed for some barking heard during parts of Tuesday’s event.

Rufus did lift his head during remarks by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) but remained asleep for most of the hearing, prompting jokes about his peaceful repose online.

Tags Anthony Fauci Coronavirus Lamar Alexander Mitt Romney remote work Social distancing Work from home
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