NOVADog Magazine Spring 2020

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novadog Spring 2020



Lost Pet Prevention

Preventive measures to keep pets safe at home and ways to prepare in case of emergency

Also Inside: Nose Work: Important, lifesaving, jobs that focus around the incredible dog nose Canine Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injuries Destinations: Historic Downtown Occoquan



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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 © 2019 is published quarterly by 343 Media, LLC. Limited complimentary copies are distributed throughout the DC Metro area and are available in select locations. One- and two-year subscriptions are available. Visit for more information. Send change of address information to P.O. Box 239, Mount Vernon, VA 22121, NOVADog Magazine neither endorses or opposes any charity, welfare organization, product, or service, dog-related or otherwise. As an independent publisher and media organization, we report on news and events happening in our local area. Events are used as an outlet to reach new readers interested in all aspects of dog ownership. We encourage all readers to make their own decisions as to which products and services to use, organizations to support, and events to attend.

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contents Spring 2020

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


14 L ost Pet Prevention

Missing Pet. It’s every pet owner’s nightmare. Thankfully, there are preventive measures that can both keep pets safe and home, as well as many ways to prepare in case of emergency. By Sam Connelly

18 NThere oseareWork dogs tasked with dozens of different, important, life-saving, harrowing jobs that focus around their incredible noses. By Sophia Rutti

14 D E PA RT M E N T S





News, information, and products


Advise and information on canine health issues

9 DESTINATIONS Historic Downtown Occoquan

On the cover:

Photo by Humphrey Muleba from Pexels.


Hiking with your dog


A glimpse into the lives of Northern Virginia dogs


Adoption success stories

12 EXPERT ADVICE Pet First Aid Kits

Read Penny’s adoption success story on page 28.




inter is a great time to maximize quality time with your pet and catch up on low-key relaxation. This time of year begs us to curl up on the couch with a blanket, a copy of NOVADog and our furry pals for the evening. So hunker down in your couch and make your pet’s night by snuggling up with them and giving this issue a read. We have likely all had a scare with one of our pets. Pets run from homes, they escape their collars and leashes, jump fences and run off after getting spooked. Things like moving, family changes and loud noises. Within this year’s Winter Issue we have sought out the area’s top expert on lost pets. The issue’s feature story outlines exactly what to do should your pet get lost or escape. Acting quickly is a top way to increase chances of getting your pet back, ready the rest of the article for important ways you can prepare and so you are ready to act. The Healthwise article sheds light on one of the most common, yet often misunderstood dog injuries. Watching for the symptoms in your pet, can help you diagnose it early. An-

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other way to prepare is by making your own Pet First Aid Kit. April happens to be Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Consider taking a Pet First Aid Class if you want to dive even deeper on pet education and emergency preparation. It’s also that time of year when the lack of daylight and the cold temperatures encourage lure us to the cozy couch and blankets, however the Occoquan Regional Park will lure you out to enjoy it’s waterfront trail. This hike is gorgeous enough to pull you off the couch and get you moving, plus when you are done, you can warm up with a hot bowl of soup while enjoying the great water views from the dog-friendly porch of the Brickmakers Café. Then after your hike, you certainly can grab a blanket, hunker down in your couch, and snuggle up with your favorite furry friend and give this issue a read. Happy New Year! Happy New Decade to the Furry and Fabulous NOVADog Community! ND Angela

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H E A L T H  W I S E

Not a Sporting Chance:

The Quite Common Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Injury By Dr. Justi n Ganj e i


nterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are a fairly common occurrence in people, and tend to be most commonly sustained during sporting events. In fact, when thinking of ACL tears, most people probably think of professional athletes, like Robert Griffin III (RG3). What isn’t likely to be one of the first things the average person thinks about when discussing ACL tears, is our canine companions…but should it be? Well, despite a slight variation in the terminology, cranial cruciate ligament disease (CCL) is no stranger to dogs. In fact, cranial cruciate ligament

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disease is THE most common cause of pelvic limb lameness in dogs. Many of you reading this article right now may actually have or have had a dog with a CCL tear. So what exactly is the cranial cruciate ligament and why is this so important for pet owners? Let’s find out… The cranial cruciate ligament is one of many ligamentous structures of the knee joint and is a very important stabilizer of the joint itself. When this ligament is damaged, the knee joint will undergo a variable degree of instability, depending on if the injury is partial or

complete. This instability will in turn lead to inflammation, swelling, and discomfort of the knee joint resulting in a limp. Depending on if this injury is acute or chronic, or the tearing of the ligament is partial versus complete, the limp can vary from not putting any weight on the limb at all (acute, complete), to putting some weight on the limb (chronic, partial). Although ACL tears are typically associated with sporting injuries in people, the injury in dogs can occur in the absence of significant trauma as the ligaments have been shown to have degenerative changes in dogs. This also explains why we see such a high incidence of dogs (50%) that will go on to tear their other CCL within 1 year of diagnosis of their first CCL tear. Diagnosing a CCL tear in dogs is usually a straightforward process, and unlike people, an MRI is not usually necessary to make the diagnosis. As stated previously, dog’s that have a CCL tear will be limping on one of their back legs. The exception to this would be when a dog tears both CCL’s at the same time (yes, this happens), at which point they may not be obviously limping, but will have tremendous difficulty standing up and walk with a very abnormal

gait in the back legs. The diagnosis itself is usually made during an orthopedic examination with a veterinarian, as the swelling, instability, and discomfort of the knee joint is usually able to be felt on palpation. Occasionally your veterinarian may decide to take an X-ray of the knee joint to help make the diagnosis. Although the CCL is not visible on X-rays, they can help to look for inflammation of the knee joint as well as osteoarthritis. Your veterinarian may also very likely refer you to a veterinary surgeon for further work-up and treatment of this condition. Treatment of cranial cruciate ligament disease is divided into two major options: surgical treatment and conservative management. Conservative management consists of essentially restricting the patient to leash-controlled activity for and extended period of time (often months) to allow time for scar tissue to develop around the knee joint and help to try and stabilize it. Regular physical rehabilitation and weight loss can greatly facilitate this process. Occasionally a knee brace may also be used. This method of treatment is most often utilized and effective for smaller breed dogs, partial tears

An 8-week post-operative image of a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO). This is one of the most common surgical procedures used to treat a torn cranial cruciate ligament in dogs. This image shows the final results of a completely healed bone following this procedure after about 8 weeks post-operatively. You can see the bone plate and screws used to secure it to the bone.

Here is one more image of a newer procedure for treatment of CCL tears in dogs called a Cora-based leveling osteotomy or CBLO. This image is of a dog 4 weeks post-operatively that has completely healed following this procedure for a complete cranial cruciate ligament tear.


H E A L T H  W I S E

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

TOP: This is a collage I put together of several arthroscopic (a minimally invasive procedure where I insert a small camera into the knee joint to evaluate) pictures of a canine knee joint with cranial cruciate ligament disease. The image is labeled and includes pictures of A) a complete tear of the cranial cruciate ligament, B) a partial tear of the cranial cruciate ligament that I am probing, and C) an image of an intact medial meniscus, which is a fibrocartilaginous structure/shock absorber of the knee joint that can sometimes be damaged when a dog tears it’s CCL.

LEFT: This is an image of the knee joint of a dog with a complete cranial cruciate ligament tear. Although you cannot see the CCL on an x-ray, I have circled the increased opacity of the stifle joint which is indicative of inflammation and fluid build-up, which is commonly seen in dogs with a CCL tear.

of the CCL, dogs that cannot undergo general anesthesia, or due to financial restraints. Surgical treatment for cranial cruciate ligament disease in dogs is extremely common and usually associated with excellent outcomes. In people, the gold standard of treatment for ACL tears consists of primary repair or replacement of the ligament. Unfortunately, this approach has historically been met with unacceptably high failure rates in dogs, and thus the surgical approaches typically used differ significantly. There are a wide variety of surgical procedures to treat CCL tears in dogs, however the most commonly used techniques are the tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA), and the lateral suture. The TPLO and TTA are techniques commonly performed by veterinary surgeons that involve specific cuts in the tibia, or shin bone, that change the biomechanics of the knee joint allowing it to function normally without relying on the cranial cruciate ligament. These involve the placement of a bone plate and screws that typically remain in the patient for life, very rarely needing to be removed. This is not to be confused with a joint replacement. These procedures are associated with a very high success rate, low complication rates, and preservation of the knee joint allowing us to get these patients about back to normal. The lateral suture technique is another method of stabilizing the knee joint using a large strand of suture placed around the knee joint, and is typically reserved for smaller dogs. The decision to proceed with an orthopedic surgery can be a

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daunting one, both financially and due to concerns about the postoperative restriction period. As with any surgery, these patients require a period of activity restriction to allow for proper healing and decreased complication rates. This recovery period does tend to be quite shorter than that of conservative management, and is typically about 10-12 weeks. The financial burden can also be quite alarming at first, as the average cost of CCL surgery with a boardcertified veterinary surgeon is about $5,000. Although this certainly a lot of money, it is much less than the average of about $12,600 cost for ACL surgery in people. Fortunately, the prevalence of veterinary insurance companies present nowadays can help with this burden. Following a successful CCL surgery, we appreciate that these dogs are able to get back to a normal lifestyle, regardless of if they are family pets or working dogs. Some osteoarthritis development is to be expected, but is typically minimized after surgery and can be managed with joint supplements and non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs for dogs. ND Dr. Ganjei is a board-certified veterinary surgeon currently working with Veterinary Surgical Centers at the Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine located in Vienna, VA. He received both his bachelors degree in biology and doctorate of veterinary medicine at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. He performs a wide variety of orthopedic and soft tissue surgery with a special interest in minimally invasive surgery and interventional medicine.


D o g f r ie n d ly s p a c e s in N or t her n Vi r gi ni a and beyond

Destinations: Historic Downtown Occoquan


istoric Downtown Occoquan is just across the river from Occoquan Regional Park, and is just a short drive from the park. In this issue, we paired the Destinations piece with the Hit the Trail article to give you plenty of ideas so you can spend the day exploring one of the area’s most dogfriendly locations. The area is a true treat and one I love exploring because it has managed to stay quaint, community-oriented and locally –owned. I love supporting the business owners of this area. When you leave the Occoquan Regional Park, at the top of the drive, turn left onto 123, head south for about .3 miles and turn right onto Commerce St. The majority of the Occoquan area is in a 3 block by 3 block area. You’ll find a number outdoor cafes, waterfront restaurants and decks, eclectic stores and a lovely park. Park on any of the side streets once you arrive and plan on wandering through the many

sidewalks and alleyways, there is a new discovery around each turn. So many of the town’s structures are on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) that your eyes won’t know which way to look. Plan to get in a great hike in the morning and then head straight to Historic Downtown Occoquan when you are good and hungry. We’ve built you a solid pet-friendly restaurants list that gives you many options to explore: • Madigan’s Waterfront: This expansive location has been an Occoquan institution for decades. Still locally owned and operated, this seafood and steak restaurant boasts a lovely, waterfornt outdoor dining deck, along with a tiki bar and casual seating. It’s a great place to hang out with your pup, grab him some shade and a refreshing bowl of water. •C ock & Bowl: Enjoy a fun outdoor Beer-garden experience. With plenty of fine and unique suds on tap, they also have a lovely


•T hird Base: When pizza is all you do, you can bet it’s great. This pizza location server up a mean slice. Grab a seat on the fabulous wrap-around porch and enjoy a whole pie. If you can possibly save room, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the lovely custard. •G rind & Crepe: When each place is so unique it’s tough to find a favorite, but Grind and Crepe will try to win you over with the owner’s fabulous touches in making this space very special – from the floor in the restroom to the great fixtures, so much through went into the design of this small gem. Then, the staff follows it up with an authentic crepe that you can top with your choice of sweet or savory selections. It is a wonderful way to start your day. The outdoor space is cheery and cozy.

Area Stores and Shopping

made menu to accompany their great beverage selection. You’ll be tempted to try them all, but it will take you many visits to work your way through their extensive list. Your pup can belly up beside your outdoor table and you dine • Ballywhack Shack: This adorable quick stop should not be missed. You can grab anything from a quick hand-held, to a winter warmer drink or a tasty sweet. Their menu is very seasonal so be sure to pop back often. Walk-up Stand, No seating. They do have Order Ahead. • The Virginia Grill: Another long-standing icon on the Occoquan waterfront also allows your well-behaved pet to join you on their outdoor, waterfront deck. They have a traditional menu including sandwiched, appetizers and many seafood dishes. Enjoy a relaxing meal by the river.

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Then shop the area’s unique stores. You’ll be able to bring your wellbehaved pooch into many of the storefronts. •M om’s Apple Pie: Like a beacon, Mom’s Apple Pie lures you into Occoquan and greets you with open arms. It’s a “must-do” when you’re in the area to bring home a Mom’s pie. If you return home without it, you may not get back inside. Be sure to try, well… one of every flavor. Grab a slice or 5 and pop out to the porch with your pooch. Mmmmm! Seriously you just can’t try only one! • Artist’s Undertaking Gallery: This one you just have to explore for yourself. This co-op space is shared by about 18 artists, with talents

ranging from metalwork, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, painting, wood work and more. Enjoy roaming this special place. • 13 Magickal Moons: described as a metaphysical store, they specialize in everything from apothecary herbs and natural remedies, gemstones, essential oils, and all alternative health aids and needs. They also offer classes and are extremely knowledgable. Ask which oils can benefit your pet! • Potomac Chocolate: It does not get more artisan than this, as his website proclaims “Award-winning chocolate handcrafted by one guy.” Stop in and see what all the excitement is about. You will be glad you did! • Puzzle Palooza, Etc: What goes better with coal weather than a great puzzle and your dog curled up beside you? Stop on Puzzle Palooza to carefully select your winter project. They have a wonderful selection and a very fun set-up. Many of the options feature the resemblances of our furry friends. • Pooch-Friendly Promenade: There is a lovely, recently renovated water front park, complete with pup-sized water fountain where you can stroll across the bridge or waterside. There are some lovely rapids and a groomed quad to enjoy. Plan a full day for your trip to Occoquan and you won’t be disappointed. And as mentioned, don’t forget to do the loop hike at Occoquan Regional Park featured in Hit he Trail as part of your adventure. ND

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E X P E R T  A D V I C E

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

Pet First Aid: Will You Be Prepared if the Unexpected Happens? Hila r y Kautter Al l s o p p , M. S . E d . & Jo h n a G a g n o n , M .E d .


pril is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for pet parents and pet care professionals to learn how to protect their pets and keep them healthy. Pet First Aid training has been around 25 years, but for many people, first aid for animals is not an interesting topic, until a pet suddenly has a medical emergency. It has been estimated that 60% of veterinarian visits are emergency in nature. Pet First Aid is the immediate care given to a pet that has been injured or suddenly taken ill. It does not replace veterinarian care in many instances, but is an important first step. Three common situations that require immediate care for a pet are bowel obstruction, soft tissue trauma, and toxin ingestion. Understanding how to prevent, recognize, and take action in these situations is an important part of protecting your pet’s health. Dogs, more than other pets, explore their world with their mouths and love to chew. They can ingest foreign objects such as bones, rawhides, small toys (pet and children’s toys), sticks, stones, wood, hair scrunchies, socks, etc. If they don’t choke first, the items could cause a

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bowel obstruction, also known as a gastrointestinal blockage, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires prompt attention from a veterinarian. Other causes of bowel obstruction include tumors, inflammation, twisting of the intestines and intestinal parasites. The only first aid a human can provide is to recognize the symptoms: vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration, and bloating. The blockage can be partial or complete, and can also decrease blood flow to the bowels. Left untreated, a complete blockage can cause death within 3-4 days, and a partial blockage can cause death within several weeks. Prevention is the first and best first aid treatment. Other than prevention, recognizing the symptoms and quickly seeking professional treatment is the proper first aid treatment. Soft Tissue Trauma is another injury a pet is likely to incur. This commonly refers to bruising, sprains and strains. These can occur with normal activities or through falls, fights, or other injuries. It is difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a break. If the dog is unable to put weight on the leg or if there is no improvement in

symptoms within 24 hours, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian. If the limping is not severe, try to keep the dog quiet and comfortable. Rest and confinement are best for healing. Apply ice or cold packs to the area for 20 minutes every few hours. Do not place ice directly against the dog’s skin; wrap the ice or cold pack in a thin towel and secure it to the area with gauze. After 24 hours, stop icing and begin applying warm compresses to the area. Sprains generally take 2-4 weeks to heal, during which activity should be limited. Only give pain medications as directed by a veterinarian. Checking with a veterinarian can confirm the correct treatment is being given, and whether medications for pain or inflammation should be given. Symptoms should improve a little each day. Poisons and Toxins, especially around the house, are another common need for canine first aid. Toxin Ingestion is a potentially lifethreatening situation and proper steps must be taken to ensure the pet’s safety. Prevention is key – a major cause of toxin ingestion is pet parent error. Numerous household items can be poisonous to pets, and it’s important to be aware of these items and to make sure they are not accessible to pets. Examples include foods such as chocolate and raisins, chemicals such as antifreeze and insecticides, human medications such as ibuprofen, and plants such as azalea. Signs of toxin ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, seizures, or loss of consciousness. If you believe a pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact a veterinarian immediately and include as much information as possible: what is the suspected substance, how long has it been since the pet ingested the substance, and if you can observe/obtain a vomit or stool sample. Do NOT induce vomiting unless directed by a veterinarian, as certain substances can cause further damage to the pet’s body when vomited back up. Transport the pet to a veterinarian for proper treatment as needed. April is a good time to be proactive by taking the necessary steps to get trained in Pet First Aid and to get prepared for potential pet emergencies. In addition to pet proofing the home, buy or customize your own pet first aid kit with basic supplies located in an easy access portable container. Putting together a pet first aid kit is similar to one made for human emergencies. Remember to replace items used and update twice a year. Review the “Pet First Aid Kit Contents” sidebar for a list of useful items to include. These items, except a blanket or towel, will fit into a fanny pack for extended walks and hikes. Being prepared by knowing what to do and having the basic supplies to help do it can make the difference if the unexpected does happen! ND Hilary & Johna are licensed, certified PetTech Instructors, teaching PetsaverTM and Pet CPR & First AidTM. They have extensive training experience and are dedicated to pet care training to increase and enhance the lives of pets by teaching others the skills needed to keep their pets safe. They offer public and private training classes at Becky’s Pet Care, learn more about pet first aid classes at

Pet First Aid Kit Contents • Commercial muzzle or item such as a necktie or small flat or leader leash to use as a muzzle – a dog that is in pain may bite out of instinct or fear • Gauze pads and gauze rolls in case of bleeding • Sterile saline solution • Liquid syringe (no needle) to administer liquid medication • Antihistamine gel caps in blister pack – tape safety pin to the back to quickly poke holes in the gel cap • Hydrogen Peroxide 3% • Extra leash and collar • Tweezers • Small flashlight • Plastic bags for samples • Gloves (Latex or Nitrile) • Blunt end scissors • Chemical ice pack • Digital thermometer and sterile lubricant for thermometer (ex: Petroleum Jelly) • Any other items specific to your pet’s needs (for example, medications) *Also have easy access to a towel/blanket and bottled water*


Lost Pet Prevention


Missing Pet. It’s every pet owner’s nightmare. Pets can sometimes behave in unpredictable ways, and when they do, it can be tragic. Thankfully, there are preventive measures that can both keep pets safe and home, as well as many ways to prepare in case of emergency. This article outlines those ideas and also discusses some of the tools to use to bring a lost pet back home. B y S a m C o n n e lly P u r e G o ld P e t Tr a c k e r s The main reason pets go missing is complacency, the belief that an animal will behave just the way it always has before. This leads owners to take dangerous chances with the animals in their care such as putting them outside without supervision, walking them off leash near roads or densely populated neighborhoods, taking their cat from the car to the vet office without a carrier. Another dangerous practice that leads to lost pets is walking a dog on a flexi-leash (the kind that have a hard handle and a long cable that rolls up in the handle and extends out as your dog pulls). These leashes provide a false sense of security and control over the dog but, in truth, the handle prevents a tight grip. Additionally, when the leash is let out, it is unmanageable and creates accidents like tangled leashes or darting dogs that can dislodge the leash. When that happens, the handle “chases” the dog down the street banging and scraping on the pavement intensifying the already terrifying situation. The fact is that under the right circumstances, ANY pet will run. Lost dogs include police dogs, Search and Rescue dogs, obedience champion dogs, even service dogs that should never leave their partners. Circumstances that caused these cases include multiple car accidents, fires, home invasion, car theft, show handler neglect, groomer mishandling, and thunderstorms. These are just a few of the unexpected incidents that have caused a normally calm, obedi-

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It’s important to do whatever works to bring a pet home. If one method isn’t working, try something else.

ent and reliable animal to suddenly bolt away. Many things contribute to a runaway pet including any change to their regular routine. Most pets don’t like change. Disruptions such as vacations, moving, parties, home construction/renovation, yard work, new pet care providers, new additions to the family like a baby or additional pet, can cause an adverse reaction in a pet. Specific holidays, like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve are terrifying due to the flash and crash of fireworks, and Halloween with the parade of costumes and knocking on the door can also create stress and the desire to flee. Thankfully, these ideas will help keep pets safe at home. These measures will go a long way toward keeping your pets safe and minimizing their opportunity for escape if they become startled or frightened. • Doors: Secure pets in a crate or bathroom with a music playing to muffle the other noise. • Secure fencing: Before you put a dog out in the yard make sure there are no holes in the fence or areas where there are things piled up along the fence like firewood, lawn furniture, children’s toys, etc. that the dog could use as a step to get up

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over the fence. If you have an athletic dog don’t leave it in the yard by itself even with a secure fence. A long line attached to a central tree, post or a heavy tire for fence jumpers and diggers will keep them from escaping. Install gravity locks on the gates so that when your child or the person mowing your lawn goes out and releases the gate it automatically swings shut and locks. • Double leashing: For the first month or so, or until your dog gets over the distress of moving to a new home, it should be walked on a double leash system where one leash is attached to a properly fitted (2 finger gap) flat collar or martingale. Then a second leash is attached to a properly fitted harness, one with a ring in front for strong pullers. • Baby gates: Utilize baby gates to block or at least slow down your dog’s access to open doors and if the door is going to be open for more than a moment, put the dog in its crate or close them in another room until you finish what you are doing like bringing in groceries, loading the car for a trip, taking the kids to school or letting one of your other animals in or out. Baby gates are also useful if you have a cat to give them a place to escape if the dog is playing too rough. • Leash Drag: Leave the leash on the harness for the first few weeks except when they are securely locked in their crate and put it back on as soon as they come out. That way if they decide to barrel past you at a door you have something that you can step on to stop them. • Crate training: If your new dog has not been abused in a crate, you should crate train them for their safety and your peace of mind. Feed them in their crate, when you let them out to play, leave the door open so they have the option of going in if they want to. Dogs are den animals and like to have a secure “place” where they can go if they feel stressed or afraid. • Zip ties: Securing all joints on your crates and carriers with zip ties will ensure that they can’t come open at an inopportune moment. I do several searches each year where the crate or carrier has failed and the animal escaped. • Obedience training: Even if your dog is calm and relatively compliant you should take a basic obedience class with them to help build the bond between you and help them to accept you as the alpha of your pack. • Socializing: Socialization with people and other dogs/cats/ small animals is very important for your dog’s confidence and trust. Once they understand how to react around other people and animals your pet will be calmer and more outgoing instead of timid and skittish. • Medication: Consider asking your vet to prescribe calming medication for extreme cases However, even following each of the above precautions may not prevent an escaped pet in extraordinary circumstances. Because there are so many things that can trigger a flight response, preparing for the worst is essential. This list is will help you get prepared so you have the tools you need to get your pet back. Being prepared for an emergency, acting quickly and knowing what tools to use are the most important tools in getting a pet back home.

Preparation is Key • Scent Articles: Make scent articles for each animal in your home, even reptiles and other exotics. It’s easy: Take a couple of cotton balls or round cotton pads and rub them all over one pet. Run them back and forth to get as much fur and skin cells as possible embedded in the pads. Place them in a ziplock bag, squeeze out all the air out and seal it. Write that pet’s name on the bag. Repeat for each of your pets. A scent article gives a pet tracker the tools to track the scent of your pet. Store the bags in a drawer or freezer. • Clear Photos: Take clear, well-lit photos of the pet standing against a contrasting background showing their markings. Photos that show a pet’s unique markings aid greatly in getting them home. Also, NO black cats laying in the shadows, white dogs playing in the snow, or calico cats laying on a quilt. Store photos in a file accessible from phone and computer if the need arises. Photos provide you with the ability to distribute your pet’s information to a wide net to help bring them home. • Microchip: A microchip is permanent identification that can’t be taken off like a collar and tag. Register it and keep the information up to date when you move or get a different phone number. A microchip can bring your pet home even from the other side of the country years later. When a pet has a microchip there is ALWAYS hope for recovery. These 3 simple steps prepare you in the case of your pet disappearing.

Bringing Your Pet Back Home Once your pet does escape, what do you do? Again the key is acting calmly, but quickly. The good news is that there is hope. And more good news is that over 90% of all recovered animals are the direct result of good posters put up in a wide area as soon after the pet went missing. So, taking the following steps immediately after your pet goes missing can help you bring your pet back home safely. 1. H ang a dirty T-shirt on the fence, porch or a bush in the yard to help them find home. 2. Make basic posters using this fool-proof formula: •U se a clear, large photo that fills most of the page. A driver has only 5 seconds of interaction with your poster •T he type must be readable from a car. Include what animal is lost, phone number and clear instructions: “Take a photo and call us immediately.” This provides a helpful alternative action and distracts them from trying to chase or call out to a loose animal (which is the natural reaction). •B rightly colored paper or words help to capture attention. •K eep it simple so people don’t have to work to read it. •O ne caution: Do not place flyers or posters in mailboxes. This is illegal and you can be fined. 3. Talk to everyone you meet while you are out putting up posters. 4. C heck the shelters in person. 5. U tilize all social media and local communication tools. Again, good picture, concise description and clear instructions of what to do and NOT to do if the pet is seen. 6. P osition your pet’s crate with something that has your scent on it near the place where they escaped. Pets frequently try to return to

This is one dynamic duo. They are dubbed “Pure Gold.” These well-trained golden retreivers are hard working pet trackers.

where they last saw their owner. 7. C onsider contacting a professional pet tracker to direct your efforts and help to bring your pet home. 8. You are ADVERTISING the fact that your pet is missing and the more engaged the community is the better your chance for recovery. This is a great list but nothing trumps knowing your pet. The key sometimes lies in using your pet’s routine, toys, likes and dislikes to create the most effective strategy. It’s important to do whatever works to bring a pet home. If one method isn’t working, try something else.

Some great success stories • A terrified little rescue dog was reunited with her owners by using her doggy friend in a crate inside a large enclosure trap. When she went in to see the other dog we triggered the trap. • One owner used to share a nightly vanilla pudding with his cat. Placing a pudding cup in the trap caught Nigel that night after many nights without success. • A diluted urine trail helped a cat find its way back home from 2 ½ miles away. • Another owner’s cat loved playing in boxes, so they covered the entire trap inside and out with cardboard so that it looked like a big box. He went in the first night the “box” trap was out. Remember lost pets are each different and as such will react differently to being lost. Understanding lost pet behavior and what can influence that behavior helps determine the best strategy to catch them. Having the above tools ready to go and acting quickly are all the items you need to ensure that you can have a happy reunion with your pet. ND Sam Connelly has been recovering lost pets for 16+ years with her golden retrievers. She started training search dogs with Mid-Atlantic D.O.G.S. Search and Rescue. She had to quit doing human SAR because of a medical condition. Since the organization had D.O.G.S. in their name, they received many calls from owners looking for help finding their lost dogs. A brilliant friend suggested that she cross-train her dogs to track pets - the best job ever!



Nose Work

t is no secret that dogs have an exceptional sense of smell. Walking down the street you’ll see every breed of dog get carried away by a scent on the air, sniff sniff sniffing when a smell wafts by, or carried away by a scent on the ground, their noses pressed into the grass until they come upon a telephone pole or a fire hydrant or a bush that some other dog has marked with some especially smelly urine. And still, we humans, of course, smell nothing.

B y S o p h i a R u tti

P h o to s b y S c o tt O a k e s , D o g ’s D o wn to wn L o u d o u n

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Average dogs have a scent capability that ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than humans while bloodhounds who are known for their exceptional gifts have a nose that is 10 to 100 million times more sensitive than ours according to Frank Rosell, author of Secrets of the Snout. This means that in some cases, dogs can detect odors in parts per trillion. And this skill does not end on dry land—these dogs can scent for odors effectively in fresh water, salt water, in liquids such as gasoline, under snow, under rock slides, and in the open air. Why are dogs so capable with their noses? Unlike us, notes that they have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses (for comparison- humans have about 5- 6 million) and their “brain is devoted to analyzing smells, proportionally speaking, 40 times more than ours.” Furthermore, their noses are constructed perfectly for their sniff-obsessed world, with a unique ability to “determine the direction of airstream in and out of the nose” by using a wing-like flap in each nostril. When the dog breathes out it is able to direct the exhalation so that it does not “disturb or destroy” the scent they are tracking, this fascinating detail is described in detail on As with all things dogs, humans have developed dogs’ natural gifts to help support us in our everyday lives with important tasks and nose-work is no exception. There are dogs tasked with dozens of different, important, life-saving, harrowing jobs that focus around their incredible noses.

Search and Rescue dogs go through intense training to learn their important, lifesaving skills.

Search and Rescue Dogs There are multiple different types of Search and Rescue or (SAR) dogs. In general, SAR dogs are dogs that detect human scent in a variety of situations. These dogs can be broadly viewed in two different categories: air-scenting dogs or tracking (or trailing) dogs. SAR dogs can also be considered scent discriminating or non-scent discriminating. The dogs that are scent discriminating are capable of taking an offered scent (of a specific person, for example) and search for/ find that individual person. Non-discriminating dogs then are capable of tracking/ trailing a general scent such as human scent or cadaver remains. The most common dogs used for SAR are Labs,

German or Belgian Shepherds or Malinois, but other dogs are capable of the work as well. SAR dogs work with a number of different applications. For example, they might work in wilderness situations to find a lost hiker, disaster situations such as 9/11 when the dogs searched through rubble to find survivors, cadaver searches where they are looking for human remains (specifically these dogs are Human Remains Detection or Cadaver Dogs), avalanche situations where dogs are looking beneath deep snow for human survivors, and even water rescue and recovery where someone might have fallen/ been lost in a body of water. The training for SAR dogs is rigorous and requires a particular type of dog—motivated, confident and handler- focused—and a particular type of handler (owner) that is ready to get started very early in their pup’s life with training and devote their time to what is often (though not always) volunteer work for the community—helping in disaster and emergency situations with their dog’s unique skills.


items from leaving their countries’ of origin in order to prevent illegal trade. Another example is looking for endangered animals themselves so that their handlers who are conservationists can support the animals’ population growth. One great example of this are dogs sniffing for just hatched sea-turtles so that their handlers can help the baby sea turtles reach the ocean (K9s for Conservation- Instagram).

Cancer Sniffing Dogs These dogs are capable of smelling diseases such as cancer in unwell individuals even at the early stages. Though these dogs are in the early days of research, according to it appears that they are able to “detect many types of cancer—breast, lung, prostate, thyroid and colon—from a variety of biological samples including breath, urine, plasma, and blood.” With continued research these dogs might eventually be capable of checking high-risk individuals and identifying cancers in the early stages when they are more easily treated. There are a number of other applications for dogs’ incredible noses that are not listed here, but for many dogs and many handlers engaging in nose work as a full time-job is too time consuming. Just

Many amateur courses use some of the same techniques as the professionals use to train working dogs.

Police or Military Working Dogs Police K9 or Military Working Dogs (MWDs) use their scent capabilities for a number of different jobs. They might do comparable work to SAR dogs in the event of a disaster, but they also additionally use their noses to search for missing people who have committed a crime, look for items that extend from drugs and drug paraphernalia to firearms and explosives to humans being illegally trafficked.

Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs These dogs do exactly what it sounds like—they sniff for bed bugs! They use their sniffers to check high-density areas like hotels, hospitals, barracks, and similar environments for pests that can be extremely difficult to locate otherwise!

Wildlife Sniffing Dogs These dogs do a wide variety of jobs. One example of their possible work is to sniff for contraband like ivory, rhino horn, rare plants and wood and work with their law enforcement handlers to prevent these

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Many pets enjoy learning and practicing NoseWork skills. It can be as fun as a day at the dog park for many dogs.

because you and your dog are not able to become full-time Search and Rescue volunteers doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to engage your dog’s nose in a positive and fun way. All dogs, according to the AKC, “have the natural ability to follow a scent- and all breeds have the capability to learn how to track.” Why should you do scent-tracking work for your dog? Well first, it is a great way to expend excess energy for your dog. A lot of negative behaviors in the home stem from household dogs being under-exercised and under-stimulated including in some cases, chewing and excess barking. Nose work allows you to get involved and get out with your dog so they are mentally and physically stimulated (it keeps you mentally and physically stimulated as well!) Second, working with nose work will also help you to build your bond with your dog. Learning more about your dog’s natural tendencies, learning how to shape their behavior and how to watch for their body language when they are working will function to build you and your dog’s relationship up to new heights. Finally, doing nose work with your dog will enrich both you and your dog’s lives tremendously. Nose work is almost always done in a “club” though you can do it at home and it gives you and your dog an outlet to practice obedience, to get to know new people with the same interests as you, and to make your dog some new friends. A dog with a job, more exercise, and an enriched relationship with its owner is always happier!

Just because you and your dog are not able to become full-time Search and Rescue volunteers doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to engage your dog’s nose in a positive and fun way.

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How to get involved with nose work? 1. You can join a club and do AKC Tracking. Through AKC tracking you would be participating in the “competition form of canine search and rescue.” To get started you would need to find a local club. From there you and your dog can earn titles starting with the first level: “Tracking Dog (TD)” to the top level “Champion Tracker (CT)”! Get started here: getting-started/. 2. You can also join a club and do AKC Scent work which is where “your dog will use his nose to search out the hidden odors, then alert you when the odors are detected.” 3. T ake a class or work with a local trainer to learn how to do nose work or scent work. You will be introduced to basic scent training with skills that you can take home and practice as a leisure activity. These fun and engaging classes provide great stimulation for you

and your dog. Maybe locations throughout the DC Metro offer classes such as these, including Dog’s Downtown, with locations in Chantilly and Sterling You’ll find one-on-one and group classes available to get pet owners interested in doing recreational and professional nose-work with their dogs! 4. G et Started at home! There are tons of resources online to get started reading, learning, and even practicing basic scent work at home. Sophia Rutti is one of the primary Service Dog trainers at Dog’s Downtown. Her background is in animal behavioral theory, with a focus on mitigating communication between humans and canines and her specialty is evaluating, selecting and training Service Dogs. She lives with a 3-year old German shepherd of her own who has an affinity for dog-friendly veggies

Not interested in nose work for your dog? There are other ways to exercise, bond, and enrich your dog’s life! Foundational Obedience Training: This is “good dog” training—getting them to work well on a leash, in public, and with strange people and dogs. Through the AKC you can title your dog with “Canine Good Citizen”, “Community Canine Good Citizen” and “Urban Canine Good Citizen”. Therapy Dog Training: Is your dog a cuddle-bug that loves everyone? Consider training your dog as a therapy dog to visit and raise the spirits of the elderly, infirm, young, or stressed! These dogs might work in a variety of different environments: hospitals, airports, elderly care facilities, or schools! Trick Dog Training: “AKC Trick Dog” training encourages owners to get titles with their dogs by teaching them a number of different ‘tricks’ that might range from “sit pretty” to “rollover” to “bring me your leash”! This is a great way to approach training for the whole family.

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Agility Training: Have a high energy pup and want to run some energy out? Dog Agility is a sport in which you would direct your dog through a variety of objects including tunnels, teetertotters, tire jumps, weave poles and standard jumps. You can do this at a recreational or a competition level so find the right agility trainer for you and take it at your own pace! Rally Obedience Training: Rally Obedience takes obedience training to the next level and asks dog owners to work with their dogs on a course. According to the AKC you should consider “AKC Rally like any team sport: you and your dog navigate a course side-by-side as you steer him through a course of 10- 20 different signs that provide instructions for the skills that need to be performed!” The AKC offers a number of events to compete and title your dog! Still not sure which sport/ activity is best for you? Remember that you should choose your sport based on your dog. Are they high energy? Are they cuddly? Are they food motivated and love learning new things? You

want to find the right fit for your dog. Consider looking up breed specific activities and sports—there are dozens of sports not listed out there and your dog might be “made for one of them.” If you feel stuck—always reach out to others—find a trainer, find a club, and get out there with your dog!


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

FEBRUARY Pasta for Pets Saturday, February 29, 2020 | 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM, Eastern Market DC Pasta from local establishments, bingo games, and fun had by all; join us again this year at the most popular bingo night in Washington, DC. Purchase your tickets to this exciting evening of bingo and you won’t miss the chance to win wonderful prizes. General admission tickets are available for $35 and family four-packs are available for $100.

MARCH Fun Dog Show Saturday, March 7, 10:30 AM St. Patrick’s Day Fun Dog Show (Prior to the Parade) in Alexandria will be held at 10:30 AM!

Enter your dog in one of the many holiday themed contests from best dressed, most Irish and more. http://www.ballyshaners. org/parade/ Spaghetti BINGO! March 4 & 14: 6-9PM Don’t miss the most fun, familyfriendly night of the year at our 10th annual Spaghetti Bingo fundraiser! Ticket prices include all-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert, soft drinks and 6 bingo cards. Additional bingo cards, raffle tickets, merchandise and beer and wine will be available for purchase. There will also be many great items on the silent auction. Benefits Homeward Trails. Lyon Park Community Center, 414 N. Fillmore St., Arlington, VA 22201 https://www.

Ides of Bark Sunday, March 29, 1 – 4 PM Join us at this year’s Fifth Ides of Bark Dog Festival at Grist Mill Park – located at 4710 Mt. Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria, VA 22309. Join pets, pet owners and pet care companies for a fun afternoon of education, community and frolicking at the park. No registration and no fee. Annual Wags & Wine Extravaganza Saturday, March 28, 6-9PM Barrel Oak Winery, 3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane, VA. Celebrating over 10 years of saving lives; over 10 years of bringing families together; over 10 years of building friendships and creating an amazing community. Guests will enjoy the beautiful Virginia landscape, drink amazing wine, bid on incredible silent auction items, and dancing! All of this to benefit Lucky Dogs and Cats! To learn more, please visit our website at


Tools and Knowledge for Exceptional Pet Parents

Our Courses Help You Get Prepared, Save Money, and Even Save a Life. – Pet CPR & First Aid – PetPREP: Healthy Ages & Stages

– PetPREP Dental Care – Emergency PET PREParedness – And More!



Courses Offered at Becky’s Pet Care SPRINGFIELD • 7200 Fullerton Rd • # B-200 HERNDON • 33-B Carlisle Drive

Pet First Aid & CPR Classes April 4, 18 & 21: 9am-2pm Becky’s Pet Care 7200 Fullerton Road, Suite B-200, Springfield, VA, 22150 April is Pet First Aid Month: A great time to take a Pet CPR Class for pet parents. First aid for dogs & cats including: CPR, choking management, bleeding protocol, insect bites, poisoning, & more. You’ll receive a workbook, & a certificate of completion as well as a card for your wallet. Sometimes the unexpected happens…will you be prepared to take action when it does? Minimum age 14. No pets. training/ Dog Days Bloom Festival April 25, 10:00 to 4:00 Great Country Farms, by the Cider Barn by the pond. Every dog loves a farm, so bring your pup to the Dog Days at Great Country Farms. You can have a romp with your furry best friends in the confidence course, test your pets skills in the training labyrinth, and be awed by the beauty of the

orchards in full bloom. More at festivals-events/dog-days-bloomfestival/ Paws in the Park Saturday, April 25— 10 AM – 3PM In celebration of National Park Week Prince William Forest Park will be holding PAWs in the Park. This event welcomes dog owners and dog lovers to Prince William Forest Park for National Parks Week (April 21st – 29th). This is a family friendly event that highlight the importance of responsible pet ownership in national parks and the great outdoors. Events include Junior Bark Ranger activities, various dog demonstrations, Dogs Got Talent show, one day only designated off leash area and so much more. Bring your K-9 talent and knowledge and celebrate National Park Week with us. Help us make this a doggone great event this year. For more information please contact Kerri Syrus at 703-2214706 x 224 or kerri_syrus@nps. gov

M AY Reston Pet Fiesta! Sunday, May 2 This outdoor festival brings together local businesses, animal rescue groups and pet owners for an exciting day of activities, demonstrations and animals galore. Gather the kids and join us for a day of pets and fun for the whole family! More at www. Reston Town Center in Reston from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Admission is free. Wine, Whiskers and Wags May 16 from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. A great afternoon for a great cause! Join in at Paradise Springs Winery for delicious local wine, fine food, activities indoors and out, raffles and an eclectic silent auction! Family friendly and dogs welcomed. Proceeds support the pets at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. Purchase tickets @ www. ND


HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy

Occoquan Regional Park By Angela Hazuda Meyers


he Occoquan area of Northern Virginia sometimes feels like a hidden gem to me. I am in the thankful position of being not more than a 15 minute drive from Occoquan – without traffic. And the “without traffic” part is key

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

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and I also think that is the reason Occoquan has remained a “road-less-traveled” oasis. Occoquan Regional Park has over 350 acres and an expansive waterfront. The newly-remodeled Events center features a year-round eatery, the Brickmakers Café, which also offers lovely water views and a dog-friendly patio. History buffs will learn that then-adjacent Lorton Work House Prison was home to many, including 168 detained from June to December 1917, as a result of the women’s suffrage movement in DC. Also at the park,

is the 100 year-old and last remaining beehive brick kiln, used by prisoners to churn out many of the red bricks used in Northern Virginia and DC buildings. At 15 feet tall and 30 feet in diameter, it’s an impressive structure. Occoquan Regional Park has a number of trails to explore, both paved and undeveloped. You can choose from a short waterside stroll up to about a 5K (3.1 miles). For this article we explore the 1.8 mile paved outer loop of the park because it offers the most water views, which is a true highlight of this park.


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

As you enter the park, there is a long downhill drive. You have the ability to park at any point there is a parking area, but a great center parking point is the main lot. As soon as you see the beehive kiln and the events center, park in the lot across the street. The access to the trail is just beyond the kiln on the water side. After you park, head towards the kiln, there is a trail that leads down towards the water to the right of the kiln. As you head down the path, turn right when it intersects with the waterfront trail. This is an easy-to-follow, paved trail that loops around the park. The trail follows the waterline for the first .7 miles, with a number of water access points. Towards the back of the park you’ll loop around some athletic fields and at 1 mile you’ll begin heading back along the road. The most

scenic portion of the trail is the waterfront first .7 miles. Worthwhile Sidetrip: As you make your return trip back to the parking lot, you’ll have a few opportunities to turn right and head up a trail into the woods that loops through the wooded and hilly back section of the park where you’ll encounter a lovely stream, dozens of gorgeous bird species and solitude. The trails are marked with a blue blaze, but the park does not have any maps of the area. There are a few places where the trail splits. It is a worthwhile trek if you have the time and want to hike an additional roughly 2 miles. Logistics: There are restrooms located at the Events center, also beside the Brickmakers Café, and at the ½ way mark of the trail on the other end of the park. ND

Did you hike it? Please send us pictures of you with your dogs! (Include your name, your dog’s name, and your dog’s breed/age.) Or share with us on Facebook, Twitter (@ NOVADogMag), or Instagram (novadogmagazine). 26 Northern Virginia Dog

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Distance: 1.8 miles. Fido Friendly Features: Shaded, waterside, waterfront dog-friendly patio. Best time to go: Anytime during park hours. Access: There is plenty of free parking available at the park. Exit for Occoquan from 95. Take 123 N to Occoquan Regional Park on your right. The park is mostly open dusk to dawn daily, check the website for details: Rated: 1 Paw. The trail is very easy, no hills, 100% paved surface.

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert



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

Cage-free daycare, boarding, grooming and more. Five great locations in Northern Virginia. Visit The Prize Pack Winner (#1) receives a NOVADog Magazine limited-edition T-shirt and a gift certificate from A Dog’s Day Out.







1. BLU loved by Amy & Ken in Ashburn, VA 2. DELILAH loved by Gabriela in Sterling, VA 3. G-BABY loved by Gabriela in Sterling, VA 4. BAXTER loved by Jordan in Ft. Meade, MD 5. TIA loved by Susan in Springfield, VA


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


WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories

Rescued Dogs Are Waiting for Their Forever Homes Looking to add a family member? A Forever Home Rescue has big dogs, little dogs, gentle dogs and playful dogs ready to be adopted! Can't adopt? Save a life by fostering, volunteering or donating.

Penny Loved by: Sue, Aimee, Frankie and Zaidee Preece

Adopted on: Feb 27, 2019 Adopted from: A Forever Home, Chantilly VA


How did she get her name?: When I gave her a flea bath, her eyes told me she was so scared. I just continued to call her Precious Penny and she calmed down. She was so thin and she really was precious. Background info: She came from South Carolina from an obvious abusive situation. She was truly emaciated and weighed only 18 pounds. She was all milk and skeleton since she was caring for her babies. I was told she had 6 pups, but we only got 5, so sadly they must have lost one before I got her. Even though we bottle fed a couple of pups since Penny couldn’t produce enough milk for them all, we lost one of them. Her pups were Peter, Paul, Pickle, Piper, and Pippen. We picked her because: She picked us. She was so skittish around other potential adopters and never really took to anyone but us. I finally gave in to her longing looks.

Favorite activity together: Walking Favorite treat or snack:

Peanut Butter and Honey Homemade dog



We love her because: She protects us and is always there to great us with wag and lick. Fostering is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. To watch the transformation of scared, neglected, or hurt animals is heartwarming. I have so enjoyed being a part A Forever Home, which is such a good organization. They take such good care of their foster parents and the fur babies they help. ND A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation is a non-profit dog rescue group that operates in the Northern Virginia / Washington Metropolitan area., @aforeverhome.

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