novadog Spring 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
Take Your Best Friends
Exploring Virginia’s Vineyards with your Dogs
Also Inside: Safely Medicating Your Pup Pet Food Pantries Help Families In Need
Digital Edition Sponsored by: Becky’s Pet Care Inc.
A NOVADog Group Hike at Great Falls park
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contents Spring 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
12 T ake Your Best Friends Wine Tasting Exploring Virginia’s vineyards with your dogs By Terri Hauser
Feeding a Need
Local food pantry donations help keep families together By Sarah Bagley
12 D E PA RT M E N T S
3 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 4 THE SOURCE
News, information, and products
6 HEALTH WISE
Safely Medicating Spot
8 EXPERT ADVICE On the cover:
Virginia Wine Dogs Ecco and Pomeroy enjoy a romp through vineyards.
22 GET SOCIAL
23 THE SCENE
A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs
24 CANINE CALENDAR
Introducing Dogs and Cats
10 PETCENTRIC PEOPLE
26 HIT THE TRAIL
Hanging with DC Metro’s dog-crazy crowd
Great Falls Park
28 WAGS TO RICHES
Adoption success stories
Read The Colonel’s Wags to Riches adoption success story on page 28. www.novadogmagazine.com
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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 © 2013 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
| Spring 2014
Winner: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 Award of Distinction
don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to spring as much as I have this year. Though a few snow days at home with the kids and Maggie were fun, we quickly grew tired of the frigid cold this winter brought. Springtime in DC is fantastical (my favorite made up word!), and I’m looking forward to getting out and enjoying every minute of it. Two of my favorite dog outings take place in spring: the Cherry Blossom Festival and dog-friendly baseball games. Though I know the crowds around the Tidal Basin can be unbearable, I make a point of taking Maggie to enjoy the flowers and all the amazing scenery the District has to offer. It’s no wonder there are crowds—there’s just nothing like seeing the monuments surrounded by such beauty. My tip—I park out on Haines Point for easier access and walk in along the trees planted there, then do my Tidal Basin loop. Also, going on Monday afternoons for the past five years has worked well. I’m also pleased to hang with the crowds— and their dogs—at the PNats’ Bark in the Park and Nationals’ Pups in the Park games. If you haven’t been, make this the year to do it (buy tickets early, as they always sell out!). Whether
you walk in the Pups on Parade or play fetch on the field after, the games offer plenty of fun activities for dogs and people, as well as a great chance to hang out with fellow NOVADog readers. Just be sure to stop by our table to say hello. If you want to enjoy spring in a more laid-back fashion, check out our article about Virginia wineries (p. 12). A day spent visiting a few wineries, or just lingering a while at one, is a great way to get outside, enjoy time with friends, and take your dogs on a grand adventure. Virginia wines are getting better every year, and you’ll find some real gems (my favorites include the friendly feel that Brian and Sharon have created at BOW, the great open fields for lounging and picnicking at Paradise Springs, and the magnificent views at La Grange). But even if you never take a sip, the chance to enjoy the scenery, explore a new place with your dogs, and briefly escape the city makes the trip totally worthwhile. What’s your favorite way to enjoy spring in NoVa? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter. And I hope to see you and your dogs out enjoying every minute of it.
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Adopt A Forever Friend!
Top 10 Dog Breeds of 2013 Pets Best Insurance’s popular annual survey found mixed-breed dogs solidly hold the No. 1 spot as most popular dogs. In 2013, mixed breeds made up nearly 30 percent of all canines enrolled with the agency. Also of note, the Pets Best rankings show Pit Bulls as the seventh most popular dog of 2013. Based on data from Pets Best, this category includes the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. The category has steadily climbed from 10th place in 2007.
1 Mixed Breed 2 Labrador Retriever 3 Yorkshire Terrier 4 Golden Retriever 5 Chihuahua 6 Shih Tzu 7 Pit Bull 8 Dachshund 9 German Shepherd 10 Maltese and English Bulldog (tie)
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Top 10 Dog Names of 2013 Although the last Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn — Part 2, was released in 2012, the name Bella for a dog or cat shows no signs of slowing down. According to VPI pet insurance, Bella was the most popular name of a canine or feline last year. The company’s annual list is aggregated from its database of almost half a million registered customers.
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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
Safely Medicating Spot Treat your dog’s symptoms without causing more problems By Cher i G a r vin , R .P h .
id you know 37 percent of American households have dogs? The pharmacist in me immediately calculates how many prescriptions those dogs will need! All kidding aside, when our four-legged furry companions become ill, they often need medication just like we do. Just like when you take your own medications, it’s important to understand the do’s and don’t’s of using prescription drugs. Many pet medications are the same as human medications, but keep in mind, not all human medications are safe for animals, and often the dosing is much different. Consult your veterinarian before administering any medication for your pet.
Dosing. Be sure to clarify all directions and storage requirements before administering any medication. If
the label says “Give two capsules daily,” does that mean two at the same time or one in the morning and one at night? Do you need to cut the tablet in half or measure out a liquid? Ask your vet to ensure you know what to do before the time comes to give the drug. When measuring liquid medication, it is more accurate to use a measuring syringe instead of a household spoon. In animals, medications are often dosed by the weight of the animal. Be sure to inform the vet of any changes in your dog’s weight.
Absorption and Metabolism. Understanding how drugs get into and out of the body is very important. The gastrointestinal transit time is much shorter in dogs than in humans. Enteric Coated and Extended Release tablets that are popular in humans often don’t
Having Trouble with Pills? Consider Compounding. Just mentioning that your pets have to take
medicine can stir up nightmares for some owners. What seems like an easy task—getting a small pill into a dog—can turn into a rough battle of wills. We’ve all heard the tricks of hiding medication in cheese, meat or any food that your pet loves, and often that works. However, there are always those stubborn few who will somehow find a way to make the whole process difficult. Splitting pills is another bothersome issue for pet owners. Small dogs and cats need little doses, but cutting pills into fourths is a frustrating process that often leads to a bunch of crumbs. Fortunately, these problems can be solved by working with a compounding pharmacy. Through the art of compounding, you can take a medication that would normally be in a pill form and turn it into a treat or flavored liquid in just the right dosage needed. Compounding pharmacists collaborate with your veterinarian to customize the medication to fit your animal’s unique needs. Chicken-flavored treats and beef-flavored liquid medications are very popular for finicky dogs. Cats love our triple fish flavor. If those options fail, some medications can be prepared into a cream form that can be rubbed into the inner part of the ear, which the dog then absorbs through the skin. If these customized medications can help with your pet, talk with your veterinarian or compounding pharmacist. Together we can find a solution to help your best friends get the medication they need! —Tony Hackett, The Compounding Center, www.compoundingcenter.com
6 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2014
have the same effect in dogs. They move through the system too quickly to give their intended effect. Various animal species metabolize or break down drugs differently; what is safe to give a dog may be lethal for a cat. There are also differences among breeds. For example, some sheep dogs are susceptible to nerve damage from Ivermectin, a commonly used heartworm medication. Xylitol, a commonly used sugar substitute found in sugar-free gum, chewable vitamins and some liquid medications, can be very toxic for dogs. It can cause vomiting, seizures and liver damage.
Treating Pain. When it comes to treating pain, we might reach for ibuprofen or naproxen; however, these drugs are generally not recommended for dogs due to irritation of the stomach lining. Acetaminophen is another popular human analgesic, but it can be toxic for dogs and must be used with caution. Tummy Issues. To reduce stomach acid, veterinarians may recommend Famotidine, Omeprazole or calcium carbonate. For constipation not relieved by dietary changes, Psyllium can be used, as well as the stool softener Docusate. Diarrhea can be bit tricky to treat. Bismuth subsalicylate can be used for dogs when dosed appropriately, but caution should be used with Loperamide. It can be toxic in certain breeds and may make intestinal bacterial infections worse.
Heart and Blood Pressure. There are many different prescription medications used to treat heart problems. Animals using these medications must be closely monitored for changes in weight and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Side effects can be nausea, dizziness and fluid weight gain. Infections. Thankfully animals don’t seem to contract bacterial and fungal infections as frequently as we do, but when antibiotics and antifungals are needed, ask if they should be taken with food. Be sure to finish the full course of therapy to avoid costly re-treatment. Cancer. Unfortunately, this tragic diagnosis can also strike family pets. There are many successful chemotherapy agents to treat canine cancers, but these medication regimens can be complicated. It is important to have a thorough discussion with your veterinarian prior to starting cancer treatment to learn about proper dosing, storage, handling and disposal, along with potential side effects and required monitoring.
Allergies. Sneezing, wheezing, and itching happen to dogs too.
Dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason. They enhance our lives in many ways and truly become members of the family. Taking care of their health is important. There are plenty of safe and effective medications on the market for your dog, but some can be unsafe if used incorrectly. Always rely on your veterinarian to assist you in selecting the right medication and dosage for your favorite pooch. ND
With appropriate dosing and guidance, antihistamines like Diphenhydramine, Loratadine and Chlorpheniramine can be used. Drowsiness is typically the biggest side effect with these types of medications.
Cheri Garvin, R.Ph., is the owner and CEO of The Compounding Center in Leesburg, Va. Learn more about customized medications for your pet at www.compoundingcenter.com.
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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
A Harmonious Blended Household By Bri a n U m b a ch
We’ve had our dog Lester for two years, and he is a full member of our family. Now we’ve decided to get a cat for my daughter. How can we introduce the cat to Lester, make her feel welcome, and ensure that we keep a calm and harmonious household? QUESTION
I understand your concern, as I just introduced my ANSWER Belgian Malinois Astro to my new kittens Hector and Ziva. I’ll share my experience as a dog trainer and a new parent of a “blended” household, with some tips that any household can use to introduce new pets. Before you introduce any new family members, your dog must have some basic training and manors. Make sure he understands basic commands (i.e.; sit, leave it, down, come and stay) and knows that you are the pack leader and the cat will also be a member of the pack. Consider taking a training course or refresher course if your dog is not yet at this level. When I brought my kittens Hector and Ziva home, they were only 16 weeks old. I first wanted them to feel safe in their new environment without having a dog hovering over them, so I made the lower level of my home their own. There they have their beds, toys, litter box, food and water. There is also a door that separates Astro from Hector and Ziva. Astro quickly knew they were there and would sit by the door
8 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2014
and sniff under it when they came to the top of the stairs. I watched him as he sat by the door to see if he showed any signs of aggression; he did not. I allowed Hector and Ziva to mature and feel more comfortable in our home before I moved on to introducing them to Astro. The next step was to formally introduce Astro to Hector and Ziva. Astro is a high-drive working breed, and even though I have complete control of him on and off leash, I put him on leash and placed a muzzle on him (it would only take one quick bite to harm the small kittens). With Astro on leash and muzzled, I opened the door and allowed Hector and Ziva to see Astro. At first the kittens were hesitant to pass through the door and Astro was very inquisitive about the two new pack members. I had Astro lie down, and slowly Hector and Ziva approached him, and he seemed very happy to have two new friends. I allowed the cats to set the pace; if they chose to retreat, I didn’t make them come back. During this entire process I watched Astro for any signs of aggression, such as growling or raised hackles (if this had happened, I would have removed him and distracted him, but would not have administered force or reprimands; you want to keep all interactions positive). I continued to do this type of introduction—with the dog under control and calm—every day for a week. The next week, I kept the muzzle on Astro but took his leash off. I wanted to ensure that Astro would show no signs of aggression as all three animals began moving freely around the house. Astro did very well at this stage and seemed happy. For a week, I spent 15 to 20 minutes a day working on this step. As the animals grew more comfortable with each other, I continued supervised visits, but without the muzzle on Astro. I would
ensure Astro was in a calm state before opening the door to allow the kittens to enter. The kittens would slowly begin to explore the house while Astro monitored them; sometimes one would stay behind. I continued this for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a day for a week. The final step was to allow the kittens to have full access to the home. I installed a baby gate with a cat opening for the top of the stairs so Hector and Ziva can go down stairs and use the litter box without being disturbed by Astro. From my experience, I would advise the same steps for any home introducing cats and dogs: 1. Allow the new pet to adjust to your home without stress from any current pets. Set up a separate area for cats to be away from dogs. 2. Keep dogs leashed, fully under control and calm for the first several introductions. Keep these first visits short and positive. Do not force cats to interact with dogs. 3. Slowly allow the new pets to gain more access to your home, but continue to keep the dogs under your supervision at all times. 4. Supervise all animals as you allow all the pets to have full access to your home. Continue to keep a safe, separate place for cats to eat and use their litter box away from dogs. ND Brian Umbach is a dog trainer, canine handler, and the owner of Brian’s Behaved Barkers. Learn more at Facebook.com/BehavedBarkers.
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Creating a Dog Utopia By El i s sa M a t u lis M y er s
warm, smiling and enthusiastic staff greets you when you walk through the front door of the flagship Dogtopia doggie day care center. The team describes the lobby as a “happy place.” Returning dogs are so excited to arrive at the center and reconnect with their friends, and then they are so happy to see their owners in the lobby again at the end of the visit. Brightly colored walls and a handsome reception desk set the tone for your visit, and television monitors are broadcasting in real time the happy, playful guests romping safely in interior rooms. The cameras let you watch the dogs without agitating them. A tasteful display of things dogs love is on one side of the room and the selection is so fresh that even veteran dog shoppers will see something new, fun and must-have. In the lobby—a hallmark of all the Dogtopia establishments—is a big framed display of the “Founding Fidos”—the original customers of each of the centers. The staff is quick to point out each picture by name and describe the dog’s special qualities. These are clearly people who connect with dogs! But you don’t fully experience the essence of Dogtopia until the founder and owner, Amy Nichols, enters the room. Amy’s energy and her passion for the business of providing a safe and fun environment for her canine guests are electric. Amy’s company has nine Dogtopia facilities around Washington,
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D.C.—at Tysons, Herndon, North Bethesda, Dulles, Manassas, Springfield, Woodbridge, Alexandria and Canton (in downtown Baltimore). There are 29 Dogtopias around the country, and the company is about to expand the exponentially. “It took ten years to get to 30 centers,” says Amy. “In the next ten years we’ll get to 300.”
A Place for Griffin Amy grew up with dogs, and in high school she worked at a pet shop that sold puppies. “I loved being around the dogs, but it always made me sad to see them cooped up in little cages. I managed somehow to get the owner to allow me to take the puppies to a local dog park to run.” When she graduated from college, Amy went to work in telecommunications, bought her own home, and adopted a Boston Terrier, Griffin. When she had to travel, she looked around for a place where Griffin could stay, but couldn’t find a solution that she was entirely comfortable with. At the end of one trip she decided to become the solution for Griffin and the dogs of other busy professionals who travel, work long days or manage long commutes, and she decided to start Dogtopia. “It wasn’t easy. I sold my home and invested $80,000 of my own money, and went about seeking a bank loan for an additional $75,000. You can imagine the reception I got from the banks. I had never run a business, I was going in to the pet business, and I was creating an
5 Minutes with Amy... Funny experience? “We discover during bathroom breaks that our dogs have eaten all kinds of strange things—we find pieces of denim, keys, socks. But the funniest ever was glitter poop—one little dog had had a picnic in his owner’s craft basket, and had eaten a complete bottle of glitter.” Favorite Book? Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian dog trainer. “She’s a pioneer—a real innovator.” Sample quote: “Dogs live in a world of sensory input: visual, olfactory, auditory perceptions. They easily perceive tiny details—a quick signal, a slight change in another’s behavior, the expression in our eyes. Pack animals are so perceptive to signals that a horse can be trained to follow the contraction in our pupils and a dog can be trained to answer your whispering voice. There’s no need to shout commands, to make the tone of our voice deep and angry—what Karen Pryor refers to as swatting flies with a shovel.” Advice for someone going into the dog business? “You have to understand that it’s a business. Sure we all love to play with dogs, but the real work is the cleaning and the monitoring and the attention to ensure that you are providing a safe environment. We take great care to make sure all of our franchisees have clear expectations that caring for dogs is hard work.”
Dogtopia’s Amy Nichols with Griffin. entirely different ‘category’ of pet business. Twelve banks turned me down.” Undaunted, she persisted, and eventually landed an SBA Loan. “The next hurdle was finding real estate—convincing a landlord with ‘flex-space’ to rent to me. To this day, finding and negotiating for great space remains one of the hardest parts of the business—and my least favorite.” Enter Mike Schlegel, her husband, a savvy real-estate investor who decided to join the business.
Personal philosophy? “If you say you will do something, do it! If you keep your values at the forefront, it gets easier to make decisions. If we have a problem with a dog, we tell the owner immediately—the staff doesn’t have to think about whether they should or shouldn’t. Our core values are honesty and integrity. We don’t hide things!” Dog of her own? Yes! Finnegan—a Brittany Poo. Saddest experience? Tears filled Amy’s eyes as she recounted the story of a little Bassett Hound that had been a Dogtopia guest until he finally succumbed to nasal cancer. “We kept him with us at the front desk during his last days so he could sleep quietly with constant attention from staff. One day we knew the end was near—we were able to call the owner and she arrived in time to say goodbye. It is never easy to lose a friend.”
Happy Guests All new dog guests are screened before they are allowed to join the fun. “We are always excited when we get a new dog, but we don’t want to just increase the business at the expense of the 30-35 dogs already there, so we make sure that a dog is a good fit for our community,” says Amy. The dogs then are sorted out each day into one of several fun places: the Gym, the Romper Room for serious play, the Toy box (for little dogs and puppies), or the Lounge, for dogs that need to take it easy. Dogs are also given color-coded collars to wear during their visits. “The collars are a quick visual cue to help in end-of-visit sorting, and we use a red collar to quickly ID a dog that may have special needs or sensitivities.” One thing that differentiates Dogtopia from other similar services is that the floors in the dog rooms are all made of vulcanized rubber. “It’s a little harder to clean than cement, but it’s much easier on the legs of the dogs and their human supervisors—and it’s less slippery,” explains Amy. And at the end of each extended visit, each dog gets a written report card that details who he played with, how he interacted, and anything else relevant that an owner may want to know about. In addition to their dedication to the business, Amy and Mike are deeply committed to canine support. In 2005 they created a non-profit organization, K-9 Support, to raise funds to care for military support dogs. “We are about to hold our tenth annual fund-raising dog wash,” Amy beams, and “so far we’ve raised over $130,000. This year in June the money raised will go to assistance dogs for veterans in need.” 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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Take Your Best Friends
By Terri Hauser
Exploring Virginiaâ€™s Vineyards with your Dogs
pring. A young dog’s fancy turns to… wine? A long winter of snow, sleet, freezing rain and frigid temperatures has left many a housebound hound with a bad case of cabin fever. A trip to Virginia Wine Country may be just what the doggie doctor ordered. From the dog’s perspective, a winery visit means a chance to romp through open fields and vineyards, enjoying the fresh country air. What could be more enticing for your best friend than the opportunity to enjoy relaxed, quality time outdoors with you? Fortunately for Fido, Virginia boasts a wealth of welcoming wineries.
First in Wine Virginia has been a fertile ground for grapes for centuries—dating back to the Jamestown Colony, where each male settler was required by law to plant and tend at least ten grape vines. These early efforts may have floundered, but Thomas Jefferson revived the dream. He tried for three decades to cultivate grapes, although he never was able to produce a single bottle of wine from his Monticello vineyards. In the late 1970s, a new cadre of wine pioneers broke ground in Virginia. This time, their efforts took root. Growth was slow at first, but during the last two decades Virginia wine has truly come of age. There are 250 wineries currently operating across the state. Another 25 expect to open their tasting room doors this year—and Northern Virginia is right in the epicenter. Major clusters of nearby wineries can be found in: the Loudoun Valley, just a short drive out Route 7; near Middleburg, out U.S. 50; out Interstate 66 in Fauquier County; and down I-81 into the Shenandoah Valley. There is even a Fairfax County winery—Para-
dise Springs in Clifton. You can also make a full weekend of winetasting in the Monticello AVA (Charlottesville area) or head south toward the Northern Neck.
Doggone Good Wine Any direction you head, you will find doggone good wines. Virginia wines are racking up the medals in competitions and earning national and international acclaim. Last year, several Virginians made the list of “Top 100” U.S. winemakers, the “Top 40 Tastemakers under 40,” and the “20 Most Admired People in the North American Wine Industry.” Eric Trump (Trump Winery) claimed Wine Enthusiast’s “Rising Star” award. Barboursville founder Gianna Zonin received the magazine’s “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and its winemaker, Luca Paschina, is a semifinalist for this year’s James Beard Award. The two varietals considered Virginia’s signature grapes are Viognier (a floral white) and Cabernet Franc (a lighter red with a peppery palate). The Virginia General Assembly made Viognier the Virginia state grape in 2011. Virginia’s vintners continue to experiment. Red blends (Meritage, Claret, etc.) are considered a Virginia strong suit. Emerging grapes to watch include Norton (Virginia’s native grape), Trimanette, Touriga, and Petit Verdot. The 2014 Governor’s Cup Case—comprised of the top 12 wines in the state—showcases Tannat wines from two different producers. Whether you’re a connoisseur or just learning about wines, there is a sip for every palate, including sparkling wines and ciders, sweeter desert wines, and wines crafted from virtually every fruit. Cobbler Mountain Cellars even makes a wine from maple syrup. Several wines bear the names of their canine inspirations. As one would expect from a winery whose website is simply “TheDogs.com,”
Dogs are welcome at many Virginian vineyards, and are even the guests of honor at some. L to R: Barrel Oak Winery, Oyster Fest at Cardinal Point Winery, Rescue group sign at Desert Rose Ranch and Winery.
Photos by Michael Lane www.novadogmagazine.com
For all the barking news…
Virginia Wine Dogs
Chateau Morrisette in southwest Virginia has an entire series built around their iconic black lab, Hans, and his successors—“Black Dog,” “Our Dog Blue,” “Blushing Dog,” and “Frosty Dog.” The winery’s Liberty Dog wines pay tribute to and support service dogs with a donation from each sale. Three Fox Vineyards in Delaplane, which specializes in Italianstyle wines, features Cano Pazzo (“Crazy Dog”) Rosé. At Desert Rose in Hume, there is GiGi Peachi, made from 100 percent Virginia peaches and named for the popular Dachshund who serves as unofficial greeter.
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Dogs are a fixture at most wineries. Often, the winery dog will be the first to welcome arriving guests, herding them into the tasting room. At Twin Oaks Tavern Winery in Bluemont, a beautiful, gentle Saint Bernard, Hagrid, does the honors. At Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, the eager greeter is Tug, a Golden Retriever. “It’s hilarious. On a busy Saturday, Tug comes, butt and tail wiggling, to say hello to everyone,” says Chris Pearmund. The job doesn’t end there. Dogs help police the vines, keeping hungry birds and critters from devouring the grapes (a major challenge with the 2013 crop). The Dog and the Oyster in Irvington is named in part for the property’s pack of rescue dogs—now happily employed rescuing the vines from intruders. “The dogs have always been an integral part of our winery,” says Cooper Vineyards co-owner Jeff Cooper. “Lucy [a rescue hound who passed away in 2011] was always a presence in the tasting room. The poodles were there when we planted the first vines, and their memories live on in our wines.”
Barrel Oak Winery
3623 Grove Lane Delaplane, VA 20144 540-364-6402
www.barreloak.com Open Daily 11am-6pm (Fridays until 9pm) Tasting Fee: $3-$11 Virginia Wine Dogs Ecco and Pomeroy enjoy a romp through vineyards.
A series of books (Wine Dogs USA) about hard-working wine pups features many beloved Virginia winery dogs, including the Cooper Vineyards pack. In 2013, Virginia winery dogs got their own calendar. The Virginia Wine Lovers’ Magazine lets readers choose the “Wine Dog of the Year.” West Highland Terrier Posh at Three Fox held the honors for two years running, but was displaced by Birch at Barrel Oak Winery in 2013.
Can I Bring My Dog? Virginia’s wineries welcomed more than 1.6 million guests in 2010. But that figure leaves out the four-legged visitors, and there are many. According to the Virginia Wineries Association, 121 of Virginia’s wineries are pet friendly. A complete listing of these vineyards can be found at www.VirginiaWine.org. “We want you to feel at home at the winery,” says Jeff Louden, owner and winemaker at Cobbler Mountain, who works hard to create a family-friendly experience. “It’s all about lifestyle. Kids are part of the winery. Your kids—two- or four-legged—can run and play.” Holli Toddhunter agrees. She chose to make Three Fox Vineyard pet friendly because she “wanted the opportunity for people who live in the city to bring their dogs out and enjoy the countryside. What’s better than to have people bring their dogs for a little picnic in the vineyard and some wine (for the owner), possibly a swim in the creek?” Each month, one visiting dog is honored as the Three Fox “Wine Dog of the Month” with special discounts and a feature on the website and tasting-room wall. Your dog could be next. A word of caution. There are almost as many variations in the definition of pet friendly as there are grape varietals. At some petfriendly wineries, dogs are welcome but restricted to outside patios or picnic areas (during warm weather, it is often possible to get an outdoor tasting). At others, canines belly right up to the tasting bar with their human escorts. Susan McCorkindale Pearmund notes that at Pearmund Cellars, “the only thing visiting dogs can’t do is a tasting—because they are too young.” The legal drinking age in Virginia is 21, for canines and
BOW is more than a winery, it’s a special place where hand-crafted Virginia wine pairs with friends & family (even the four-legged kind). Take a tour of the production area and the vineyard, bring the kids and dogs and enjoy a picnic, or just relax on our patio and watch the sunset. We’ve got an amazing event calendar including family and pet-friendly events. Visit our website for more information on our wine offerings and to view upcoming events.
Three Fox Vineyards
10100 Three Fox Lane Delaplane, VA 20144 540-364-6073
www.threefoxvineyards.com Open: Thu - Sat 11am-5pm Sun 12-5pm Tasting fee: Up to $9 per person Escape to Tuscany in Virginia and visit our 50 acre vineyard in the heart of Northern Virginia. Bring a picnic and relax or enjoy your favorite bottle of wine on the patio or in one of dozens of scenic spots on the property. A full calendar of events is posted on our website including movie nights, dog days, and holiday celebrations. Families and dogs are always welcome!
humans. Bring your drivers’ license or other ID; you’ll likely be asked.
Pet Friendly/Pet Obsessed
Top: Sign at Three Fox Winery Above: Wine Boot Camp at Little Washington Winery with owners, Carl and Donna Hendrickson.
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Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane could be said to set the gold standard for pet friendliness. Ranked by Wine Enthusiast as the most family-friendly winery in America, this winery clearly understands that dogs are part of the family. From day one, dogs have been at the heart of the Barrel Oak brand. It is no accident that Barrel Oak Winery’s initials are BOW, as in “Bow Wow.” Their logo shows a dog sitting under a tree. The house table wines, BOWHaus Red and BOWHaus White, will feature pictures of members of the Roeder pack. “My wife Sharon and I are dog lovers,” explains owner Brian Roeder. “We wanted our dogs to be part of our dream together.” The result, Roeder says, “exceeds our wildest expectations.” On any given weekend, the BOW tasting room is a tangle of leashes. It is not unusual to find the smallest Yorkshire Terrier going nose to nose with a Newfoundland or Mastiff. “What’s best about dogs—they bring people together,” according to Roeder. “You will find our customers petting each other’s dogs, talking about dogs over a glass of wine. That begins a dialogue between people who otherwise would never meet. We’re a place where people come not just with friends, but to make new friends.” You might even meet your new best friend. Wineries are favorites among rescue groups for pet adoption. BOW hosts about a dozen events each year with organizations like Oldies but Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Paws for Seniors and the Fauquier SPCA. So far, the Roeders have added three to their own menagerie through these events. Sometimes you just can’t resist.
Courting the Canine Crowd A number of wineries host special events to encourage customers to come out with their dogs. One classic is “Lucy’s Weekend” at Cooper Vineyards in Louisa County (this year’s is May 24-25). Now in its 10th year, the annual pets-welcome benefit for the Richmond SPCA features live, on-site pet adoptions and even a Blessing of the Animals on Sunday. “Dogs just seem to go with music and wineries, and we love what we can do for our four-legged friends,” Jeff Cooper explains. Keswick Vineyards in Albemarle County hosts weekly Sunday Yappy Hours during the warmer months, culminating with the Howl-o-Ween party in late October, complete with costumed canines competing for top honors. The annual Horse and Hound Wine Festival in Bedford County (July 12 this year) features unique entertainment for canines and equines alike. While not targeted specifically to pet lovers, events at some wineries make provisions specifically for dogs. James River Cellars (near Richmond) charges a $2 pet admission to its events, with the fee going to the Richmond SPCA. Closer to home, May 3 is Dog Day at Breaux Vineyard in Loudoun County, especially tailored to pampered pets. Appropriately, many wineries feature pet-centric events during the dog days of summer.
The Perfect Pairing Even without a special event, there is plenty to keep dog and owner entertained at Virginia’s wineries. In addition to tastings, you can purchase wine by the glass or the bottle to sit down and enjoy on site. On weekends, you will often find local artists performing their music live on the porch or patio. Most wineries offer bread, cheese and other foods for sale as well. At times you will find visiting food trucks, chili cook-offs or barbecues. Or if you prefer, bring your own picnic to enjoy against the scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And of course, bring your dog. You might just discover that wine and dogs make the perfect pairing. ND Terri Hauser is a freelance writer living in Alexandria, Va. She is the creator of the Virginia Wine Dogs blog (VAWineDogs.com), helping Ecco the Yorkshire Terrier and Pomeroy the Pomeranian share their grape adventures from Virginia wine country.
Planning your winery visit n
C heck to make sure the winery is pet friendly (www.VirginiaWine.org)
your leash (preferably not retractable)
water for the car ride and to drink at the winery
treats (and your own dish)
a bag handy for “clean up”
and use your inside voice (no loud barking)
if your master will behave, you can bring him too!
WEBER’S—SERVING YOUR BEST FRIEND SINCE 1979 11021 Lee Highway Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 385-3766 14508-G Lee Road Chantilly, VA 20121 (703) 631-2738 2599 John Milton Drive Herndon, VA 20170 (703) 476-3536 HOURS: Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm Saturday: 10am-5pm Sunday: Closed
Any Wellness Dog or Cat food purchase
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Pet food is collected by Loudon County Animal Services to be delivered to Interfaith.
Volunteers help sort during the Stuff the Truck pet food drive.
Feeding a Need
Donations Help Keep Families Together By Sarah Bagley
Most of us are aware of our local food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Many of us drop off canned food and supplies at drives at schools, churches and businesses to help those in need. But though a variety of support systems exist to help impoverished families, many people donâ€™t stop to consider that families in need might have pets in need as well. 18 Northern Virginia Dog
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Thankfully, two local organizations are working to address the needs of every member of the family.
Addressing a Need Kim Fields, president of the Humane Society of Loudoun County, says the idea for a pet food pantry came about when she saw a flyer for the Loudoun Interfaith Relief Food Pantry. In talking with Interfaith, she discovered Interfaith patrons owned animals, but Interfaith didn’t supply pet food. So she started bringing pet food donations to Interfaith for patrons with animals. Then she discovered Loudoun County Animal Services was doing the same thing. “So we all started talking together and decided that we would be able to make more of a difference if we all formed a unit together, and we formed the Loudoun Pet Food Pantry,” Fields says. The Loudoun Pet Food Pantry is a partnership between Loudoun County Animal Services, Loudoun Interfaith, and the Humane Society of Loudoun. The pantry began distributing kits in September 2013, and since then has delivered 1,037 kits, according to Fields. “We found in talking with Interfaith that people were taking some of the food they were getting from Interfaith – people food – and they were using some of their own food to give to their pets,” Fields says. “So that was cutting down on the amount of food that they had for their family.” Loudoun County residents in need are eligible for assistance. An application is available on the website, or individuals can fill out an application at Interfaith. Participants can visit Interfaith twice a month to pick up their kits. While the program is designed to be temporary, Fields says they work to help as many people for as long as possible. “All of this helps people keep their pets, so the bottom line is there are fewer pets that are surrendered to the shelter,” Fields says. “In our mind, this is working on a proactive side.” Seeing a similar need in their community, the Humane Society of Fairfax County launched the Ani-Meals program in 2008, according to Janice Adams, the Society’s office manager for the Humane Society of Fairfax County. In 2011, the pantry was used 257 times by 142 families. In 2012, the pantry was used 302 times by 72 families, and in 2013, the pantry was used 262 times by 62 families. While the program focuses on Fairfax County, Adams said Ani-Meals takes applica-
tions on a case-by-case basis and often helps people in surrounding areas. The application is available online, or individuals can fill out the application at the Ani-Meals office. Participants can use the pantry once a month and stock up on a month’s supply of food for as long as it is needed. “Our clients are on food stamps and all kinds of things, and [their struggles are] not just going to go away,” Adams says. “We’ve had people that have been coming for years because their situation is not going to change, and we just want to keep helping them.”
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Need for Donations The Loudoun pantry relies solely on donations, and the organization reaches out to community organizations, churches and schools for donations. The pantry is in need of bags of food between 3 and 10 pounds or monetary donations, which can be made directly on the Humane Society website. The donations are packaged into Pantry Kits containing a bag of dog or cat food (both wet and dry), flyers with resources, and spay and neuter vouchers. Fields added that the pantry’s needs tend to vary. Adams said she finds the Ani-Meals pantry is busier in the summer, leading to the need for more donations during those months, in part due to kitten season. A mix of private donations and Humane Society of Fairfax County funds supply the pantry with food. Companies, individuals and community clubs bring in many donations, Adams added. “It’s so precious: little kids will have birthday parties and they say they don’t want gifts, and instead they’ll collect food for the pantry and bring it in,” Adams says. Adams added that individuals often ask store managers if they can set up outside and ask patrons to pick up some food on their shopping trip to donate. Also, pet stores often provide donations and run food drives. One local store, Wylie Wagg, has donated twice to the Ani-Meals program, says Julie Mickey, manager at Wylie Wagg in Falls Church. Wylie Wagg donated cat and dog food during its Week of Thanksgiving, the store’s annual event that raises money and donations for local rescue groups and other animal service organizations. This past November, Nature’s Variety dog food matched donated food, pound for pound, so Wylie Wagg was able to donate twice as much, Mickey says.
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“It’s really a terrific event,” she says. “We’re really pleased by the community involvement and how much we’re able to give back.” Throughout the year, Wylie Wagg takes donations that it then distributes to animal service organizations like the pantry. “If you have something that you no longer might need or you feel your dog or pet has grown out of, instead of throwing it out, just bring it to a Wylie Wagg, and give it a little extra life to someone new who might need it,” Mickey says.
Keeping Pets in Loving Homes The mission of the Loudon pantry is to keep pets in their loving homes, especially during times of distress, notes Fields. “A lot of times it’s not that families couldn’t afford to take care of themselves and then went out and got a pet, it’s that they already had the pet and then something unfortunate happened,” she says. “The mission is to help them be able to keep their family together. Pets do offer companionship, and they offer emotional support.” Fields says the participants voice gratitude for the program because without it, many would have had to put their animals up for adoption. “We’ve had people we have helped that have come back and told us ‘if it weren’t for you guys
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Ready to Donate? Loudoun Pet Food Pantry 11 drop-off locations in Loudon County (see website) Accepts cat and dog food Phone: 703-777-5911 Web: www.loudoun.gov/petpantry Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ani-Meals Program of Fairfax County 4057 Chain Bridge Rd Fairfax, VA 22030 Accepts pet food, treats, cat litter, pet toys and supplies Phone: 703-385-7387 Web: www.hsfc.org/org_animeal.php Email: email@example.com
and all of your help, then I would have had to give up my pet, thank God I can keep my pet,’” she says. According to Adams, Ani-Meals participants continually express thankfulness for the program. She says one participant from Lorton frequently expresses appreciation. “She was just telling me how grateful she is,” Adams says. “And she even gives us a small donation every month. We tell her ‘just put it
towards the food,’ but she insists because she says, ‘I could not have kept my animals if I had not heard about this program, and I’m so grateful that you didn’t just automatically say, well, you live too far away.’ And she’s just the sweetest lady.” The Ani-Meals program serves to lessen the burden and keep animals in homes instead of overcrowding the shelters. “We hear that a lot, that these families’ animals were in pretty rough shape, and they didn’t know how they were going to feed them. They were choosing between pet food and their mortgage or rent, and it eases that burden. It’s one less thing for them to have to worry about,” Adams says. Fields says the pantry appreciates the work of individuals, groups and companies that have donated and held drives, and they encourage more members of the community to get involved. “It’s a community problem, and we want a community solution,” she says. “That’s the main thing that we want people to do is to take action, take action to help your community. You never know, it could be you who needs it one day.” ND Sarah Bagley is a blogger living in Vienna, Va., with her husband, two children, and garbage-eating Blue Tick Coonhound.
April 19 • 1:05 p.m. vs. Cardinals* May 17 • 4:05 p.m. vs. Mets June 22 • 1:35 p.m. vs. Braves Sept. 7 • 1:35 p.m. vs. Phillies *April 19 game includes pregame Pup Parade at Nationals Park
INCLUDES ACCESS TO THE PUP ZONE A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Washington Humane Society.
Tickets must be purchased in advance. Subject to availability. Waiver must be signed and turned in at the RF Gate for entry into the ballpark. Some restrictions apply.
Getting Social With
Barks heard round the water dish Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/novadog.
“Does your dog know how to dance?”
“How has a dog helped you heal?”
Veronica V. My 10-yr-old female Great Dane Pit mix Michu does the “wiggle wiggle, look at that body...” dance, but she’s got the badunkadunk which leads the dance. My 14-yr-old male Greyhound Collie Lab mix sings. He used to dance, but his hind legs won’t let him anymore, but he still sings his little heart out!
Hannah H. My Butters cured my loneliness—she was my emotional support when I first moved to VA, away from all my friends and family! Joanne R. When my husband was recovering in the hospital from traumatic brain injury, the only thing he remembered on a consistent basis was our 2 labs. He would talk about them to all the nurses and show them their pictures I put on his tray table.
BALL WASHINGTON’S BLACK-TIE GALA FOR THE FOUR-ON-THE-FLOOR CROWD Benefiting the Washington Humane Society
SATURDAY, JUNE 14, 2014 Washington Hilton For more information please contact Heather Theunissen at 202-683-1827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.barkball.org 22 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2014
Renee W. This is D’Ogie’s sweet expression right before he’s about to get into something. When he is really trying to milk it, he drops both ears and gives me the sad eyes.
Evelyn T. Imriel either crosses, or tucks, one paw every time he lays down. It is so particular that I find it to be a sweet affectation. Nancy R. My pug wakes me with kisses each morning.
Hannah H. My pug dances by hopping around (pure excitement) and wagging her Cinnabonswirly tail!
NOVADog asks, “Tell us something SWEET that your dog does.”
Lyn L. Alex is so sweet on his fav toy! Jenny P. Jackson insists on being an active co-pilot - he lays his head on the driver’s shoulder while actively assessing the situation outside the vehicle.
Paige H. My Boston loves to cuddle with his monkey. Angela K. Soba always keeps me company when I have to work on the weekends or late at night during the week. He likes to make sure that I’m staying on task and being productive! Sheena D. Every night my dog cuddles up under the blankets with his head on my lap. He falls asleep from me petting him. Christine G. Dublin always likes to hold hands or paws. Ashlee J. My dog, Iggi, will cuddle/spoon with me with his head on my other pillow. I love it! He’s actually put his arm around me too. Roberta R. Bonded brothers Liberty and Justice for All look this sweet Liberty & Justice so often that it was difficult to select just one picture. We rescued these now 13-monthold furkids from Lab Rescue LRCP in July 2013. We fostered them on July 1, but 10 days later they had stolen our hearts so we “foster failed.” “Thank you for creating NOVADog Magazine, I love reading your magazine full of information and places to go with our dogs for fun. Keep up the great articles for dog owners to learn and enjoy time spent with their dogs.” Shelley L. via email
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CANINE CALENDAR DON’T MISS!
Potomac Nationals Bark in the Park 1:05PM (gates open at noon): Bring your dogs to the ballpark to cheer on the PNats as they host the Lynchburg Hillcats. Activities include the pre-game Puppy Parade (for pups of all ages), BestDressed Dog contest, and post-game Fetch on the Field. $4 from every ticket sold benefits the Basset Rescue of Old Dominion (BROOD). Get your tickets online at www.brood-va.org DON’T MISS!
May 10 9:30AM (check in), 10:30AM (start): Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s Walk for the Animals. Leash-up Fido, strap on your walking shoes and join hundreds of animal enthusiasts for a 3-mile walk or 1-mile stroll through the park followed by a festival of entertainment. Many of AWLA’s adoptable dogs will be onsite to meet potential new families. Walk attendees can engage with pet-friendly businesses and learn about animal resources in our community. Bluemont Park, 329 N. Manchester Street, Arlington, VA 22203. Register, form a team and start fundraising at www.awla.org. Tuesdays & Thursdays, April to October 5PM—Doggie Happy Hours at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria. Dogs enjoy complimentary dog treats while humans dine at Jackson 20’s bar. 480 King St, Alexandria, VA. www.monaco-alexandria. com/alexandria-hotel/doggie-happy-hour.
APRIL April 19 1:05 PM: Washington Nationals Pups in the Park. Bring your dogs to cheer on the Nats as they play the St. Louis Cardinals. Part of every ticket supports the Washington Humane Society. Buy tickets and get more info at www.nationals.com/pups — hurry, games sell out far in advance!
24 Northern Virginia Dog
Humane Society. Buy tickets and get more info at www.nationals.com/pups— hurry, games sell out far in advance!
10AM – 4PM: Pet Fiesta at Reston Town Center. The Pet Fiesta draws local businesses, rescue groups and thousands of pet owners for an exciting day of interactive activities, demonstrations, exhibitions and animals galore! In 2011 Pet Fiesta featured 120 exhibitors and drew more than 10,000 visitors! Reston Town Center, 11900 Market St., Reston, VA. More info at www.petfiesta.org.
8:30 AM – 1 PM: The Run, Walk & Wag 5K supports the Northern Virginia Spay and Neuter Clinic. Participate in either the 5K on a USATF Certified course along the WO&D Trail or a 1-mile family Walk & Wag with your dogs. The 5K will be a professionally timed race with awards going to 1st place winners in each age category. Register and learn more at www.northernvirginiaspayneuterclinic.org/EVENTS.php.
10AM: The 13th Annual Pedal for Pooches, a bike tour to benefit the Briggs Animal Adoption Center. During this self-paced ride designed for recreational or serious cyclists, enjoy biking through historic Jefferson and Clarke Counties on 9, 16, 21, 30 or 35-mile courses. Begin at the BAAC (about 20 minutes from Leesburg), 3731 Berryville Pike, Charles Town, WV. More info at www.baacs.org.
Noon: Prince William County Dogs’ 3rd Annual Dogs Walk for a Dog Park. Raise funds for K9 Gunner Memorial Dog Park as you walk the 2.75-mile trails along
| Spring 2014
Noon – 4PM: 16th Annual Paws in the Park Dog Walk & Fest. Help Montgomery County’s homeless and at-need pets by participating in this dog-walk fundraiser. Event includes a 1-mile walk, pet games, face painting, a DJ, vendors, food, demos, rescue groups and much more. There are also prizes for those who raise the most money for homeless animals before the event. Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD. Register and learn more at www.mchumane.org/ paws14.shtml.
Special thanks to our calendar sponsor Fur-Get Me Not.
the Occoquan Reservoir and Lake Ridge community. $5/dog. Lake Ridge Park, 12350 Cotton Mill Dr., Woodbridge, VA. More info at www. pwcdogs.com.
4:05 PM: Washington Nationals Pups in the Park. Bring your dogs to cheer on the Nats as they play the NY Mets. Part of every ticket supports the Washington
May 18 Noon – 5 PM: Bring your dogs to the Bark Park at Taste of Arlington. Sample food from more than 50 of Arlington’s best restaurants and chefs, enjoy live entertainment and have fun with the entire family. The Bark Park includes tents full of dog-friendly products and services. Dress your dog in his “heritage” costumes to win the World Pup Competition ($10 entry). Festival is free admission; buy tickets for food, drinks and games. In Ballston: Wilson Boulevard from Glebe Road to N Quincy Street and along N. Stuart Street to 9th Street. More info at www.ballstonbid. com/taste.
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2nd Annual Vino Dog Celebration
May 25, 2014 • 1- 4 p.m. (see website for details)
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Tasting Room Hours - Open Year Round Thur-Sat, & Mon 11-5 pm • Sunday 12 pm -5 pm
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May 31 9 AM – 3 PM: PetFest at Springfield Days, a family- and pet-friendly event. Start the day with the Blessing of the Pets and Pet Parade. There will also be plenty of booths, activities and demonstrations for the whole family celebrating the Springfield, Va., community. Find more info at www.springfielddays.com. For more events check out our Canine Calendar online at: www.novadogmagazine.com
10100 Three Fox Ln. • Delaplane, VA • 540-364-6073
JUNE June 1-July 31. 2015 Pet Photo Calendar Contest. The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria will be accepting photo submissions for their 2015 calendar. Invite your friends to vote for the winner, who will be featured on the calendar cover. Runners-up will be featured throughout the calendar, and all participants will receive a free calendar. For more info, visit www. AlexandriaAnimals.org/Calendar
June 7 Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s 70th Anniversary Party. AWLA’s offices, 2650 S Arlington Mill Dr., Arlington, VA. Visit www.awla.org for additional details.
June 14 7 – 11PM: Washington Humane Society’s 27th Annual Bark Ball. Enjoy a reception, silent auction, bark bar, dinner, live auction and dancing at Washington’s only black-tie event for dogs. Washington Hilton, 1919 Con-
necticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Buy tickets and get more info at www. barkball.org.
June 22 1:35 PM: Washington Nationals Pups in the Park. Bring your dogs to cheer on the Nationals as they play the Atlanta Braves. Part of every ticket supports the Washington Humane Society. Buy tickets and get more info at www.nationals.com/pups – hurry, games sell out far in advance!
HIT THE TRAIL L o c a l wa l k s t o e n j o y
NOVADog Preview Hikers tried out the trail and helped the authors review it.
Great Falls Park – A Hike through History by Carol Brooks
eorge Washington’s 18th-century vision to make the Potomac River navigable for trade from the West to the East forever changed the landscape at what is now Great Falls Park in McLean, Va. This 800-acre park, located 15 miles from D.C., was once a heavily forested wilderness. For 17 years starting in 1785, Washington’s Patowmack Canal Company engineered a 1-mile canal with locks for boat passage around the Potomac River’s falls and rapids. Though the canal only operated for a short time, from 1802 to 1830, its presence made the land an accessible destination. Now, thanks to its extensive trail system, extraordinary views, and close-in proximity, Great Falls Park is one of the National Park Service’s more popular local destinations, and a great place for you and your dog to begin an enjoyable spring exercise program. Many people are drawn to Great Falls Park for the view of the cascades and spouts of the falls that funnel powerfully into the narrow Mather Gorge below. However, few participants on our March NOVADog Group Hike were aware of the rich history of the area. Though the Patowmack
Canal Company ultimately went bankrupt, the canal is now considered one of the great engineering feats of its time and was part of our country’s first canal systems. Henry “Lighthorse” Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) built a small town, Matildaville (named after his late wife), next to the canal. The town served as the canal’s construction headquarters and supported visitors to the project. When the canal went bankrupt, Matildaville was abandoned. You can see remnants of the canal and Matildaville when you follow the suggested 2-mile hike. During your park visit, you and your dog can enjoy this relatively easy historic hike and scenic views. Dogs love a change of pace, and new smells alert their senses. Your dog will especially enjoy scrambling over rocks and fallen trees beside the wide pathway. These extra efforts enhance your dog’s workout as she exercises underused muscles. Be sure to carry poop bags and a bag to store them, since the park has no trash cans. Plastic bags are available at trail heads, but you must carry all trash out of the park. Our hike begins at the upper parking lot, meanders on a wide and flat dirt path along the Patowmack Canal from its head to the end, and then About Your Guide circles back past the historic ruins of Matildaville. Carol Brooks is co-owner of Since this popular park is crowded on weekends DogOn Fitness, a daily exercise (expect a 30-minute wait or more on nice days), service for dogs. She specializes we chose the upper parking lot as the start point. in high-energy and overweight It’s also the beginning of the marked canal tour. dogs, providing them with working walks, running, adventure You can pick-up a trail guide to the canal at the hikes, and training reinforcement. Visitor’s Center. From the parking lot, access the marked Headquartered in Reston, DogOn Fitness services Patowmack Canal Trail on the river side of the Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD. Visit them on the Web at www.dogonfitness.com. parking lot. Follow this trail, passing to the left of
26 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2014
the Visitor’s Center. Park trails are well-marked with signposts. Just past the Visitor’s Center, you will see signs for the Great Falls viewing areas. If you want to see the falls, the third viewing area provides the best view and easiest access. Our NOVADog
continue on the Old Carriage Trail to the Visitor’s Center. Return to the upper parking lot by retracing the first part of your hike on the Patowmack Canal Trail.
Bella and Jazzy enjoyed hiking with Kat.
Christine and Cathy head out with their dogs Sheba and Lucy.
Hike group found this was an excellent location for taking photos. Continue on the wide Patowmack Canal Trail for about a half mile. At this point, you will pass a T- intersection leading to the right and over a bridge. DO NOT TAKE THIS TURN. Stay on the trail to the next intersection and small bridge directing you to the Matildaville Trail/Patowmack Canal Trails. NOTE: If you want to see the Canal Cut, the final stage of the Patowmack Canal where boats were let down to the river, continue for a short hike on the River Trail and Canal Cut view. The Canal Cut was blasted through the cliff leading to Mather Gorge using unpredictable blackpowder explosives and drills. You can see the drill marks on the granite. Even though our hiking day was very muddy, our group chose to slog on for the view, and most agreed it was worthwhile. Return to the intersection of the Matildaville Trail/Patowmack Canal Trails. To complete the 2-mile hike, turn right on
the Matildaville Trail. Pass the town ruins on your right. Go .6 miles to the intersection of the Old Carriage Trail. There is a restroom and drinking fountain at this intersection (closed in the offseason). If you want to extend your hike to 3 miles and enjoy spectacular views of Mather Gorge from the interior trails when the trees are bare during early spring, turn left on the Matildaville Trail and follow it uphill for approximately .6 miles. Descend to a 5-way trail intersection and take the Old Carriage Road trail to your right. After about a mile, you will arrive at the intersection of the Matildaville Trail where the 2-mile trail option, described above, intersects. Both the 2-mile and 3-mile hike options
Did you hike it? Please stop by our Facebook page to leave some of your own feedback, www.facebook.com/novadog.
CREMATION SERVICES AS INDIVIDUAL AS YOUR PET
Great Falls Park is located at 9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA 22102. For more information and directions, visit the official website: www.nps. gov/grfa. Many thanks to hiker David DePalma for sharing his photos. ND
Park Entrance Fee: $5 per car Park Hours: Park and Trails are open 7am until dark. Visitor Center Hours: Daily 10am – 4pm. What To Bring: Wear sturdy waterproof shoes – the trail has muddy spots. Bring water for you and your dog, poop bags, layered clothing, and blankets and towels for after-hike cleanup. Plan to pack out your trash. Hike Distance: 2.0 and 3.0 miles Time: 60 minutes or more Fido Friendly Features: Off-street parking; fun, dog-safe, wide trails; bike restrictions on some trails. Use: Hikers, runners, bikers (on some trails), horses (on some trails), on-leash dogs. Best Time to Go: Any time. Weekdays are less crowded. Weekend afternoons are especially crowded, so expect to wait at the entrance. Rated: 1 paw (very easy)
1 paw = easy; 5 = expert
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WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories
age 1, is loved by Megan in Alexandria.
Adopted from: Animal Welfare League of Alexandria on June 1, 2013.
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
How did he get his name? The Colonel had been abandoned in a The Colonel at AWLA’s ann park in Alexandria when he was only Alexandria, being warmedual Dog Walk in Old Town 4 weeks old and weighed less than a by Katie, AWLA’s adoptio manager. n pound. Thankfully, a citizen discovered the tiny, shivering ball of fluff and brought him to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. The first night I brought him home, I was eating a bowl of popcorn and told him he was the size of a kernel. That name stuck, but it soon became clear from his outgoing and bossy personality that his name was really The Colonel. You picked him because... I had been the Executive Director of the
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria for exactly one month when he arrived. I had previously been the ED of Oakland Animal Services in California, where we had a severe overpopulation of brown Chihuahuas. We flew 30-50 at a time to shelters out of the state that could adopt them. The AWLA staff called me to the front counter when The Colonel was brought in since they knew I had a soft spot for Chi-Chis. I saw him and melted. I offered to take him home to foster and soon realized how much his outgoing and fun personality was perfect for my lifestyle.
Favorite treat or snack: Being with people is The Colonel’s favorite
treat. Vola Lawson, the late Board of Directors member for whom the Alexandria shelter is named, had a special bond with The Colonel. They adored each other, and she would light up every time she saw him. She would nuzzle and cuddle and whisper in his ear. I really miss those times. I’d often pick her up for events and she would always tell me to bring The Colonel. After a day of being together, The Colonel would smell like Vola, and that always made me smile.
Favorite activity together: The Colonel goes to work with me every day and greats every visitor that comes to my office. He has been especially helpful when I interview people for open job positions. I can quickly tell if applicants are animal lovers or not by their reaction when he places his paws on their legs to beg for attention. It is very important to me to have staff who adore animals and are very compassionate.
Favorite toy: The Colonel loves playing keep-away. He zooms around my
apartment every night before I go to bed and skids into his different hiding spots. He will poke his nose out to see if I’m watching, and when he thinks I’m not, he will zoom out and go to his next spot. He will want to do this for 10 to 15 minutes until he’s tired and ready for bed. If I forget to play this game, he’ll remind me after I go to bed, and I think he specifically waits until I’m just about asleep before standing on my back and barking in my ear until we play.
You love him because...I love The Colonel’s outgoing personality and the way he wants to be a part of the action. He often attends our AWLA events with us and just loves to be the center of attention. ND
28 Northern Virginia Dog
Through adoptions, spay and neuter assistance, education and community service and outreach, The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria plays a key role in promoting responsible pet care across Northern Virginia. Visit them online at www.alexandriaanimals.org. | Spring 2014
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