A Pooch Putsch at the Maryland Governor's Mansion

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The most controversial member of Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration has been ousted from his seat of power, ending a year-long Annapolis reign of terror.

We speak, of course, of Scout, the O'Malley family's Airedale terrier. Last year, The Reliable Source reported that the pup was asserting authority beyond his actual powers, aggressively patrolling the perimeter of the governor's mansion and barking fiercely at every tourist and legislator who passed by. Now, after months of unaccustomed silence from Scout, the O'Malleys are confirming that the dog is no longer with the family, as reported by the Baltimore Examiner.

"Scout really is in a much better place," the governor's wife, Katie O'Malley, told us gently. Uh-oh. Please don't give us the "He's gone to live on a farm" line, because we're not falling for that anymore. No, really, she said: He's living with Baltimore friends who've trained other problem dogs and take him for long runs every day.

"He's happy," she promised. Well, okay.

It seems things were even more tumultuous than we knew. Scout, adopted by the O'Malleys in 2006, behaved well at their home in Baltimore, but his protective instincts were sent into overdrive at Government House, where dozens of strangers walk through the door every day. His barking terrified delivery people and annoyed the horse-and-buggy drivers who travel State Circle. And Scout had become an uncontrollable force, having learned how to open doors by standing on his hind legs.

The final straw was when he bit 5-year-old Jack O'Malley. "It was minor, but it was terrifying," his mom said. Though Scout still returns for visits, a new appointee has already taken his place: Rex, an English cocker spaniel. Cute, sweet, good with kids, said O'Malley. "He loves it out in the front yard."

His New Kitchen Is So Hot!

In the middle of an over-budget, behind-schedule kitchen renovation from hell? Then you probably should stop reading right now . . . because Pete Bakel, a communications guy at Fannie Mae, just got a $50,000 kitchen redo in one week.

At the urging of his sister, the 39-year-old amateur cook from Chevy Chase entered a cook-off challenge on Rach a el Ray's syndicated show this spring. The only man of five finalists, Bakel wowed the judges with a hot-dog-and-sea-scallop dish and won first prize: not the typical set of pots and pans, but a trip to France for training at Le Cordon Bleu and a new kitchen, including Viking appliances. (Second prize: nada.)

Bakel, with wife and kids, spent last week in Paris while a crew in Washington replaced his old stuff with new -- counters, cabinets, backsplashes, everything -- which they saw for the first time when they returned home on Sunday. "We went nuts," he told us yesterday.

Yes, Bakel has to pony up taxes on the prizes. "But I think the value of my house just skyrocketed," he said. "This kitchen's insane." Family, neighbors and co-workers get a peek at a party in two weeks; an episode showing off the new digs will air on Ray's show this fall.


ยท Split: Washington's May-December lovebirds Joe Robert and Ashley Taylor. After a rocky two-year courtship, the multimillionaire real estate investor, 56, and Georgetown It Girl/model, 25, have ended their engagement. Introduced by her grandmother (jewelry designer Ann Hand), the couple got engaged last summer, planned and postponed a wedding in Capri, then scheduled a Washington ceremony in September. Looks like it's really over this time: The two, by mutual agreement, called it quits this weekend.

* * *

"Amsterdam is fun for some people, but I don't want no [love] that costs $50. There's too many people that got $50!"

-- 50 Cent in Vibe magazine, by way of explaining why he never takes advantage of the naked women who he says have a habit of just showing up in his hotel rooms. Sorry, ladies!

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