This is a column about a man and his dog.

It might also be about a lot of other things – compassion, generosity and the ability to bridge partisan divides.

But mostly it’s about a man and his dog.

In this case, that man just happens to be state Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville (formerly D-Bath County before he moved last year).

For the record, it wasn’t him or anyone on his political side who alerted me to this story – it was a Republican, state Sen. Bill Stanley of Franklin County. Stanley may be tough on crime, tough on taxes, tough on lots of things – but he has a soft spot for animals. He’s well-known in Richmond as a sponsor of animal welfare legislation. When the Envigo dog breeding facility in Cumberland County closed last year following a federal investigation, some 3,776 beagles were left with uncertain futures – and Stanley was instrumental in finding places for them to go. He had already adopted two himself (Daisy and Dixie) so “Senator Beagle,” as he was dubbed, began chatting up fellow legislators to see if they wanted a dog. At one point he even brought some rescue dogs to the Capitol for a bill-signing ceremony with the governor.

“Stanley had brought a couple of dogs around but we already had two dogs,” Deeds said. But he also had a soft spot of his own for beagles. He’d had beagles since he was a kid growing up in Bath County. “I love beagles,” he said. He asked his wife, Siobhan, if she’d mind if he brought home another dog. She was fine with it. “I told Bill Stanley we were interested and he connected us to the SPCA people,” Deeds said.

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