Alice has emerged as one of the Washington area's unquestioned celebrities. She's had her picture in The Washington Post, and just last week it appeared in the New York Times. But celebrity hasn't gone to her head. She still wags her tail at total strangers.

Alice is a Belgian sheep dog who belongs to Rep. Thomas S. Foley (D-Wash.) and his wife Heather. A year or so ago, Alice was pictured in a Post story about the Old Town School for Dogs in Alexandria. And there she was again, one day last week, pictured in an item on the Times' "Washington Talk" page.

It seems, the Times recounted, that Alice's picture has been included among snapshots and videotapes used by the Capitol Police to identify those who are to be permitted unquestioned passage into the Capitol and the House office buildings. Foley, as House majority whip, has offices in both places.

Sometimes, after taking Alice for a walk, either the congressman or his wife will turn Alice loose -- possibly in violation of the D.C. leash law, but who on Capitol Hill would have the temerity to question that? After a few minutes on the loose, perhaps stopping to be petted by a touring constituent or two, she finds her way back to the office alone, passing police checkpoints along the way.