WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- "Splash," the first of three Portuguese water dogs owned by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., has died at the age of 13.
Splash was the pride and joy of the Kennedy family, and was the inspiration for the Obamas' choice of another Porty, "Bo," to be the first family's dog, The Boston Globe reported Friday.
"I like to think that he and his Master are playing tennis ball fetch again tonight," Vicki Kennedy, the senator's wife, wrote in an e-mail message announcing Splash's death. Ted Kennedy was often spotted in Washington parks hitting tennis balls to Splash and his two other Porties, Sunny and Cappy.
"He loved those dogs so much, and they were just so much a part of his life," Philip W. Johnston, a family friend and former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, told the Globe. "The dogs were very a much part of him."
Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes made Splash an honorary member of the Senate Democratic caucus after he observed the dog barking at Sens. Joe Biden and Paul Wellstone when they wouldn't stop talking during a caucus meeting.
Vicki Kennedy called Splash "the best dog in all the world" and recalled his love of sailing.
"He hated squirrels, but he loved to chase them. He also loved to sail. And he could bark with the best of them, especially if you were a Republican or even a Democrat (other than his master) who talked too loudly or for too long."