novadog Spring 2013
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
on the go Mobile Solutions Turn Your Living Room Into the Waiting Room
Also Inside: Do You Need a Trainer or a Behaviorist? Food Games for Enrichment Digital Edition Sponsored by: Beckyâ€™s Pet Care Inc.
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contents Spring 2013
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
Pet Care On The Go Mobile solutions turn your living room into the waiting room. By Taylor Ham
Helping Your Dog Thrive
Working with trainers and behavior consultants. By Vivian Leven Shoemaker
D E PA RT M E N T S
3 PUBLISHER’S NOTE 4 THE SOURCE
News, information, and products
6 D.I.Y DOG
Hanging with DC Metro’s dog-crazy crowd
23 THE SCENE
Using food games as enrichment
A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs
7 GET SOCIAL WITH NOVADOG
24 CANINE CALENDAR
8 HEALTH WISE
Acupuncture: ancient medicine in a modern age
10 EXPERT ADVICE
14 PETCENTRIC PEOPLE
Saying goodbye to your pet
Take your dog out to the ball game
Happenings we’ve sniffed out
27 HIT THE TRAIL
Local walks to enjoy
28 WAGS TO RICHES
Adoption success stories
Read Thelma and Ginger’s Wags to Riches adoption success story on page 28. www.novadogmagazine.com
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
Now Hiring! Apply Online
McLean Falls Church N-Arlington
PUBLISHER Angela Meyers | email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Claiborne Linvill | firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR Janelle Welch | email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS Carol Brooks; Sophia Chiang, DVM; Anne Davis; Robin Foltz-Vann; Taylor Ham; Sabrina Hicks; Elissa Matulis Myers; Vivian Leven Shoemaker
Dog Walking. Pet sitting. Pet Taxi. Overnight in-your-home care. Call 703/945-5045 www.ksrpetcare.com Thinking Outside The Box. Your Pet First.
Free Consultation & Discounts. Bonded. Insured. References.
ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Gennifer Davis: (p) 703.780.4400 (f) 853.753.0064 firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION MediaPoint 9022-A Telegraph Road Lorton, VA 22079 email@example.com
We’re Environmentally Friendly. The pages of NOVADog are printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks. Please help us make a difference by recycling your copy or pass this issue along to a fellow dog lover. NOVADog Magazine is committed to creating and fostering an active and supportive community for local dogs and their owners to share, learn, interact, and engage. Our mission is three-fold: • Educate—Provide training and canine health-care tips to help dogs live long and fulfilling lives. • Inspire—Publish insightful stories about local heroes and organizations that are doing good in our community. • Collaborate—Help local animal welfare organizations to save and enrich the lives of homeless and abused animals. Northern Virginia Dog Magazine © 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 the NOVADog website for more information. Send change of address information to P.O. Box 239, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, 703.887.8387.
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 2 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
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.
facebook.com/novadog twitter.com/2_hounds flickr.com/photos/novadog novadogmagazine.com/blog Visit us on the Web at www.novadogmagazine.com or scan the QR Code.
Winner: 2009, 2010 & 2011 Award of Distinction
PUBLISHER’S NOTE A Growing Community of Dog Lovers I’m excited to be writing to you for the first time as publisher. Through my years helping former publisher—and current creative director—Janelle Welch grow and develop the magazine, I’ve enjoyed becoming a stronger and more involved member of the pet community of Northern Virginia. I had such a wonderful time being with you all last month at fun events like the Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, as well as on our first-ever NOVADog Group Hike, which turned out to be a beautiful day at Mason Neck Park with about 40 new friends and 30 happy dogs. As part of NOVADog’s focus on nurturing and developing this great community of dog lovers, we’ve united with another great DCMetro publication, the Pet Lovers Companion, a one-stop directory of valuable resources for pet lovers in the area. Bringing these publications together is an important step for the DC- Metro pet industry and community,
providing educational and support resources to readers, business owners, and nonprofits. I believe that when people come together, great things happen. So NOVADog’s mission is to bring together the great people and ideas in this area to have fun, build relationships, and change lives. As I’ve read your Facebook comments (see page 7 for examples) and talked with you in person, I find myself incredibly thankful to be a part of such a warm and fun group of dog lovers. Please check out the calendar on page 24, as well as on our website, for information on upcoming events, so that we can continue to meet up. I’m looking forward to more Group Hikes on May 11 and June 15, as well as plenty of other dog-friendly outings, fundraisers, and chances to interact. Please come and be a part of our growing, vibrant community.
connect with us facebook.com/novadog twitter.com/2_hounds flickr.com/photos/novadog novadogmagazine.com/blog
Angela Meyers firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit us on the Web at www.novadogmagazine.com or scan the QR code above.
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NOVADog Creative Director Janelle Welch had fun “dressing” up her dog Nikki.
Who Wouldn’t Love That Silly Face? Dress up your dog, without dressing up your dog. A new app called Puppybooth can help you accessorize your puppy with over 40+ designed accessories. Snap a pic, throw on a mustache and glasses, and share with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter. There are some free accessories, but you can also buy more images to change it up a bit. We thought it was a hoot to log in and see the fun ways others are accessorizing their favorite canine pals! FIND it: free on the iTunes App Store by searching for “Puppy Booth.”
4 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
Do Dogs Dream? Quality, Affordable Dog Walking and Pet Sitting Services
Pet owners often wonder, Is my dog actually dreaming, or is it just a bunch of neurons randomly firing that make my pet twitch and even bark when sleeping? It’s a question millions of children ask millions of parents every day, usually with this answer: “I don’t really know.” The Pet Collective, the leading pet channel on YouTube with more than 24 million video views, wondered the same thing. And now, for inquisitive kids and teens and for their beleaguered parents, Pet Lab has the answer—a fast-paced, easy-to-understand examination of the very simple question: Do Dogs Dream? FIND it: http://tinyurl.com/doggiedreams
Castaway Canines Pets really are man’s best friends! Three in four people who took a resent Pet360 survey would rather be stranded on a desert island with their pets than a human companion. To be honest, we can’t blame them! Read more of the questions pet parents answered and sign up to provide input on future surveys.
Daily Dog Walking Daily Pet Sitting Overnight Pet Sitting House Sitting Pet Taxi Alternating Lights Mail Retrieval Adopt a pet from a 501c3 Non-Profit rescue group and receive 10% off your first service for that pet.* *Restrictions apply, call for details.
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D . I . Y D O G
Ins p i red pro j ec ts for the res o u rc e fu l d o g o wn e r
Play With Your Food! Tips for having fun together with your four-legged friend By Anne Davis, Certified Dog Trainer
ur dogs thrive on attention and rewards. And what better reward is there than having fun together? There are so many advantages to playing games with dogs, and the games don’t have to be complicated or time consuming. In fact, many activities can be played inside with minimal effort. We often use playtime as a reward for listening. Our pups, Rudy, Cooper, and Missie, love to play Find It, which is mentally stimulating and can be physically challenging. Here’s how it works: I ask them to go to their beds while I’m in the kitchen chopping up carrots. Then I hide the carrots all over the house: behind a door, under a box, or even in plain sight. I sit down and talk with them for a few moments and then, all of a sudden, I say “Find it!”—and they are off searching. Rudy, our 12-year-old Lab, can usually only handle one game of Find It before he needs a rest. Of course, this game can only be played with multiple dogs if they are not food aggressive. A word of caution: do not play Find It in the kitchen or dining area as it can lead to counter-surfing. Another activity that takes very little space is the Cup Game, where a treat is hidden under one of three (or more) cups. The game can be used as a reward for sit, down, stay, or any command and can easily be played inside or out. You can set the cups upright or on their sides. Make it easy at first for your dog to find treats, and as your dog is successful, add the challenge of covering the treat. Additional cups may be added and used to form a pattern, such as a circle, a square, or several rows. Help your dog if he finds the treat but has
trouble turning over the cup. Remember, it’s all about having fun. Muffin Ball makes a great use for your old muffin tins. In the photo above, Millie is busy trying to decide if there is a treat under that tennis ball marked with the “X.” If your dog is cautious with new items, introduce only the muffin tin at first. Sprinkle a few tiny treats on it and allow him to get comfortable with this new object. When you feel that it’s going well, let him see a treat in one space and then cover it with a ball. Gradually add another ball and continue until the tin is full. For more fun, increase your dog’s level of excitement by having him wait in another room while you set up the game. Playing is his reward for coming into the room when called. This separation from both the game and you will help to build self-control. To keep it fun and minimize stress, be quick with the out of sight stays. Almost anything can serve as a container for these games, but it’s better to avoid food items like Tupperware products, which may lead to curiosity about your dinner. Playing with your dog for a little while before you need some quiet time or perhaps before a guest arrives will help him to be more relaxed. It also reinforces the idea that good things happen when he listens to you. Besides, it’s fun for us too! ND Anne Davis is the owner of Rudy’s Friends, www.RudysFriendsDog Training.com, 703.395.9450. For information about private training and group classes, please visit her website.
Adopt a Basset Hound today. BROOD has many hounds looking for their forever homes.
www.brood-va.org 6 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
Getting Social With
novadog Barks heard round the water dish
Volunteer with your dog!
From @ChaucerandMolly: @2_hounds Happy Valentine’s Day to you from two rescues sending smooches! The Golden Getaway posted: “Bentley (my Golden Retriever) and I LOVE NOVA Dog Magazine!”
Sean S: “Every day is National Dog Biscuit Day in this house.”
We asked “Why Is Your Dog So Lovable?” Here are some of our favorite answers: Lita J. My dog Vernon is so lovable because he’s been there to comfort me through my lowest of lows. I couldn’t ask for a better Boston Terrier than him. When I lost my other dog of 12 years to cancer I never thought I could ever love another dog and then Vernon came into my life after 9 months of grieving. Even though a lot of times I still find myself thinking about my other dog, I can see a glimpse of her love in my new found friend/ family Vernon. I am truly blessed.
Anne W. Petey, my awesome pittie, is loveable bc he sees me through “dog goggles”. That says it all. Dominick F. Both of my boxers are lovable because when I come home they act like they haven’t seen me in ages, regardless if I’ve been gone for 10 minutes or just returned from a year deployment overseas. And my oldest dog Baxter gets jealous at public displays of affection between my wife and I.
Blue Ridge Veterinary Blood Bank ALL of our donors are lovable because they are all lifesavers! Jackie P. My dog is so lovable because of her huge capacity to love unconditionally, her comedic take on life every day, and her sweet joy at just being alive.
Liz B. Astro is LOVABLE (in an extra large way) because he is my 6 month old, 120 pound licking machine. He loves everything and everyone... his cats, kids, babies, other dogs, the UPS man, the guy fixing the furnace right now. He thinks everyone is his best friend. I am so in love with him. Great Danes rock!
Mary Beth K. Because dogs are people, too. (mine is no exception)
It’s fun. It’s easy. PICTURED ABOVE: A PAL dog visits a patient at MedStar NRH. Photo courtesy of www.pawprintsphotography.com.
Pet Visiting Program Find out how at:
www.peopleanimalslove.org 202-966-2172 www.novadogmagazine.com
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
Acupuncture: Ancient Medicine in a Modern Age An alternate approach to pain and illness based on traditional Chinese medicine. B y S o p h i a C h i an g , DV M
’Artagnan Grove, a 10-year-old male neutered German Shepherd, was rushed in to the emergency room at the VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital in July of 2012. His owners noticed sudden lower back pain and a weakness/lameness in his right rear leg. D’Artagnan had experienced several episodes of neck or back pain throughout the years. It was suspected that he had intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). In the past, D’Artagnan’s condition had been managed using various medications, but he was found to be intolerant to several of them. At his ER visit, D’Artagnan once again was diagnosed with probable pinching of his spinal cord from disc disease, causing him pain and the neurologic signs seen in his rear legs. And, once again, he was placed on a cocktail of pain medications and muscle relaxants, as well as a strict regimen of rest, rest, and more rest. With this treatment, D’Artagnan did improve, but his owners began to wonder if there was a different solution.
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At this point, many dog owners often seek me out. Their pets are in pain. They try various medications and conventional treatments, often with at least some or even great success, yet they feel there may be an alternate approach. Or, they come to me because conventional medicine has failed or ceased to help, and they feel I could be their last resort. Either way, I am here to help.
The Growing Art of Acupuncture I am one of a growing number of veterinary acupuncturists, veterinarians who are specially trained in the art of acupuncture. Here in the West, interest in acupuncture for both people and pets has grown tremendously during the past few decades. Acupuncture has been around as a treatment modality for thousands of years. It is a facet of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also utilizes herbal medicine, diet, exercise, stress therapies, and so on to promote balanced health. According to TCM, there is a life force (called qi) that flows through the body via 14 invisible channels known as meridians. The manner and ease with which qi travels these channels are vital to a healthy state. Opposing forces of yin and yang, as well as external factors, can play a big role in upsetting the delicate balance of qi within the body. The goal of acupuncture is to help regulate qi and return the body to a state of optimal health. This is accomplished by stimulating acupuncture points, which are places on the surface of the body that relate to the deeper meridians, allowing the practitioner to influence the flow of qi. To stimulate acupuncture points, thin smooth needles are inserted in the skin. These needles may then be manipulated to obtain the desired effect. Sometimes the needles are physically manipulated with a twisting action. Sometimes a low electric current is conducted across two points, or a special type of laser is used. Most dogs and cats are very tolerant of treatment. Many become quite relaxed or even fall asleep during a session. The number of needles that are used vary greatly, as each treatment is tailored specifically for that patient. The frequency of treatments also varies, often with longer intervals between sessions as patients improve. D’Artagnan’s owners chose to try acupuncture because they wanted to find a way to treat his pain and neurologic problems without surgery and without having to react to his painful episodes after the fact. Acupuncture was a great choice. By balancing his qi, we hoped to not only treat D’Artagnan’s existing pain but also minimize future episodes of pain. We also wanted to strengthen D’Artagnan’s weakened hindlimbs. In addition, D’Artagnan had shown intoler-
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A dog is treated with electro-acupuncture during the Chi Institute Small Animal Acupuncture class lab. Photo courtesy of the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine.
The goal of acupuncture is to help regulate qi and return the body to a state of optimal health. ance to several medications in the past, so acupuncture was a good, non-pharmaceutical alternative to medical treatment. At his first acupuncture treatment, D’Artagnan showed pain throughout his lower back, and he wanted to sit immediately if slight pressure was applied over his pelvic/hip area. Although he was walking well, he also showed neurologic deficits of his rear paws. Although D’Artagnan could be very nervous at the animal hospital, he tolerated his first acupuncture session very well. By the second session, D’Artagnan already showed much less pain and was stronger in his lower back. His neurologic deficits were also improved. As he continued through his treatments, D’Artagnan’s owner reported that he jumped on the bed for the first time in a long while, had better energy, and was much more comfortable overall. D’Artagnan now comes every six weeks for treatment. A few days before each treatment, his owners can usually note a slight decrease in his strength or a mild increase in lameness or soreness. It is as if he is asking to get his needles! Overall, acupuncture is a great treatment modality. While research studies are still limited, acupuncture has shown effectiveness in the treatment of pain, chronic digestive problems, lick granulomas, epilepsy, and many other conditions. Contact your veterinarian to see if acupuncture may be right for your pet. ND Dr. Chiang joined the VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital in July 2006. A native Texan, she received her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Chicago in 1997. In 2010, She completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society course in veterinary acupuncture and is now providing treatment therapy for the patients of VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital. She enjoys spending time with her husband Jeff, their two daughters and cats Suvi and Summer.
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Saying Goodbye By Ro b in Folt z - Va n n
I am having a very hard time with the loss of our yellow Lab, Cassie. We had to “let her go” two days ago. She would have been 12 next month. I know the decision was the right one, but I am so incredibly sad, it feels unbearable. I cry on and off all day and night, and this feeling of sadness is much more intense than I ever thought it would be. I loved her so much—she was my best buddy. I miss her and can’t stand looking around the house and not seeing her there. All this is just incredibly difficult for me to deal with. I always love to read your magazine, and I thought maybe you may have some good advice for me or some resources to get help? QUESTION
Death, grief, and their mysterANSWER ies are a difficult subject for any person to discuss, and much harder when you feel you are alone in mourning the death of a beloved furry, feathered, or scaly family member. These companions have given unconditional love to our homes, regaling us with comedic and warm personalities, and then reaching the end of their life’s journeys like every twolegged family member also in our lives. Grieving is normal; grieving is different for each person. The last thing after a pet loss you will want to hear is, “Get over it, it was just a dog,” or “Just ignore it, it will pass.” Others may not understand how you feel, but how you feel is just as personal to you as every human relationship you have. To you, Cassie was your companion, your
family member, and a relationship that now leaves a void in your life. What is unbearable now will hopefully one day be part of a fond memory. Sometimes we need assistance feeling “normal” again, and resources are out there to help (see sidebar). Experts theorize over the stages of grief—these may sound familiar: disbelief or denial; anger; sadness or depression; guilt; and then hopefully, acceptance. From my own experience, I believe we jump among all these emotions. Sometimes we may linger on one particular emotion for a while before we transition into another, only to run the gambit of emotions all over again as time passes. Each time we run the gambit, we hope these emotions will be less severe, just like a wound healing and eventually leaving only a scar. Have you ever noticed a scar years later? I
Resources/Support Groups in Northern Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia Alexandria Animal Shelter
4101 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA Meets the first Wednesday of each month, 7:30 PM Contact Kathy Reiter: 703.838.5050
Fairfax County Animal Shelter
4500 West Ox Road Meets the third Wednesday of each month, 7:30 PM Contact Kathy Reiter: 703.830.1100
10 Northern Virginia Dog
PAL (People, Animals, Love)
Meets second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10:00 AM until noon at the William Wendt Center 4880A MacArthur Blvd., NW. No charge but donations are welcome. Contact: 202.966.2171
| Spring 2013
Pet Bereavement Seminar at the Montgomery County Humane Society
14645 Rothgeb Drive Rockville Dr. Mary Knipmeyer Meets the third Wednesday of every month, 7:30 PM Reservations are required. Contact: 240.773.5973
Not Just A Pet: Pet Loss & Bereavement Support Services, LLC 2110 Priest Bridge Drive, Suite #3 Crofton, MD 21114 Free pet loss and grief support groups meet the second Tuesday of each month, 7 PM to 8 PM. Preregistration required. Contact: 410.487.5731 Email: PSpear@NotJustAPet.org www.NotJustAPet.org
smile noticing a scar on my wrist because I remember it was from a volleyball tournament we won years ago. The injury hurt a lot when it happened and it took a while to heal, but I remember the positive side and it seems worth the long-ago pain. Our loss of a pet is a healing journey that leaves a scar upon our hearts. I believe also that grief may begin even prior to the loss of a pet, and this drains us emotionally and physically. Dealing with a pet’s terminal illness, or the lethargy that comes with his or her age and discomfort, is less obvious but just as stressful as the final loss itself. It is important that you feel you have some quality of interaction—the amount of time doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the interaction, and that quality time will help your healing process after the loss. Life is a journey, and when our journey with our pets comes to an end, our “goodbye” is only the beginning. If you choose to have an everlasting memento of your pets’ part of your family, your own imagination should help you to decide what that could be. Sometimes the smallest item can be of comfort in the quieter days after loss of a pet: a lock of fur, collar and tags, a paw print, and especially the pictures’ testament to your pet’s position as a family member, so try to keep one of these close. Or maybe create a quiet place, like a remembrance garden. “There’s Rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember …” (Shakespeare). ND Robin W. Foltz-Vann has been employed as a comptroller in the death care industry since 1984 in independent and corporate funeral establishments, human and pet crematories and funeral supply. She has been a volunteer for Transition Center for Life & Bereavement Care (supported by volunteers and corporate donations) in North Carolina, as well as other community and state-based volunteer assignments. Robin attended Guilford Technical Community College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and many professional enrichment courses.
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Pups in the Park
Come bark at the park with the Nationals and P-Nats!
pring means flowers, sunshine, longer days—and of course baseball! Thanks to some great promotions by our local teams, you can spend a fun day at the ballpark with your best furry friends. Whether you like the high-stakes excitement of the Washington Nationals or the relaxed fun of a Potomac Nationals game, both teams are happy to have their canine fans cheering them on.
Helping Homeless Pets
IF YOU GO:
You must buy your tickets in advance, and please check the requirements needed for your pup to gain access to the park.
Potomac Nationals Bark in the Park 7 County Complex Ct. Woodbridge, VA Game Dates: May 5 and August 25 Admission Price: $8 tickets for the May 5th game are available from www.brood-va. org with $4 from every ticket sold going back to BROOD. All dogs will be allowed to enter the ballpark with a $1 ticket that will also benefit BROOD. For more information, to purchase tickets, or get your pet friendly business involved, contact Andrew Stinson at (703) 590-2311 x 210 or astinson@ potomacnationals.com.
12 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
Pups in the Park With the Washington Nationals 1500 South Capitol Street SE Washington, DC Game Dates: April 14 (come for the pup parade!), May 11, June 9, Sept 14 Admission Price: $22 Owner Ticket (Outfield Reserved section 140-143) $8 Dog Ticket (proceeds benefit the Washington Humane Society) Buy tickets and get more info online at www.nationals.com/pups.
At the Washington Nationals games, Pups in the Park days offer discounted tickets for you, and the $8 ticket for dogs goes to support the Washington Humane Society. Dogs and their owners sit in a special reserved section of Right Field seating at Nationals Park. Visit the Pup Zone, which features sod grass and picnic tables for water and bathroom breaks, or use available pet sitters when you need to grab a snack or take a break yourself. At the April 14 game, there’s a Pup Parade around the warning track before the game—all ticket-holders can participate. At the Potomac Nationals games in Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Bark in the Park days are a fun way to include all the family at a game. Uncle Slam, the “Director of Fun,” will stop by to snap photos with furry fans, and dogs may even get a chance to run the bases. Proceeds from the games benefit BROOD: Basset Rescue of Old Dominion. Pups in the Park at the Washington Nationals games will take place April 14 (with Pup Parade!), May 11, June 9, and September 14. Buy tickets and get more info at www.nationals.com/pups. P-Nats host dogs on May 5 and Aug 25. Buy tickets and get more info at www.potomacnationals.com. NOVADog will have a table at both events, so be sure to stop by and give us your best barks and cheers!
Quick Tips for Batting a Home Run Before you head out to the game, sneak a peek at some tips and tricks described below to make an afternoon at the ballpark a home run!
1 Hot Dogs: DC summer temperatures can reach the triple digits. Be sure to offer your dog water often. Also, be mindful of how long your pups stand with his or her feet on hot pavement heading into the park. Think the on-the-field temps can skyrocket? Blacktop temperatures can reach 120° on a sunny, 90° day!
2 Crowd Control: Presidents Teddy and George may get tripped up on the field, but take precautions to avoid Fido doing the same. Bring a six-foot leash to the park and avoid flex leashes. More control = happier pups.
3 Pup-A-Razzi: Before petting and getting “pawtographs” with your favorite ballpark canines, ask the owners how comfortable their dogs are with fame and attention. Dogs appreciate people who approach them with no direct eye contact, and keep their sides to the dog. Allow the dog to approach you, and pet dogs on their sides, backs, or under the chin. Avoid leaning over a dog or patting the top of the head. And remember: never feed a dog without the owner’s permission.
4 7th Inning Stretch: We all need to stretch a bit, so
feel free to get out of your seat. When dogs meet each other, be considerate of other dogs who may not want to say hello to your pup, no matter how sweet she is! A good rule of thumb is to keep six feet of distance. Dogs that hackle, are stiff with a tail held high over the line of their backs, avoid you, growl or snap are asking that you and your pup keep your distance.
For more tips on teaching your pup to walk calmly on leash, how to greet people and dogs politely, and for information on upcoming leash and dog manners classes in DC and NoVA check out www.KissableCanine.com.
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Curbside Grooming: There’s No Place Like Home By El i s sa M a t u lis M y er s
awn O’Day Foster was leading the hard-charging, glamorous life of an international meeting planner, working for the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading, but somehow in the back of her mind she yearned to be doing something else. “I always knew that I wanted to run my own business,” she says. “Even as a little girl, when I played pretend grown-up, my job was shopkeeper.” “I’ve always been a dog lover, and I wanted a dog when I was growing up,” she says, “but my mom would always say, ‘You can get a dog when you have your own home.’” As soon as Foster had her own home, she adopted Bailey, a Cairn Terrier—a lively little dog with a wiry coat that needed special grooming. Foster regularly took Bailey to a salon to have her primped and pampered, and, while watching, it occurred to her that dog grooming would be a fun job. Soon after she lost Bailey, she adopted Honey Bun, another Cairn, and regularly took her to her veterinarian’s groomer. One day she called and couldn’t get an office appointment. The vet suggested that she call the groomer directly—“She will come to your house,” he said. She called Michele Petersen, owner of Classy Canines, and Petersen found her sitting on her front steps holding the dog. Foster stayed chatting with Petersen as she worked with Honey Bun and mentioned that she thought that the business looked like it would be fun and interesting. “Why don’t you ride along with me for one day,” Petersen offered, “and
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after the ride I’ll show you my business and marketing plan and my books, and you can decide if this is a business for you.” Foster loved the experience and enrolled in Canine Clippers School of Pet Grooming in Dumfries, Virginia. And in 2007, Pampered Pets Curbside Grooming Salon and Spa, LLC was born, which serves dogs under 45lbs and groomer friendly cats. “I came into the business just as the general economy was tanking,” Foster says, “but fortunately the DC area wasn’t hit as hard as some parts of the country. The first three years were tough—I had to learn to pace myself, but now I’m busy all the time, with regular clients who appreciate the opportunity to get their little pals groomed without a lot of the time and stress that sometimes goes with that experience.” “I drive up to customers’ home and bring their pet the short distance out to my curbside grooming truck, which is equipped with a 50-gallon water tank, heat, and air-conditioning. I use a special blueberry facial made by a company called South Barks that cleans a dog’s face without getting soap in his eyes, and do a thorough shampoo and blow dry with a high-velocity dryer. The dryer is so powerful that once I had a Big Gulp in a far corner of the van, and when I turned the dryer in its direction, Hawaiian Punch went everywhere! The dryer is gentle enough to be comfortable for the pets, but it dries them quickly.” “My dogs seem less anxious getting groomed in the van—there’s no
Dawn O’Day Foster , with (l to r) Winslow, Trevor and Honey Bun.
Favorite Dog Book: “I can’t remember the name of it, but when I was in third grade I found a little blue book with a cocker spaniel on the cover, and I kept borrowing it from the library over and over. My mother said, ‘Why don’t you get a different book?’ but I just loved that one!” Dog of her own? Two: Winslow, a Terrier mix, and Trevor, a Maltese Yorkie or “Morkie.” “I had a third dog, Honey Bun, who was a Cairn Terrier, but lost her last summer.”
irgiNia M NV a
Advice for others thinking about a dog business? “Do a ‘ride along.’ Go to a shop and watch for a day or more. If you don’t want to go back with a passion, the business probably isn’t for you. It’s hard getting a business started, and you really have to love the work to make it succeed.”
Worst experience: “I was hired to groom a pair of ‘River Dogs,’ and they were covered with ticks. I spoke to the owner and suggested that she needed to get a flea-tick repellent for the dogs, but she refused. I felt so sorry for the dogs, but I just couldn’t work for her.”
Funniest thing that’s happened: “A taxi driver whose first language wasn’t English mistook me for an ice-cream truck. He kept asking for two ice creams, and I kept pointing at the truck and shaking my head. ‘Two, two, two’ he kept saying. I guess I’ll have to put a cooler in and stock it with popsicles.”
chaos; it’s a calm environment,” Foster adds. “Plus, there are no other dogs to distract them. The pet never leaves the premises—only to walk a few steps into my salon on wheels. It takes about an hour and a half to complete the grooming and then the dogs are back home in their familiar environment, looking wonderful.” The basic grooming package includes a handmade bandana that Foster makes herself. “I have a good eye for materials, and I buy small quantities of fabric that I fall in love with. I bought a serger sewing machine so that I can put a nice edge on the bandanas that won’t fray when washed.” Foster’s passion for crafting promises to bring an exciting new dimension to the company. “I have been making jewelry and embroidering for years, and when I set up a booth to sell dog accessories at the Groom Expo, the world’s largest grooming trade show, in Hershey, PA, we were swamped with orders.” Her website, www.pampered-pets. us, already includes unique handmade bandanas, towels, and key rings, and more products are on the horizon. “I recently invested in a 10-needle embroidery machine so I don’t have to sit and change the thread all day, but I don’t want to start marketing large quantities of items—I want to be a person that you can call to get a one-of-a-kind, exactly-what-you-want item.” “I love the thrill of taking a pet in to an owner and hearing them squeal with delight, saying ‘He smells so good and looks so beautiful!’ It’s instant gratification, and it feels great!” says Foster. 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 on-line Examiner. www.novadogmagazine.com
pet care on the go Mobile Solutions Turn Your Living Room Into the Waiting Room
By Taylor Ham
n todayâ€™s busy world, time is short and to-do lists are long. While we all want the best care for our furry friends, jam-packed schedules and multiple appointments can test even the most resilient of pet parents. Lucky for us, savvy pet professionals and businesses are building more convenience into a range of services, from veterinary care to pedicures and pampering. Choosing these mobile options over traditional brick-and-mortar ones brings pet care to your front door and offers benefits for both pets and people.
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Dog Training & Behavior Modification
For some pet owners, a trip to the vet is anything but an easy excursion. From corralling your dogs into the car or prying the cat out from under the couch, to then dealing with bulky carriers and occasional car sickness, you and your pets may come to truly dread these necessary but difficult outings. And how do your pets always seem to know the difference between a ride to the park and a ride to the vet? Add this stress to your already busy day of work, errands, kids and ever-changing schedules, and you have the case for a mobile veterinarian.
The Pros Dr. Eric Cryan, DVM and founder of Nova Mobile Vet LLC, and Dr. Marisa Gerth, DVM and founder of Critterfixer’s Mobile Veterinary Clinic, believe that pet owners don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience. They offer wellness visits, vaccinations, preventative care, and end-of-life services outside of the office—Dr. Gerth via at-home calls, and Dr. Cryan from his state-of-the-art vehicle stocked with medical, diagnostic, and surgical equipment. These vets take the concept of “mobile” to heart not only in services offered, but also in the way they communicate with clients via text and email and strive to provide the utmost flexibility in scheduling. “We really try to bend over backwards in providing flexibility to meet our clients’ needs,” Dr. Cryan says. “Many of our clients who have multiple pets, children, and busy schedules really appreciate the convenience of having us come to them.” Dr. Cryan can even offer x-rays, surgeries and dental cleanings from his traveling office. Convenience is just one of the many reasons people choose mobile veterinarians. Trips to the vet can be stressful for both humans and animals, and reducing stress is one of the most often cited benefits of at-home veterinary care. “Just like humans, animals can pick up on the anxiety of others,” says Dr. Gerth. She started her private house-call practice more than six years ago to serve clients who could not bring their pets to a regular clinic due to mobility or transportation issues, or whose pets were too shy or skittish to leave home. “Assessing behavior issues is sometimes a challenge when the animal is extremely stressed,” Dr. Gerth adds. For example, she says that some of her feline patients who do not do well at the vet’s office will playfully bat at her portable printer or explore her bag while she’s on a house call visit. “Instead of trying to evaluate them while they lowcrawl or cower on the floor of the clinic office, I can watch them walk, jump, and play naturally around the house—I can see how fluid they are,” Dr. Gerth adds. This personal interaction has been beneficial in treating basic pet illnesses as well as helping to provide long-term care—even services like acupuncture—for elderly animals. In-home visits are particularly helpful for diagnosing and treating orthopedic issues and for senior pets that might have multiple health challenges. In the client’s
Reducing stress is one of the most often cited benefits of at-home veterinary care.
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home, Dr. Gerth may pick up on things that might not come out in a short office exam, and she can take the opportunity to make recommendations for how to tweak the home environment to help meet treatment goals. Both Cryan and Gerth agree that the benefits of mobile health care extend to veterinarians as well. Mobile vets see fewer clients per day and have the flexibility to spend additional time with them when needed. “Because each client has my undivided attention, I really get to develop a relationship with them,” Dr. Cryan says. “I love that.”
Things to Consider If you’re thinking about making the switch to a mobile veterinarian, be sure to do some research first to find out what services they can provide. A practitioner who has a fully-equipped mobile medical unit can offer a larger range of services on-site, from routine to surgical procedures. A house-call veterinarian, on the other hand, may carry everything needed for wellness exams or routine visits in his or her vehicle, but offer x-rays, surgeries, or more intensive procedures at a traditional vet clinic. Be sure to have another plan ready if your mobile vet isn’t able to offer emergency services. Prices for services provided by mobile vets are going to vary, much like prices at traditional clinics do. In addition, most mobile vets charge a trip fee to cover costs of fuel and mileage. The good news is that the trip fee is usually a flat rate per visit, whether you have one pet or a dozen. Some mobile vets may offer multiple pet discounts or allow you to split a trip fee with neighbors.
MOBILE GROOMING AND SPAS Veterinarians aren’t the only pet-care professionals taking their services on the road. Curbside groomers and mobile spas are also successfully making their way into the market. Mobile groomers offer a range of services—from deluxe spa-style pampering to just a trim and a wash, without you or your pet ever needing to get in the car. This trend is a blessing for many pet owners who have been able to eliminate frequent trips to the groomer and long waits for routine care of furry friends. This type of regular care is what Dawn O’Day Foster, owner of Pampered Pets Curbside Grooming Salon and Spa, specializes in. After a 30-year career in nonprofit management, Foster took her passion for pet care on the road when she established her mobile grooming business in 2007. “I fell in love with this job,” Foster says. “It gives me great joy to see my clients’ pets smelling wonderful and looking beautiful after I have groomed them.” Foster sees an average of only five clients per day, which means that her clients get one-on-one care and personalized attention. And because she develops long-term relationships with her customers, she is able to work with pets without the owner needing to be present—significantly increasing the convenience of scheduling for both her and her clients. Barkley Square’s brand new Spaaah Mobile pet grooming service takes VIP care a step further by offering deluxe services like pet facials, teeth cleaning with a spritz of breath freshener, face and paw massages, “paw-di-cures” and “glitzing” for Northern Virginia’s most discerning
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MOBILE ADOPTION UNIT Next time you are out shopping, eating, or strolling in the DC Metro area, keep an eye out for the Washington Human Society’s mobile adoption unit. The impressive looking vehicle, dubbed “Adopt Force One,” is literally a full-service adoption center on wheels. Adopt Force One has been on the road for a little more than a year now, and the goal is to keep it full of homeless animals and out in the community every single day. “The ability to bring animals out to where people live and work is so valuable,” says Julie Conway, chief development officer for the Washington Human Society; “We never want to see it parked at the shelter.” The mobile unit allows dogs that tend to be overlooked at the shelter because they are timid or nervous the chance to shine in a more relaxed environment. “Once you get them out of a kennel,
Adopt Force One – Coming to a Community Near You!
their real personalities come out, and you get a much better sense of what they are like,” explains Conway. The change of scenery is attractive to potential adopters as well, many of whom find it difficult or overwhelming to visit a shelter where so many animals need help. Adopt Force One is built to accommodate animals of all sizes, shapes, and types, and has all the amenities needed to process adoptions on-site. Use of the vehicle has resulted in great exposure for the Washington Humane Society, which also takes advantage of the occasion to give people information on volunteer opportunities or other ways of supporting the cause. Conway notes that many people who interact with the dogs
four-legged residents. While canine guests are treated like royalty with offerings of designer water and Barkley Square gourmet dog treats, Spaaah Mobile specializes in caring for all types of pets, including cats and smaller caged animals like guinea pigs and rabbits. Barkley Square owner Kristina Robertson recalls one of their first grooming clients—a geriatric cat staying at a local vet clinic. “Her skin was dehydrated and her hair was so painfully matted that we knew we could not let this little angel go another day like that,” Robertson recalls. “I will never forget the focus Ana, our groomer, had to have while shaving this kitty…watching every breath she made, checking her gums to make sure they were still pink, and being so careful not to cut her skin. It took her close to three pain-staking hours, but both Ana and the cat came out the better for it!”
on Adopt Force One will later visit the shelter and adopt a different animal. Other people who weren’t necessarily planning on adopting end up really connecting with a dog they meet. “In the end, that is often how animals get adopted: by people falling in love,” she says. Get out on the town and meet your new best friend! Visit the Washington Human Society’s website (washumane.org) to see a schedule of visits.
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Before You Book Robertson recommends taking some time to get to know a potential mobile groomer, their equipment, and their work before you commit. “A customer should always be able to ask to come in to the van and see the set up,” she says. Ask questions about how and how often tools are disinfected and what grooming products are used. Barkley Square’s Spaaah Mobile uses all organic products and offers specialty products for pets with sensitive skin. Be clear about your needs and expectations: Do you need a simple trim, or do want a show-quality cut? Make sure the groomer’s experience and skill match your needs, and that they take the time to really listen and understand your requests. “Always ask for references,” Robertson advises. Many professional dog groomers will have a portfolio of before and after photos so potential customers can see their work. Also, be aware that some mobile groomers have size limitations and restrictions on temperament of dogs and cats. Groomers working alone may be unable or unwilling to handle difficult cases, and space constraints in some grooming vehicles may rule out larger breeds. ND
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Taylor Ham is a freelance writer from Ithaca, NY. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband Stephen and two dogs, Samson and TJ. www.novadogmagazine.com
Working With Trainers and Behavior Consultants
thrive By Vivian Leven Shoemaker
og ownership has become more involved. We view dogs as members of our family. They live in our homes and maybe even sleep in our beds, and this makes us more interested in really understanding what makes them tick. As we develop closer relationships with our dogs, we also become more aware of their emotional health. We care not only about the sit, down, and stay, but also we want them to be happy and harmonious family members. It used to be that behavior issues were considered “bad manners,” and when a trainer was hired to help, it was with the view that the dog was taking liberties and needed to be strong-armed with obedience drills to “get back in-line.” The focus was to make the behavior stop. Today we know that, just like with people, dogs don’t act out to torment us or to be mean. The environment around them conditions their behavior. Behavior is
20 Northern Virginia Dog
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not static; you can never “stop” a behavior, only replace it with another one. Dogs, just like us, are complex emotional beings. In order to thrive, their basic needs must be met: nutritious food; water, exercise, feeling safe in their immediate surroundings, frequent social contact, and the opportunity to engage in problem-solving activities that can provide mental stimulation as well as a sense of purpose and control over their immediate environment and life as a whole. If these needs are not met, dogs may feel stress and agony, which can result in coping behaviors. These behaviors can be detrimental for both the dog and those living with him, ranging from minor misbehaviors to challenging behavioral problems. Faced with these troubles, dog owners may need to hire a trainer or behavior consultant.
Finding a Dog Trainer All new dog owners are well advised to take their dogs to training classes. Basic training helps form the foundation for a long-term relationship and for the dog to understand and meet the owner’s expectations at home. Developing a well-mannered dog requires repetition, consistency, and breaking the behavior down in smaller steps so the dog can achieve success. In order to get the most effective training services available, hire a certified dog trainer. There is only one national independent dog training certification in this country: certified professional dog trainer (CPDT). This certification includes two levels: CPDT-KA (knowledge assessed) and CPDT-KSA (knowledge and skills assessed). The latter is one step more advanced, as the testing is only available to those trainers who already are CPDT-KA and requires, beyond the written exam, videotaped training sessions with a client and dog in order to rate the trainer’s practical skills. There are other advanced courses a dog trainer can take and some recommended programs—(see the side column for more details). Certification ensures the trainer has knowledge in learning theory, husbandry, instructional skills, ethology, and more. Whether you go to a certified trainer or not, always make sure to pick a dog trainer who is professional and supportive to you and kind to your dog—and you see results.
Finding a Behavior Consultant When your dog has a behavioral problem, the stakes are higher when looking for professional assistance. The reality is that there are fewer behaviorists (with actual behavioral degrees) than trainers. In fact, dog trainers are often asked to assist owners with canine behavioral problems. In these cases, some type of certification demonstrating a higher skill level is key, as it indicates the person is keeping up with the education required to remain certified, and is interested in evolving in their profession. There are a number of certifications to help you make that judgment—(see the side column for more details). Also consider if the professional has worked with similar cases before. Severe aggression, compulsive disorders, and phobias are often cases for a certified behaviorist and require medical treatment as well. A behavior consultant has to make a functional assessment, create a plan, and then analyze and revise the plan as needed based on feedback from the dog owner. The dog’s history must be examined, along with the living environment and the interaction with individuals sharing the dog’s life. If there is a specific problem behavior repeated, the analysis needs to examine what triggers that behavior and identify the resulting consequence (i.e., what motivations are driving the dog to respond in this manner). In addition, a combination of management strategies and controlled practice sessions to condition a new response in the presence of the triggering event are created. It is also helpful to engage the dog in lots
Photo By Ashley Jenkinson
UNDERSTANDING THE PROFESSION A “certified” trainer can mean many things. Some are certified through a school; some are certified through an independent group not affiliated with any school or membership organization. The term “certification” is widely used incorrectly in the animal field, and most certifications are, in fact, certificate programs. That does not mean that certificate programs are bad (many of them are quite good), but the dog owner should be aware that the term means many different things in this field.
Certificate programs are educational programs designed to teach a certain set of skills or knowledge. Graduates of the program receive a certificate. Examples of certificate programs include the Karen Pryor Academy, Animal Behavior College, SF/ SPCA Dog Trainer’s Academy, and more. The main focus of a certificate program is education, and the educational process begins and ends with the program (from enrollment through graduation). A certification has a different focus: assessing skills and/ or knowledge. Certifications are run by organizations that are independent of the actual educational process, and their sole goal is determining if you meet a set of criteria demonstrating the attainment of a level of skill/knowledge. A certification is designed to show that you have met a set of standard skills/ knowledge in your profession. In order to maintain a certification, further education from independent organizations is required, usually in the form of continuing education units (CEUs). Examples of certifications are the CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA (Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers), and the CDBC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants).
Applied animal behaviorists are certified by the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), a professional organization dedicated to the study of animal behavior. In order to apply for ABS certification, the professional must possess a graduate-level education in ethology, learning theory, comparative psychology, psychology, biology, zoology, animal science, or experimental design. She must also have a minimum of three to five years of professional experience. Veterinary behaviorists have completed a minimum of a two-year residency under the guidance of a board-certified veterinarian and are professionally certified as diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB). Veterinary behaviorists are knowledgeable in psychopharmacology and may incorporate pharmaceutical therapy into behavior modification protocols. DACVBs are a rare breed. Source: Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT.com)
Don’t struggle too long trying to solve these problems yourself; hiring a professional can help steer the dog and your relationship back on a healthy course. of activities that encourage appropriate responses and problem-solving skills where the dog gains control over his environment.
What to Look For First, some traits should raise red flags when evaluating a trainer or behavior consultant. Be wary of trainers or consultants who: 1) propose solutions to suppress a behavior rather than transform the emotional state fueling the behavior; 2) guarantee a quick fix; 3) reference dominance theory or “being alpha”; or 4) recommend punishment and intimidation techniques to deal with a problem. These approaches may produce short-term results, but they will not help long-term, as they don’t get at the root cause of a problem. When hiring a professional dog trainer or behavior consultant, refer to these key elements for guidance: HUMANE: Does not use any methods that will deliberately hurt or intimidate the dog. Applies the principles of the Humane Hierarchy as defined by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), as well as the position statements by American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) on punishment and dominance theory.
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SCIENTIFIC: Emphasis on learning theory (classical and operant learning) and animal behavior. Knowledge of canine body language and the ability to use techniques based in behavioral science to keep a low stress level and provide the optimum opportunity for learning. PROFESSIONAL: Realizes high standards are important. A national and independent certification system has been developed for trainers, and additional certifications are available specifically for dog training professionals dealing with behavioral work. Under the guidance and care of a trainer or behavioral consultant, most dogs’ actions and emotional issues can be improved if not corrected. Don’t struggle too long trying to solve these problems yourself; hiring a professional can help steer the dog and your relationship back on a healthy course. ND Vivian Leven Shoemaker is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDTKSA) and Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC). She is the dog training director at Fur-Get Me Not, where she teaches Levels, specialty classes and privates. She is also the owner of POSITIVE DOG, which focuses solely on behavioral cases (www.positivedog.net). For more information on private training sessions, basic obedience, puppy, or specialty classes, as well as dog walking, daycare, and pet sitting, go to www.furgetmenot.com.
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VA. More info on page 12. Buy tickets at www.potomacnationals.com
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Join the GrapeHounds for their 4th Annual Wine Tour of Loudoun County. Headquartered at Lost Creek this year, additional details can be found at http:// www.grapehounds.com/virginia.html.
10 AM -3PM—Strut Your Mutt Bethesda, in the Woodmont Triangle Area of Bethesda at Norfolk Ave. and Woodmont Ave. Dog vendors, music, kids play area, raffle, dog parade and contests, training shows and adoption by local rescue groups. Rain or shine event. More info: http://strutyourmuttbethesda.org.
May 11 8:30AM-11:30AM—18th Annual Walk for the Animals at Bluemont Park to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. More info: www.awla.org.
April 14 1:35PM—Pups in the Park: Bring your dog as the Washington Nationals play the Braves in D.C. You must buy dog and human tickets in advance. More info on page 12. Buy tickets at www. nationals.com/pups.
May 11 11AM-6PM—Dog day celebration at Breaux Vineyards. Bring your four-legged friends for a day of fun. Live music by Steel & Oglevee, wine tastings, doggiebased vendors, and crafters, food, and local rescue organizations. More info: www.breauxvineyards.com.
April 21 11AM—Dogs Walk for a Dog Park: Join this 2.75 mile walk and help bring a dog park to Prince William county. There will be refreshments for humans and dogs, and the fee is only $5 per dog. More info: www.pwcdogs.com.
May 11 4:05PM—Pups in the Park: Bring your dog as the Washington Nationals play the Chicago Cubs in D.C. You must buy dog and human tickets in advance. More info on page 12. Buy tickets at www.nationals.com/pups.
M AY May 4 10AM-4PM—Pet Fiesta at Reston Town Center in Reston, VA. Free admission. Fun for pets and families. For more info: www.petfiesta.org
May 15 8:30PM—Dog Training Workshop: NO JUMPING!, at Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA. Cost $35 for one-time 50 min. session. To register for this, and more fun workshops (everything from fun dog tricks to
May 5 1:05 PM—Bark in the Park: Bring your dog as the Potomac Nationals play the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in Woodbridge,
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| Spring 2013
May 23 6:30 - 8:30PM—Low-Cost Rabies and Microchip Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. $10 Rabies shot, $30 microchip. Bring prior rabies certificate (not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. More info www. awla.org.
JUNE June 1 10AM-4PM—Pet Fest and Paws on Parade at South Run Rec Center, Springfield, VA. Part of the Springfield Days celebration, this pet event has exhibits on pet care, nutrition, training rescue groups, and the annual Paws on Parade as well as a blessing of the pets. www.springfielddays.com.
June 8 8AM-1PM—Participate in the 2nd Annual Run, Walk & Wag event to benefit Northern Virginia Spay Neuter Clinic.
Special thanks to our calendar sponsor Fur-Get Me Not. www.furgetmenot.com
Held in Philip Bolan Memorial Park, the event is a timed 5K run and a family 1 mile walk & wag with Fido. Join the doggie costume parade and other activities, including dog agility course, demonstrations, music, food, vendors, giveaways, and doggie kissing booth. More info: www.spcanova.org.
June 8 7-11PM—The Washington Humane Society’s 26th Annual Bark Ball, D.C.’s only black-tie gala that welcomes dogs. Dinner, dancing, silent auction, and local celebrities at the Washington Hilton. For more info and tickets: www. barkball.com.
MARKETPLACE June 9 1:35PM—Pups in the Park: Bring your dog as the Washington Nationals play the Minnesota Twins in D.C. You must buy dog and human tickets in advance. More info on page 12. Buy tickets at www.nationals.com/pups.
June 23 9AM—AKC Canine Good Citizen Testing, at FurGet Me Not, 4140 S Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA. Cost $20 per dog (non-refundable). Pre-registration preferred but walk-ins welcome. For more info: www.furgetmenot.com. Make sure your dog is prepared for the test! Fur-Get Me Not’s Level 4 classes are designed with the CGC Test in mind—Sign up at www.furgetmenot.com.
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n March 8, hundreds of party animals came out to the U.S. Patent Trademark Officer to support the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria at the 3rd Annual Mardi Growl Gala. The festive fundraiser is the largest of the year for the League, and it raises critical money to support the reduced-cost spay/neuter program, foster care program, humane education and outreach program, and numerous other League initiatives to create a more humane world for all animals. More than 350 guests in beads, boas, costumes, and masks participated in the Mardi Growl silent auction and raffle, enjoyed delicious food from Bittersweet Café and Catering, and danced to N’awlins jazz and other great music from Blu Neffu. Alison Starling, Emmy Award-winning news anchor from ABC7/WJLA-TV, served as MC for the evening and was joined by the Alexandria Town Crier and other special guests. Former Mayor Kerry Donley and his wife Eva were honored as King and Queen of the Krewe of Barkus for their commitment to animal welfare and years of supporting the League. The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria thanks all Mardi Growl sponsors, including NOVADog Magazine, all guests for supporting the League, and the countless others that made “MG3” such a success for Alexandria’s animals. ND
Photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography
26 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
Cassie the dog enjoys both the wet and dry aspects of the trails.
HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy
Seneca Tract—A Dog’s Paradise By Carol B r ooks
y neighbor Bill used to tell stories about his hiking adventures at Seneca with his dog Rosie. With boyish glee, he’d recount a new trail or discovery, often piquing his own interest to return. When I finally visited Bill’s park at the end of Seneca Road in Great Falls, VA, I wondered if I was in the right place. The entrance and parking area belie what’s hidden beyond. But leaving the parking area to go a few feet into the woods, I found the magical place Bill described. The Seneca Tract, as it’s officially known, is one of Northern Virginia’s best kept hiking secrets. It has a simple elegance that offers seclusion, mystery, and the opportunity to experience a natural setting unlike that of other more developed area parklands. You and your dog will have the sensation of being in a remote wilderness as you hike under the cathedral-like canopy of mature trees. Seneca comprises 466 acres of the undeveloped Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority’s 761-acre Upper Potomac Properties that lie between Algonkian and Riverbend Parks. The properties were originally acquired in the 1960s and 70s with the idea of developing a single, large regional park on the river. The assemblage of property was never completed, and subsequent residential development has left only one motor vehicle access point to the unassuming Seneca Tract. Seneca and the adjoining land offer many possibilities for dogs and their adventurous people. Much of the park’s charm lies in the thrill of first-time discovery, an experience you will enjoy sharing with your happy dog. The trail
About Your Guide Carol Brooks is co-owner of DogOn Fitness, a daily exercise service for dogs. She specializes in high-energy and overweight dogs, providing them with working walks, running, adventure hikes, training reinforcement, and more. Headquartered in Reston, DogOn Fitness services Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD. Visit them on the Web at www.dogonfitness.com.
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system consists of a gravel access road and the Potomac Heritage Trail, which both run parallel to the Potomac River, and numerous color-blazed “Connector Trails” that wind around the park and lead to the gravel road and trail. This park is best enjoyed by allotting a few hours to explore the trails. For a familiarization hike, I suggest the easy loop of almost three miles described below. From the parking area, locate the trail closest to the service road gate and go right. Follow this orange-blazed trail, passing a four-way intersection to a T-junction. Go left at the T and follow the yellow-blazed trail. This trail meanders along a mostly level ridge trail for about .7 miles. Stay on the yellow-blazed trail as it passes white and red-blazed trails. In about one-half mile, the trail turns sharply to the right and goes downhill. This area can be slippery, so walk cautiously. At the bottom of the hill, go left onto the gravel service road, which parallels the river. For a river view hike, go right onto the gravel road and then take an immediate left onto a dirt trail. Follow the green blazes and go left onto the narrow Potomac Heritage Trail that borders the river. You can also go right on the service road or river trail to add mileage to your hike. In the springtime, the area along the Potomac between the river and the gravel road is covered with a blanket of Virginia Bluebells. Continue to the left along the gravel road or path (crossing wooden bridges if on the path), until you reach a wide trail and signage between the road and path. Here you will find a wide protected water access where your dog can take a cooling dip. If you continue a few hundred feet farther on the path, you can view the rocky remains of George Washington’s Patowmack Canal. Return to the gravel service road and follow it uphill. The road makes a sharp curve to the right and connects with an asphalt road. At the curve, continue straight onto a dirt path. Follow this dirt path and you will connect with the main entrance path that leads to the parking area.
Getting There Take Seneca Road (located near the intersection of Route 7 and Georgetown Pike) about four miles north to where it dead-ends at Seneca Tract. ND NOTE: This park is heavily used by horseback riders, especially on weekends. Dogs must be kept on-leash and under control. Park visitor
Shelia Casey and her dog Jack stop for a rest, trail-side.
Loretta Arey, a professional horse trainer and owner of 20/20 Horsemanship, emphasizes that a surprise encounter with a horse could lead to dangerous consequences for you, your dog, and horse and rider. TRAIL SPECIFICS
Park Hours: Dawn to dusk What To Bring: Be sure your dog has adequate tick protection. Wear sturdy waterproof shoes. Bring water for you and your dog, and poop bags. There are no trash cans. Be prepared for a happy, dirty dog; bring plenty of towels. Trail Specifics: Suggested hike is approximately three miles; however, there are endless possibilities. Keep track of where you are; if you get lost, locate the gravel road. Time: 60 minutes for the three-mile hike. Use: Hikers, runners, horses, on-leash dogs. Fido Friendly Features: Off-street parking (limited space),fun dog-safe trails, water access. Bikes are not allowed in the park except on the gravel road. Best Time to Go: Anytime. On weekdays you are less likely to run into horse riders. Rated: 2 -5 paws (easy-medium)
1 paw = easy; 5 = expert
WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories
Thelma & Ginger Thelma (4 years old) and Ginger (2-and-a-half years old) are loved by Diana and Bobby in Fairfax, VA.
Adopted from: Homeward Trails in 2012. How did they get their names? Thelma—We call her Thelmie. She received her name from the rescue. Ginger—She’s the same color as a gingersnap and she is very sweet.
You picked them because... We were transporting Ginger from
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Fredericksburg, and she was so sweet and gentle, we didn’t want to let her go. The day we picked up Thelma in Fredericksburg, she looked so tired and worn-out, and she had an eye infection, but she had a very gentle disposition. She and Ginger were partners in crime while at the shelter and even before that, so we didn’t want to see them separated. They are the best of friends—they even went through their heartworm treatment together since they were both heartworm positive.
Favorite activity together: They love to go on walks with our other dogs, Daisy and Rocky. We have spa day every Saturday morning, when their nails are done, their ears are cleaned, they get brushed and, once a month, they get their heartworm pill as well as their Frontline application. They also get sprayed with Key West Aloe. It makes their coats really nice and shiny, and makes them smell good. Favorite toy: A ball. They also have a toy called a Wubba that they play with for hours.
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28 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2013
Favorite treat: Frosty Paws. We also buy them cookies from the doggie bakery in Old Town.
You love them because they... We love both Ginger and Thelma very much! Why? They have become part of our family. We have four dogs, and they get along, they watch out for one another, and they all watch out for my wife and me. Once you get to know them, you realize a world without them would be sad! You know the saying, “We didn’t rescue them, they rescued us!” ND Homeward Trails Animal Rescue seeks to find permanent adoptive homes in the Mid-Atlantic Region for dogs and cats from high-kill shelters or whose owners can no longer care for them. Homeward Trails not only facilitates adoptions from local shelters, but also supports a large network of foster care providers. Visit them online at www.homewardtrails.org.
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