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Conrad's dog, featured in NBC special, diagnosed with cancer

While thousands of staffers buzz the halls and meetings break out like flash mobs, one creature remains a steady presence: Sen. Kent Conrad's pet bichon frise.

From NBC's Kelly O'Donnell

North Dakota Democrat, Sen. Kent Conrad's beloved bichon frise, Dakota, has been diagnosed with lymphoma.  After years of scampering around Capitol Hill he gained notoriety when he “starred" in NBC’s “Inside Congress” documentary.   

Dakota is about seven years old. Because he’s a rescue dog, his exact age is uncertain.

Aides say Dakota also has Crohn's disease. The Conrads rescued him knowing his care would be costly.

Aides expect Dakota will undergo cancer treatment. The dog has an oncology appointment Thursday.

The senator is "really sad and concerned," according to aides.