novadog Spring 2010
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
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contents Spring 2010
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
Healing Our Nation’s Heroes
A Dog’s Day Inn
Discover History With Your Dog
By Taylor Ham
By Kelly Pike
Green Dog Good Dog
Reduce Your Dog’s Carbon Paw Print By Juliet Farmer
‘Dogi’ and Me
Meditation and Quality Time With Your Best Buddy By Taylor Ham D E PA RT M E N T S
3 THE SOURCE News, information, and products 5 HEALTH WISE
On the Cover:
Six-year-old Tanner, a Welsh Terrier owned by Margaret Wengst of Leesburg, VA, enjoys the view from inside the Welbourne Inn. Photo by Bev Hollis Photography. To see more of Bev’s work or to schedule an appointment, visit www. bevhollisphoto.com.
Dog-friendly spaces in Northern Virginia and beyond
Advice and information on canine health issues
22 IN REVIEW
7 THE SCENE
23 CANINE CALENDAR
A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs
8 D.I.Y DOG
Literature, arts, and new media
25 HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy
Inspired projects for the resourceful dog owner
9 EXPERT ADVICE
28 WAGS TO RICHES
Answers to your behavior and training questions
Adoption success stories
Find a pet service provider—see the directory on page 24.
novadog T H E U LT I M AT E G U I D E T O C A N I N E - I N S P I R E D L I V I N G I N T H E D C M E T R O A R E A
PUBLISHER Janelle Welch firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Bev Hollis Photography, Carol Brooks, Cascades Photography, Andrew Colskey, Juliet Farmer, Taylor Ham, Sabrina Hicks, Ingrid King, Kelly Pike, Becky O’Neil, Paw Prints Photography, Veronica Sanchez
cage-free grooming bath ‘n dash walk-in nails boutique & eatery
ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Angela Meyers Vice President, Advertising p: 703.887.8387 f: 815.301.8304 email@example.com COMMUNICATION OFFICER Kris Francisco 571.332.1518 firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION H.D. Services, Inc. 540.659.4331
Fairfax Towne Center
www.reddogspa.com • 703.865.6644 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.
Building Lifelong Relationships ★ Boarding ★ Day Care with Our Pet Guests!
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—Training and canine health care tips to help dogs live long and fulfilling lives. • Inspire—Insightful stories about local heros and organizations that are doing good in our community. • Collaborate—Helping local animal welfare organizations to save and enrich the lives of homeless and abused animals. Northern Virginia Dog Magazine © 2010 is published quarterly by 2hounds Productions, 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 web site for more information. Send change of address information to email@example.com or P.O. Box 30072, Alexandria, VA 22310, 703.850.6963.
Newly Renovated Guest Rooms! Large Outdoor Play Yards Experienced & Trained Staff • Climate Controlled Indoor Rooms • Personalized Attention Given Daily • Playtimes and Daily Care Packages • Pampered Pet Spa Packages
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Complimentary issues disappear quickly—don’t miss an issue! Have NOVADog delivered directly to your mailbox for only $19.95 per year. Visit www.novadogmagazine.com to pay with your MasterCard, Visa, or Discover. (Domestic U.S. delivery only.) $1 off when you enter coupon code NOVAD2 at checkout
2 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
N e w s , i n f o r m a t i o n , a n d products
Nothing’s Too Good for Our Pets
P chow hound
How Big’s Your Bag? Buying in bulk is a time-honored strategy when it comes to making the pet-supply budget go further, and one that’s quite popular with dog lovers, especially those with big dogs. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, here’s how bag sizes for dry dog food rank in popularity at the cash register: 5 pounds or less: 10 percent 6-10 pounds:
11-20 pounds: 22 percent 21-40 pounds: 26 percent 40-plus pounds: 23 percent Don’t buy dry:
Source: Universal Press Syndicate
et owners are strongly attached to their pets and spend plenty on them, according to a survey in Veterinary Economics magazine. In a survey conducted by BN Research on behalf of Banfield, The Pet Hospital, 68 percent of pet owners said they’d hire a pet sitter, and 48 percent
said they’d spend any amount to keep their pet healthy. Other results: 42 percent buy gifts for their pets, 29 percent always carry or display photos of a pet, and 9 percent chose a vehicle based on the needs of a pet. —Dr. Marty Becker, The Pet Connection
Stamps to the Rescue! New Adopt a Shelter Pet commemorative stamps from the US Post Office feature photographs of five cats and five dogs taken by veteran stamp photographer Sally AndersenBruce. Every year, 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters, and, of that number, nearly half are euthanized. Although the problem seems overwhelming, the key to the solution is adopting a shelter pet when seeking a new companion and ensuring that the animal is spayed or neutered. “These stamps continue a postal service tradition of bringing attention to serious social issues of the day … one letter at a time,” says Postmaster General John E. Potter. “This campaign will increase public awareness about sheltered pets, and our hope is that it will encourage pet adoption and promote humane and responsible pet care.”
FIND it: www.stampstotherescue.com or 800.782.6724
where dogs thrive...
daycare boarding training pet sitting dog walking
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Virginia Ofﬁce & Daycare 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr. Arlington, VA 22206
DC Ofﬁce 2607 24th St. NW Suite #1 Washington, DC 20008
Reader’s Choice for Pet Sitting and Dog Daycare —Northern Virginia Magazine 2008 Voted Best Full-Service Pet Business—Washingtonian Magazine 2008 Reader’s Choice for Dog Walking/Pet Sitting—Capital Tails 2009
H E A L T H W I S E
A d v i c e a n d i n f o r m a t i on on canine health issues
» » » »
By Christie Keith Universal Press Syndicate
very pet lover with a computer has seen the e-mails and Web sites: the dire warnings on common household products, the miracle cures and behavior-fix products, and the well-meaning but ultimately wrong healthcare advice. The Internet can be the best or the worst place to do research on pet health issues. The trick is in figuring out how to evaluate the information you find, and how to locate the reliable information when you need it. When you read information online, look for citations to veterinary literature and specific references to studies and clinical research. Just because something is cited in a medical journal doesn’t mean it’s correct or that it proves the point it’s being used to support. But it’s more likely to be reliable than a completely unsubstantiated statement. We don’t always have the luxury of waiting for double-blind studies in peer-reviewed journals to be published. The 2007 pet food recall was one such example: Pet owners had to make decisions based on very little information, coming at them from a wide variety of sources. In situations like that, pet owners have to use other criteria to decide if a source is credible or not. For example, has this been a reliable source of information in the past on other issues? Is the reporting sensationalistic or overly cautious? Do the people involved with the Web site have any financial or profes-
Pet-care sites worth visiting often
Although many sites offer good information for pet lovers, here are a couple that really stand out: VeterinaryPartner (VeterinaryPartner.com): The information here is medically solid and, because the site is owned by the Veterinary Information Network (a Web service for veterinarians), it’s a bit more on the cutting-edge than many other mainstream pet health sites. AltVetMed (AltVetMed.org): Founded in 1996 by holistic veterinarians Drs. Jan Bergeron and Susan Wynn, AltVetMed hosts a wide assortment of articles on complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, and some good information on conventional medicine as well. Cornell Feline Health Center (www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc): Established by the late Dr. James Richards, Cornell University’s feline health Web site, and the center in New York that operates it, is an unparalleled resource for cat owners, and the information you’ll find there is eminently trustworthy and frequently cutting-edge. DogAware.com (DogAware.com): Site owner Mary Straus is a researcher and writer for the Whole Dog Journal, and she has exhaustively assembled information on canine nutrition as well as a variety of health issues including arthritis and kidney disease. —Christie Keith
sional affiliations that might make them less than objective about the issues? Do they have passionate agendas about health, nutrition or other issues that might also compromise their objectivity? Watch out for all-or-nothing statements praising or condemning a specific drug, procedure, therapy or approach to health. A treatment that’s right for one animal may be wrong for another. There is a lot of information on the Internet, and a lot of it is well-organized, searchable and well-written—yet totally wrong. However, usually if a site is badly spelled and punctuated, not easily searched, not well-organized and hard to navigate, the information is less likely to be reliable. Although there are excep-
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4 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
tions, as a general rule: If someone is dedicated to providing well-substantiated information, they’ll probably be highly motivated to make sure it’s well-presented, too. Press releases and point-of-sale “articles” are never a good place to get health information for your pets. Get your information from someone who isn’t going to make— or lose— money as a result of your buying decisions. One other tip: Testimonials are not evidence, proof or documentation. They are advertising. Ignore them. Where do you start in the search for reliable pet health information online? Start with a careful search. Begin by typing in the name of the condition or disease (and spell it correctly!), and then add the species of your pet. For instance, “struvites stones dogs” (without the quotation marks) is a better search than just “stones.” The average pet owner looking for information needs to walk a fine line, but not an impossible one. Try to have both an open mind and a slightly skeptical one, and use a variety of sources instead of relying on only one. And then discuss what you find with your own trusted veterinarian, to make sure the recommendations are appropriate and helpful for your own pet. Christie Keith is a contributing editor to Pet Connection, published by Universal Press Syndicate.
Finding Quality Care for Your Dog While You’re Away By Becky O’Neil
ur long, snowy winter is over and spring is here! That means one thing — V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N! Whether you plan to get away to the beach, lake, or mountains, you want to make sure that your dog is well cared for. A pet sitter is becoming the preferred pet care solution of Northern Virginia dog owners. When you decide to hire a pet sitter, make sure you go with a local professional who offers the services you need. If you plan ahead and do your research, you are sure to find the perfect company. First, decide what type of service would be the best fit for your needs. Local companies provide different service types including daily doggy walks, vacation care, overnight services, and bed and biscuit. You can find a professional pet care provider online from one of the local or national pet sitting organizations, such as the Northern Virginia Professional Pet Sitters Network (www.novapetsitters.com), Pet Sitters International (www.petsit.com), or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (www.petsitters.org). Hiring a pet sitter is an important decision, so look for a company that you can build a long-term relationship with. Be sure to properly screen a company before you hire: Interview several companies and select the one that you like the best. Make sure you ask good questions and get answers that make you feel comfortable. Here are some sample questions: n Are they bonded and insured and have regular office hours? n Do they have an emergency plan and backup staff? n Do they hire employees or do they contract the work out? n Do they perform background checks on their employees? n Do they have references and visit your home prior to service beginning? To make your travel even easier, your pet care professional may offer other helpful services, such as watering plants, altering lights for security, bringing in the mail or newspaper, and taking out the garbage. Choosing a professional pet care provider offers an array of benefits for both you and your dog. Here are some benefits for your dog: n Staying at home in a safe, secure, and familiar environment n Maintaining the normal routine (including diet and exercise) n Having play time and lots of personalized TLC And benefits for you: n Peace of mind knowing that your pet is in caring, loving hands n Having the confidence that the pet sitter can deal with emergencies n Not having to impose on family, friends, or neighbors n Knowing that your pets are happier at home Once you experience professional pet care in your home, you’ll never want to be without it! ND Becky O’Neil is the owner of Becky’s Pet Care, Inc., a licensed, professional dog walking and pet sitting company with 67 caring, dedicated employees. Serving Northern Virgina since 1998, Becky’s Pet Care consistently delivers quality service from a trusted friend.
Find in-home care for your pets now!
See page 24 for a directory of pet care providers.
Positive Motivational Training
Gentle, Safe Techniques • Vet Recommended
www.RudysFriendsDogTraining.com ✔ Basic Obedience Training ✔ A Step Above Training, Level 2 ✔ Advanced K9 Skills, Level 3 ✔ Zen for Dogs: Calming Techniques ✔ Dogs and Children: Training for Safe Playtime Our Philosophy:
Make training fun and happy and your dog will learn that responding to commands is a good experience.
Owner/Certiﬁed Trainer/Teacher/Author AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator Email: RudysFriends@cox.net
Saturday, June 5 BEFORE
As part of the Herndon Festival Town of Herndon, Bready Park
Walk – 9am Doggie Expo 9:30am – 12pm • Entertainment • An interactive Doggie Expo
• Goodie Bags • Doggie Pools • Door Prizes
$15 before May 30 $ 20 May 31 – June 5 $10 each additional dog in same household
Register at http://bit.ly/K92K_registration
visit www.herndonfestival.net or call 703-787-7300
6 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
Canine Fitness Challenge contestant Tippy Peterson
ast year, we invited our readers to send in photos of their “couch potato” dogs in need of a fitness makeover. We hope you have been following our winning contestant, Tippy Peterson, of Herndon, VA, on the NOVADog Blog. As the challenge comes to a close, we are proud to say that Tippy has done wonderfully and lost five pounds. “Not only is she in great shape now, but she is also a much more relaxed and happier dog in general! I’m so glad I decided to enter her in this challenge,” says Caroline Peterson. Thanks to our Canine Fitness Challenge sponsors: Paws and Claws Photography, Canine Caterers, Bark ’N Bubbles, DogOn Fitness and Caring Hands Animal Hospital. Visit the NOVADog Blog at www.2houndsproductions.com/blog. ND
A g l i m p s e i n t o t h e l i f e o f N orthern Virginia dogs
Bake Your Dog a Cake!
µ Dog Cake & Biscuit Mixes µ Frostings & Decorations µ Sugar-Free & Natural
Loved by Jane in Falls Church
Jane will receive a NOVADog Tshirt for her winning submission.
10% off all new orders over $25 Code: NOVADOG Expires June 30, 2010
2. PUPALOO AND CHOLI Loved by Vicki in Stephens City 3. BEAR Loved by Jeff & Stacy in Alexandria 6
4. HENLEY Loved by Ali in Arlington 5. RALPH Loved by Lacy & Adam in Ashburn 6. DEACON Loved by Rob & Marlene in Alexandria 7
7. DUNCAN & BELLE Loved by Tracy & Joe in Ashburn 8. DAISY Loved by Gail in Washington, DC 9. GRACIE Loved by Natalie in Ashburn
Hey, where’s my dog? If you submitted a photo, and don’t see it here, check out the NOVADog homepage for the slide show of NOVADogs!
Submit your photos at www.novadogmagazine. com/submissions.html www.novadogmagazine.com
D . I . Y D O G
I n s p i r e d p r o j e c t s f o r t h e r e sourceful dog owner
Happy Birthday Dear Fido? Tips for throwing a pawsitivly perfect birthday party for your four-legged friend By Andrew Colskey
he American dog is our favorite fourlegged member of the family, and more of us are showing our appreciation by treating them to designer digs, sporty shoes, and recognition that their birthdays are just as special as their two-legged brothers and sisters. Moms and dads are throwing dog birthday parties that include everything from dog-themed invitations and playful games to very special doggie birthday cakes. But you can’t just buy a cake from the grocery store. Those cakes are made for people and, if eaten by a dog, it risks an upset stomach, a visit to the vet, or even worse. Dogs’ dietary needs are very different from their human owners’. So what’s a human to do? First, know what your dog cannot eat. Number one on the list is chocolate, which contains caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, all of which affect a dog’s heart and
8 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
nervous system and can be toxic. Instead, use carob, a very popular substitute that dogs love. You should also avoid raw eggs, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, mushrooms, garlic, salt, yeast dough, and too much sugar. Instead, there is a whole line of dog friendly mixes and decorations that include colored sesame seeds and colored coconut flakes, which are the perfect substitute for sugary sprinkles. Then finish off your cake with some doggie candles. ND Andrew Colskey is the owner of K9Cakery, an online-only Northern Virginia company that believes if dogs have parties then “let them eat cake!” K9Cakery.com sells a variety of cake mixes, biscuit mixes, frostings, and decorations for the home baker. Use coupon code NOVAdog to receive 10 percent off your first order.
try this at home
Chicken & Cheese Birthday Biscuits Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine 1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup water, 3/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 2 tablespoons natural chicken powder, 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese powder, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup honey, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Mix Well Dough will be dry and firm. If it is not holding together, add a small amount of water until it does. Roll out on countertop into a 1/4 inch thick sheet. Cut out with dog bone shape cookie cutters and place on greased baking tray. Bake On top rack of oven, bake for 18 minutes. Turn heat off and leave in oven for 60 more minutes. Remove biscuits from oven and dip in cream cheese or yogurt icing mixture. Sprinkle with colored sesame seeds or colored coconut to decorate. Serve.
A n s w e r s t o y o u r behavior and training questions
Help for Solving Doorway Drama By Vero n i c a S a n c h e z
non-distracting environments before you can expect him to perform in an exciting situation. Dogs are not the only ones who need to learn how to behave. Friends who love dogs may trigger jumping by greeting dogs with excited voices and body language. Teach visitors to ignore your dog when they first enter and to pay attention to him only when “four are on the floor.” People always need to interact calmly with dogs.
Set Your Dog Up for Success
Help! Whenever anyone knocks on my door, my dog goes ballistic! It is even worse if I have visitors; my dog jumps all over them! What can I do? QUESTION
While most pet ANSWER owners appreciate barking at the door to deter a would-be criminal, this same behavior is not so welcoming to friends. Many dogs greet guests with exuberant jumping as well. People tend to do things at doorways that trigger dogs to become excited. Visitors hug each other and speak in loud voices; some may even encourage the dog to jump up. Add knocking, a doorbell, and a window, and you have a recipe for doorway drama. Although there are no one-size fits-all solutions to this common canine challenge, behavior that is practiced will be repeated. Barking and jumping tend to be “self-reinforcing behaviors,” meaning that the experience of engaging in these behaviors rewards the dog. Preventing your dog from having the op-
portunity to practice the unwanted behavior is an important first step. The simple act of shutting the blinds and putting your dog on a leash before opening the door can help. Keep treats nearby so you are ready to reward behavior you like.
Four on the Floor Focus on teaching your dog what you want him to do rather than what you want him not to do. A dog that comes when called away from the door and sits and stays will not bark or jump on guests. Remember: Your dog needs to practice and perform reliably in
Keep in mind that jumping can be unsafe if the dog is powerful. Use training equipment that humanely facilitates control (i.e., head collars, front-clip harnesses). Until your dog is thoroughly trained, your best bet might be to confine him to a room or crate before visitors enter. Provide a food-stuffed toy to entertain your dog until you are ready to let him out. Do not worry about keeping people waiting at the door; your visitors would much rather wait a few moments than be leaped on! If your dog has shown aggressive behavior or if he is very difficult to control, get help from a qualified professional. A common training error pet owners make is setting up themselves and their dogs up to fail. Dog training takes time and practice. Create a situation you are able to control, set your dog up to succeed, and you will be well on your way to eliminating the drama at your door! ND
ASK THE EXPERT...
E-mail your dog behavior questions to Veronica Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org. We regret that we can’t answer each e-mail personally. The most interesting and timely topics will be chosen for review in this column. Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.
Create a “situation you are able to control, set
your dog up to succeed,
and you will be well on your way to eliminating the drama at your door!
Veronica Sanchez, M.Ed., CPDT, CABC, is a dog trainer and behavior consultant in Northern Virginia. Visit www. cooperativepaws.com for more information.
D o g - f r i e n d l y s p a ces in Northern Virginia and beyond
A Dog’s Day Inn
Discover history with your dog at Welbourne Inn By Kelly Pike
Wipe Your Paws—Middleburg’s historic Welbourne Inn welcomes guests with canine companions. Above: Tanner, a Welsh Terrier, relaxes in one of the guest rooms. The Inn’s “faded elegance” makes for a cozy and low-key weekend.
10 Northern Virginia Dog
riving up the circular gravel driveway of the Welbourne Inn in Middleburg, VA, and gazing up at the yellow mansion, there’s a distinct feeling that time has stopped. The feeling persists when walking through the door as visitors are greeted by warm colors, large fireplaces, and comfortably-worn antiques, which suggest a house that hasn’t changed much in the past 100 years. That impression is not far off the mark. Welbourne Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been in the same family for eight generations and has functioned as an inn since 1936. Today it is run by Nat Morison, who grew up at Welbourne and still lives in a house on the property, and his wife Sherry. The pair continues the tradition of a welcoming inn steeped in what they lovingly call “faded elegance.” One of the very best traditions is that dogs are welcome guests. “We’ve always allowed dogs,” says Sherry Morison, who leaves out dog beds for canine company. “It was that way when the inn was run by Nat’s mother and probably before that.”
| Spring Summer 2010 2009
History in the Details Welbourne Inn started out as a stone farmhouse in 1770, and, through additions in the 1840s and in 1870, became a mansion. The house has retained nearly all of its original details— hardwood floors, plaster walls, and beautiful woodwork—and current guests can appreciate the original farmhouse while filling up on a big southern-style breakfast in the dining room just as writers F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe did in the 1930s. (The inn made such a mark on them that each set a story here.) It’s easy to see why. Welbourne is a relaxed place without any of the strict rules that often accompany bed and breakfast stays. For those who bring their dogs, the owners simply ask that you keep your dog on its leash until it makes friends with their Redbone Coonhounds Galatoire and Anraud (named for the Morison’s favorite restaurants in New Orleans) and that dogs stay off the furniture. Should you head out to dinner without Fido in tow, you’re welcome to leave him behind if he’s not a barker and doesn’t have a taste for antiques.
But chances are your pup will be exhausted by supper. Welbourne and its 530 picturesque acres host many walking trails and a river perfect for doggy paddling. It also serves as a home for retired horses, with nearly 80 of them inhabiting the surrounding fields. Visitors are welcome to walk among the friendly animals—just make sure your pooch keeps his distance if he’s likely to give chase.
Other Attractions If you’re looking to see more of the countryside, Sky Meadow State Park and the Appalachian Trail are just 10 miles away. Antiquing, wineries, and horse events (such as steeple chasing) are all within minutes as are Civil War battlefields. In fact, the owner’s great-great-grandfather was Colonel Richard H. Dulany, who founded the nation’s oldest foxhunting club in 1840 and the oldest horse show in 1853. But make sure you are back at the inn by 6:30 p.m. That’s when Nat and Sherry pour cocktails and regale guests with stories about the inn. Whether by a fire in the parlor during the winter or on the shady porch in the summer, it’s the perfect time to ask about the home’s architecture, history, and contents. Every piece has a story, and Nat knows them all. Should you and your pup still be around Sundays in the summer, you might catch the weekly stickball game in the inn’s front yard. But even if you don’t, you’ll still enjoy a weekend reliving bygone days with your amiable hosts—and, of course, your furry best friend. ND Kelly Pike is a freelance writer in Annandale, VA. When she’s not busy writing about business and finance, she and her husband enjoy jaunty walks with their Puggle, Lola.
IF YOU GO: The Welbourne Inn has five guestrooms with private baths and three smaller attached rooms for children, which share baths.
Frying Pan Farm Park’s
Where every dog is an A-student
Agility Classes-all levels Fly Ball-introduction
Dog Obedience-all levels
The room rate of $143 a night includes taxes and a big southern breakfast of eggs, bacon or sausage, grits, fried tomatoes or apples, and biscuits. The proprietors host a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m.
Classes start week of April 5 To register or for information, call Frying Pan Farm Park
GO DOG U!
Welbourne Inn is located off Route 50 in Middleburg, VA, and is about 48 miles west of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit welbourneinn.com.
Conveniently located at 2709 West Ox Road in Herndon, just off the Fairfax County Parkway and close to the Dulles Toll Road. M. Nicole
703-324-8563. TTY 703-803-3354
Photos by Bev Hollis of Bev Hollis Photography. To view more of her work or to schedule an appointment, please visit www.bevhollisphoto.com.
Healing Our Nation’s
HEROES America’s VetDogs and their amazing canine corps have made a real difference in veterans’ lives by easing the transition back into life at home.
By Ta y l o r H a m
12 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
Can a Labrador Retriever bring someone back from the brink of despair? For many military veterans whose lives have been touched by service dogs, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” One of those courageous individuals, Master Sergeant Mark Gwathmey, says he had reached the lowest point of his life before he met his service dog, Larry. A gift from America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit organization, Larry changed the lives of Mark and his wife CeCe. Created by the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in 2003, America’s VetDogs provides guide, service and therapy dogs to veterans with disabilities and active duty personnel throughout the United States. “Reaching out to veterans with vision loss has always been a part of the Guide Dog Foundation’s mission,” says Communications Manager Bill Krol. As conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified and more and more soldiers began returning from battle with debilitating injuries, the organization saw a role for their dogs in helping veterans with other types of disabilities as well. America’s VetDogs was officially established as an independent nonprofit in 2007 and is currently the only organization of its kind dedicated solely to serving veterans. In just a short time, its amazing canine corps has proven to have the versatility and ability to make a real difference in veterans’ lives by easing the transition back into life at home. “With so many severely wounded warriors returning home from the war, traditional support systems are easily overwhelmed,” Krol says. VetDogs, however, are there 24/7, 365 days a year.
help keep her husband safe. Less than a month later, CeCe’s prayers were answered when a staff member called to say they had found the perfect dog for Mark and invited the couple to attend a training class at the organization’s headquarters in Smithtown, NY. “I was so nervous driving up to New York to meet Larry,” Mark says, “but the moment they let him off the leash and he came running up to me, I knew everything would be ok.” During their first night together back home in Maryland, Mark was grateful when Larry woke him
Opposite page: Master Sergeant Mark Gwathmey shares a quiet moment with Larry, his service dog and best friend. Below: Linda Odierno and her therapy dog, Tootsie, bring comfort and love to soldiers receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Photos by professional pet photographer Robin Burkett. To see more of Robin’s work or to make an appointment, please visit www.pawprints photography.com.
A Soldier’s Best Friend After serving his country in some of the most demanding conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, Mark Gwathmey was deployed to Iraq in February 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After three tours of duty, Mark inexplicably began collapsing and losing consciousness. Back at home, Mark’s symptoms steadily worsened until he was having as many as 12 seizures per day while also struggling with anxiety and depression. Eventually diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and sympathetic nerve disorder, Mark’s quality of life and hope for the future plummeted. When Mark saw a flyer for VetDogs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, he was intrigued. Mark had always been a dog lover, yet surrounded by so many other young men and women whose injuries seemed worse than his own, he was hesitant to follow up. “I came back walking,” Mark says. “I felt that there were plenty of people who needed help more than I did.” Mark’s wife CeCe, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, finally convinced him to make the call, hoping that a seizure alert dog would www.novadogmagazine.com
up twice from a terrifyingly vivid nightmare. Larry faithfully remained by Mark’s side day and night, and, within a few weeks, they had bonded so strongly that Larry began to anticipate Mark’s seizures well in advance, becoming agitated and barking or whining to give Mark and his family a chance to prepare. How does a strong, independent-minded Marine learn to listen to a dog? “I had to humble myself,” Mark says. “I quickly learned to understand Larry’s body language and trust him because he’s rarely wrong.” Mark’s seizures range in intensity from mild and brief to lasting for hours and causing him to wake up believing he is still in combat. These days, each time Mark comes out of a seizure, the first thing he sees is a furry bundle of love greeting him as if he has just come home. Not only is this comforting for Mark, it is a relief for CeCe, who used to worry constantly when she was working away from home. With Larry looking out for Mark, CeCe is relieved of the stressful role of sole caregiver and worrier. While Mark and CeCe were thrilled that Larry could predict Mark’s seizures, they were amazed at the impact Larry had in other aspects of their lives as well. Veterans suffering from PTSD often struggle with alienation,
14 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
I quickly learned to understand Larry’s body language and trust him, because he’s rarely wrong.
—Master Sergeant Mark Gwathmey loneliness, and anger, which not only hurts the individual, but also wreaks havoc on the entire family. With Larry there to mediate some of Mark’s emotional swings, life is a lot better at the Gwathmey house. “Larry has given us our lives back,” CeCe says, “and we have fallen in love with him.”
Answering the Call VetDog trainers work directly with veterans and their family members to identify the skills required to meet an individual’s unique needs. “Our guide and service dogs are living tools the veterans can use to help themselves regain their independence,” says Mike Sergeant, VetDog’s chief training officer. For a veteran with an amputated limb who
has issues with balance and stability, the dog is taught to brace and assist the handler in getting up and down from a chair, handling stairs, or transferring to and from a wheelchair. A veteran with a traumatic brain injury may need the dog to function much like a guide dog for a blind person, identifying and avoiding potential dangers to keep its handler safe when navigating busy streets. The dogs can also be trained to retrieve specific objects, such as a wallet or set of keys. Other dogs, like Larry, are trained to alert the family when a seizure occurs and provide support throughout the often frightening process. Veterans are not the only individuals who benefit from these extraordinary animals. Since December 2007, VetDogs has deployed combat stress relief dogs to war zones in Iraq to provide emotional support and psychological stress relief to military personnel serving on the front lines. Puppy raisers often visit airports around the country with their charges, bringing smiles to the faces of soldiers who are returning home on leave. Other service dogs are trained to work alongside rehabilitation professionals, providing physical therapy assistance at military hospitals where wounded soldiers are treated.
Larry barks to alert Mark’s family to an impending seizure.
Linda Odierno, whose son was injured in Iraq in 2004, first learned about VetDogs from an occupational therapist at Walter Reed. Wanting to do something to give back to the service men and women returning from war, Linda contacted VetDogs to ask how she could help. In November 2008, she was given a two-year-old Labrador Retriever named Tootsie who had been trained as a pet therapy dog. Linda dogma_NovaDog_ad_v04.pdf 1 Walter 3/10/10 and Tootsie became members of the
Reed pet therapy team, which makes frequent visits to service members receiving treatment at the hospital. “Many patients walk around with heavy burdens on their hearts,” Linda says, “but for the few minutes they are petting Tootsie, they are smiling.” For Linda, whose own husband has been serving in Iraq for nearly two years now, having Tootsie in her life has personal meaning as well. “She’s my battle buddy,” Linda says. “We do everything together.” 1:58 PM
The mission of America’s VetDogs is to help those who serve our nation live with dignity and independence. For individuals like Mark and CeCe Gwathmey, however, VetDogs represents so much more. By harnessing the power of a dog’s unconditional love, the organization is literally changing lives. “VetDogs gave me a gift I can never repay,” Mark says—humble words for someone who has already given so much for all of us. This Memorial Day, consider giving thanks to the men and women who serve our country by supporting organizations like America’s VetDogs, which largely rely on charitable contributions. Spread the word to veterans about the benefits of service dogs, invite VetDogs to speak at your next meeting or event, or make a donation in honor of someone you know who has given his or her life in service. Want to know what else you can do to help? Visit www.vetdogs.org. ND 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.
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With a little thought and planning, you can reduce your dog’s carbon paw print By Juliet Farmer
ou recycle bottles and paper, ride your bike rather than drive, compost food scraps, and cook free-range meats and organic veggies, all of which helps keep the planet green. But if you share your life with a canine companion, there’s even more you can be doing. From home and yard cleanup, to menu planning, waste management, and health products, there are many opportunities for you to ensure your pooch is eco-friendly.
Chemical Overload. Besides being good for the environment, there’s another reason to make sure you’re buying planet-friendly items for your dog: He spends the majority of his life at ground level—breathing, sniffing, licking, and sometimes even eating whatever crosses his path. Beyond the obvious, such as pesticides and harsh household cleaners, toxic chemicals can lurk in plastic toys, dog beds, pet food, and more. According to a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), America’s pets are being exposed to chemical contamination that scientists have linked to numerous health problems. The EWG study reported that dogs were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested (including 43 at levels higher than those normally found in humans). The study examined plastics and food packaging chemicals, heavy metals, fire retardants, and stain-proofing chemicals in pooled samples of blood and urine from 20 dogs. The samples, which were collected at a veterinary clinic in Virginia in December 2007 and January 2008, showed the dogs had 2.4 times higher levels of stain- and grease-proof coating than levels typical for
16 Northern Virginia Dog
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humans. The dogs’ blood and urine samples contained 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, 24 neurotoxins, and 11 carcinogens that could lead to skin cancer, breast tumors, bone cancer, and leukemia. Household cleaning supplies, yard maintenance products, pesticides, weed killers and insecticides, home building materials, insect repellants, even food packaging can contain harmful toxins. Other sources can include house dust, stain-proofed furniture, carpets, shampoos, plastic containers, foam furniture and bedding, and food contaminated with chemicals leached from dog food bag coatings.
Green Guidance. The news isn’t all doom and gloom. There are lots of ways dog caregivers can ensure their canine companions aren’t exposed to unnecessary chemicals and toxins. Here’s a look at all the ways you can green your dog—from what she plays with and where she sleeps, to how she stays smelling fresh and fights fleas and ticks, to what she eats and how you dispose of her waste.
Play With Purpose. Playtime should be all about fun and games, but when Fido puts a plastic toy in his mouth, he can be exposed to toxic chemicals. Beyond that, his toy may be made with materials that deplete natural resources. To get your dog’s toys in the green, look for products that are made from recycled materials or all-natural products. Also consider durability; while a cheap toy may not impact your wallet, you’ll wind up replacing it a lot sooner than one that’s made to last. According to Julie Paez, who, along with Pennye Jones-Napier, own The Big Bad Woof (www.thebigbadwoof.com) in Washington DC, there’s a good reason to buy dog toys from trusted sources. “You can purchase a dog toy that is made overseas, and not be aware that it contains harmful chemicals, lead, and other unhealthy materials,” she notes.
Petprojekt’s Doglogs are non-toxic squeaky toys with
fluffy tails that are soft, durable, and available in orange, purple, green, and brown for $12 each (www. otomik.com). Planetdog’s Orbee-Tuff® line, which has a chew-o-meter that rates each dog toy based on the strength of your dog’s chops, offers a variety of styles and prices to meet your dog’s play needs (www.planetdog.com). SimplyFido sells organic pet toys made from all-natural materials, including plush toys, rings, knit toys, hemp, and rope toys in many cute animal shapes and colors at various prices (www.simplyfido.com). West Paw Design has an eco-friendly line of dog toys made from recycled materials, including toss toys, puzzles, discs, plushies, and ropes in various styles and prices (www.westpawdesign.com).
dog’s bed is natural and free from chemicals. Keep in mind that a bargain dog bed might last a few months, but, if you have to keep replacing it, it might be better to make a larger upfront investment in an eco-friendly bed that will last for years. Seattle’s Big Shrimpy (www.bigshrimpy. com) uses leftover fleece to make dog beds and blankets. Since 2002, Big Shrimpy has recycled more than 328,000 pounds of clean polyester fiber waste from North American manufacturers via SmartFill®, Big Shrimpy’s proprietary blend of clean polyester fiber waste. While many manufacturers utilize polyester fiber as padding in products, after the polyester fiber is cut to the size needed, leftover remains and is typically discarded. Big Shrimpy takes that clean waste, then chops and blends it to make SmartFill. In the end, less energy is used making SmartFill than making virgin fiber or fiber from plastic bottles. In addition, every part of a Big Shrimpy product, including the SmartFill, is machine washable and dryable,
Orbee-Tuff® Artichoke and Eggplant toys have a “treat spot” for hidden goodies.
and the Original, Nest, and Basic bed covers, empty inner liners, and filled inner liners are all available for purchase separately. Victoria Peak Trading Co. (www.victoria peak.com) makes dog beds with machine washable and dryable 14 oz. cotton denim or 50/50 nylon/cotton covers (also called Nyco, a tough, abrasion-resistant fabric used by military forces around the world, including US forces, for battle dress uniforms). These durable covers are filled with hypoallergenic, silicone coated, hollow polyester fiber that’s encased in 100 percent cotton muslin tick. Moreover, 20 percent of this polyester fiber stuffing is composed of recycled plastic bottles.
Looking Pretty. When your dog gets dirty, it may be easy to reach for whatever is handy to give him a wash. However, using any old dog shampoo might make him itchy, de-
Sleep Safely. When your dog lies down to sleep, is she being exposed to harmful chemicals? There are several companies that make it their mission to ensure your dog rests her head on a safe, comfortable bed that’s as good for her as it is for the environment. Eco-friendly dog beds aren’t just made with recycled materials or natural and organic fibers; they are also free of stain-proof chemicals and fire retardants, dyes, and synthetics. What’s inside counts too, so make sure the filling in your
Big Shrimpy Nest Bed
EcoSmart Organic Insecticide
(www.ecosmart.com) eliminates ants, roaches, silverfish, and spiders with the use of organic rosemary, cinnamon, and wintergreen essential oils.
(www.orangeguard.com) kills fleas, roaches, silverfish, aphids, and spider mites with orange-peel extract.
Repellex Mosquito and Tick Repellent
(www.repellex.com) targets mosquitoes, gnats, flies, ticks, and fleas with citronella, lemongrass, cedarwood, garlic, and cinnamon essential oils.
posit chemicals on his skin, and possibly send chemicals into water runoff. A better bet is to reach for products that contain natural ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, vanilla, and lavender, which soothe, cleanse, and leave behind a great smell. If you want to leave grooming in the hands of a professional, local dog spas such as Bark ’N Bubbles Dog Wash (www.barknbubblesdogwash.com) in Ashburn, Fairfax, and Herndon, and Red Dog Spa & Boutique (www.reddogspa.com) in Fairfax use and sell eco-friendly dog grooming products. In the fight against fleas, try Natural Chemistry’s DeFlea (www.naturalchemistry.com). The active ingredients in DeFlea products work together to soften the waxy exoskeleton of fleas, ticks, lice, mites, and other insects. Once the insect’s armor has been penetrated, its internal organs are saturated and the insect quickly bursts.
Herbal Remedies. Herbal therapies can be a viable alternative to pharmaceutical pet medicines and can also be used to reduce the frequency or dosage of certain pet medications. Terri Grow, founder and president of PetSage (www.petsage.com) in Alexandria, carries a variety of herbal therapies that are
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certified organic, wild-crafted responsibly, and made exclusively in the United States, such as Animals’ Apawthecary, Newtown Homeopathic for Pets, HomeoPet, and Dr. Goodpet. According to Grow, herbal therapies and natural medicines are a specialty of PetSage, where staff have been trained in traditional Chinese and Western herbal therapies, homeopathy, and flower essences. “Combining herbal therapies and medications should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian or an herbalist trained in animal care,” she cautions. She notes that herbal therapies can be used as alternatives or as complimentary therapies to treat many diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, skin disorders, asthma, cancer, and behavioral problems such as anxiety. PetSage also carries fresh, organic, and free-range raw foods from local farms; locally produced, organic Max & Ruffy treats; West Paw dog beds and toys; Pal Dog cruelty-free botanical shampoos and topicals, made with organic and biodegradable ingredients; and Premier harnesses and leashes, made from 100 percent recycled plastics.
All Decked Out. If Fido’s collar has seen better days or his leash is worn and frayed,
forward-thinking dog collar and leash makers have just the remedy. The Big Bad Woof carries a line of Guatemalan-made collars that are hand woven by Mayan artisans. The company a tail we could wag (www.tailwags.com) assembles and finishes the products in the United States and distributes them to retail sellers. If you want collars that start closer to home, try Wagging Green’s (www.wagging green.com) all natural, un-dyed, 100 percent bamboo fiber collars, which are naturally odor resistant, or durable Earthdog (www.earthdog. com) handmade hemp collars and leashes. Rope gets a new leash on life thanks to Krebs (www.krebsrecycle.com), which relies on upcycling. Its leashes are made from durable, pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled nylon climbing rope in its original form, so there are no carbon-intensive recycling processes involved.
Spot Removers. When cleaning up any doggie-related messes, reach for non-toxic cleaners that are gentle on the planet and won’t put harsh chemicals in your pooch’s path. Simple Solution® Stain and Odor Remover (www.bramton.com) utilizes unique enzymes and pro-bacteria to destroy the glue-like
Bio-Groom (www.biogroom.com) makes hypoaller-
genic, tearless, and botanical extract shampoos, as well as conditioners, finishers and more. Earthbath® (www.earthbath.com) shampoos, grooming wipes, and spritzes are natural, nontoxic, paraben free, phthalate free, phosphate free, and made in the United States with human-grade ingredients and pure essential oils. Earthbath products are also soap-free and pH balanced. Tropiclean (www.tropiclean.net) makes soap-free, 70 percent organic shampoo and conditioner in a variety of natural scent combinations that will target problems such as dry skin, tangles, and lingering smells.
proteins in urine. These enzymes dissolve organic residue, and then the pro-bacteria eat the residue entirely, permanently eliminating stains and odors from carpets, upholstery, or any other water-safe surfaces. Bark Busters Buster’s Secret Odor & Stain Remover (www.barkbusters.com) features natural bio-enzymatic technology to eliminate all pet odors and stains completely. It’s made of a unique proprietary blend of bacteria and enzymes that have been collectively analyzed
and then individually selected to achieve the best results for breaking down and turning organic stains and odor-causing substances into a liquid that can be wiped away. Buster’s removes urine, feces, blood, vomit, and perspiration, and restores color and luster to carpets, floors, and upholstery. It’s also 100 percent bio-degradable, non-toxic, and non-flammable. If you’re at the point where your carpet
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is beyond repair, turn to FLOR carpet tiles (www.flor.com), which are made from renewable and recycled raw materials, and are the perfect solution for areas both large and small. Most FLOR styles meet or exceed the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus standards for low volatile organic compounds, which are harmful to indoor air quality.
Drinking & Dining. What you fill your dog’s water and food bowls with counts too. Besides tasting funny, tap water can sometimes contain Giardia, which can cause diarrhea in animals. While you could invest in a filtered drinking fountain made specifically for dogs, you can just as easily give your pooch the same filtered water you drink. Just be sure you are filling a glass or metal bowl you clean daily. (No plastic bowls, please, or the water might be exposed to toxins, which defeats the purpose!) Canine Caterers (www.caninecaterers. com) in Chantilly, VA, sells dog food free of animal by-products and chemical preservatives. Canine Caterer’s managing partner, Kate LoStracco, says its exclusive Total Focus super premium dry pet food formulas also contain ingredients from domestically grown and purchased sources. “With seven formulas to offer, each
contains human grade, holistic, EU-certified simple protein, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, vegetables, wholesome grains, and added glucosamine supplement,” LoStracco explains. “[Our] formulas have never been part of a pet food recall.” Total Focus is made in small batches, which ensures the formulas are fresh. Delivery is free to several local areas.
Waste Duty. Pet waste is about as natural as it gets, so rather than wrap it in plastic that will be around for decades, try doggie waste pickup bags that are biodegradable, or take it a step further and turn the waste into compost. Pet Habitats FlushEze™ Pet Waste Bags (www.pethabitats.com) are flushable and dissolve in water. BioBag Dog Waste Bags (www.biobagusa.com) are biodegradable and compostable—the waste and the bag can be thrown in your backyard compost, where both items can decompose naturally; the waste and bag can be buried, where micro-organisms will quickly eat both; or the waste and bag can be set at curbside with other yard waste for biodegradable waste collection. The Doggie Dooley Pet Waste Disposal System (www.doggiedooley.com) works like a miniature septic tank, utilizing natural bacteria
and enzyme cultures to reduce dog waste to a ground-absorbed liquid. Simply shovel stools into the system, occasionally add water and the non-toxic Digester Powder. The systems are harmless to pets, lawns, and shrubs.
Carbon Paw Prints. Every product has a carbon footprint, which is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions used to make, sell, and buy the item. Not surprisingly, canine caregivers are on board with reducing carbon footprints. In 2009, “Reducing Your Carbon Paw Print” was identified as a top trend by the American Pet Products Association. Conscientious dog owners can do their part to lighten their dog’s paw print. Observe how pet products are made and consider the materials used to make them. Choose eco-friendly toys, bedding, grooming products, herbal therapies, collars and leashes, household cleaners, food and water, and waste pickup products. You’ll not only be helping reduce your dog’s exposure to harmful chemicals, but also helping you and Fido tread lightly on the planet. ND Juliet Farmer has contributed pet-related stories to numerous publications and web sites. She and her husband live in Sacramento, CA, with their retired racing greyhound and two cats.
Help us LICK LONELINESS
fine art black & white pet portraiture
20 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
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
‘Dogi’ and Me By Taylor Ham Yoga instructor Jessica Silverman and her dog Leela relax at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria. Photo by Kristina Meacham of Cascades Photography (www. cascadesphoto.com).
A Local Studio
love yoga class. Something about the combination of physical exertion and spiritual soothing makes me walk out a much happier person than when I went in. I also love spending time with my dog. Imagine my delight, when I learned of an alternative to choosing between the two: “Doga.” Doga, loosely defined as “yoga with your dog,” has grown in popularity in recent years as yoga enthusiasts have found ways to include their best friend in their favorite pastime. Despite criticism that involving dogs in this ancient spiritual tradition dilutes the practice of yoga, many studios are beginning to answer the growing demand by opening their doors to their clients’ four-legged friends. Jessica Silverman, an instructor at Pure Prana Yoga Studio in Alexandria, began supplementing her traditional lessons with doga classes five years ago when she adopted Leela, a Hound mix. “Leela kept getting in the way of my practice,” Silverman says, “so I started finding ways to incorporate her into it.” Initially surprised by the popularity of her dog-friendly classes, she now sees it as a natural fit. “Dogs are natural yogis,” she says. “They can teach us a lot about unconditional love and living fully in the present.” The doga workshops Pure Prana offers every few months involve gentle massages, stretching and a lot of bonding time for people and their pets. Older dogs may benefit from gentle manipulation of stiff joints, while youngsters enjoy the opportunity to socialize. According to Silverman, however,
Offers Meditation and Quality Time With Your Best Buddy the real pay-off comes from simply spending some quality time with your best buddy.
My Basset, the Buddhist As a newcomer to yoga, I still find the concept of “being present” extremely difficult. From concern about work to incredulity at how effortlessly the person next to me holds her poses, my mind is constantly running. The fact that I am deficient in my ability to relax is, ironically, a great source of anxiety for me. I was a little nervous as TJ, my Basset Hound, and I entered the studio at Pure Prana for our first doga class. Worrying that we might embarrass ourselves, I secretly hoped doggie yoga would be a little less serious than the traditional version. At the beginning of class, it was clear TJ wasn’t sure what the point was. After a few ear massages and long, slow belly rubs, however, he stopped caring and just went along with it. He even managed to ignore the playful antics of the Lab puppy next to us and pull off a perfectly respectable “upward dog.” The class was unexpectedly relaxing, and, in the last
five minutes when we laid down in savasana together, something miraculous happened. As TJ stretched his warm body next to mine and contentedly fell asleep on my arm, my mind cleared. There I was, completely relaxed and enjoying being in that moment with my dog. As TJ and I left yoga class that day, we were both happy. Doga may be a far cry from “real” yoga, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s great! TJ received a full hour of my undivided attention, and, in return, my crazy, pant-ripping, cat-chasing Basset Hound had made me a better yogi—and for that, I am grateful.
Try it! A few studios in the area, including Pure Prana in Alexandria and Tranquil Space in Washington, DC, offer periodic doga classes. If you prefer to practice at home, Brenda Bryan’s book Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi (Skipstone Press) will get you off to a great start. Want to give your downward dog a deeper meaning? Don’t miss an afternoon of fun and philanthropy this spring at the 6th Annual Doga in the Park event, an open doga session held at Rose Park in northwest DC. The event, which benefits the Washington Humane Society, is scheduled for May 1, 2010. Learn more at www.tranquilspace.com. ND 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
I N R E V I E W L i t e r a t u r e , a r t s , a n d n e w media literature review • by ingrid king
Unexpected Miracles by Dr. Shawn M e s s o n n i e r, D . V. M
nexpected Miracles: Hope and Holistic Healing for Pets, subtitled True Stories of the Human Animal Bond, is a must read for anyone interested in integrative medicine, holistic health, and natural remedies for pets. Dr. Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M., is a nationally recognized authority on holistic pet care and integrative medicine. Dr. Messonnier introduces the reader to some remarkable animals and their owners who never gave up on their pets. There is Buddy, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who was given a death sentence and who is still alive today, thanks to integrative medicine and an owner who wouldn’t take an initial diagnosis of cancer at face value. There is Bowtie, an elderly Maine Coon cat diagnosed with cancer who beat the odds because of the right treatment. There’s Jessie, a Dachshund paralyzed by disk disease whose owners traveled thousands of miles for a chance at health. Using case studies and highlighting diseases that commonly afflict our pets, Dr. Messonnier shows us how the integrative methods he has developed to help these creatures not only survive the maladies they were originally diagnosed with but also, in many cases, go on to live long and healthy lives. Unexpected Miracles will change the way you think about your pet’s healthcare. The book offers a thorough look at what integrative veterinary care really means, using both conventional treatments—commonly thought of as Western medicine—and natural, alternative, and holistic treatments ranging from supplements to herbs to acupuncture. By taking
Find Your New Friend At
The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria A non-profit organization with over 60 years of caring, concern and commitment to the animals in our community. Operating the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, where we offer adoptions, counseling, and a variety of animal care programs.
4101 Eisenhower Ave. Alexandria VA 22304 703/838-4774
www.alexandriaanimals.org 22 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
a truly holistic approach, Dr. Messonnier treats the patient, not the disease, and uses the best of all available treatment options to achieve optimal healing for each individual patient. This includes looking at the pet’s environment and potential exposure to toxins, reducing vaccinations from the old paradigm of annual “shots” to only those required by law or no vaccinations at all, to eliminating by-products and low quality ingredients from the pet’s diet. Each story in this book is about the individual pet and the condition the pet’s owner sought help with. There are definite commonalities in all the casesthat will give the reader a thorough understanding of what an integrative approach to pet health is truly all about. In addition, the book is a testament to how much we love our pets and that most of us will go to great lengths to find ways to keep these wonderful creatures happy and healthy. It’s a book that belongs on every pet owner’s bookshelf as not only a reference book, but also as a reminder that sometimes, hope is the best medicine. ND Ingrid King is the author of Buckley’s Story—Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher. She is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. Her online magazine, News for You and Your Pet, goes out to subscribers around the world. Her blog, The Conscious Cat, has been called “educational catnip for the cat lover” and is a comprehensive resource for conscious living, health, and happiness for pets and their people. Ingrid lives in Northern Virginia with her tortoiseshell cat Amber. For more information, please visit www.ingridking.com.
E v e n t s y o u w o n ’ t w a n t t o miss
APRIL April 10 12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs. 1:00 PM—Canine Good Citizen Class and Testing at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training in Arlington. Register at www.DPnCC.com
April 12 6:30 - 8:30 PM—Baby-Ready Pets at Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Offers preparation and assistance to help expectant families prepare their home and their pets for the arrival of the new baby. Endorsed by the ASPCA. To register, contact Jennifer Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.931.9241 x213.
April 22 6:30 -8:30 PM—Low-Cost Rabies Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Bring proof of a prior rabies shot (rabies certificate, not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. Cost: $10.
April 24 11AM - 2PM—Paws in the Park. Enjoy a spring day in Prince William Park Forest (Pine Grove Picnic Area, Triangle, VA) with man’s best friend. For one
day only, there will be an off leash area designated, as well as prizes, contests, agility demonstrations, vendors, police and rescue dogs, free classes, and much more. More info: www.nps.gov/ ncr/customcf/apps/eventcalendar/events/ prwievent00841243.html. 12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs. 6-11:00 PM—PawCasso Live Art Auction event to benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Council on Foreign Relations, 1777 F St. NW Washington. Features a variety of well-known local artists from the DC area. Also an upscale silent auction with more than 100 donations. $50 per person, includes one complementary drink and hors d’oeuvres. Cocktail attire. More info www.homewardtrails.org/paw casso-art-auction/about.
April 25 11 AM—Bow Wow Pow Wow in Adams Morgan, Marie Reed School Plaza, 2200 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009. Enjoy a day of fun and festivities for you and your dog—show off your pooch and network with other pet owners. Educational programs for pet owners, pet vendors, arts & crafts. For more information, 202.232.1960 or www.bowwowpowwow.com.
Dog Safety for Children 5 years of age and older. Teach children the rules so they can be safe and have fun with dogs. This FREE class will be offered upon request, so please call to register: Dogs are not invited to this class. Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, 703-931-5057, www.DPnCC.com. Raising Dogs With Babies. Learn how to be more relaxed with your dog and your new baby. Be proactive so your dog will feel comfortable with a new family member. Learn how to make a positive association for your dog with the infant even before the baby is born. Offered upon request, so please call to register: Dogs are not invited to this lecture. Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, 703-931-5057, www.DPnCC.com. FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/ Rudy’s Friends Dog Training in Arlington. Saturdays, beginning April 3rd through June 26th at 12PM. No activities over Memorial Day weekend. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com.
April 30 7-10 PM—FETCHing Art Night at Glave Kocen Gallery, 1620 West Main Street Richmond, VA 23220. Join FETCH a Cure for an evening of animal inspired artists and their animal related art. For more information, please email info@ fetchacure.com or call 804.525.2193.
local businesses, animal rescue groups, and pet owners for an exciting day of interactive activities, demonstrations, exhibitions, and animals galore with a full day of events for the whole family, including your leashed, well-behaved dog! Reston Town Center. For more information, visit www.petfiesta.org
May 8 M AY May 1 10 AM- 4 PM—Reston Pet Fiesta. Enjoy the outdoors and the festival atmosphere, which brings together
8:30 AM—15th Annual Walk for the Animals (rain or shine) to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Bluemont Park, 329 N. Manchester Street, Arlington, Virginia 22203. The three-mile loop walk or one-mile stroll continued on page 27
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Dog Bakery/Baking Supplies
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Animal Welfare League of Alexandria www.alexandriaanimals.org.............................................. p. 22
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wamuAnimalHouse.org AnimalHouse.indd 24 Northern Virginia1 Dog
| Spring 2010
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3/16/10 9:43 AM
HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy
U.S. National Arboretum By Caro l B r o o k s , C o - o w n e r, D o g O n F i t n e s s If you’re looking for a destination day-hike
Arboretum hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily
with your well-behaved leashed dog, consider
and, if possible, traffic conditions on your
visiting the U.S. National Arboretum located
planned route. Take a friend or family member
in Northeast Washington, DC. This outing
along to stay with your dog, so one of you can
combines exercise, education, and an ever-
enter the buildings. Wear comfortable shoes
changing vista of blooming plant-life. With over
that can withstand walking on hard surfaces
400 acres of landscaped gardens, expansive
and bring plenty of water, snacks or lunch, bug
green spaces, and 9.5 miles of winding road-
spray, and a hat. Much of the hike is full sun
ways tucked away next to the Anacostia River,
exposure. Finally, remember to bring poop bags
this urban oasis is certain to please you and
and water for your dog.
your dog. The Arboretum, established by an act of
Congress in 1927, is part of the Federal Agri-
The hike begins at the Administrative Building
cultural Research Service. Its mission is to cre-
and Visitor Services. Signs along the roadway
ate and maintain gardens to showcase plants
as you enter the Arboretum will direct you to
that are arranged throughout the Arboretum as
this spot. Be sure to go inside to grab a map
“collections.” Roadways used by vehicles and
and ask about the current conditions of the
pedestrians connect the collections. Mean-
trails and gardens. On a recent trip to the
dering trails within each collection showcase
Arboretum with one of my dog running clients,
Robbie and owner, Anne Gavin, we discovered
The Arboretum is an outdoor museum of plants—some very rare. Dogs must be controlled at all times and kept out of the gardens.
Northern Virginia resident Anne Gavin and her dog Robbie explore the U.S. National Arboretum.
many trails were closed due to damage from
stead of returning to the road) and enjoy the
the record 2010 snowfall.
interesting Asian Collection, which offers ex-
After exiting the Administrative Building,
cellent views of the Anacostia River below. Af-
The wide open fields will tempt you to let your
follow the paved pathway directly across from
ter exiting the Asian Collection, be sure to visit
dog off-leash, but regulations require your dog
the building that leads out to Ellipse Road and
the adjacent Dogwood Collection and overlook
be on a leash at all times. Dogs are not allowed
to the Capital Columns. This is a dramatic and
before ending the hike by following Meadow
in any buildings or off the trails in the garden’s
interesting landmark you won’t want to miss.
Road back to the Administrative Building.
collections. The primary hiking area is on
Leave the Capital Columns by the same route,
hard road surfaces where you’re also likely to
returning to Ellipse Road. Follow Ellipse to the
encounter cars, so it’s essential you and your
right until it ends at Crabtree Road. Alter-
Visit www.usna.usda.gov for directions from
dog stay alert. (Note: Dogs and people are
nately, you can take one of the trails leading
your start location. Traffic can be heavy at
allowed to explore open fields adjacent to
off Ellipse to the left that take you through
times, so plan accordingly. ND
Fern Valley, and then find your way to Crabtree
Start your trip with a virtual visit to www.
Road. Take a left on Crabtree, then the first
usna.usda.gov, where you’ll find maps, direc-
right onto Hickey Hill Road that will lead you
tions to the Arboretum, and tips on what’s in
to our mid-way and lunch/snack point, the
bloom by month. Plan your trip around the
Anacostia Park administered by the National Park Service.
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. Located in Reston, DogOn Fitness has served the Northern Virginia area since 2003. Visit them on the Web at www.dogonfitness.com.
To get to Anacostia Park, take the first public trail to your right off of Hickey Hill—a pamphlet holder greets you at the head of the trail—and follow it until it ends at an unlocked gate (open 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.) leading into the park. This is a perfect lunch or rest spot with picnic tables and wide-open green space
Distance: Approximately 2 miles Time: 60 minutes or more Location: National Arboretum in the northeast section of Washington, DC. There are two entrances: 3501 New York Avenue, NE, and 24th & R Streets, NE, off of Bladensburg Road. Fido-Friendly Features: Off-street parking, uncrowded, trash and recycle bins throughout. Use: Tourists, cars, hikers, runners, bikers Best Time To Go: Anytime. Rated: 1 paw (easy)
next to the river. To continue the hike, return through the gate and follow the pathway to the right (in-
1 paw = easy; 5 = expert
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continued from page 23 begins and concludes at Bluemont Park in Arlington. Dogs are invited. All pre-registered walkers receive a t-shirt and doggie bandana. Demonstrations, entertainment, and vendor booths. For more info or to register, www.awla.org/ animal-fundraising-walk.shtml. 12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs. 1:05 PM—Pups in the Park at Nationals Stadium. During this game vs. the Florida Marlins you can bring your pooch to the ballpark and support the Washington Humane Society. Seating is limited so advance purchase is required. Visit www.nationals.com/pups for more information. Special entrance gates and waivers are required for entry to the park with your dog.
May 13 6:30 - 8:30 PM—Baby-Ready Pets at Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Offers preparation and assistance to help expectant families prepare their home and their pets for the arrival of the new baby. Endorsed by the ASPCA. To register, contact Jennifer Newman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 15 10:00 AM —Strut Your Mutt in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle (Norfolk, Fairmont, St. Elmo, Cordell and Del Ray Avenues) Bethesda, MD. Over 5,000 participants and hundreds of dogs participate in a day of fun. Parade, dog fashion show, dog contests, kids
play area, and much more! For more information, visit www.strutyour muttbethesda.org.
May 22 11 AM–3 PM—Golden Retriever Rescue Bark-B-Que at Quiet Waters Dog Swim Park (All Breeds Invited) Red Maple Pavillion, 600 Quiet Waters Park Road, Annapolis, MD. Food and beverages provided. Activities for both two- and four-legged guests including games, merchandise, and raffle prizes. You must RSVP. For advance tickets and more information, www.grreat.org/ calendar.htm or 410.222.1777. 12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs.
May 27 6:30 – 8:30 PM—Low-cost Rabies Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. For more information visit www.awla.org or call 703.931.9241
JUNE June 4 7-10 PM —Pets On Parade at The Science Museum Of Virginia 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA. To raise awareness and funds for the Companions in Crisis program—A fund to help pet owners unable to pay for their pet’s cancer treatments. For more information, visit www.fetchacure.com.
June 5 9 AM—Herndon K-9 2K Dog Walk and Doggie Expo at the Herndon Festival ‘10. Walk begins at 9 AM, Doggie Expo from 10AM - Noon. First 100 registrants receive a goodie bag. After the walk, splash around in the Dog Pool Splash Zone and you can visit the Doggie Expo, featuring pet-themed vendors. Bready Park, 814 Ferndale Avenue next to the Herndon Community Center. More information, www.herndonfestival.net. Springfield Days PawFest and Pets on Parade, Springfield Mall, VA. Occurring during the 4-day community celebration of Springfield Days—the PetFest features animal vendors, contests prizes, and a fun animal parade. The entire festival is family friendly and includes a carnival, entertainment, fireworks, art show, and more. More info, www.spring fielddays.com/petfest.html
June 6 6:30 PM—22nd Annual Bark Ball to benefit the Washington Humane Society. Washington’s only black-tie gala for the four-on-the-floor crowd. Guests encouraged to bring a canine as their date! Silent auction, dinner, and dancing at the Washington Hilton 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, DC. Featuring pet readings by animal communicator Diane Roadcap. More info, www.washhumane. org/barkball.asp.
12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs.
June 12 & 13 10 AM—Potomac Celtic Festival— DOG-FRIENDLY! Morven Park Equestrian Center, Leesburg, VA. Music and Celtic dance, juried crafters, living history reenactments, bagpipers, storytelling in the grove, workshops, children’s activities, crafts, food and drink pub tent. Dogs must be current on rabies vaccination and have valid rabies certificate or tag. Dogs must be leashed—no retractable leashes will be permitted. More on festival dog policy: www. potomaccelticfest.org/policies.html.
June 13 9:00 AM—Canine Good Citizen Testing at Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington. The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program is designed to recognize dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. Pre-registration online is recommended. Cost is $20. More info www.furgetmenot.com.
June 24 6:30 – 8:30 PM—Low-Cost Rabies Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. For more information visit www.awla.org or call 703.931.9241.
Saturday, June 26
June 12 9AM-Noon—Charity Dog Wash to benefit Lucky Dog Animal Rescue at Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington. Rain date June 19.
12:30 to 3PM—SPCA of Northern Virginia Dog Adoption Days at Webber’s Pet Supermarket 11021 Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22030, 703.385.3766. Visit www.spcanova.org to see available dogs.
ADOPT YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND!
Exhibition & Super Pet Adoption A Celebration for Pets and Pet Lovers!
Saturday, May 1 10 am - 4 pm
Reston Town Center
On-leash pets of all kinds are welcome! Free General Admission. Rain or Shine.
Beneﬁts: restontowncenter.com | petfiesta.org www.novadogmagazine.com
WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories
A low-key life and a fascisnation with lawn ornaments Adopted from: The Animal Welfare League of Arlington, July 2009
How did he get his name? Shadow was the name given to him by his former owners. He was already four-and-a-half years old when he was released to the shelter, so it didn’t seem right to try and make him learn a new name. Besides, the name suits him. He is black and quiet and always settles nearby when I’m home. He really is like my shadow.
Yo u p i c k e d h i m b e c a u s e . . . I saw Shadow’s photo on the AWLA web site and he immediately touched my heart. He hadn’t been fed very well before being released, so he was very skinny—and, he had a skin condition that caused big patches of his hair to fall out, so the shelter had to shave him. He looked pretty bad. By the time I got there, he had been in the shelter for four months and was beginning to recover. His hair was growing back and he had gained some weight, but he was still a big black chow with chronic ear infections and a funny haircut that no one was adopting. I like to think that he was just waiting for me to find him.
Shadow is five years old and loved by Charlene York of Vienna, VA.
Favorite treat or snack: Snacks are a very important part of our day. Shadow loves all things pork related, but particularly pepperoni and pig ears. Because he is so food motivated, training is a breeze. With enough pepperoni and some modifications to the gas and brake pedals, I think I could teach him to drive my car.
Favorite activity together: Our favorite activity together is our daily walk around the neighborhood. We explore every bush, tree, and mailbox—and patrol for squirrels and suspicious lawn decorations. The Vienna/Oakton community can rest easy because Shadow is single-handedly keeping all of the lawn ornaments in line. He has successfully stalked and cornered every garden gnome, lawn jockey, and gargoyle for a two-mile radius.
Favorite toy: Shadow’s favorite toy is a rubber Kong puzzle ball that can be filled with dog treats. He has spent many happy hours rolling it around the kitchen floor to get the snacks out.
Yo u l o v e h i m b e c a u s e . . . Before finding Shadow, I had lived in my townhouse for more than a year and knew almost none of my neighbors. Now, we know everyone. Because of our daily walks, I’ve seen hundreds of glorious sunrises and sunsets, splashed through puddles in the spring, enjoyed warm sunny days in the summer, crunched through piles of leaves in the fall, and made snow angels this winter. I’ve gotten the chance to experience the seasons in ways that I never would have without him. Some people might think that I did him a favor by adopting him, but really, it is Shadow who has given me a better life. ND
28 Northern Virginia Dog
| Spring 2010
Since 1944, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington has been committed to the humane treatment of animals and to the promotion of animal welfare. The League provides temporary care and refuge for homeless and suffering animals; places animals in loving, responsible homes; provides animal control services to Arlington County; educates the public; and provides a wide variety of community services. Visit them on the Internet at www.awla.org
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