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novadog Fall 2014

T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O C A N I N E - I N S P I R E D L I V I N G I N T H E D C M E T R O A R E A

magazine

Navigating the

Adoption Process

Understanding the shelters and the process of bringing home your next family member

Also Inside: Your Dog’s Other Best Friend: Everything You Need to Know About Dog Toys Tummy Troubles Explaining the Canine Wellness Exam

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contents Fall 2014

N O R T H E R N V I R G I N I A D O G : T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O C A N I N E - I N S P I R E D L I V I N G I N T H E D C M E T R O A R E A

COVER STORY

12 N  avigating the Adoption Process

Understanding the shelters and the process of bringing home your next family member By Taylor Ham

18 YFrom oursqueakers Dog’s Other Best Friend to bouncers, everything you need to know about dog toys By Gina Kim

12 D E PA RT M E N T S

3 PUBLISHER’S NOTE

24 CANINE CALENDAR

4 THE SOURCE

25 MARKETPLACE

News, information, and products

6 HEALTH WISE

26 THE SCENE

The Canine Wellness Exam

A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs

8 EXPERT ADVICE

27 HIT THE TRAIL

10 PETCENTRIC PEOPLE

28 WAGS TO RICHES

Tummy Troubles

23 GET SOCIAL

8

Potomac Heritage Trail Adoption success stories

WITH NOVADOG Cover photo by Jim Thomas, for Mutt Love Rescue

Read Madelyn’s adoption success story on page 28.

www.novadogmagazine.com

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novadog T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O C A N I N E - I N S P I R E D L I V I N G I N T H E D C M E T R O A R E A

magazine

PUBLISHER Angela Hazuda Meyers | ahazuda@yahoo.com MANAGING EDITOR Claiborne Linvill | claiborne@novadogmagazine.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Janelle Welch | janelle@2houndsproductions.com

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CONTRIBUTORS Adrianne Doering, VMD, CVA, Taylor Ham, Gina Kim, Danielle Lafave, DVM, Angela Hazuda Meyers, Elissa Matulis Myers ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Gennifer Kelling: (p) 703.780.4400 (f) 853.753.0064 advertising@novadogmagazine.com DISTRIBUTION MediaPoint 9022-A Telegraph Road Lorton, VA 22079 info@mediapointusa.com

We’re Environmentally Friendly. The pages of NOVADog are printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks. Please help us make a difference by recycling your copy or pass this issue along to a fellow dog lover. NOVADog Magazine is committed to creating and fostering an active and supportive community for local dogs and their owners to share, learn, interact, and engage. Our mission is three-fold: • Educate—Provide training and canine health-care tips to help dogs live long and fulfilling lives. • Inspire—Publish insightful stories about local heroes and organizations that are doing good in our community. • Collaborate—Help local animal welfare organizations to save and enrich the lives of homeless and abused animals. Northern Virginia Dog Magazine © 2014 is published quarterly by 343 Media, LLC. Limited complimentary copies are distributed throughout the DC Metro area and are available in select locations. One- and two-year subscriptions are available. Visit www.novadogmagazine.com/subscribe for more information. Send change of address information to P.O. Box 239, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, 703.887.8387. NOVADog Magazine neither endorses or opposes any charity, welfare organization, product, or service, dog-related or otherwise. As an independent publisher and media organization, we report on news and events happening in our local area. Events are used as an outlet to reach new readers interested in all aspects of dog ownership. We encourage all readers to make their own decisions as to which products and services to use, organizations to support, and events to attend.

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2 Northern Virginia Dog

| Fall 2014

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Winner: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 Award of Distinction


PUBLISHER’S NOTE

W

hile many of our articles resonate with me and my family, this issue’s feature article is particularly close to my heart, as I was reminded of the process that led us to Maggie. About 11 years ago, we had a wonderful dog named Grace. She looked remarkably similar to Maggie and had the same great temperament. About that time, we began planning to start a human family. I had always loved the name Grace but thought it might be strange to have both Grace my dog and Grace my daughter. So while selecting names, I chose Charlotte Grace for a girl and Grant Patrick for a boy. Soon, our first baby boy was born, Grant Patrick, and sadly Grace passed away the following Christmas. As we were about to have a second child (still Charlotte Grace if we had a girl and Rhett Joseph for a boy), we also wanted to adopt another pup. After attending some adoption events, we found the perfect puppy to join our growing family at A Forever Home. We introduced her to her big brother Grant, who approved, and we got started on the paperwork, only to be stopped in our tracks 2 minutes later when they brought our sweet puppy back with a big nametag reading “Charlotte Meyers”! None of us could believe it – we knew right then it was meant to be. Since we

had a baby arriving soon and this puppy Charlotte had only had her name for a few days, we thought it would be OK to change hers to Maggie Mae. The next baby turned out to be Rhett Joseph, but Charlotte Grace finally arrived just one short year later. The whole crew, Grant Patrick (9), Rhett Joseph (7), Charlotte Grace (6) and Maggie Mae (7) are made for each other. They have quite the list of adventures under their belt and are anxious to enjoy some more! Thinking of Maggie, our story on dog toys made me chuckle. While she does try to set a new personal record in tearing the squeaker out of her newest stuffed squirrel, her real favorite toy is a stick to fetch in the water. Like most people, I guess, she responds better to exercise and attention than anything I could buy her. She especially loved our NOVADog Group Hike on the Appalachian Trail in September, and she and I hope you’ll join us for the next group hike. Be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for all the details. Wishing you and your family a wonderful fall and a heartwarming holiday season. Angela Hazuda Meyers ahazuda@yahoo.com

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4 Northern Virginia Dog

| Fall 2014


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H E A L T H  W I S E

Ad v i ce an d i n fo rm ati o n o n c a n i n e h e a l th i s s u e s

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Photos courtesy of Leesburg Veterinary Hospital. Photos by Ellen Zangla Photography.

A Sensory Experience: The Canine Wellness Exam By Adri a n n e D oer in g , V M D , C VA

I

t’s early Monday morning and you’ve just arrived at your local veterinary hospital for your dog’s annual wellness exam. After checking in, the receptionist hands you a history form for you to notate any changes or questions since your last visit. After a quick stop at the scales for a weight check, you and your pooch are taken to an exam room and greeted by the vet. Yet, as you observe the doctor examining your pet, you may think not much is happening. The vet looks at the animal, runs her hands over his fur, and lifts his lips and tail. In fact, other than her putting a stethoscope on the dog’s chest, you don’t see much examining going on at all. So what exactly occurs during a veterinary wellness exam? A lot more than meets the eye! Because our furry friends cannot tell us what they are feeling or experiencing, our pets’ medical exams differ—and are in many ways more comprehensive—than a human exam. Veterinarians need to engage all of their senses during canine wellness visits. So now, let’s follow along with the doctors at Leesburg Veterinary Hospital through a typical canine wellness exam. Normally, a veterinarian’s exam begins even before we place our hands on the patient. We watch the pets move around the room to make sure they can see well, have good balance and are not limping. We also watch for behavioral cues that indicate anxiety, pain, itchiness or other abnormalities. This is also a good time for doctors to review history forms and discuss changes or questions owners may have since their last visit. Next, with the help of an assistant, (see 1 above) the pet is gently restrained so we can begin the hands-on portion of our

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| Fall 2014

Because our furry friends cannot tell us what they are feeling or experiencing, our pets’ medical exams differ—and are in many ways more comprehensive—than a human exam. exam, starting from the tip of the nose, working back to the tip of the tail. The eyes are checked for the ability to see, pupil function, and for abnormalities such as cataracts or corneal ulcers. The lips are lifted to check the mouth for plaque, loose or sore teeth, ulcers and masses. The ears are examined for debris and itchiness, and the nostrils are checked for symmetrical appearance and air flow. At the same time, we are smelling the animal—infections, skin conditions, and dental disease all give off distinctive odors. For example, an unpleasant sweet smell on the breath might be a clue the animal has kidney disease.


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Following the examination of the head, we move down to the neck and body (step 2). Here, we palpate the lymph nodes under the chin, in front of the shoulders, and behind the hamstrings. While running our hands over the pet, we also feel for strong pulses, as well as lumps, skin irregularities and sore areas. Next we listen to the heart and lungs with our stethoscope(step 3). It is important to make sure that the heart has a normal rate, sound and rhythm; the lungs should have only faint breath noises. After we put the stethoscope away, we perform abdominal

palpations—we feel the abdomen for tenderness, enlarged or irregular organs, and masses (step 4). Depending on the type of pet, certain additional physical manipulations may be done. For example, many small dogs have loose kneecaps, so we may take a few moments to check these areas in particular. In senior dogs, a rectal exam is commonly performed to check for masses in the anal glands and rectum. Finally, we check each leg, paw, and toenails and trim long nails, if needed. The physical exam is the most important diagnostic tool in veterinary medicine. In performing hundreds of exams a year and utilizing all of our senses, we are able to detect even subtle changes that may reveal developing diseases or abnormal conditions. At your dog’s next checkup, take notice of the doctor’s actions. If it seems your vet is extra curious to sniff your pet’s fur (or breath!) and seems particularly interested in their movements around the exam room, just know it’s all a part of good preventative care to keep our beloved pets happy and healthy! ND

Adrianne Doering, VMD, CVA of Leesburg Veterinary Hospital (www. leesburgvet.com) contributed to this article. While Dr. Doering specializes in veterinary acupuncture, she’s happy to sniff her way through all types of pet wellness examinations.

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EXPERT ADVICE

An s w e rs to y ou r be h a v i o r a n d tra i n i n g q u e s ti o n s

Tummy Troubles By Danielle La f a ve, D VM

While most of the time the issue resolves itself promptly, without the need for medical intervention, occasionally a call to the vet is needed.

8 Northern Virginia Dog

| Fall 2014

My dog has been vomiting occasionally this week. I can’t tell if he’s sick or if he’s reacting to all the food our baby has started tossing on the floor. How can I tell when stomach issues are worrisome enough to call my vet? QUESTION

First: we’ve all been there, ANSWER either finding cat vomit on the rug or having the dog wake us up at 2 a.m. begging to go outside. We all empathize with our pets: anyone who’s had food poisoning knows how miserable gastrointestinal distress can be. While most of the time the issue resolves itself promptly, without the need for medical intervention, occasionally a call to the vet is needed. First, consider your pet’s health. If your animal is diabetic, has advanced kidney disease, has a history of pancreatitis, or has been diagnosed with cancer, call your vet if she vomits or has diarrhea. Yes, even if it was only once. I guarantee the vet or veterinary technicians will want to speak with you. Additionally, if you have young animals or elderly ones, they can become dehydrated

easily, so don’t wait to call. Next, examine the vomit or feces (disgusting but important). Clear or white foamy liquid in vomit, sometimes gelatinous, is typical. There may be food; note digested or undigested. An animal that has vomited more than once may bring up biletinged yellow or light brown fluid. These in and of themselves are not always urgent. Dark brown vomit that looks like coffee grounds could be indicative of GI bleeding, as could more than a few drops of fresh blood – these warrant an immediate evaluation. As for stool, mucous or fresh blood means it is large intestinal diarrhea. This is not always serious, as the large intestine has a terrific blood supply and bleeds easily if irritated; use your judgment and err on the side of caution. However, if there is a con-


siderable amount of fresh blood, or if the stools are dark ink-black or dark green in color, the pet should be promptly examined. Look for foreign material in stool and vomitus. Pieces of fabric, stuffing, ribbon, other string-like items, or pieces of something firm and dense (like a corncob) should set off alarm bells. Next step: inventory! Is anything missing? Socks, underwear, pieces of toys, half the ribbon from your child’s balloon…. you get the idea. If you’re positive you left a dish towel out, but it’s not there now and your dog is sick, call your vet. Inventory also includes toxins: think medications (yours and theirs), cleaning products, and plants. The ASPCA has a terrific website to help evaluate this: www.aspca.org/pet-care/ animal-poison-control. Abrupt introduction of new foods or treats (pet or human) can cause GI changes. Some foods can cause a pet’s stool to become lighter or darker, change the frequency of bowel movements, or cause the stool to become firmer or softer. Very soft stools or stools that are more malodor-

ous than usual could indicate a problem. If you just opened a new bag of the same food and now your pet is sick, call the manufacturer. Now let’s talk frequency. If your animal has just been ill once, and none of the issues raised above are concerning you, don’t panic. If she continues to vomit over the course of more than 6-8 hours, has diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or if she is becoming sick every hour or every few hours, she should be evaluated. Animals that are sick consistently but sporadically, such as the cat that vomits twice a week like clockwork, should also be evaluated, although their problem may be a less urgent one. However, if the pet appears uncomfortable, weak or lethargic, bring her in even if you think she’s only just gotten sick. First aid is straightforward. Withhold food and water from vomiting animals for 8-12 hours. If the vomiting stops, reintroduce small amounts of water or Pedialyte (about 1 teaspoon per pound) every 3 or so hours. If that stays down, offer additional

fluids and small amounts of boiled white rice mixed with plain boiled white-meat chicken or boiled lean hamburger every 3-4 hours. If no vomiting occurs, gradually increase the size of the meals and decrease the frequency over 2-3 days, and then slowly transition back to their regular diet over another 3-4 days if they are doing well. This same plan applies to diarrhea patients, except you should not withhold food and water to start. If your pet does not want to eat, or continues to have vomiting or diarrhea, call your veterinarian. Do not attempt to give over-the-counter medications without first consulting your veterinarian’s office. Just remember: if you are unsure how serious of a situation you and your pet are facing, you can always call your veterinarian’s office and ask. We’re here to help! ND Danielle Lafave, DVM, is an associate veterinarian at Deepwood Veterinary Clinic in Centreville, Va. She is a 2008 graduate of the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Contact Dr. Lafave at 703.631.9133.

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PETCENTRIC PEOPLE

H a n g i n g wi th DC Me tro ’s d o g -c ra z y c ro wd

Don’t let dog training be your last resort! By El i s sa M a t u lis M y er s

N

ick White, owner of Off-Leash K9 Training, LLC, is a handsome, hardworking former Marine, with a ready smile, a gift for explaining things simply, and an uncanny ability to train dogs. He started his business five years ago, and now operates it through 30 franchised locations throughout the United States. His company specializes in basic obedience, advanced obedience, personal protection, and drug detection training. It’s good news for Northern Virginia dog owners that Nick’s primary location is in Woodbridge, Va., where he and his dedicated team train dogs seven days a week. They are currently averaging 93 lessons a week, plus working with six two-week board-and-train dogs – a very full schedule. “We are generally booked 8-10 weeks in advance,” says Nick, “and we work with dogs of all ages and temperaments.” Nick was 13 years old when he got his first dog, Deputy, a German

It was in the Secret Service that Nick had a chance to closely observe the Uniformed Division Canine Handlers and study their techniques. Shepherd mix, and discovered his passion for dog training. “I was excited to see him ‘learn’ the tricks I taught him – to roll over, to bark on command. We never got tired of working on tricks for treats. My parents would buy big bags of dog treats, and they would be gone in a couple of days.” At 18 he joined the Marine Corps, and spent the next few years at Camp Pendleton in California and Fallujah in Iraq. He watched the “K-9 handlers with their bomb sniffing dogs, and studied their technique.” After five years he was hired by the U.S. Secret Service, and spent four years as a part of the protective detail for Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Barack Obama.

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It was in the Secret Service that Nick had a chance to closely observe the Uniformed Division Canine Handlers and study their techniques. The Secret Service began its canine program in 1975, because a dog and its handler were found to be the most effective way of detecting explosives. “I spent months watching and learning from some of the best handlers, and became more and more intrigued.” Nick began to practice what he observed – doing individual training with the dogs of neighbors and friends in school yards. The handful of clients snowballed through referrals, and he had found his special calling. One day he got a call from Rener Gracie, one of the world’s leading jiu-jitsu instructors, asking for help in training his dog. Rener was so impressed that he recommended that his wife, Eve Torres Gracie, a well-known dancer, model, actress, and former professional wrestler, hire Nick to train her dog. Word spread, and celebrities from Hollywood and the sports world started calling. “I’ve been to Hollywood three times in the past month,” Nick says regarding his work with the dogs of WWE superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, Wizards and Capitols owner Roger Moody, and dozens more. Nick has a Facebook page with 40,000 fans, and a collection of videos on YouTube with more than 600 clips of before, during, and after training stories. He also has a blog on his website, and one of his favorite blogs is titled “Don’t make dog training your last resort.” He explains, “We’ll work with dogs of any age, but I urge clients not to wait until their dog has bitten someone or destroyed $2,000 in property – get your dog trained right away!” Though he is rapidly becoming a celebrity trainer and has a staff of almost 40 working for him, Nick still works one-on-one with many of the dogs he trains. His philosophy: “If you want to be a master of your craft, you have to keep practicing.” When asked about his method, Nick says, “Most trainers do one thing – they treat-train, or they do clicker-training. We use all methods – we get to know the dog and find out to what he responds to best. Many trained dogs don’t reach their full potential because their trainer was too inflexible. When I’m working with a dog, I toss my ego out the window. Dogs are like kids – some learn better visually, some learn best with a

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| Fall 2014

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Pet peeve: “Some trainers won’t work with aggressive dogs, or dogs with a history of biting humans or other dogs. If you let a dog get put down because you are afraid of it, then you are no trainer. Those are the dogs that really need your help!” Advice for someone thinking about getting into a dog business? “Somebody sent me a card recently that said ‘Running your own business is easy… NEVER!’ It takes absolute dedication and hard work – long days, seven days a week. But if you are doing what you love, it doesn’t feel like work.” Favorite dog book? “K9 Heroes,” by Nicole Arbelo. The book includes stories of courage and duty, friendship and family, loss and love, as told by the men and women serving with Military Working Dogs, whose tasks include scouting, search and rescue, and the detection of explosives. Tips for training your own dog? “Consistency! Like kids, dogs have to know that when you give them a command, you mean it, and there are consequences for not obeying. You have to follow through when you ask a dog to do something.”

hands-on approach, some are auditory learners. You need to discover what kind of a learner your dog is. “If training is done right, the dog ends up loving his trainer – and his owner. Some trainers build fun into the obedience training – we build obedience training into the fun! I believe that dogs are smart enough to do anything you are smart enough to teach them!” As if Nick’s Off-leash K-9 Training company wasn’t great enough, he has just purchased a 15-acre estate in Catlett, Va. – in Fauquier County – where he plans to build a state-of-the-art training facility. It sounds like a school that even a well-trained dog would love to visit! ND Elissa Myers is a writer in Northern Virginia. She lives in Springfield with her tireless black Lab Indi and writes a daily column for the online Examiner.

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11


COVER STORY

Navigating the

Adoption Process Understanding the shelters and the process of bringing home your next family member By Taylor Ham

12 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2014

N

ext time you look to add a furry member to your family, consider this: more than one million homeless dogs are euthanized each year, while thousands of animal shelters and rescue organizations around the country overflow with loving canine companions. While some pet parents have no question that adoption is the way to go, others may be hesitant about adopting a dog with an unknown background and family history, or they fall prey to the stigma that “rescued” is synonymous with “broken.” The truth is that dogs end up homeless for a variety of reasons, the most common, according to the American Humane Association, being their owners move to residences that don’t allow pets. Other dogs may have been left behind by sick, aging or deceased owners or because of incompatibility issues with the family. While it is true that some rescue dogs have had difficult lives and require some extra time and TLC to blossom, others are simply misplaced pets waiting for a new family to love. In most cases, rescue organizations do a thorough job of screening dogs for potential serious issues and will work with you to find the perfect match.


Photos courtesy of: Mutt Love Rescue, The new facilities of Fairfax County Animal Shelter, top right (Hoachlander Davis Photography), Friends of Homeless Animals and The Animal Welfare Society of Howard County.


Here in Northern Virginia we are fortunate to have a large network of passionate animal advocates working together to tackle the problem of animal homelessness, and potential adopters have plenty of options from which to choose. We’ve put together this guide to help you dig through the details and find your perfect pet.

Where to Adopt Municipal Shelters These facilities, sometimes referred to as open-access shelters, are often operated by city or county governments and provide shelter, care and rehabilitation to a wide variety of animals. Because municipal shelters accept any animal that comes in regardless of breed, age, behavior or medical issues, they can rarely tout themselves as “no-kill” shelters, and sometimes do face overcrowding and funding constraints. They are no less passionate about animal welfare, however, and the animals in their care are no less wonderful than you will find elsewhere. In fact, the municipal shelters of today are a far cry from the “dog pounds” of the past. “Over the years, animal shelters have evolved alongside the communities they

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While it is true that some rescue dogs have had difficult lives and require some extra time and TLC to blossom, others are simply misplaced pets waiting for a new family to love. serve,” says Tawny Hammond, Director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (FCAS). FCAS is an example of a modernizing facility determined to change lingering negative perceptions. A recent renovation and rebuilding project at FCAS has doubled its size and allowed for numerous enhancements including larger enclosures with natural light, dedicated space for treating injuries and infectious diseases and adoption rooms where pets and potential owners have a chance to meet and bond. “We want animals to feel as comfortable as possible during their stay at the shelter.

They shouldn’t feel like they are in jail,” says Hammond. With 4,000–5,000 animals coming through its doors each year, the shelter has reason to be proud of its placement rate of over 90 percent and its commitment to work closely with a network of rescue partners and fosters to find homes for all adoptable animals that come through the shelter. Despite these successes, however, public shelters often find themselves fighting a stigma. “We try really hard to show people that the shelter isn’t a sad place, it’s a lifesaving place,” says Stephanie Zain, chief


operating officer of the Washington Humane Society (WHS), whose two adoption centers serve as the open-access shelters for the nation’s capital. “Great things happen in our adoption centers – we are completing lives and making happy families every day.” WHS is unique in that it’s a congressionally chartered nonprofit that contracts with the city government to offer a variety of community services in addition to adoption, including: humane law enforcement; animal control; spay, neuter and vaccine clinics; and public outreach and education. Many other municipal shelters form similar partnerships with independent organizations to improve outcomes for the animals in their care. The Prince William County SPCA, for example, is a nonprofit made up entirely of volunteers that has no shelter or foster program of its own, but works closely with two municipal shelters in Manassas to increase adoption rates and enhance quality of life for homeless pets.

Private Shelters and Rescue Groups Private shelters are organizations that rely on funding from the community and revenue from adoption fees to cover day-to-day operations. They are often advertised as “no kill” shelters, as they have greater control in ensuring that all the animals taken in are adoptable or able to be placed in longterm foster care. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have fewer pets available, however. Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) is a private shelter that typically houses more than 100 dogs and up to 60 cats on 40 acres in Aldie, Va. “We get hundreds of emails each week with pictures of dogs that are in jeopardy,” says President Laura Dove. In addition to helping individual owners who can no longer care for their animals, FOHA works with municipal shelters in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland to help as many animals as they have room for. With miles of wooded dog-walking trails, room is something FOHA is in the unique position to offer both dog residents and potential adopters. “We believe in a no-pressure approach to adoption with no time limit to how long you can spend bonding with your new prospective family member,” Dove says. The Briggs Animal Adoption Center (BAAC) in Charles Town, West Virginia, is another large private shelter that relies solely on charitable contributions for funding. The BAAC prides itself on offering the highest quality veterinary care as well as socialization and basic obedience training for dogs. Private shelters often have the additional flexibility needed to offer these types of unique features that make them stand out from the crowd. Homeward Trails Animal Rescue opened its first facility in Fairfax Station last fall, which has three indoor play rooms and three outdoor play yards where dogs have the opportunity to exercise and socialize together during the day before heading to their crates for a night of restful sleep. Rescue groups like Homeward Trails come in all sizes and types, and not all have brick-and-mortar buildings; many rely on a vast network of foster homes to provide care for animals. These groups can be breed-specific or cater to all breeds, and may be

Help us LICK LONELINESS You and your cat, dog or rabbit are needed to join other Fairfax Pets on Wheels, Inc. volunteers who make a difference in the community by visiting residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Visit: www.fpow.org or Call: 703-324-5406

www.novadogmagazine.com

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powered by volunteers or operated as nonprofits with full-time staff. Because many of the animals these organizations take in end up living in foster homes, potential adopters benefit from gaining additional insight into the personality and behavior a dog exhibits in a home setting and with other pets and people.

What to Expect The adoption process, timeline and fees will vary depending on whether you find your dog at a municipal shelter, a private rescue or in a foster home. In any case, your adoptive pet will likely come already spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and up-to-date on vaccinations. Adopting from a rescue or private shelter may be a longer and more personalized process, as these organizations often focus not only adopting animals, but also choosing the very best homes for each. In some cases the process may take a week or longer and involve a home visit and trial meetings with other family pets, while at many municipal shelters animals are often ready to go home on the same day. The process starts by filling out an adoption application, either online or in

As excited as you may be at the prospect of a new pet, remember that bringing a dog into your life is a significant commitment, and one that should be undertaken with patience. person, which asks questions about your living arrangements, family members and prior experience with pets. Once you’ve found an animal you are interested in, you will meet with an adoption counselor to ask questions and learn more about personality, energy level and any special care or training needs. “We look at the adoption process as a conversation, not as a screening or an interview,” says Zain. “There are no right and wrong answers – we want to find out what you are looking for and if that dog will meet your needs and vice versa.” If the animal you are interested in is in foster care,

on nd nti a Me ADog V NO

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you will likely have to contact the foster parent directly to set up a time to meet. Be sure to check on the organization’s policies and procedures ahead of time so you know what to expect before you go, and remember that no matter the details of the process, at the end of the day the goal is the same – to find loving homes for every animal.

Before You Go As excited as you may be at the prospect of a new pet, remember that bringing a dog into your life is a significant commitment, and one that should be undertaken with pa-

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| Fall 2014


tience. Before rushing off to the shelter to find your best bud, spend some time thinking about what kind of companion will suit your lifestyle. Timing is also critical. Consider what else you have going on in your life, and if you can realistically negotiate the responsibilities that will come with a new addition. Choose to adopt at a time when your life is relatively stable and you have the extra time and energy to devote to helping ease the transition home. “While some rescue animals settle right in to a new home, others need patience and time,” advises Dove. “Hope for the best but expect there will be a time of adjustment.” GoodDogz.org is a Reston-based nonprofit that offers a number of online resources to potential adopters, including a step-by-step guide to help walk you through deciding whether a rescue dog is right for you, how to choose a dog and what to expect in terms of commitment and costs associated with feeding, training and health care. You

will also find a comprehensive database of rescue groups organized by state and breed, and an online community to offer information and support throughout the process. Starting your search online allows you to see many animals at once. You can go straight to a shelter or rescue’s website, or check out petfinder.com to search multiple sources by breed, age and gender. Once you’ve generated a shortlist, however, there is no substitute for getting out and seeing which dog you really connect with in person. If you take your time, do your research and use all the resources available to you, adopting a dog should be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, no matter which route you take to get there.

731 Berryville Pike Charles Town, WV 25414 (304) 724-6558 www.baacs.org

Washington Humane Society www.washhumane.org Georgia Avenue Adoption Center 7319 Georgia Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20012 202-723-5730 New York Avenue Adoption Center 1201 New York Avenue, NE Washington, DC 202-576-6664

Prince William County Animal Shelter 14807 Bristow Road Manassas, VA 20112 703-792-6465 www.pwcshelter.petfinder.com

Manassas City Animal Adoption Center 10039 Dean Drive Manassas, VA 20110 703-257-2420 www.manassasanimaladoptioncenter. petfinder.com

North Arlington

703-574-3383 www.kissablecanine.com

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Taylor Ham is a freelance writer from Ithaca, NY. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband Stephen and two dogs, Samson and TJ.

Adoption Resources Briggs Animal Adoption Center

Classes now in

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria 4101 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304 703-746-4774 www.alexandriaanimals.org

Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, VA 22206 703-931-9241 www.awla.org

Friends of Homeless Animals www.foha.org dogapplications@foha.org or call 703-385-0224 Address to shelter given out after speaking with representative

■ Puppy and Dog Manners Class—in Fairfax and Arlington ■ Nose Knows—teach your dog how to use his nose to hunt ■ Treibball—play this fun game while learning off-leash control and focus We offer private training for dogs of all ages and needs. Register at www.kissablecanine.com.

Happy Dogs. Happy Homes. —KissAble Canine Voted Best Trainer two years in a row! Northern Virginia Magazine

Homeward Trails Animal Rescue 11116 Fairfax Station Road Fairfax Station, VA 703-249-5066 www.homewardtrails.org

Mutt Love Rescue PO Box 1005 Fairfax, VA 22038 703-577-0106 www.muttloverescue.org

Serving the Washington, DC Metro area www.novadogmagazine.com

17


Your Dog’s From squeakers to bouncers, everything you need to know about dog toys

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Other Best Friend

W By Gina Kim

e love to spoil our pets, and today’s pet industry is making it easier and more fun to do so. Just search for “dog toys” on Amazon.com and you’ll find over 42,000 options. And while we love presenting gifts to our dogs, it can be disheartening to spend over $10 for brightly colored, supposedly indestructible toys only to have a puppy tear it apart in minutes. Or even more frustrating: dogs often ignore the fancy, new toy for the dirt-stained limbs of what was once a stuffed animal. So what’s going on? What makes our dogs go nuts for some toys and disregard others? Why do some dogs go bonkers for tennis balls, while others stare at us blankly when we suggest they fetch? To get to the bottom of understanding toys and the dogs who love them, NOVADog spoke with local, dog-savvy trainers.

Why do most dogs like to play with toys? The trainers at Always Pet Care tell us: “Dogs communicate with their mouths. Chewing on toys is a great pacifier for boredom and chew toys are great for teething puppies. It all depends on the dog or the breed as far as what their needs are.” Local canine behaviorist Mark McCabe explains some of the psychology behind dogs and www.novadogmagazine.com

19


their toys. “As puppies, play is a not only a way of burning off energy but also, very importantly, a way of learning about the world: what things taste like and feel like. Toys help dogs develop the coordination to chase things down, but they also help with things like teething and developing the muscles in their jaws as well as the rest of their bodies.”

Why do some dogs like toys more than others? Trainers at Old Towne Pet Resort believe, “Some dogs, especially rescues, may not be familiar with toys and not enjoy them. That’s perfectly normal.” Mark McCabe adds, “Assuming a healthy upbringing (i.e., they had good access to appropriate play with toys and people or other dogs), the differences mostly come from first breed differences (herders and hunters tend to be the biggest players) and then just differences in individual personalities and energy levels. For dogs who don’t seem to ‘get’ playing with toys, food-stuffed toys can really be great for helping them to learn to engage.” NOVADog talked to some local dog trainers to get the scoop on various toys available for our pups—everything from traditional balls to more innovative, mentally stimulating items. Here’s all you need to know about the most popular toy options:

Hard rubber toys

Best for: Dogs who love to chew, most dog breeds Common brands: Kong, Goughnuts Mark McCabe: “In addition to their substantial durability,

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another big plus for these toys is that they don’t smell, feel, or taste like any of the stuff in our house that we DON’T want the dogs to chew on. This helps the dogs learn discretion between toys and other items.” Trainer Tammy Rosen at Fur-Get Me Not: “Goughnuts are more expensive [than Kongs], but worth the cost for added durability. They make extremely tough toys. The green products are made with a red inner lining to indicate when the toy should be replaced, if the dog is chewing off pieces. The black products are able to withstand even the toughest of chewers.” Old Towne Pet Resort: “Hard rubber toys are best for power chewers, and some toys can be filled with canned food or peanut butter and then frozen for a long-lasting treat. They engage the dog mentally and physically, and make the dogs ‘work’ for their treats.

Stuffed/Plush Animals, Squeaky Animals

Best for: Hunting breeds, dogs who crave security Common brands: Kyjen, Crazy Kritters Trainer Lisa Tudor of Kissable Canine: “Dogs like to act out parts of the predatory sequence with toys, such as chasing, biting, shaking, etc. A tough squeaky toy can be a great outlet for a dog to be a dog.” Trainer Michele Fisher from Always There Pet Care: “The fun of tearing into the fabric and pulling out the stuffing and finally getting to the squeaker is a victory. On the other hand, many dogs like stuffed animals as a security blanket and like to take them everywhere or even suckle on them.”


Tammy Rosen: Kyjen has a great line of plush toys. “Egg babies are very popular. Dogs that like to shred plush toys or like digging are a great fit for these toys. The toy itself is just a shell and inside there are 3 little plush squeaker eggs that the dog pulls out. The toy becomes an activity rather than just chewing on something. And if they shred the squeaker egg, they sell replacement eggs.”

Balls

Best for: Retrievers, herders, dogs who love to run Common brands: Jolly Pets, Boomer Ball

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Lisa Tudor: “Every dog has a ‘tendency’ or a predisposition to explore their environment. For retrievers, it tends to be with their mouths and naturally, balls can be a real thrill and a natural outlet for them. Playing fetch can be great exercise.” Michele Fisher: “Make sure to get the correct size ball for your dogs’ mouths because they can choke on balls that are too small for them. Large Jolly Balls are indestructible and made of a hard plastic; most dogs love to chase them around the yard in a soccer fashion.

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Tug Toys

Best for: High-energy, well trained dogs Common brands: Knotted ropes, Kong, Zanies The trainers had some differences of opinions regarding the use of tug toys, but all agree that a dog should know certain cues before playing tug. Michele Fisher: “Tug toys are a challenging toy. They are not recommended for dogs that are aggressive or have the leadership role.” Mark McCabe: “Especially for high energy, playful dogs, these can be a great way to get a lot of exercise in a short amount of time indoors on bad weather days! There is a very common thought in dog-training circles that tug-of-war games are not a good social exercise for dogs, particularly believing that playing tug can really exacerbate a dominant personality in a dog. The real issue is: does the dog let go when you ask him to and re-engage when you tell him he can? If you teach these simple rules, that idea of exacerbating the dog’s dominance tendencies gets flipped right on its head… and for many dogs, this isn’t an issue to begin with, but teaching a stop (release) and start (take it) cue is a very helpful exercise for building communication and self-control in the dog.” Lisa Tudor: “I encourage teaching an ‘out’ cue that asks the dog to spit out the tug toy when requested.”

Frisbees/Discs

Best for: Dogs who love to run and catch Common brands: ChuckIt!, Dogobie, Hyperflite Old Towne Pet Resort: “Frisbees give the dog a challenge of seeing ‘prey’ in the air and figuring out how to catch it. They’re a great way to tire out dogs with lots of running.” Michele Fisher: “Frisbees are similar to balls. They are great for exercise and a great way to burn energy, and the dogs are very happy with the sense of accomplishment that they can catch it.”

What toys should every dog have at home? Tammy Rosen: “Every dog can benefit from having interactive toys at home. Food-dispensing toys like the Original Kong, Buster Cube, Kong Wobbler, and Kyjen puzzle toys are great. They provide something the dog can do every day and requires low effort on the owner’s part to incorporate these into the dog’s daily mealtime.” Lisa Tudor: “I’m a big fan of the puzzle toys on the market: the toys that feed a dog a meal while expecting them to use up brain power.” Old Towne Pet Resort: “Have a wide range of textures to chew on. This will keep dogs from becoming bored and seeking out less desirable items to chew, such as a shoe or the table.” Mark McCabe: “As puppies, they all should have appropriate chew toys. As very young puppies, that means pretty soft and pliable things. As the puppy grows, somewhat firmer chew toys become more satisfying, especially through teething… For not-soplayful dogs, or dogs who are left alone a lot, especially who have some challenge with that, toys that release food as they are played with are the best way to give dogs breakfast just as you leave the house.”

Advice on Dogs and Toys Michele Fisher: “It is always a good idea to see how your dog interacts with any toy before you trust them alone with it.” Tammy Rosen: “One size does not fit all. Continue trying new toys as your dog matures. Rotate toys to keep them interesting, rather than having all of them available at once. You can easily create a new-found love for an old toy. Variety is key.” Old Towne Pet Resort: “Toy play is infinitely better for the dog when the owner takes an active role. Without you, the owner, the toy just lays on the ground lifeless. It’s the owner that brings it to life, running along the ground, flying through the air, and offering resistance when the dog tries to pull on it.” Lisa Tudor: “Having trained hundreds of families, the strongest relationships I’ve seen are between the dog and dog owners that play together. And as a mentor once said, ‘The leader of the pack is the one that knows how to have the most fun!’ ND An intern for NOVADog Magazine, Gina Kim is a recent graduate of George Mason University with a B.A. in English and minor in Film and Media Studies. She absolutely loves dogs, especially her spaniel-mix Ellie. Reach her at g.kim09@gmail.com.

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Getting Social With

novadog

Barks heard round the water dish Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/novadog.

NOVADog asks, What does your dog beg for? Michelle B: My dogs beg for bananas, strawberries, cheese, other fruits, ice and their favorite snack of all time is peanut butter.

ORSON

Josephine B: My dog begs to play with the chinchilla, and the cats, but I don’t think she realizes there is a language barrier. Robert C: Orson begs for a nap

Lucy And Mavis K: Our dogs beg for treats! (and cuddles and toys and everything else too). They are so spoiled!

Starsky-Samson Alaskan Mals: Our dogs beg for salmon treats, toys, and nonstop belly rubs. He also begs and howls for pretty women to pet him.

Shana M: RUB MY BELLY!! She rolls over and noses *everyone* to rub her belly. If you stop, she’ll either nudge your hand with her nose, or try to pull your hand back to her belly with her front paws.

Aimee M: My dog begs for a Nationals World Series title! Angela K: Our pups beg us to take them wherever we go!!

LUNA

Jennifer H: My dog Ben randomly begs for Chef Boyardee meat ravioli - he goes nuts for it! (makes me wonder if it’s fit for human consumption?). haha.

Suzanne Y.K: Hiro begs for homemade chicken jerky!

Fit4Mom Ashburn: Both dogs beg for anything on the baby’s highchair! (And typically they wait very patiently for everything to fall...)

Marty L: Attention!!b ellyrubs!cheese!!!

NOVADog posted a link to a study showing that dogs get jealous. Our readers weighed in: Vicky C: Not just jealous but also envious... No need to study it, I will prove it: I had 2 dogs. One got hit by a car... we took her to the vet, she had surgery, it was a big deal. At home, she got the very best treatment as you can imagine. The other dog suddenly started limping. We were worried... we couldn’t imagine why. So we started watching more closely. Every time he would lie down and get back up he would limp on a different leg. He was faking it! He was just envious of all the attention. LOL Kelly R: I had to share this will all my bull terrier friends. They won’t be very happy. :) Chris H: They had to do a study for this? And someone got paid? Wow.

BIANCA Jenn R: Bianca begs for Nats victories!

Sonia G. C. A: Luna begs for treats!

Shelley W. L.: Thank you NOVADog Magazine! I love your magazine and hope to attend one of the wine events this fall. I am glad you keep dog lovers informed on all the different events our area has to offer. Plus all the wonderful information concerning dogs overall.

www.novadogmagazine.com

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CANINE CALENDAR Oct. 11 11 AM – 2 PM – Beltway Barks 2. DC Actors for Animals, in partnership with CityCenterDC, is hosting the 2nd annual mega adoption event BELTWAY BARKS! The event will include DC area’s most talented figures introducing animals available for adoption, amazing performances, an exciting raffle, retail vendors, yummy food, and lots of fun pups to meet. Located at The Park at CityCenter DC, 825 10th St. NW, Washington, DC. More info at www.beltwaybarks.org.

Oct. 18 12 – 5 PM – PetOberfest at Stonebridge of Potomac Towne Center. PetOberfest is a family- and pet-friendly event featuring free activities, pet-oriented businesses and nonprofit organizations, fashion show with participating shelters, children’s entertainment, family photos, and pet contests. At Potomac Towne Center, 14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, VA. For details, visit www.sptcpetoberfest. com/home.html 1:30 – 5:30 PM – A Toast To The Animals presented by the Humane Society of Fairfax County. Fun event including music, silent auction, award-winning wine, and more at Paradise Springs Winery, 13219 Yates Ford Rd, Clifton, VA. For more information and to purchase tickets: www. hsfc.org

24 Northern Virginia Dog

Special thanks to our calendar sponsor Fur-Get Me Not.

Oct. 19

OCTOBER

1 – 4 PM – 4th Annual Howl-o-ween Hayride and Puptoberfest to benefit Oldies but Goodies Cocker Rescue. Enjoy homemade cider and treats, a fall-themed photo with your pup, a hayride, an agility course, a canine costume contest, and so much more fun. At Lowelands Farm, 21344 Steptoe Hill Rd., Middleburg, VA. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.cockerspanielrescue. com/events/2745/howl-o-ween-hayridemiddleburg-va.

Oct. 25 1 – 5 PM – Barktoberfest is a dog-friendly Oktoberfest featuring beer tasting, food, live music, a costume contest, and an agility park. Barktoberfest is hosted by the Washington Animal Rescue League at Yards Park, 355 Water St. E, Washington, DC. For additional information and to buy tickets, visit www.warl.org

Oct. 26 12 – 5PM – Deepwood Veterinary Clinic’s Annual Fall Festival. Bring the whole family for pony rides, moon bounce, food, dog and kid games, rescue groups, adoptions, tours, raffles, local vendors, “Sit Means Sit” dog training, petting zoo, microchipping and so much more! Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated as all proceeds go to D.A.R.F. (Deepwood Animal Rescue Fund) to help animals in need. At Deepwood Veterinary Clinic. 7300 Ordway Rd., Centreville, VA.

| Fall 2014

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10AM – 2PM (Arlington), 12 – 2PM (Bristow) – Caring Hands Fall Open Houses. Join the staff of Caring Hands for an open house celebration with pet photo corners, prize wheels, lots of giveaways and silent auctions. The Arlington office is at 2955C South Glebe Road, and the Bristow office is at 12733 Braemar Village Plaza. More info at www.caringhandsvet.com.

NOVEMBER Nov. 1 11AM – 4PM – Home 4 the Holidays Pet Adoption. GoodDogz.org is sponsoring the 10th annual Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption event at the Reston Town Center. About 40 all-breed and purebred dog rescue organizations will be on-hand with adoptable dogs awaiting their holiday wish – a family to spend the holidays with! Enjoy time with fun activities, entertainment, great pet vendors and a visit from Santa Paws. At Reston Town Center, 11900 Market St., Reston, VA. Learn more at www.home4theholidaysdc.org. 6 – 10 PM – 2nd Annual Golden Paw Gala hosted by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. This glitzy benefit will include a cocktail reception with red

carpet event, dinner, musical entertainment by Odyssey Band, silent and live auction, and complimentary swag bags. Delight in an evening of partying and patronage to help make second chances PAWsible at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Ballston, 801 N Glebe Rd., Arlington, VA. For further details and to buy tickets, visit www. awla.org.

Nov. 2 12 – 2PM – Caring Hands Fall Open House–Centreville. Join the staff of Caring Hands for an open house with pet photo corners, prize wheels, lots of giveaways and silent auctions. This event is at the Centreville office 5659 Stone Road. More info at www.caringhandsvet.com.

Nov. 8 6:30 – 11 PM – Montgomery County Humane Society’s Love Ball is an evening of fun for people and their pooches to enjoy drinks (including some for your pups at a doggie bar), dancing, a three-course meal, auction shopping, and special guest speaker, best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D. MCHS’s annual Love Ball will be held at the DC/Rockville Hilton, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD. For tickets and additional information, visit www.mchumane.org/loveball14.


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DECEMBER Dec. 1 6 – 8PM – Architects for Animals. Join Washington Humane Society for a special event to raise awareness and funds for the community cat program, as area architects compete to build usable outdoor cat shelters. At the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. More info at www.washhumane.org/AFA2014.

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Dec. 4 6 – 9PM – Pet Photos with Santa. Snap your holiday photos with your pet and Santa. $20 minimum donation or equivalent dry food donation required. Proceeds benefit Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. At Dogma Bakery, 2772 S. Arlington Mill Dr., Arlington, VA. For information, call 571-422-0370 or visit www. dogmabakery.com.

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Dec. 6 7 – 11PM – Annual HART Holiday Party. Join the Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART) for an evening of delicious food and drink, as well as great holiday shopping at a fabulous silent auction! Find venue and more information at http://hart90.org/ Events/UpcomingEvents.aspx.

Dec. 8 6:30 – 8:30PM – Baby-Ready Pets offers education and assistance to help expectant families prepare their homes and their pets for the arrival of a new baby and to make sure that it is a safe and (relatively) stress-free experience for all. This seminar has been endorsed by the ASPCA. The Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s staff will present Baby-Ready Pets for expectant parents in a two-hour workshop at the League, 2650 S. Arlington Mill Rd., Arlington, VA. Learn more and register at www.awla.org/events or call 703-931-9241 x246.

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6 – 9PM – Pet Photos with Santa. Snap your holiday photos with your pet and Santa. $20 minimum donation or equivalent dry food donation required. Proceeds benefit Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. At Dogma Bakery, 2772 S. Arlington Mill Dr., Arlington, VA. For information, call 571-422-0370 or visit www. dogmabakery.com.

Dec. 12 6 – 8PM – Shopping Night at Ten Thousand Villages. During this special evening event, you can support needy animals while doing your holiday shopping. Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria will donate a percent of all sales (except gift cards) to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. At Ten Thousand Villlages, 915 King St., Alexandria, VA.

Dec. 13 10AM – 2PM – Dog Pictures with Santa. Bring yours dogs in their holiday best for a photo shoot with Santa himself. [COST?]. At The Dog Eaze Inn, 13907 Telegraph Rd., Woodbridge, VA. More info on photos, as well as special holiday dinners for dogs, at www.dogeazeinn.com. ND

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THE SCENE

A gl i m ps e i n to the l i fe of No rth e rn V i rg i n i a d o g s

Cage-free daycare, boarding, grooming and more. Five great locations in Northern Virginia. Visit www.adogsdayout.com. Winners receive a NOVADog Magazine limited-edition T-shirt and a gift certificate from A Dog’s Day Out.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

2

PRIZE

Pack

1. HUDSON loved by Rachel

3

in Fairfax

2. HAZEL loved by Jennifer in

winner

Arlington

3. ROXY loved by Davis in Fairfax Station

4. DAVID LEON loved by

Melonese in Newark, NJ

5. CHAOS loved by Greg & Tressi in Fairfax

1

4

6. BERETTA loved by Nicole in Alexandria

7. ANNIE & BELLE loved by Nancy in Herndon

5

7

8

9

8. DAISY loved by Andrew 9. CHILLY loved by Ellen in Vienna

10. LACY loved by Lynn in Woodbridge

ADOPT ME from the Mid Atlantic Italian Greyhound Rescue

6

10

Shedding a lot? Not hungry? Dry skin?

Unique within our community,

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital provides emergency care

24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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26 Northern Virginia Dog

| Fall 2014

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital 2660 Duke Street Alexandria, VA 22314 www.vcaalexandria.com Main Line 703-751-2022 Emergency Line 703-823-3601

where healthy food comes naturally

Submit your dog’s photo on our home-page, and see the slide show of all submitted dog photos at www.novadogmagazine.com


HIT THE TRAIL L o c a l wa l k s t o e n j o y

Potomac Heritage Trail By Angela Hazuda Meyers

H

idden alongside one of the most popular trails in the DC Metro, the Mount Vernon Trail, sits an amazing trail with spectacular views, seclusion and serenity. For the past 15 years, I have walked and biked the Mount Vernon Trail thousands of times, but in all of those excursions, I never ventured down any of the trailhead markers for the Potomac Heritage Trail. For my research, I spent eight hours on this trail, hiking over 20 miles. I was completely enamored, amazed and awe-struck. I discovered waterfalls, 50+-foot high rock wall faces, boulder outcroppings, gorgeous water views, beautiful rocky streams, wildlife and more. How could I have never explored so many nearby treasures? In all my time on the Potomac Heritage Trail, I encountered maybe 30 or 40 people; I pass that many people on the Mount Vernon trail in five minutes. I feel like I’ve discovered a hidden paradise. The 10.8-mile (one-way) Potomac Heritage Trail runs from Roosevelt Island to the American Legion Bridge and stands as a testament to the beauty of our local landscape. This hidden, natural trail winds alongside the Potomac River for roughly 8 miles, providing a constant supply of eye-candy with each step. This hike starts at Theodore Roosevelt Island Parking Area and passes by Windy Run, the Gulf Branch Nature Center, Donaldson Run, Fort Marcy, The Parkway Headquarters, Turkey Run, Dead Run, Scott’s Run Nature Preserve and the American Legion Bridge. The hike is isolated, so hike with a friend, and if you do not have an entire day to hike, split it up by arranging for a pick-up and parking a car at one end. There is parking and trail access at: Theodore Roosevelt Island Parking Area (arrive early on the weekends, it fills up fast), the Gulf Branch Nature Center, intersection of N. Glebe and Chain Bridge Rd., Fort Marcy, Parkway Headquarters, Turkey Run and Swinks Mill Road. If you have to split the hike into segments, I most recommend the segment from Roosevelt Island to Fort Marcy, and the segment from just before Turkey Run to the American Legion Bridge. Most active dogs will do fine on this trail, but older and smaller dogs may need some help or to be carried.

Did you hike it? Please stop by our Facebook page to leave some of your own feedback, www.facebook.com/novadog.

View of DC from Mile 2 along the trail.

Due to the detailed directions needed to properly navigate this hike, complete instructions are listed on our blog, available at http:// novadogmagazine.com/blog/?p=3089. Please consult the blog before following the brief overview below. Though some areas are confusing, overall the trail is very well marked with small, brown wooden signs with yellow lettering, as well as with green blazes. From the start at Theodore Roosevelt Island Parking Area, head north towards the Key Bridge. Immediately before the bridge ramp, take the small trail to the right labeled Potomac Heritage Trail. You’ll head down along the river on a narrow dirt path. The path starts out level and easy for about one mile, then it becomes rocky and rugged and has significant elevation changes. You’ll pass under Key Bridge, see several waterfalls, and even encounter a rope swing! Donaldson Run provides a gorgeous view and a great stream to cool off in after the climb. Walk alongside Chain Bridge (see blog for this tricky section), then follow signs to Fort Marcy. The trail then becomes well marked as it travels along the GW Parkway. Look for a grove of native pawpaw trees, as well as beautiful, serene views of the Potomac, which along this segment has lovely rock and grass “islands” emerging from the calm surface. You’ll see a small sign for the Parkway Headquarters at about Mile 6.5; there are restrooms here and a bit further up at Turkey Run Park. You’ll then pass Turkey Run, a lovely little stream, at Mile 8, and big, bold Dead Run, a breathtaking stream filled with gi-

Angela and Maggie on the trail at Turkey Run.

ant boulders, at Mile 9. One mile further, you’ll pass under the American Legion Bridge. After the bridge you’ll come to a foot bridge; take a left after crossing it and go up the hill. You’ll come out on Live Oak Drive in a residential area. Turn left and follow it to Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, accessible at Langley Swim Club. Follow Woodland Trail, bearing right at the two junctions, then turn right onto Loop Trail and follow it to Swinks Mill Trailhead Parking Area. ND TRAIL SPECIFICS

Park Hours: Most of the parking areas listed are open dawn to dusk. Hike Distance: 10.8 miles one way. 21.6 out and back. Time: 4 hours one-way (10.8 miles) Fido-Friendly Features: Tons of water access and streams. Lots of easily accessible sandy beach areas along the Potomac for swimming and fetching sticks. Very secluded. 80% shaded. Use: Hikers, runners, on-leash dogs. Best time to go: Anytime. Very secluded trail, low traffic. Parking areas are multi-use however and fill quickly on weekends. Rated: 3-4 paws. Parts are strenuous. Some areas require scrambling over rocks and roots, and there are some steep ascents.

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert

www.novadogmagazine.com

27


WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories

Madelyn,

age 4 months, is loved by Iva and Adam in Woodbridge, Va.

Adopted on: September 21, 2014 Adopted from: Mutt Love Rescue, www.muttloverescue.org How did she get her name? We’ve always liked the name Mad-

elyn, and it just seemed to fit her.

You picked her because... We couldn’t resist that sweet face! Favorite activity together: Trying to see who gets to the shoe first. She usually wins!

Favorite treat or snack: She loves cheddar cheese training

treats.

Favorite toy: She hasn’t picked a favorite yet but, needless to say, right now it’s anything she can put in her mouth.

You love her because...She gives unconditional love! ND Mutt Love Rescue is a non-profit, no-kill, volunteer dog rescue organization serving the Washington, DC, metro area. They are dedicated to rescuing dogs left homeless, whatever the reason—dogs in public shelters where they are at high risk of euthanasia due to pet overpopulation, dogs given up by their owners because of difficult circumstances, and those in danger of abuse or neglect. Find out more at www.muttloverescue.org.

28 Northern Virginia Dog

| Fall 2014


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NOVADog Magazine Fall 2014  

The Ultimate Guide to Canine-Inspired Living in the DC Metro

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