Indiana’s top dog

A hot-diggity conversation with Henry Holcomb

Posted on Feb 21 2020 in Profile
Photo of Indiana First Dog Henry Holcomb
Indiana First Dog Henry Holcomb. Photo courtesy of
the governor’s office.

While Statehouse politics were underway early this year, your Indiana Connection team hounded out a behind-the-scenes interview with a Holcomb administration insider that’s not just another shaggy-dog story. What follows is an edited portion of our hot-diggity conversation with mover and shaker (especially when he’s wet) Henry Holcomb, First Pooch of Indiana. 

INDIANA CONNECTION: Tell us about your pedigree. When did you come to live with the Holcombs?

HENRY HOLCOMB: I was born in Fort Wayne. I was a part of a litter of five dogs – four girls and yours truly. I love my sisters, but they were pretty noisy and rambunctious. While they were running, barking and making a scene when Mom [Janet Holcomb] and Dad [Gov. Eric Holcomb] came to visit to adopt one of us, I crawled right into Dad’s lap, curled up and fell asleep. You could say I snuggled my way into their hearts. 

IC: Since you’ve become First Dog, who’s the most famous person you’ve gotten to sniff? 

HH: We have a lot of really interesting visitors, but the most famous person I’ve gotten to sniff has to be rapper MC Hammer. He is on the board of directors of “The Last Mile”, a program that prepares incarcerated people to re-enter society through business and technology training. Dad loves this program and made Indiana the first state outside of California to have the program.

IC: What’s your most embarrassing moment as First Dog? 

HH: When Dad first started this job, we visited our new house and well – a certain miniature schnauzer may have accidentally peed on the curtains … I’m not proud, but life comes at you fast.

IC: Do you have any special causes you support?

HH: I’m a huge fan of the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN), that trains and places assistance dogs with people with disabilities, and humane societies across the state that help animals like me. This year, I invited my friend Grady [the mascot from the University of Indianapolis] and some dogs from IndyHumane over to our house to celebrate my 9th birthday. I’m proud to say that we were able to get all five of my friends at IndyHumane adopted within a week!

Follow Henry on social media. His handle is @FirstDogHenry on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; or write to him at Henry Holcomb, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, Room 206.