In our Thursday feature, we ask prominent conservatives a nonpolitical question. Last week we asked who most affected their career.

This week we ask: Do you have a pet? (Do you say “excuse me” when you bump into them? Who rules the roost?)

Virginia Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R): “A Sheltie/Terrier mix named Ginger. Favorite treat: bacon.”

Arthur Brooks (head of the American Enterprise Institute): “We have a little black dog named Chucho, which means ‘feral street dog’ in colloquial Spanish. He is a very good boy and has low expectations of me — which makes him pleasant company.”

Grover Norquist (head of Americans for Tax Reform): “As a child I had a cat that I named Purry. I was 6. As an adult I had a wonderful red-tailed boa constrictor that grew to six feet in length before my staff strongly suggested we find a new home for ‘Lysander Spooner’ far, far away from the copier room at the offices of Americans for Tax Reform. One wraps snakes around one’s shoulders. And the week’s excitement is feeding the boa a rat the size of Purry. One does not really chat them up. The nice doctors are quite optimistic that I will soon begin recovering my hearing from my wife’s reaction to my suggestion that our 2- and 3-year-old daughters might like a pet snake of their own.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio): “Two dogs, neither of whom would pay any attention to me if I said, ‘Excuse me.’ But with three kids, the more interesting pets have been a one-eyed albino hedgehog, a chinchilla named Jose, a parakeet, numerous guinea pigs and hamsters, and turtles and snakes now and again.”

Peter Robinson (former Reagan speechwriter, Hoover Institute fellow, founder of “Our white standard poodle, Crusoe Robinson, is shrewd, cunning, loud and disobedient, and lately he has taken to barking in his sleep. And if it came to it, my children would vote, instantly and unanimously, to keep Crusoe and send me to the pound.”

Stephen Hayes (senior writer for the Weekly Standard): “We’ve got a 12-year-old black Lab named Cali. I’m allergic to dogs and my wife bought her to spite me during the one fight we had when we were dating. But Cali is the Michael Jordan of dogs. She’s so athletic that people used to stop to watch when we played Frisbee or fetch. And as long as she’s around, there will be someone in our house with more gray hair than I have.”

Dana Perino (former White House press secretary, now a Republican consultant): “Henry the Vizsla, a 13- year old dog. . . . I’ve had him since he was 6 weeks old.”

(Photo courtesy of Dana Perino)

(Photo courtesy of the Wittman family)