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novadog Fall 2017





Sniffing Out Victory!

Introducing dogs and their humans to the fun of K9 Nose Work

nose ISSUE

Also Inside: The Science of Canine Medical Scent Detection Why We Rely on Canine Noses for Critical Tasks Hit the Trail: Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Segment 3


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s we enter this wonderful season, we have the perfect time to think about all the things we planned on doing this year, and the perfect chance to actually finish that resolution list we made on New Year’s. Mine includes a focus on the basics, such as just being present in the moment, taking more walks along the Potomac, taking Maggie out for a hike in the Shenandoah, and finishing the CCT. I think I can accomplish that, or at least come really close! I did challenge myself to a 400 mile bike ride, but it looks like that will have to wait another year. On a serious note, the past number of months provided many challenges from Mother Nature. It will take a long time to recover from the series of hurricanes that brought hardships and, in some cases, complete devastation to many areas of the country. In this issue, we felt it was important to shine a spotlight on some of the many organizations and individuals who aided in relief efforts. I am so thankful to everyone who helped in any way they could to raise funds, save animals, make room in the shelters, and more. We’ve also included ways you can continue to help the severely impacted areas on their hard path to

recovery. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do. The Nose Knows is the theme that is interwoven throughout this issue. Inside these pages you’ll get you an up-close and personal look at the amazing canine nose, some insight into how it works and how to keep it healthy, as well as some fun facts about the cool stuff dogs can do with that adorable, wet snout! And I just can’t sign out of this letter without mentioning that last month we produced the 3rd Annual GlowDogGlow 5K on September 23rd. For this year’s event, we again teamed up with the amazing group at FOHA’s Barktoberfest, and it was a GLOWING success. Together we helped raise funds for homeless animals. Thank you to all of the kind participants and sponsors. Our largerthan-life glow stations lit up the race course as participants finished laps to earn glow swag. It is truly a labor of love that I adore producing. I think I’m still tired from it, but every missed hour of sleep, each ache and pain, was worth it. Thanks to the whole team for pulling off such a wonderful event. It was my best Saturday night in a long time! Wrapping up this issue, you’ll find the Hit

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the Trail article with details for hiking the third segment of the CCT. I hope you make time to enjoy it with your favorite pooch in the next few months: some highlights include Lake Accotink and Wakefield Parks. Finally, in our Canine Calendar you’ll find enough activities to keep you and your dog having fun ‘til we ring in 2018. Angela


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


PUBLISHER Angela Hazuda Meyers | MANAGING EDITOR Joseph Grammer | CREATIVE DIRECTOR Janelle Welch | CONTRUBUTORS Eric M. Cryan, D.V.M, Angela Meyers, Joseph Grammer, Heidi Meinzer, JD, CPDT-KSA, CNWI, and Taylor Ham

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.

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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 © 2017 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 for more information. Send change of address information to P.O. Box 239, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, 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. Visit us on the Web at

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

contents Fall 2017

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


14 S  niffing Out Victory!

Introducing dogs and their humans to the fun of K9 Nose Work. By Heidi Meinzer

18 TThe  hePromising Dog-ter is In Science of Canine Cancer Detection By Taylor Ham

14 D E PA RT M E N T S


A glimpse into the lives of Northern Virginia dogs

News, information, and products




Answers to your behavior and training questions


Hurricane relief efforts

On the cover: Sam is an 8-year-old American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Dalmatian mix. Photo courtesy of Nikki Cheshire.



Hiking with your dog

12 PETCENTRIC PEOPLE 28 WAGS TO RICHES Hanging with DC metro’s dog-crazy crowd

Adoption success stories

18 Read Lucy’s adoption success story on page 28.



N ew s , i nfo rm ati on , a n d p ro d u c ts

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E X P E R T  A D V I C E

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

The Dog’s Nose Knows Here’s why we are still reliant upon canine noses for critical tasks By Eri c M . C r y a n , D .V.M


uring this powerful and tragic hurricane season, one beacon of hope after the storms has been NoVa’s own Virginia Task Force 1. Fairfax County’s Fire and Rescue department sponsors this domestic and international disaster response resource. They have state-of-the -art technology to help with the location and rescue of people after a disaster strikes, but no piece of technology is more valuable than the canine companions that travel with them. These dogs use their unrivaled sense of smell to locate trapped survivors of natural disasters that are out of sight and sound of their human handlers. Similarly, our custom and border patrols utilize canines to track down the illegal smuggling of food, people, animals, and illicit

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substances. The Department of Homeland Security and other police forces have canines trained in explosive detection. Why, in this day and age with the advanced technologies available to us, are we still reliant upon canine noses for such critical tasks? The answer lies in the canine’s unique biological adaptations that give it its exceptional sense of smell.

Superior Sense of Smell It is hard to quantify how superior the canine sense of smell is when compared to our own. While experts disagree on how many orders of magnitude a dog’s sense of smell excels our own, we can all marvel at the amazing tasks they are able to perform

with this special power. When dogs breathe, they do not merely sample the air for respiration as humans do. Instead, they divert a significant proportion of the inspired air solely for analysis by their olfactory organ system. Canines have hundreds of millions more olfactory receptors in this pathway than the typical six million that humans possess, and this information is relayed to a much larger dedicated area of the brain in the dog. The end result is a system that is thousands of times more sensitive than our own, which can detect odors in parts per billion, or even parts per trillion. We harness this ability so that dogs can alert us to the presence of explosives at a security checkpoint, or the presence of cancer cells that are otherwise undetectable in a person. One of the most amazing applications of the canine olfactory system is its ability to track people and animals and identify their source of direction, often after many hours or days have passed. Trained bloodhounds can focus on a unique smell and ignore the thousands of other odors to follow this path through many obstacles—even water. This talent to discriminate the direction of a trail after a significant time lapse is one of the most remarkable features of the dog’s superior sense of smell. Humans, of course, rely on all their senses to navigate their environment, but most agree that people are a visually dependent species. To evaluate a person’s vision during an eye exam, the person typically stands twenty feet away from an eye chart and reads the smallest line possible. If a dog had a visual advantage as great as its sense of smell (minimum 10,000 times more

Why, in this day and age with the advanced technologies available to us, are we still reliant upon canine noses for such critical tasks? The answer lies in the canine’s unique biological adaptations that give it its exceptional sense of smell. sensitive on the low end) the dog would take the eye exam from at least Quantico, Virginia, when you took one twenty feet away in Washington, DC. This amazing biological tool is something that technology is currently incapable of replicating in sensitivity. That is why these critical tasks are delegated to man’s best friend: they have the nose for the job. ND Dr Cryan is the founder and chief veterinarian of NoVa Mobile Vet, NoVa’s premier at home veterinary hospital offering sick visits, wellness visits, digital X-rays, dentistry, and surgery all from the comfort and convenience of your home. He currently resides in Springfield where he is married to his wife Alicia and lives with their three children, guide dog dropout Bliss, and two cats. Contact or call 1-866-946-PETS (7387).

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L o c a l s t o r ie s a n d e v e n t s we’ ve sni f f ed out

NOVA Heals Canine Hardship in Hurricane Season By Jo sep h G r a m m er


urricane Harvey has flooded and destroyed many communities in southern Texas and other parts of America. More than 100,000 homes have been damaged, dozens of people have died, and many more people are still in need. It will take a long time to rebuild and recover from the effects of this storm. Similarly, Hurricanes Irma and Maria have caused massive amounts of chaos. Altogether, these three hurricanes have killed over 200 people and cost billions in property damage.

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Many dogs have suffered because of these storms, too. Pets in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico have been made homeless, gotten lost, or even injured during the disasters. Thankfully, canine rescue organizations have swooped in from all around the country to help these pups. In many cases, they took in dogs who lived in shelters in the hurricane-affected regions. These animals need our community’s help to recover from trauma and find a better life. Here are a few organizations around

NOVA who have been leading the charge to help our (distant) neighbors. Please support them in any way you can!

ABOVE AND OPPOSITE PAGE: LRCP has helped rehome many Labs displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (Photos courtesy of LRCP.)

Max and Erica Scherzer, together with the HRA, have enabled many pets who survived Harvey to find homes. (Photos courtesy of the Scherzers and HRA.)

The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) in DC has been taking in shelter dogs from storm-affected areas of Texas and Florida. This makes room for new animals in those local shelters and provides a vital link in the chain for canine rescue operations. It also eases some of the burden on those local shelter providers. The HRA also sent a team to hurricaneaffected regions in Texas, and even helped the ASPCA set up a temporary emergency shelter for displaced pets. Consider adopting one of these survivor dogs and giving them a safe, happy home! Washington Nationals pitching star Max Scherzer and his wife Erica graciously paid for the adoption fees of many animals who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. They work closely with the HRA and have done wonders to raise awareness about the benefits of rescue pets in general. Erica Scherzer told NOVADog Magazine, “We had hoped to help get 50 animals adopted, and instead 175 found homes! There were even some rabbits, a chinchilla, and a rooster adopted!” Their actions helped ease the burden in shelters down in Texas, and they brightened the lives of local families in NOVA who now have some wonderful pups! “We’d like to say just how incredibly thankful we are to the community for supporting HRA and adopting so many animals. Without the community’s support HRA wouldn’t have been able to take in so many animals from Texas, Alabama, and now the South Carolina/ Florida area from Irma. Every chance we can get the word out to adopt and support organizations like HRA is great!” Visit them online at www.humanerescue The Lab Rescue (LRCP) in Annandale, VA, has rescued 26 dogs in their initial efforts in Texas, but they plan to return to “lend a paw” again. All their rescues have received additional vet care, and roughly half have moved on to foster homes in the NOVA area, with more expected to do so soon. Thankfully, they have had several adoptions as well, and are planning on more to come.


The Humane Society has been directly rescuing, transporting, and caring for hurricane-affected dogs. (Photos courtesy of HSUS.)

“Lab Rescue LRCP was pleased to be able to reach beyond our mid-Atlantic intake area to lend assistance to the dogs in need in the Houston area. We were delighted to have so many people step forward to lend their support by fostering, adopting, and funding veterinary needs. Those who are interested in our continued efforts can learn more at www.” The Humane Society had plenty of boots on the ground to help displaced pets as soon as Harvey happened. They have been at the forefront of the pet rescue operations there and rightly deserve praise. They were also immediate responders to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, so please donate to this dedicated group and help them rescue more pets who need forever homes! You can also follow their progress @HumaneSociety and @HSIGlobal and share their latest posts from The HSUS and Humane Society International Facebook pages. And if you’re willing to help with your hands as well as your wallet, please sign up to volunteer with The Animal Rescue Team and “be on the front

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ABOVE (CLOCKWISE): Olde Towne Pet Resort hosted an adoption event to match rescued pups with new forever homes. Soco with Ashley, Finn with his new family, and Mudd and Grommitt with their two new families.

lines for animals.” Visit them online at www. The Prince William Humane Society (PWHS) has taken in at least 30 dogs from shelters in Florida that were impacted by Hurricane Irma, with about 20 of them being moved to a county shelter. Adoptions have already started for these wonderful pups, but please reach out if you need a lifelong companion! Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has taken in 13 shelter dogs who survived Hurricane Harvey, and over 50 from areas impacted by Hurricane Irma. At their last count, they have already adopted out 33 of these dogs, but please help the rest of them find a forever home as well! Visit them online at www.luckydoganimal As part of Olde Towne Pet Resort’s ongoing efforts to assist with all of the animals displaced by both Harvey and Irma, Olde Towne Pet Resort has partnered with Operation Paws for Homes and Lucky Dog Animal

Rescue to host fosters and facilitate adoptions. On Saturday, September 16th, Olde Towne Pet Resort’s Springfield resort played host to an adoption event to match pups with their forever homes. Visit them online at www. What can you do? Donate, volunteer, and raise awareness in your area!

Let’s keep these rescue dogs safe and find them a better forever home! ND Joseph Grammer is Managing Editor for NOVADog Magazine. He lives in Alexandria, VA, but grew up in New Jersey with a bunch of adopted dogs, including a mutt (Blizzard) who he found on the street.



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

The Team Who Takes Care of Your Dogs at Home By Josep h G r a m m er

We love sitting down with canine experts to get the story behind where they are now, such as how they landed in the animal industry, what drives them, and how their passion for pets brings out meaning in their lives. This issue we talk with Karen Rosenberg, owner and operator of KSR Pet Care, which serves the McLean and Falls Church area with dog walking and pet sitting services that focus on in-home care. Last year they started the KSR Pet Care Dog Training school, which offers both group and private lessons. Karen’s family includes three dogs—Lexie, Jiffie, and Cody—as well as a cat named Harry.

NOVADog Magazine: Why is it important to care for dogs in their own home? Karen Rosenberg: We’ve noticed that most dogs are just like cats: they like to stay in their own house, in their own environment. I’m not against dog boarding at all, and in fact we refer clients to boarding situations sometimes, but we notice that especially adult and senior dogs have an attachment to home. On top of that, it’s important for puppies to have a routine, which you can only really get in a place they’re familiar and comfortable with.

them work with clients’ dogs. For example, I’m visiting a dog later, and I asked our trainer Kathryn to come with me. Together we found a way of leashing the dog, Max, and getting him out on a walk. When Max sees a stranger, he runs away, and the client doesn’t use a collar and doesn’t crate him. If you grab Max’s harness, he freaks out and tries to escape. It’s a tough situation, but Kathryn literally warms up some hot dogs, approaches him, and every time he comes closer we give him some more. That’s been helpful so far.

ND: How important is communication for you? KR: We leave a written report for every single visit. And we don’t just check boxes, either—we leave sentences. Today we noticed this or that on the walk, he started nipping grass, etc. Sitters may text with the client, too, and they can send pictures. Sometimes they do this on a daily basis. It all depends on the client. Some people don’t want to hear everything, and other people do. Right now I’m taking care of Ernie, a dog who has mouth cancer. His family is gone for a whole month, so we’ve been monitoring his vitals frequently. We’ve got a group email list going to keep our team posted on his condition. For example, “He got his pill today, but he didn’t eat, so he still needs food.” If the owner wants to know, we’ll always send updates.

ND: What are your own dogs like? KR: All of my dogs were rescues, so it was tough for them in the beginning. Lexi, my Shepherd, came from South Carolina—she was almost killed back then. Luckily a rescue stepped up, and she became ours. I saw her picture when she was first picked up from Animal Control, and she was skin and bones. She’d been put in an apartment with another dog and several cats, and the Animal Control report said they were surprised the cats were not eaten, because the conditions were so bad. Lexi was scared for a while; blue mailboxes would freak her out, for example. But it was really rewarding to see her grow over time. She still has her quirks, but we’re finding ways to keep her happy. She really loves what we have to offer, even if she isn’t 100% acclimated, and the same is true for all dog training: it’s not about creating the perfect dog without any fears or quirks. That doesn’t exist.

ND: What issues do you often see when running your dog training classes? KR: A client is often like, “This and this is wrong—here’s a whole list.” But our trainers guide them, tell them, “Let’s start here.” The beginning is just a bit of obedience training. If there’s a counter surfer, for example, we may not start with that issue first. We’ll start by getting them to walk and exercise well. We fix the listening bond between dog and parent that is at the core of the issue. That doesn’t happen overnight. We have a trainer who works with our dog walkers and helps

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ND: What would you say to an aspiring dog walker? KR: Learn on the job and make time for it. If the dog you’re in charge of ever escapes and gets hit by a car, it’s a tragedy for everyone, so walkers need to make that investment and really train. If you have another job at Starbucks, you may not be able to handle this kind of work at the same time. Flexibility and organization skills are definitely needed, and we have a tough application process. But if you’re committed, you can do it.

Dogs can be energetic, so it takes training to become a professional walker or sitter.

We’re trying to change the idea that pet sitting is just for a little while—it can be a rewarding career, and you can make a living out of it. Also, because I know how challenging it can be, I insist that my sitters take time off. If they haven’t taken vacation in a while, I tell them to go do it. That flexibility is important, though. There are often last-min-

ute changes from the owner, and of course the dogs may have their issues. Sometimes there’s a fearful dog who won’t walk. In that case, the sitter will just sit on the couch, and several visits might pass where the dog is still fearful. Then all of a sudden the relationship changes, and the dog trusts you. Those are the most rewarding times, because it shows that even if you don’t understand their language, dogs can trust you. When you see that change, that click in their head like, “I can trust you and go on a walk with you,” it makes us really feel good. That’s what being a dog walker is about. Please visit or email info@ksrpetcare. com to learn more about KSR’s dog walking, pet sitting, and training services. ND Joseph Grammer is managing editor for NOVADog Magazine. He lives in Alexandria, VA, but grew up in New Jersey with a bunch of adopted dogs, including a mutt (Blizzard) who he found on the street.

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Sniffing Out Victory! Introducing dogs and their humans to the fun of K9 Nose Work.

B y H e i d i Me i n ze r, J D , C P D T- K S A , C N W I


first heard of Nose Work when I started volunteering at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria shelter years ago. Busting dogs out of their kennels to hunt for hotdogs ended up being a great form of enrichment for them. But for whatever reason, I hadn’t yet realized that my own dogs could benefit from Nose Work.

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Sam is an 8-year-old American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Dalmatian mix. Photo courtesy of Nikki Cheshire.


Boomer, a 7 ½-year-old English Lab, performs at the NW3 trial at Prince William County Forest Park in 2015, where he earned a title. Photo courtesy of Canine Copilots, LLC.

Shortly after that, I took a position as a dog trainer with Fur-Get Me Not, an award-winning dog training, pet sitting, dog walking, and boarding facility in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington County. Tammy Rosen, the owner of Fur-Get Me Not, and Vivian Leven, the Training Director, heard about a trainer named Jacy Kelley with Canine Copilots, who used to handle military working dogs in the Army and was spreading the word about K9 Nose Work® around the area. Tammy and Vivian thought this sport would be a great addition to Fur-Get Me Not’s training program, which focuses on helping dogs integrate into their families using fun and creative methods with no force or coercion. Fur-Get Me Not followed up with Jacy, a Certified Nose Work Instructor with the National Association of Canine Scent Work (NACSW), to train the trainers, and we brought our dogs along to learn the ropes. I have two totally different dogs—Sophie, a beautiful but skittish and reactive German Shepherd, and Boomer, a happy-go-lucky Lab. Both of the dogs really enjoyed learning how to hunt and search. At first Sophie was nervous, even though she was used to the training facility and almost everyone except Jacy. Once she got accustomed to searching for food hidden in and around cardboard boxes, she ended up really coming out of her shell. Boomer was a different story. He loves food and using his nose, and he showed great potential from the very beginning. Unfortunately, he loved something else at least as much searching for food. Just about every time he entered a search area, he would mark all over everything before he got down to the business of food hunting. Fortunately, Jacy knew exactly how to handle this, so she gave Boomer short, quick

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searches in small areas—and I gave Boomer lots and lots of potty breaks before and during class. Our dogs started to get the hang of it. One of the training exercises involved finding food underneath a pile of cardboard boxes, and when Sophie entered the facility one day, she pulled the leash right out from my hands and ran to the other end of the room to dive into the boxes. That was the moment I was sold—if an activity like K9 Nose Work® could bring that much of a transformation to Sophie, imagine what it could do for other dogs in Fur-Get Me Not’s classes. I decided to attend K9 Nose Work® camp in the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania to learn more about the sport and the National Association of Canine Scent Work. After that, I committed to becoming a Certified Nose Work Instructor, and Fur-Get Me Not built up its K9 Nose Work® program. Fur-Get Me Not now has four six-week courses, taking dogs from the first stages of learning to hunt for food or toys in cardboard boxes, to searching for birch inside and outside. Since the beginning of its program in 2012, Fur-Get Me Not has had the pleasure of introducing well over 200 dogs and their humans to the fun of K9 Nose Work®. They’ve also integrated it into some of Fur-Get Me Not’s behavior programs, such as Reactive Dog and Confidence Building. If there’s anything that can help a dog overcome an issue like a lack of confidence or reactivity to other dogs, it is his own nose. Time and time again, we see dogs who are dog-reactive completely ignore another pup if there is a nearby pile of cardboard boxes and hotdogs. Dogs who lack confidence or impulse control will turn on their noses and suddenly focus on the task of searching. One such dog

Dogs who lack confidence or impulse control will turn on their noses and suddenly focus on the task of searching. was Emma, an English setter mix. Her owner, Betsy Davies, adopted her when she was already nine years old. Emma came with significant behavior issues, including resource guarding and a general lack of confidence. Betsy patiently worked with her and took her to training classes, including Fur-Get Me Not’s K9 Nose Work®. As Betsy and Emma’s relationship grew through the class, so did Emma’s trust in Betsy. Ultimately, Emma quit resource guarding, as she learned she did not have to protect her things from her human any more. Working with her nose really allowed Emma to blossom—and likely saved her life. Although many people use K9 Nose Work® as a fun activity for their dogs at home, many have been “bitten by the bug” and compete in the sport of K9 Nose Work®. Many dog sports can be quite competitive and stressful, but K9 Nose Work® happens to be an incredibly open sport with a very supportive atmosphere. As a testament to this kindly culture, the National Association of Canine Scent Work has set aside a special award called the Harry Award, which is given to the rescue dog who demonstrates extraordinary ability and spirit at each and every NW1 trial. I myself caught the “bug” and have traveled as far as Massachusetts and North Carolina to compete with Boomer. The first trial we entered was actually the first K9 Nose Work® trial ever in Virginia, sponsored by Jacy Kelley and Canine Copilots. I remember doing the walkthrough before the trial began and seeing the Exterior search area: a grassy patch near a shed that had served as a potty area for the dogs the day before. My heart sunk, knowing Boomer’s weakness for marking. But training with Jacy had paid off, and Boomer never even thought of marking the place. Instead, he went right to the birch hide and completed his search successfully! My skills (or lack thereof) in the Container search kept us from netting our NW1 title that day. Having never participated in canine sports of any kind, I wasn’t sure if it was proper for me to go to the Awards Ceremony at the end of the day, since we didn’t title. However, I was assured that all were welcome there, and lo and behold, we won second place for the Interior search that day! Boomer and I succeeded in titling at our next NW1 trial, and continued competing at the NW2 level. At NW2, Container searches become much more challenging because the search area includes actual containers like luggage and backpacks, and can have distractors like food in some of the containers. By that point, I had gotten better at using a long line so that I could work further away from Boomer. Dur-

Hunter is a 3-year-old DDR German Shepherd who passed Odor Recognition Tests for birch, anise, and clove. Soon he’ll be competing professionally! Photo courtesy of Nikki Cheshire.

ing the Container search, I remember just hanging back and watching Boomer work. He got right to business, checking the bags in a disciplined counter-clockwise pattern, and quickly located the bag with the odor. Many dog-and-handler teams didn’t pass that element that day—but Boomer got first place in the search! Watching him work and do what he was made to do was certainly magical. Now we’re competing at the NW3 level and enjoying every minute of it! Being part of the team to support him never ceases to amaze me. If you haven’t given K9 Nose Work® a try, your dog will thank you if you do! When you’re looking for classes, be sure to pick a place that teaches in a safe environment and allows each dog to work one at a time in the search area. Also, don’t take it too fast. Let the dog learn how to search in a number of areas and situations, including indoors and outdoors, both with containers and vehicles. Adding the odor is the easy part! In Northern Virginia, there are plenty of places to exercise your dog’s wonderful nose, but only certain places have instructors who are Certified Nose Work Instructors (CNWIs) with the NACSW. Whether you want to compete or not, look for classes instructed by a CNWI. These professionals have successfully completed a rigorous program that includes coursework and lectures, logging over 75 hours of instruction and training. You can find a CNWI near you here: http:// or Dogs love to use their noses, so why not give them a chance to practice? ND Heidi Meinzer is a lawyer who focuses on small businesses, nonprofits, and animal law. She has two dogs, Sophie and Boomer, and competes in K9 Nose Work® trials. Contact her at


The Dog-ter is In

18 Northern Virginia Dog

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The Promising Science of Canine Medical Scent Detection By Tay l or Ham

Meet Stewie. Stewie is a seven-year-old Australian Shepherd with a passion for Frisbee, tennis balls, and the ability to detect early stage lung, ovarian, and breast cancer. To see her work is to feel an extraordinary sense of hope. She is confident and eager as she enters the lab room and moves among the samples laid out before her, sniffing each in turn before decisively sitting down in front of one, her tail twitching eagerly at the tennis ball reward she knows will come. This incredible girl is part of a team of dogs—many of whom have been rescued—who go to work every day to help researchers advance the science of medical scent detection that will one day save lives.

Cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States. It is a disease that has touched so many of our lives, and yet one that we know tragically little about at its earliest stages. Despite technological advances, there are still no accurate screening methods to detect the beginnings of many potentially treatable cancers. The screening methods that are used today are not only costly, but also carry the risk of false negative or false positive results, both of which can be devastating to a patient and his or her family. As the medical community continues to search for solutions, a growing number are turning their attention to a surprising source of hope—man’s best friend. Trained dogs like Stewie can sniff out cancer in its earliest (and latest) stages.

The Numbers and The Nose Can dogs really detect cancer? According to Dina Zaphiris, who has now trained more than 50 dogs to do it, the answer is an emphatic yes. “People who have read the research agree that there is no denying that


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dogs can do it,” she says. Dina is Stewie’s human partner; a professional dog trainer who gave up a successful career as a behavioral expert and trainer to the stars in Los Angeles to dedicate her life to advancing the science of medical detection using the amazing olfactory sense of dogs. For Dina, this mission is personal. Shortly after her own mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, she was contacted by Dr. Michael McCulloch to collaborate with the Pine Street Foundation on a study that involved training dogs to detect early and late stage lung and breast cancer through sniffing breath samples of patients. In this double blind study, five dogs were trained to detect cancer by ignoring healthy control samples and sitting or lying down next to the one originating from a patient diagnosed with cancer. The results were astounding. In a matter of months, five ordinary household pets with only basic obedience training were detecting lung cancer with 99% accuracy and breast cancer with 88% accuracy, with almost no false positives in either case. Even more promising is that the dog’s ability to detect cancer was consistent across all four stages of the disease with no change in accuracy levels. The results of this first study were published in 2006 in the peer reviewed Journal of Integrative Cancer Therapies, and were a springboard for more than 500 replication and validation studies conducted throughout the world. The significance of this early research is in proving that volatile organic compounds in cancer cells actually have a smell, and that dogs can be trained to recognize it by sniffing human samples. Currently,

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Put Your Paw In Inspired by the heroic feats of medical scent detection dogs? You can support these amazing pups and the people who work with them by donating to research centers like the In Situ Foundation ( and the Penn Vet Working Dog Center ( edu/research/centers-initiatives/penn-vet-working-dogcenter). Or consider supporting a local service dog organization that trains and places medical alert dogs with families who need them. Check out www.servicedogsva. org and

Nose on over to the best vet in Loudoun County... 2017

Beyond Cancer While canine cancer detection is contained largely to the lab at this point, many dogs are already putting their noses to work to helping their humans manage a range of other medical conditions in amazing ways: • Diabetes: Specially trained service dogs placed with diabetic individuals can detect the high and low blood sugar well before an electronic monitor, simply by sniffing the sweat of their human handlers. •U  TI Infections: Research has shown that dogs can be trained to detect the presence of E. Coli in urine samples—bacteria that can cause significant medical problems, particularly for individuals with neurological issues and the elderly. •A  llergens: Individuals with peanut or other lifethreatening allergies may gain freedom and peace of mind from a service dog trained to alert to the presence of invisible allergens in the air. •A  ddison’s Disease: Dogs have been trained to detect minute hormone-related odor changes to alert sufferers of Addison’s of a potential oncoming crisis, or the need for medication.

doctors use sight, sound and touch to diagnose cancer in patients, often at more advanced stages of the disease. The results of this research have the potential to change the way we go about diagnosing disease by adding a fourth sense—smell—to help us detect cancer even in its earliest stages. This could mean finding ways to integrate working dogs directly, or learning from their extraordinary scenting abilities to develop new screening tools that function as “electronic noses” to sniff out chemical compounds that signal the presence of cancer. Dina ended up losing her mom to cancer during this time; an emotional event that changed the course of her life. She moved from Los Angeles to Chico, California, to be closer to UC Davis, where she began collaborating in earnest on creating a center for bio-detection. “I would give up anything to do this and see it done,” she says.

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Despite its promise, the road to realizing the practical benefits of this research can seem painfully slow. Barriers to advancing the science of


the selection, training, and handling of a medical scent detection dog, and now offers certification for dog trainers interested in learning the techniques.

Envisioning The Future

The detection process is scientifically rigorous.

canine medical detection include persistent misinformation, a general lack of awareness, and funding constraints preventing the undertaking of more large-scale studies. Limited funding and little collaboration between the key players also allow for a continued level of skepticism. “The problem with the science is that dog trainers are not doctors and doctors are not dog trainers,” Dina says. “All of us—olfactory scientists, dog trainers, PhDs, and medical professionals need to help each other move this forward in a meaningful way.” In an attempt to address these issues, Dina founded the In Situ Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that collaborates with medical centers and universities to conduct research in canine medical detection. The Foundation has created the first medical protocol for

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When referring to cancer, “in situ” means cancer cells that have not metastasized, or spread. Dina’s vision is that one day dogs will be able to provide an effective, low-cost, and non-invasive screening method for early stage cancer that will give patients an opportunity to be treated early and go on to live their lives cancer free. The next big step for In Situ is to bring the science to life in a practical way, a prospect fraught with legal barriers. “It is really frustrating to see your dogs do something amazing everyday and not be able to use it to help people,” Dina says. She believes that eventually our society will have to take the risk in screening people. In Chico, that leap will happen soon, as In Situ teams up with local fire departments to screen breath samples from firefighters—a population that has three times the likelihood of developing cancer than the general public. “When I was little,” Dina remembers, “my mom made a rule in the house that I wasn’t allowed to say ‘what if.’ But only the people who say ‘what if’ have found cures, treatments, and screenings. Someone has to take the risk. I say, ‘What if this is possible?’” ND Taylor Ham is a writer and dog lover who spends her free time exploring new places and smells with her rescue hound, Daisy.


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

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CANINE CALENDAR to ride, dog adoption centers, a presentation by Fauquier County Sheriffs’ K9 Unit, and arts and crafts. Contact 540-422-8550 or

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


October 21

Barktoberfest, 12 PM – 5 PM Mariners’ Museum Park, Newport News, VA Barktoberfest (formerly Paws for a Cause) is the Peninsula SPCA’s annual fundraiser to benefit homeless animals! This family-friendly event will include rescues, vendors, exhibitors, and community partners—and of course, our annual dog walk! New this year will be some fun fall activities: live music and a craft-brew beer garden! As always, all proceeds will benefit the animals and programs of the Peninsula SPCA. Although festival goers do not need to participate in the dog walk to attend, it’s a fun thing to do! General Admission is $5/person—buy 3, get 1 free! Learn more at You can also contact 757-595-1399 or HowlOWeen Pawty Northern Fauquier Community Park 4155 Monroe Parkway Marshall, Virginia 20115 Bring your kids and your four legged friends to this FREE fun filled day of Halloween delight. There will be costume contests for the kids and dogs, so make sure they are dressed in their Halloween best. There will also be a magician, cloggers, a moon bounce, food vendors, a barrel train

Woofie’s Halloween Pet Costume Party to Help Four-Legged Hurricane Victims, 10 AM – 1 PM Woofie’s pet sitting, dog walking and mobile pet spa service, is hosting a Halloween pet costume contest and party to benefit the US Humane Society in its efforts to help animals impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The fundraiser includes photos of costumed pets taken by Ellen Zangla Photography, an award-winning pet photographer; prizes for the top three costumes with the grand prize winning a custom pet painting by Jill Perla Art; people and pet food; petrelated vendors; and demonstrations of dog tricks by trainer Kelly Knowles. 44200 Waxpool Rd., Ste. 137 Ashburn, Va. (please enter via back entrance) $10 cash or check. All proceeds support the US Humane Society. Attendees will receive a web-optimized photo of their costumed dog or cat. The pet costume contest will be based on Facebook votes once the pictures are posted online after the event. Registration is on-site during the event hours. Reporters interested in covering, contact Shawn Flaherty at 703-554-3609. Tysons Biergarten, 1 PM – 6 PM 8346 Leesburg Pike Help us finish Oktoberfest with a bang! Featuring live music, outdoor games, face painting, and of course delicious Pet friendly. Online: $20 ticket includes 10 tasting tickets, ability to purchase $1 tasting tickets, & color-changing souvenir cup ( At the Door: $30 ticket includes 10 tasting tickets, ability to purchase $1 tasting tickets, & color-changing souvenir cup

October 27

Canine Cruise with the Potomac Riverboat Company, 6 PM, 7:30 PM. Join us aboard our dog-friendly sightseeing cruise around Alexandria’s Seaport. This howling experience is a local favorite. All are invited, with or without a four legged friend. Dogs ride free! Please Note: Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash at all times. Departure Location: Alexandria City Marina 105 North Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Located behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center Cruise Length: 45 minutes Pricing Adults (12+): from $18 Children (2-11): from $12 Dogs & Infants (under 2): free Reservations may be made online or at the ticket booth based on availability. Advance purchases are recommended. For more info, please call 877-511-2628 or visit canine-cruise/. We reserve the right to change boats/schedules at any time.

October 22

OBG HowlOWeen Hayride, 1 PM – 4 PM 21344 Steptoe Hill Road Middleburg, VA 20117 Come out to Lowelands Farm for our 6th Howl-o-ween Hayride fundraiser to benefit Oldies But Goodies Cocker Rescue. Enjoy home made cider and treats, a fall photo with your pup, a hayride, a canine costume contest, and more! $25/adult, kids under 12 (and all dogs) free. All breeds welcome. No extendable leashes please.


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October 29 Dog Fest, 12 PM – 5 PM IX Art Park: 522 2nd St SE, Charlottesville, VA, US, 22902 Free admission. Get your costumes ready for a pawsome Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest! Booths by your favorite local pet businesses! Great food! Lots of rescue pets! And a special microbrew collaboration from Three Notch’d Brewery! It’s fun for the entire family, so make sure it’s on your calendar! Contact: 434-296-7048 21st Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, 2 PM – 4 PM Where: Mt Vernon Ave and Commonwealth, Alexandria, VA Grab Your Ghosts and Goblins and Head to The Avenue! One of Del Ray’s favorite traditions! Please note that both judging for Best Decorated Stroller and registration for Best Pet Costume will begin at 1:30 p.m. The parade begins at Mt. Vernon Avenue, south of E. Bellefonte, and continues down to the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center play fields at Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues. Children, pets, and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. The Parade and all activities are free! For more information contact Gayle Reuter at


November 4

“A Plan for Pets” Workshop, 10 AM-12 PM Animal Welfare League of Alexandria 4101 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304 The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) regularly takes in animals whose owners have passed away or become incapacitated. Without specific direction about their care, these animals often have to wait at the shelter in limbo while we search for and negotiate with the next of kin. An unfamiliar environment and change of routine can cause an animal an extraordinary amount of stress— certainly not the scenario a loving pet owner would wish for their pet. See for more. Home 4 The Holidays DC, 11 AM – 4 PM, Saturday Reston Town Center, Reston, VA. is sponsoring the twelfth annual Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption event on Saturday, November 4th at the Reston Town Center from 11AM – 4PM. 40+ all breed and purebred dog rescue organizations will be on-hand with adoptable dogs awaiting their holiday gift – a family to spend the holidays with!

November 5

Prevent Cancer 5K Walk/Run and Health Fair We need your help to reach our goal of raising $300,000 to support community programs nationwide who are providing free educational and cancer screening programs in underserved communities. Bring your whole family including grandparents—strollers and dogs are welcome. Add in your friends, co-workers and neighbors, too! Where: Nationals Park and along the beautiful Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. This annual event is hosted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the only U.S. nonprofit organization solely devoted to cancer prevention and early detection. The Foundation invites you to come out for a day of exercise, free screenings and education, and fun for the whole

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family. This year, all kids 10 and under are FREE! After getting your morning exercise at the 5k, stop over to visit the health fair for health and wellness screenings, healthy food, kids activities and so much more!

November 12

Pints for Pups 2017, 1 PM – 4 PM 2444 Pleasure House Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455 Bring your best Furry Friend to COMMONWEALTH BREWING CO. for an afternoon of craft beer, awesome eats, live music, giveaways and more! For each ticket sold, 100% of proceeds benefit the homeless dogs and cats cared for by Virginia Beach SPCA. Tickets: $20/advance & $28/At the Door Buy online at event14713063525287 Ticket purchase is your donation and includes 2 Beer Tickets. Friendly and Pawsitively Well Behaved Dogs Welcome!

November 18

Santa Paws, 1 PM – 3 PM, Saturday Dock5 at Union Market 1309 5th Street NE, Washington DC. Bring your fur buddies to have their photos taken with Santa and have a holiday card that is sure to stand out! Digital photos will be delivered via email after editing has been completed in early to mid-December. Please note: Pets are not allowed inside Dock5 so plan accordingly to shop our amazing merchants and support your community. Doggy daycare will be provided. Hosted by Junior League of Washington. Photo Session: $25 per fur family

November 25

Tysons Beer and Wine Festival, 1 PM – 6 PM Featuring 50+ beers & wines from local breweries and wineries, plus live music, bratwursts, and swag giveaways in a pet-friendly environment! Online: $20 ticket includes 10 tasting tickets, ability to purchase $1 tasting tickets, & color-changing souvenir cup ( At the Door: $30 ticket includes 10 tasting tickets, ability to purchase $1 tasting tickets. & color-changing souvenir cup.


December 1-3 Olde Towne Santa Claws Photos, 8 AM – 5 PM The Kingsley, in partnership with Olde Towne School for Dogs, gives you and your furry companion the chance to take Santa Claus pictures!

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Fri, Nov 24, 2017 - Sat, Jan 06, 2018 Special Event: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens Every day from 9 AM – 4 PM The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s estate. During the day, tour the Mansion, watch historic chocolate-making demonstrations, and meet Aladdin the Christmas Camel. Enjoy special holiday tours and 18th-century dancing, and listen to our resident fifer play holiday tunes. We’re open every day of the year, including Christmas Day and New Years. And we’re pet-friendly! Adult tickets are $20, youth (ages 6-11) are $10. Discounts online! en/ticketing

December 7 Low-cost Rabies & Microchip Clinic, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Animal Welfare League of Arlington, 2650 S. Arlington Mill Dr. Arlington, 22206 Please bring proof of a prior rabies shot (a rabies certificate, not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. Waiting is outdoors, so please dress for the weather. All dogs must be on leash and cats must be in carriers. Waiting is outside so dress appropriately for the weather. Rabies shot: $10.00 24PetWatch MiniChip: $35.00. See for more information. ND


Getting Social With novadog Don’t forget to follow us on social media for event updates, and of course lots of pictures.

Twitter: @novadogmag • Instagram: novadogmagazine

This autumn we’re falling in love with dogs and their cold noses! We asked NOVA to show us your inquisitive canines and where they like to sniff out some fun (or trouble). Thanks to everybody who submitted a picture!



Our GlowDogGlow race had plenty of chances to check out some dog noses!




Logan, Pomeranian, 8 months. Loves sniffing shoes.

Remington, 5-year-old Golden Retriever boy who loves his Greek yogurt.

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Sundae, 8-year-old mutt. Actively collecting sand.

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

Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail Segment 3: Thaiss Park in Fairfax to Byron Avenue Park in Springfield By Angela Meyers


elcome to the third segment of the Cross County Trail! This part of the hike covers 9 miles from the City of Fairfax to Springfield. The CCT doesn’t disappoint, as it continues to provide a unique look at the “Ribbons of Green” running through Fairfax County. Its fresh perspective is one worth exploring. To get a trail overview, refer back to the NOVADog Spring 2017 Issue or review the Fairfax County trail map: http://www. Bring your fully charged phone (with a GPS) and zoom in until you can see the trail. Technology is very helpful in ensuring you stay on track; however, this segment of the CCT was the most easily navigated thus far! At the end of the last article, we concluded Segment 2 at Thaiss Park in Fairfax. For Segment 3, we head south out of Thaiss Park, where the trail quickly runs through Mantua Park. The majority of the trail throughout Segment 3 is paved, but you’ll get nice views of the creek along the entire 9 miles. The first few miles of Segment 3 are particularly scenic and lush, as the CCT runs along Accotink Creek. As you leave Mantua Park, the trail Ts: turn right to stay on the CCT. The trail continues along Accotink Creek, and soon you’ll see a few street crossings. When you cross Prosperity Road, notice the cute park sitting off to your right. As you continue the trail, you’ll pass briefly into Woodburn Road Park. The trail keeps following Accotink Creek, which offers great access points for the pups to hop in the water for a splash or a swim. Take some time

About Your Guide Angela Meyers is the owner of both NOVADog Magazine and a lovely pup named Maggie.

to allow your companions to cool off. As you cross under King Arthur Blvd, you can tell that the trail is well loved. You’ll find a handmade stretching post and picnic table to enjoy the stream. Next you’ll pass through Mill Creek Park, where the trail continues to be scenic and canopy-covered. These first 4 miles of the segment provided solitude, beautiful scenery, and (once again) great stream views. As you reach Wakefield Park, you’ll find yourself at the halfway point of Segment 3. The second half of the trail offers amenities/facilities, views of Wakefield and Accotink Parks, a lovely lake, and a few historic sights. Wakefield Park provides many trail offshoots, as well as Audrey Moore Recreation Center, where you can use the facilities and fill up your water if you need—or enjoy a picnic lunch! You’ll also find a few bridge crossings in Wakefield. NOTE: There was some trail construction that caused a detour off the CCT onto another park trail in late September around this area. The construction looked as though it was almost done, but be aware, as there is no information on the Wakefield Park website regarding this. However, there are signs posted in the park. After you mosey through Wakefield Park, you’ll cross Braddock Road and then quickly return to a stream-side walk. The portion from Wakefield to Accotink is lovely. Be alert throughout this area as it is a popular mountain biking spot. As you approach Lake Accotink, you will be afforded many fine views of the gorgeous 55-acre lake. The late afternoon light shining through the trees and on the lake is simply not to be missed, so please plan ahead to allow Lake Accotink the time it deserves. Season-permitting, you can also enjoy the sandy beach, boating, fishing, carousel, and much more. There are also facilities and amenities at Lake Accotink depending on the time of year: http://

Hunter enjoying his nightly walk on the CCT.

The CCT takes you about halfway around the lake. Past the marina you’ll head out along the levy, down the hill, and take a left into the parking lot. You’ll head under an active railroad, where you can catch a glimpse of the spillway on the other side. There is a trail along the lake, but that is not the CCT. Continue through the entire parking lot to where the trail continues back into the woods. Take the offshoot trail to the left after a ¼ mile to visit the Civil War-era tunnel just a few hundred feet off the trail. When you get back on the CCT, you are on the final mile of the trail, which will end in Byron Avenue Park. Hurray! You have now completed 30 miles of the 40 mile CCT. Join us for the Segment 4 trail notes in the Winter 2017 issue! ND Did you hike it? Please stop by our Facebook page to leave some of your own feedback, TRAIL SPECIFICS

Distance: Create your own length from the 9 miles featured. Fido Friendly Features: Shaded, streamside, stream access, lake. Best time to go: During daylight hours. Access: Parking available at the following Parks: Thaiss Park, Americana Park, Wakefield Park, Accotink Park, and Byron Ave Park. Rated: 2 paws. The trail is not hard. Very easy, no hills, but I give it a 2 for the distance.

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert


WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories

Rescued Dogs Are Waiting for Their Forever Homes Looking to add a family member? A Forever Home Rescue has big dogs, little dogs, gentle dogs and playful dogs ready to be adopted!

Lucy Loved by Sarah Samatulski

Can't adopt? Save a life by fostering, volunteering or donating.

Adopted in: July 2017 Adopted from: A Forever Home, Chantilly, VA

How did she get her name? When I picked her up from the airport and took her out of the crate, her fur was all over the place! She looked like Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons. Since she was a little girl, I couldn’t call her Pigpen, so I named her Lucy. Background info:


Lucy was rescued from Puerto Rico with her sister. I picked them up at Dulles airport as their foster and fell in love with Lucy and her crazy hair at first sight. I adopted her within days of her landing in the US.

We picked her because: Lucy has the best hair! She’s also very lively, happy, and a little sassy Favorite activity together: She loves to play in the yard.

[hurry!] Join the pack. Stay informed.

novadog magazine WINTER WARMER SPECIAL!

She’s still a puppy, so she’s got that crazy puppy energy and loves to play fetch or just run around the yard like a nut!

Favorite treat or snack: Lucy LOVES chicken feet! Favorite toy: She has a frog we call Pepe and another toy called

Mr. Alligator. Both toys are the same shade of green, and for whatever reason she loves them both and always carries them around all day long.

We love her because: Lucy was so tiny when she came. She was a little less than 2 lbs, which is much smaller than her sister. She has grown into a smart, independent puppy, and while she loves to run and play, she also loves to snuggle and cuddle when she’s sleepy. Even after she has grown to almost 9 lbs, she still has that CRAZY HAIR! She’s the best. ND

Don’t Hunt down a copy—have it delivered for only $10! A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation is a non-profit dog rescue group that operates in the Northern Virginia / Washington Metropolitan area., @aforeverhome.

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NOVADog Magazine Fall 2017  

The Ultimate Guide for Canine Inspired Living in the DC Metro

NOVADog Magazine Fall 2017  

The Ultimate Guide for Canine Inspired Living in the DC Metro

Profile for 2hounds

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