NOVADog Magazine Spring 2019

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novadog Spring 2019



Creating a perfect pet-friendly retreat The outside world can’t be controlled, but our homes can be designed to be a place of rest for you, your family and your pup

Also Inside: Expert Advice: Pet Trusts A Peek Inside of Eriksdotter Art Studio Destination: Williamsburg Hit the Trail: Meditate on Your Dog Walk



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A Dog’s Day Out Where is YOUR dog today?

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PUBLISHER Angela Hazuda Meyers | MANAGING EDITOR Joseph Grammer | PUBLICATIONS MANAGEMENT 2 Hounds Media ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Sabrina Sheth 703.780.4400 DISTRIBUTION MediaPoint 9708 Gunston Cove Road, Lorton, VA 22079

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.

connect with us Visit us on the Web at Winner

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contents Spring 2019

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


12 C reating a perfect petfriendly retreat

The outside world can’t be controlled, but our homes can be designed to be a place of rest for you and your pup By Carina Thornton







Hiking with your dog

8 DESTINATIONS Williamsburg

Reston-based artist Erica Eriksdotter paints portraits of pets and bridal bouquet portraits from many photos and stories clients share with her. Visit the studio on the web at www.

Support local businesses

News, information, and products Advise and information on canine health issues

On the cover:




A glimpse into the lives of Northern Virginia dogs


Adoption success stories

Planning for a Pet Trust


Read Pearl’s adoption success story on page 28.




uilding on the idea of the renewal of Spring, for this issue we brought together ideas for renewing a sense of calm and purpose by assembling an issue dedicated to thoughtful, serene practices, home design, hikes and destinations. In these busy times, it seems we strive to find more relaxed ways to enjoy our downtime. The thoughtful ideas from the contributors make this issue special. Their perspectives and tips provide ways to incorporate our canine companions more fully into our lives and each thought process, and the ideas make it easy to implement, which can sometimes be the stumbling block to accomplishing goals. Over the years science and statistics have described the many ways in which pets, and specifically dogs, improve our lives on a daily basis. They have been documented to contribute to benefits ranging from reducing anxiety, depression and stress, to providing companionship, unconditional love and protection, to improving our health by increasing our activity, aiding in weight loss, increasing heart strength and lowering blood pressure, and improve mobility and indepen-

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dent living. The ideas in this issue provide some easy ways for us to give back to them a little of what they give to us, to improve their lives, create comfortable spaces for them and make them feel even more at home. As the spring season kicks off, so do many area events. Select from the many options we are thankful to have in our area. After a long winter indoors, you are your pets deserve to enjoy some outdoor exercise and enjoyment. The Fur-Get Me Not pet calendar outlines some great activities, and their list of training and fun classes give a variety of enrichment opportunities to your pet. NOVADog will be at most of the areas events this year and we hope we will see you there! Remember to send in your pet photos for the scene, we love seeing your adorable friends. Send your submissions to photos@novadogmagazine. com. You’ll be entered to win a NOVADog T-shirt and prize from A Dog’s Day Out! Angela

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Daily Dog Care: The Daycare Evaluation Process


og daycare seems like the perfect solution for pet parents, especially those with a long work commute. Sending your dog to play all day and picking up a tired dog at the end of a long day sounds like a win/win, right? It can be, but there are several things you need to take into consideration before you commit to a daycare program. You should approach the evaluation process with a number of categories on mind as you evaluate your options. It’s important to consider your dog’s needs, the facility features, staff, process and structure, your needs and your budget during your decision –making process. The below is good list of questions to be considered when choosing a daily pet care routine such as a daycare, daily dog walk or other daily routine for your dog. It is a lot like choosing activities or daycare for human children. Your Dog: Will your dog enjoy and benefit from daycare? Is your dog social; do they enjoy the company of other dogs or would they rather interact with humans? What is their energy level?

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How much exercise do they need? How is their overall health? How much structure do they need? What is their level of obedience? Would a dog walker be a better fit instead? The Facility: If you answer most of these questions and it seems that daycare is a good fit, there are also many questions to review about the daycare itself so select one that is a good fit. A good way to start is by reading their reviews on various social networks. Then evaluate based on these questions as well and how they work for your dog: Do they have outside yards, indoor rooms, or both? If they are inside, how often do they go out for potty breaks? How large are the daycare groups? Do they offer specialized daycare programs? What does a day look like for the dogs? Are there structured activities as well as free play? Do they incorporate obedience? How do they group the dogs? What vaccinations do they require? What organizations do they belong to? What type of training do they require for staff? What are their forms like? What vaccinations do they require? What are their hours/rates? DO they offer pick-up and drop-off service?

Your Needs and Budget: It is also good to do a personal evaluation to determine if you are ready as well. Are you ready to be a daycare pet owner? Are you ready to add the trip to your morning and evening commute? Are you prepared for any injuries that may occur? Are you prepared to hear honest feedback about your dog and their behavior? Daycare can be an expensive addition to your pet care budget, are you prepared for the financial commitment for daycare? Facility Tour: It’s important to tour the facility before making a commitment. When you do your tour, pay attention to the staff. Were they friendly and welcoming when you walked in? Are they open to any questions you may have? Do they know all the dogs in their rooms/yards? If possible a great time to visit is when pet parents are picking up at the end of the day. It is always helpful to ask current clients for honest feedback as part of your process. If you make a thoughtful evaluation and decisions, daycare can be a great addition to your dog’s routine. Choosing the right options and the right facility can be the difference in choosing the right fit for both you and your dog! ND Melissa Monaghan has been general manager at The Dog Eaze Inn for eleven years and is a certified pet First Aid and CPR instructor. She teaches children and pet safety courses and volunteered with the Professional Animal Care Certification Council to help create better safety and education standards in the pet industry.



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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

Colonial Williamsburg is pet-friendly


ogs, cats, horses and oxen have been known to stroll down Colonial Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare, Duke of Gloucester Street, which is known affectionately to locals as “DoG Street.” The idyllic sidewalks, greens and hotels of Colonial Williamsburg offer a perfect experience for both you and your fur-legged friends. Here are a few recommendations on what to do and where to stay while visiting with Fido:

What to Do Trot down “DoG” Street: Described by Colonial Williamsburg guest and dog-lover President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “the

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most historic avenue in all America,” Duke of Gloucester Street runs nearly a mile through the 300-acre Historic Area and has hosted George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. More recently Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth II and Bill Clinton are among the men and women who have strolled the street, and your beloved pup can, too. “Paws” at the Palace Green: The Palace Green is a beautiful, shady place for a brief stop to picnic, lap up some water and squirrel-watch. Meet Liberty: A shaggy mop of wavy fur, Liberty the Briard is Colonial Williamsburg’s official mascot. She is often seen walking the streets with her handler and visiting with guests. Guests with

A shaggy mop of wavy fur, Liberty the Briard is Colonial Williamsburg’s official mascot. She is often seen walking the streets with her handler and visiting with guests. Photos courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

mobile devices can track Liberty in the Historic Area by downloading the free Colonial Williamsburg Explorer app via the Apple App Store and Google Play. Stay at a Colonial Williamsburg hotel. The Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, Griffin Hotel, and the Williamsburg Woodlands offer pet-friendly accommodations based on availability.

Primary Pet Rules • Pets must be on a leash. • Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly. • Pets are welcome in outdoor areas. • Pets are not allowed inside the historic buildings, in the gardens, or on coach & livestock rides. Additional information about Colonial Williamsburg’s policies on pets is available online here: plan/visitor-information More information and tickets are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at www.colonialwilliamsburg. com or by calling 855-296-6627 toll-free. Additional information about pet-friendly accommodations at Colonial Williamsburg hotels is available by visiting or by calling 855-231-7240. Fees and restrictions apply. Additional information is also available by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram. ND The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation preserves, restores and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital of Williamsburg. Innovative and interac-

tive experiences highlight the relevance of the American Revolution to contemporary life and the importance of an informed, active citizenry. The Colonial Williamsburg experience includes more than 400 restored or reconstructed original buildings, renowned museums of decorative arts and folk art, extensive educational outreach programs for students and teachers, lodging, culinary options from historic taverns to casual or elegant dining, the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club featuring 45 holes designed by Robert Trent Jones and his son Rees Jones, a full-service spa and fitness center, pools, retail stores and gardens. Philanthropic support and revenue from admissions, products and hospitality operations sustain Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs and preservation initiatives.


E X P E R T  A D V I C E

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

Planning for a Pet Trust By Charl es Mi cha e l F u l to n


ithout a pet trust, the best case is that a family member will, voluntarily, take care of your pet should you pass away before your pet does. The worst case is that your pet will be taken to a shelter. For this reason, it’s often advised that pet owners have a pet trust in place as part of their estate planning. But how do you get started? Thankfully, estate planning and pet trust Expert Professor Gerry W. Beyer sat down with NOVADog’s local legal expert,

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Charles Michael Fulton, Esq., to provide our readers with the ins and outs of why, how and what to think about when building your own pet trust. Pet trusts generally take one of two forms: a statutory trust or a traditional trust. First, all states have a statute on the books that creates a pet trust without the formalities of a traditional trust. These statutory trusts basically provide default terms to “fill in the gaps,” as Professor Beyer puts it. Professor Beyer

points out that these trusts can be based on language as simple as “I leave $1,000 in trust for the care of my dog, Rover.” Virginia’s pet trust statute, based upon the Uniform Trust Code, is section 64.2-726 of the Code of Virginia. This statute creates a statutory pet trust that 1. terminates upon the death of the last surviving animal specified in the writing—note that the animal(s) specified must be alive when the trust is created; 2. allows trust funds, in addition for care for the animal, to be used for expenses of the trust and for burial of the animal; and 3. allows trust funds to provide reasonable compensation for the caregiver. Additionally, the statute allows the court to appoint a caregiver if no one is appointed, as well as to determine that there is too much money in the trust for the animals, and transfer the excess funds to the person’s heirs. The alternative to the statutory trust, the traditional trust, is likely the better option because the pet owner has more control. In his very helpful article Trust for Pets, Drugs, Lock and Load, Professor Beyer calls the traditional trust “[t]he most predictable and reliable method.” In a traditional pet trust, the pet owner creates a trust for the pet’s caregiver, and then requires a trustee to make distributions from the trust to cover the pet’s expenses. First, pet owners must choose between an inter vivos trust (created and funded before a pet owner dies) and a testamentary trust—Professor Beyer recommends the inter vivos trust, which will protect the pet immediately when the owner dies, and not require delays while the estate is probated like testamentary trusts. Professor Beyer also suggests that pet owners 1. transfer the pet to the trustee, in trust, and instruct the trustee to deliver the pet to the caregiver; 2. identify the pet specifically to avoid fraud; and 3. determine if the trust should compensate the caregiver in some way. One of the most important parts of a pet trust is choosing the caregiver. A caregiver should be willing to take responsibility for the pet, provide the pet with a proper home, and be sophisticated enough to understand the caregiver’s rights and responsibilities under the trust—including how to enforce those rights. The pet owner may name several alternative caregivers or give the trustee the power to choose the caregiver. Professor Beyer warns, however, that the trustee and the caregiver should never be the same person, as this will defeat the point of using a trust to separate the beneficiary from the funds. Finally, there’s the question of how much money to put into a trust fund for a pet. Generally, a pet owner should determine the likely remaining years of life for the pet, and then multiply that number by the average cost of care per year for that kind of pet. This calculator: helps breakdown of the average cost of care per year for different dogs and cats. It’s also important to decide if you want to create a trust that either pays for pet care directly or, alternatively, creates an endowment that produces income that is then used for pet care, with the caveat that a pet trust fund that is too large can

One of the most important parts of a pet trust is choosing the caregiver. A caregiver should be willing to take responsibility for the pet, provide the pet with a proper home, and be sophisticated enough to understand the caregiver’s rights and responsibilities under the trust make other heirs challenge the pet trust, leading to a trust diminished by legal fees. For more information, and for a detailed sample pet trust, I thoroughly recommend Professor Beyer’s article Trust for Pets, Drugs, Lock and Load, which comes from a presentation to the 37th Annual Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium. Professor Beyer suggests pet owners take this article www.professorbeyer. com/Articles/Pets_Marijuana_Weapons.pdf to their estate planning attorney to help them draft a pet trust. ND Professor Gerry W. Beyer of Texas Tech University School of Law is a leading expert on pet trusts, having written numerous articles and given countless talks on the subject. Among other distinctions, Professor Beyer is a member of the Estate Planning Hall of Fame as well as the author the of Examples & Explanations for Wills, Trusts, and Estates (7th ed.). Article is culled from an interview with Professor Gerry W. Beyer and information pulled from his published work on pet trusts, as well. Charles Michael Fulton is an attorney licensed to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia. His areas of practice include animal law, consumer protection law, and landlord/tenant law.


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Creating a perfect pet-friendly retreat The outside world can’t be controlled, but our homes can be designed to be a place of rest for you and your pup By Cari n a T h o rn to n


2016 study by the National Institute of Mental Health estimates about 44.7 million adults suffer from a form of mental illness (including generalized anxiety and panic disorders.) The number represents over 18% of U.S. adults over the age of 18.(1) This isn’t a suggestion that a cozy blanket is a replacement for proper medical treatment but there are some simple joys we can bring into our homes and lives to relieve some of the day-to-day stress... and your dog can help.


place is often sitting at the table; gathering around the fireplace with favorite hounds and humans; enjoying the specialness of the comfort of coming home, sinking into your favorite chair, with your dog at your side. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. University of Missouri-Columbia research has found that simply petting your dog releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin: our “feel good” hormones. Snuggling with your dog also decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Regulating cortisol levels can help control your appetite and reduce carb cravings.(2) Life without carb cravings sounds pretty good indeed! Whether you have a chic DC condo or a sprawling suburban house, don’t feel that your home can’t be stylish, elegant, or put together because of your pet’s needs. With the right materials and considerations your home can be incredibly stylish and full of personality. Pet-friendly décor involves 4 aspects: Functionality, Safety, Comfort, Aesthetics. Let’s get started with a few tips on creating your perfect pet-friendly home.

1. Functionality This quote by William Morris gives great direction for getting started on the front of functionality: “Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” When considering items for your home, ask yourself if it: • Is practical - will it actually do something? • Is useful - will it help you achieve something? • Does it save time, energy, money? • Will it benefit your most valuable resources? When doing Spring cleaning or larger home renovations, consider creating an organized and stylish area near the entrance door that houses leashes, outdoor-wear, baggies, etc. When planning, organizing or redesigning a kitchen or laundry room consider adding storage that specifically meets your pet needs: built-in dog bowls, leash/collar storage, dog food storage, even incorporating an easy to use pet wash station. When doing Spring cleaning or larger home renovations, consider creating an organized and stylish area near the entrance door that houses leashes, outdoor-wear, baggies, etc.

It sometimes feels like a crazy world out there (like “build-ablanket-fort”crazy). From struggling with anxiety or just recovering from a rough day, it can be a challenge to strike balance between participating in life and practicing self-care. The outside world can’t be controlled, but our homes can be designed to be a place of rest and retreat. Home is a place for gathering around the table, where Saturday mornings mean relishing in the comfort of freshly washed sheets with the lingering scent of burning candles, lemon Lysol, and Italian bakery bread in the air. Perhaps, as society becomes noisier and the world seems to shrink as it spins, the happiest

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2. Safety Whether it’s for zoomie hour, new puppies, or your older and special needs pets, your home should have features that keep your pets safe: non-slip area rugs, inaccessibility to toxic products (cleaning products, bath products, foods like chocolate and peanut butter, etc.), and securely locked doors. Speaking of zoomie hour, there’s no reason why you can’t display your favorite knick-knacks and still keep everyone and everything upright. There are a few ways to keep your fragile collections safe. • Curios and cabinets: Consider enclosing Mommom’s favorite Hummel collection behind glass doors where they can still be enjoyed away from swinging tails and curious noses. • Out of reach: Opt to shelving mounted higher than your pets reach, and if they are a jumper, even slightly higher. • Designer Trick: A little 3M double-sided tape on the bottom of

From upholstery to drapes, durable, stain resistant, fade resistant, non-pilling, easy-to-clean fabrics are a must for pet parents. Seek out products that are cozy enough to snuggle in but durable enough to clean regularly or toss in the wash.

lightweight knick-knacks or small plants can help keep items from toppling over in the case of accidental bumps and curious sniffing. Contact 3M or your furniture manufacturer before using on heirloom or painted pieces. For safety and ease underfoot, choose good quality wool rugs – they are naturally stain resistant and repel liquid as do some synthetic materials like nylon and polypropylene. Laminate, stone, or painted concrete are beautiful choices and are easy to clean, but these flooring options can be slippery so add area rugs with non-slip backings.

3. Comfort (textures, lighting, lifestyle) From upholstery to drapes, durable, stain resistant, fade resistant, non-pilling, easy-to-clean fabrics are a must for pet parents. Seek out products that are cozy enough to snuggle in but durable enough to clean regularly or toss in the wash.

Manufacturers such as Crypton and Revolution Fabrics have lines of highly durable, stain resistant, and sustainably manufactured fabrics. Crypton has a fantastic warranty and will replace your fabric if it doesn’t stand up to their extensive list of possible stains. And always opt for Scotchgard or Guardian protection when investing in new furniture. Use lighting to create the type of vibe and atmosphere desired: bright and energetic or soft and calming? There is no need to choose just one, incorporate as many or as few of these lighting types as desired: • Ambient Lighting: This is the light that brightens your entire room either naturally through the windows or via your main overhead light source. • Task Lighting: Task lighting is exactly what it implies, a light over the stove, at the desk area, above the bathroom mirror, or


Book a photo session to take fun, unique, creative photos of your pet and create a dramatic, whimsical collage on one wall in your space or incorporate into your family photo collage.

any place else where focused lighting is needed to complete a task. • Accent Lighting: These cute little fixtures are strategically placed in the dark corners of a room to cast gentle light onto a point of focus. Cable concealers and on-wall cord covers can keep wires out of view and out of the mouths of teething puppies and kittens.

4. Aesthetics (art and accessories that give you “all the feels”)

Whether it’s soaps and perfumes, candles or essential oils, scent has the power to instantly set the mood or spark a favorite memory.

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When it comes to non-essentials like knick-knacks: when cleaning them, ask a few questions: Does it make me feel happy? Am I feeling resentful when I do this? For example, picking up an my grandmother’s ceramic ballerina and caring for her – even though her toes have been cracked for 75 years - makes me feel grateful and nostalgic but picking up the random candle holders on my dining room table make me feel like they are just adding to my workload. Needless to say, my dining room table is now candle-holder free. Use a process like this to determine what stays and what goes. If accenting with area rugs, pillows, or throws, avoid silks and opt instead for viscose which has a similar look and feel but is much more durable. There are gorgeous budget-friendly options that can add that pop of color or texture to any space but that can be tossed without guilt if a major accident occurs.

Using Peace, Zen and Pets in Home Design: The Genesis of Hounds and Hearth. A S to r y b y C a r in a T h r o n t o n


erhaps, I’ve always been an introvert—one who lucked into a happy childhood full of wonderful memories of home. Our house was always warm­—a fireplace ablaze, the oven baking a cake (for birthdays or just because it’s always a good time for cake), the Sunday gravy bubbling on the stove, the dogs at our feet, always at attention for the comings and goings of friends and food. For me, the connection of dog photography and interior design was simple: dogs are awesome... but stress? Not so much. I learned the soothing effects of petting a dog very early in life. I remember one night when I was very young (and still afraid of the dark), our parents had extended family over for dinner. This was a fairly regular occurrence in our little Staten Island home but this time was a little more special. My Nana joined us from eastern Long Island and she brought along her Boston Terrier, Popeye. Popeye was the runt of his litter, ran non-stop laps around the whole of the house, and refused to eat his dinner until Grandpa Giulio added the tiniest splash of Medaglia d’Oro® espresso to his food. It was very rare that Popeye was still. After dessert, as the grown-ups were breaking out the Pinochle deck, my sister and I were sent off to bed. I didn’t want to close my eyes for fear of missing out on the excited conversations that I could still hear coming from the kitchen so I kept my Hollie Hobbie bedside lamp on. As I lay there, the light sud-

response. Dogs know what we need, just like Popeye did that night. And since then, I’ve always turned to our family dogs for comfort and I still look at my home as my haven—the place where I can go to feel secure, recharge, breathe. This early experience fueled my career and now the creation of Hounds and Hearth with a mission to transform homes into havens by offering uniquely designed pet photo sessions with a touch of interior design. Hounds and Hearth creates havens for homebodies by showcasing the awesomeness of dogs because anxiety sucks and dogs don’t. ND denly went out. I was left in pitch darkness with no idea how the light went off. I was terrified. I curled up under piles of blankets with my heart racing. I was so hot but I dared not uncover myself. I started to cry. And that’s when I heard the familiar snorting making its way towards my bed. Popeye poked through my bedroom door and sat next to my bed. I reached my hand out from under the blanket and draped it over him. He was as still and quiet as I’d ever seen him. I sensed his warm body, heard his little snorts, and felt his round belly move up and down with each breath. He licked my hand. I relaxed. I stopped crying and I peeked out. I was safe. Of course I didn’t know it at the time, but over 300 million scent receptors help our dogs detect changes in adrenaline and stress-related hormones like cortisol that trigger our “flight-or-fight”

Visit Hounds and Hearth online at


When talking about “all the feels”, we can’t omit scent. Did you know that childhood memories linked to scent stay with people throughout life? Scent is an important way to indulge in as a thoughtful part of design. Whether it’s soaps and perfumes, candles or essential oils, scent has the power to instantly set the mood or spark a favorite memory. Choose scents that recreate positive memories (mom’s chocolate chip cookies, laying in the grass on a crisp fall day, the scent of the summer blossoms that drifted into your treehouse) or some of the more traditional, calming scents like lavender or jasmine. There are many ways to introduce scents into your home such as with your choice of laundry detergents, shower gels and shampoos, and of course by diffusing essential oils or burning candles (check with your vet before using essential oils and keep them out of reach of pets.) Don’t forget about fresh flowers and herbs as well. Get creative with your own dog! From glass and ceramic sculptures to drawings, paintings, and of course photography, it’s easier than ever to use your own dog in your décor. Purchase or have a printer make wallpaper of your dog or your dog’s breed and add it as an accent wall near their pet station, or in the powder room, or wherever it will bring the most smiles. Book a photo session to take fun, unique, creative photos of your pet and create a dramatic, whimsical collage on one wall in your space or incorporate into your family photo collage. A professional

pet photography session and artwork can be custom designed around your unique home and your special connection with your dog. Pets bring laughter and love into our homes, the make us smile and laugh and bring so much joy into our lives, go ahead and add a little of that same energy into your décor. Use the connection with your dog to create your own special haven. ND Carina Thornton is a self-proclaimed introvert. Rejoicing in creating peaceful home environments as a respite from the fast-paced outside world. She is also a master in pet photography as well as pet-friendly and pet-centric home design.

RESOURCES: • mental-illness.shtml • XLPx2y-ZNdB

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Contact us today or speak with your veterinarian about a referral. 703-242-6000 703-771-2100 540-450-0177

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Getting Social With

Follow us on social media for event updates, and of course lots of pictures!

novadog We asked you to show us your PUPS FAVORITE SNUGGLE SPOT photos!

Mary Ann Walsh: Schooner’s favorite snuggle spot on the sofa : )

Andrea M. Kojan: on the bed next to Grandma Kathy Kiel Tipton: Princess Olivia - atop ALL the pillows - 1 just won’t do

Nancz Ryan: Suzy Sioux snuggles on the loveseat in our sunroom. Kathy Kiel Tipton: On top of your big brother!

Michele Alaine: The couch is good enough for Gracie.

From Donna Bernier - no caption provided

Eric Phillips: Pacer...

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

Artist Erica Eriksdotter works closely with clients and many follow the process via her instagram account.

Of Paint, Personality and Patience with Erica Eriksdotter


t’s such a pleasure to talk with the amazingly talented Erica Eriksdotter. Erica’s last name is Eriksdotter which means “Erik’s daughter” in Swedish. Named after her father, Leif Erik Larsson, he inspired her to dream big and ‘just go for it,’ as he used to say. She is proud to sign every painting with “Eriksdotter” and is honored when customers say they have their own “Eriksdotter” in their home. This personal narrative will

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draw you into her artist’s world and make you instantly pull up Instagram to get a glimpse into her magical studio, to spy on her process. There seems to be paint running through your family’s blood. When did you start painting? I’ve always loved to paint. I’m a self-taught, third generation

painter and I sold my first painting at the age of 10 in Sweden (where I was born and raised). Thirty years later, I pride myself on having customers all over the world, with many trusting me to come back for another pet portrait or bridal bouquet painting (or a fifth!) within a couple of years. Yes, I started to paint early. That first art work I sold was of a delicate landscape with a single red balloon floating in the air that I had painted with my first, and to me magical, watercolor set that I had bought several years earlier. There was never really a starting point with my art, there just was. Painting has always been an essential way of being for me, whether it was finishing watercolor pieces while on the phone with girlfriends in my teens, or working on large acrylic statement pieces to exhibit up and down the East Coast in my 20’s and 30’s. Your unique style combines acrylic and watercolor techniques, how did you develop your style? My pet portraits are made up of many thin layers of acrylic paint. I never enjoyed the thick consistency of acrylic paint— I love painting details and I just couldn’t get the art where I wanted it with acrylics until I realized I could dilute the paint

with lots of water, just like I did with watercolor. That’s when my art shifted for me and my art flowed, without falter, directly from my heart out through my brush. And my style is that and the combination of my two cultures—the clean lines of Scandinavia and the more colorful U.S. I received my first commission after an exhibit in Virginia at 25 of a half-shaped sunflower, which led to my first large triptych statement piece for a living room. Since I’ve exhibited in over thirty national juried art shows in places like Manhattan, Hamptons, Washington, D.C., and became more focused on commission-based work for pet portraits and bridal bouquet paintings nearly a decade ago while climbing the corporate PR ladder. What was your inspiration to begin painting pets? How many pets have you painted over your career? Lola, our rescue cat who persistently came to our patio for weeks until we let her in, made me dare begin painting pets (she’s always with me in the studio and even has her own hashtag on my instagram). I say dare because to me painting eyes is like trying to capture the soul on canvas and that’s a lot of pressure, but hers are so deep and soulful I wanted to try my hands on it. There are many painters who paint pets, but I want to capture


their soul, their personality, their essence. That’s why I love hearing how many are moved to tears when they unwrap their paintings, or see their loved ones open their thoughtful gift. It’s about making that special love you share with your pet last forever with an original painting. I work the same way as the old masters, one brushstroke at a time, without any shortcuts. I truly enjoy painting details and providing a realistic portrait. Each pet portrait takes 40-80 hours over a stretch of a few weeks. I’m closing in on my 100th commission. Each starts with a customer’s desire to want something unique and ends with a painting that has more meaning, backstory, layers of culture, depth and generational mileage than maybe anything else in their home. I work closely with clients and many follow the process via instagram ( I even paint live sometimes. Your paintings beautifully capture the spirit and individual personality of each pet. How are you able to add such personality to your paintings? Do you meet the pets before you paint them or get insight from their owners? I paint pets from many photos and stories clients share with me: high resolution photos taken in daylight for accurate coloring, and a great facial pose. I often laugh and cry from the stories

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I often laugh and cry from the stories they share. Then, I “tap into” my new furry friend likeness and personality. they share. Then, I “tap into” my new furry friend likeness and personality. I study their pet and let his/her character come to me. I often sit in silence and just feel their pet’s spirit; I can feel their pet with me while I’m painting—it’s almost like they assist me in the studio. I truly love every moment I spend with them. The client consults on the background color to compliment and highlight the pet’s fur, and add to their personality or match the home decor. Paintings ship worldwide for free and I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.


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What is a typical day like in your studio? My studio is in my home in Reston, VA where I live with my husband, Casey (another creative), our toddler, newborn, and our cats, Lola and Rasmus, who often keep me company in the studio. If you’d walk into my studio when I’m painting, you’d find me sitting cross-legged on my husband’s old guitar chair with my face about 12 inches from the canvas. You’d see me wearing my, add a little fun to my life, soft pink reading glasses. You’ll see my arm-support attached to my wooden easel to keep my arm steady when I paint those tiny details. You’d see me mix my paint on a palette paper laying on my desk. I clean my brush often and when I shake off the excess water against the mason jar edges it makes a cling-cling noise that I swear will wake up my toddler and newborn if they’re sleeping. I love that clingcling noise though. You’ll see my abandoned cup of tea beside my big monitor filled with photos of the commission I’m working on. There will often be a main photo for the pose, and a couple of other supporting photos to make sure the colors are just right. You’ll hear a slow-simmering Swedish or British dramas keeping me company—think Downton Abbey, Outlander, Pride & Prejudice, Call the Midwife or Endeavor. ND Visit Erica Eriksdotter’s studio on the web at www.studioeriksdotter. com and

Shirlington and Old Town Locations


SHIRLINGTON 3520 S Four Mile Run Drive Arlington, VA 22206

OLD TOWN 133 South Peyton Street Alexandria, VA 22314


• Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

• Behavioral Training

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A State-Of-The-Art Home Away From Home • Day Care & Luxury Boarding • Individual Private Suites • Indoor and Outdoor Roof Top Play

• Air Conditioning and Radiant Heated Floors For Optimal Climate-Control



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

April 27

APRIL April 13 Dog Days Bloom Festival at the Great Country Farm from 10:00 to 4:00 at the Cider Barn by the pond. This adventure for dogs and their people has something for every member of the family. Get advance tickets @ http:// May 26 @ 1:35 PM June 13 @ 7:05 PM September 13 @ 7:05 PM September 28 @ 4:05 PM 2019 Pups in the Park at Nationals Park, 1500 S Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003. Take your pup to the ball game! 100% of the proceeds from your dog ticket benefits the Humane Rescue Alliance. Purchase tickets @ https:// promotions/themes/pups-park.

Meow DC benefiting the Humane Rescue Alliance from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Dock 5, 1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002. Meow DC is the Washington, DC area’s first large-scale event, which will provide cat enthusiasts (and animal lovers alike) an outlet to demonstrate and embrace their love for cats. More @

April 28 The FETCH a Cure 5K, 9:00 am at Camp High Road, 21164 Steptoe Hill Rd, Middleburg, VA 20117. Benefiting the Hannah Hershey Fund. FETCH a Cure strives to give our furry companions more quality time with us following a cancer diagnosis. Register @

April 28 Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Block Party, this dog friendly event will

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be held from 11 AM to 3 PM in Alexandria, VA. Admission is free. A block party to celebrate the announcement of Alexandria Love Your Pet Day featuring 40+ local businesses and 20 non-profits and attracting over 600 attendees with their 100+ dogs. Come meet other members of the pet-loving community while enjoying a variety of food truck fare and children’s entertainment, the whole family is welcomed! More @ events/757271227984695.

M AY May 4 Pet Fiesta!, at Reston Town Center in Reston form 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Admission is free. 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

May 19 Wine, Whiskers and Wags, 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 @ wine.

May 25 - 27 - ViVa! Vienna! - a family and community oriented celebration of Memorial Day and the greater Vienna Community spirit.More at May 25 - Jun 2 - Washington, DC Week for the Animals Celebration at various locations throughout Washington DC Metro Area in Alexandria, VA. More at index.html.





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

June 1 - June 2 - Springfield Days Festival 2019 is a community wide celebration that takes place the weekend after Memorial Day each year in the heart of Springfield,Virginia. More at

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Paws in the Park, 10 A.M.-3 P.M at Prince William Forest Park Pine Grove

Picnic Area, 18170 Park Entrance Road, Triangle VA 22172. This is an educational event to promote responsible pet ownership in national parks. This is a free event for visitors with their paid admission to the park. There are restrooms, and water will be provided for you as well as for dogs. There is no food available on site; please bring your own lunch or snacks.

June 7 12th Annual Pets on Parade. Join FETCH a Cure at the gorgeous Main Street Station in downtown Richmond for our 12th celebration of the Pets on Parade Benefit & Auction! Pets on Parade is one of FETCH a Cure’s signature events, hosting over 300 people and their furry family members. More @ www.

June 7 - June 9 - 38th Annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration, will take place at the Fairfax County Government Center.More at http://celebratefairfax. com. June 8 Walk for the Animals 75th Anniversary Homecoming, Saturdayfrom 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. AWLA invites you to Walk for the Animals and celebrate our 75th anniversary of improving the lives of animals in our community. More at

June 21 Dog Day at La Grange. This dog friendly event will be held from 4-9 PM at The Winery at La Grange in Haymarket, VA. This free, fun event features lots of fun dog-related vendors, wine specials, treats for pups and more! There will also be adoptable pups from a local rescue! Red Dog BBQ will be onsite serving delicious BBQ and there will be live music from Scott Ross from 5:30-8:30 PM.

All Summer Long: Fairfax County Parks Concerts and Movies. Nearly every day during the summer, live music or an outdoor movie is hosted by the Fairfax county Parks Program. A list of events is located here. Nearly all are dogfriendly, but check each individual listed for specific details: https://

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

Learning to Walk Again By Christie Green


rom the hilltop in our Winchester neighborhood, you can see a long, unobstructed stretch of the Blue Ridge Mountains some 20 miles away. That includes the pass where armies crossed into the northern Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War. On walks with Rico, my senior Labrador/Rottweiler mix, I sometimes imagined what that line of armed ants descending into the valley might have looked like. I had plenty of time to think about this as Rico would get embroiled in a narrative of his own. Who peed on this bush today? And this one? Oooh, I wonder who nested here last night! As a certified health coach and the typical busy American adult, I want the most bang for my buck out of these walks—my heart pumping, my leg muscles working, maybe even a little sweat. With his injuries and age, our outings stopped checking off those boxes. As we poked along, my brain ran an endless loop of all the things I needed to do, could be doing, and wished I had time to do. Eventually, I didn’t want to walk him anymore. But how could I deny him when his eyes light up if I walk in the direction of his leash? I had to rethink what boxes I could check off. That’s how walking with Rico became a daily meditation. His slow pace provides time to focus on the physical sensations of moving. His pauses are a timer for practicing observing our surroundings without judgment or commentary. This new approach makes our outings as interesting, if not more so, than

About Your Guide Christie Green is a writer, certified health coach, and intuitive healer based in Winchester, VA. She’s learned the most important lessons in life from her dogs, Rico and Whiskey. They share their insights at


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

anything I had imagined. In fact, walking Rico has become a welcome break. We’re just two friends enjoying our environment together. Now when I go for his leash, we both light up.

Walking Meditation 101 The benefits of walking meditation are for everyone, and you don’t have to fit something else into your busy schedule. So whether your high-octane adventures with your dog are now downshifting as your friend ages, or if you have always enjoyed a leisurely stroll, adding meditation to your walking routine is easy and provides a great many wellness benefits. These tips turn walks into mindful meditation. 1. Put your focus on your feet. Specifically, focus on the outsteps of your soles. From heel to toe, feel each foot’s continuous contact with the ground. Practice maintaining that focus with each step. 2. Feel your breath. There are many ways to use breath to create calm. Here are three simple ones: • Exhale twice as long as you inhale. For example, inhale for a count of four and exhale for eight. • Inhale to almost maximum capacity and hold it while dropping your shoulders and chest; then slowly exhale. • Make a breath pyramid by inhaling for one, exhaling for one; inhaling for two, exhaling for two; and so on. Go up as far as you can, then reverse back down to one. 3. Observe without commentary. Practice allowing your eyes to wash over the view in front of you without your mind adding its two cents worth. Instead of seeing a barren tree, a pretty blue sky, an adorable, little chipmunk … just see. Witness your surrounding’s shapes, colors, smells, and textures without explaining or judging what you see.

Oh, the places you can go

You can practice meditation on any walk from your favorite loop around the neighborhood to the local park. But if you’re up for a day-trip, check out these serene, meditation and dog-friendly places just west of NOVA: • The State Arboretum of Virginia: Offers 172 acres of gorgeous trails. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the grass, too. The park is west via Lee-Jackson Memorial Highway (Route 50), approximately 20 miles west of Middleburg. 60-90 Minutes from NOVA • Sky Meadows State Park: Offers 22 miles of hiking trails through gentle forests, rolling pastures, and mountainside vistas. The park is less than two miles south of Paris, VA., via U.S. Route 50 to Route 17 South; or seven miles north of I-66, Exit 23 on Route 17 North. 45-60 minutes from NOVA • Shenandoah University’s River Campus at Cool Spring: This area was a golf course at one time. Now visitors can enjoy a stunning view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River along a paved trail. Head west on Route 7, approximately 20 miles west of Leesburg. Entrance is on the right just at the bottom of the mountain, before crossing the Shenandoah River. 40-70 Minutes from NOVA

4. Wake up your ears. If a particularly popular bush brings your dog to a standstill, take the opportunity to close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Note things like their direction, if they come from an element of nature or are manmade, or if you react emotionally to them. Don’t judge. Just listen and feel. 5. Find your balance. Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes forward. Without lifting any part of either foot, gently lean your weight forward toward your toes and back onto your heels. Sway slightly to the right and left, really concentrating on what muscles work when

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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you’re misaligned. These are all miniscule movements. Finally, settle into your center, noticing how much easier and relaxed it feels. 6. Grow taller. Shift your weight to one foot, imagining energy extending from your naval down through that leg into the ground and from the naval up through your torso and out of your head into the sky. Let your body relax and expand with this energy. Alternate sides. You can start with both feet on the ground and simply shift, but you can also progress to lifting the unweighted foot off the ground to challenge your balance. Don’t cheat by raising your hip to lift your foot. You can do this standing still or while your dog lumbers along. Don’t try all of these on one walk. Pick one or two each time and focus on them. Soon you’ll look forward to these walking meditations as much as, if not more than, your old ways of walking. ND



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. LUNA loved by Natalie in Alexandria, VA



2. LILA loved by Eliza in Columbia, SC

3. BENJI loved by Daisha in Washington, DC

4. ROKU loved by Alan in Gaithersburg, MD

5. TRIXIE & MAESON loved by Michael & Sharon in Burke, VA


Submit your dog’s photo

on our home-page, and see the slide show of all submitted dog photos at



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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!

Pearl Loved by Laura Hurdle

Adopted: August 2016

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

Adopted from: A Forever Home, Chantilly, VA

Join the pack. Stay informed.

novadog magazine

How did she get her name? Her fur is white with some gray streaks so it looks like fresh water pearls....and she has a sort of “Grandma” look too! Background info:

Pearl came to A Forever Home (AFH) from a rural shelter in Pulaski, Tennessee. A volunteer drove 11 hours each way to bring her here.

We picked her because: Pearl was found with her seven puppies under a shed and was brought to a rural shelter by a neighbor. This shelter partnered with AFH and Pearl was listed as needing a foster. She is a “double merle” and is mostly deaf, has difficulty seeing, and is sensitive to bright lights. When we saw her picture and her sad blue eyes, I thought about how hard it must be to be a young, stray dog, with seven puppies, and also have her other physical challenges too. She needed our help! Little did I know that she would turn out to be one of the smartest and most affectionate dogs I have ever known; I am so lucky. Favorite activity together: Pearl loves tennis balls and will chase them with or without companions. Sometimes she will just bat them herself and then chase them down.

Favorite treat or snack: She loves her “Costco Dental treats.” Favorite toy: Nylabone chew toys—she loves to settle in for “a good chew” on her dog bed. I love her because: Pearl is a wonderful, sweet dog friend. She just wants to be with her people no matter what we are doing! She is a regular Washington Nationals Fan and a great supporter whenever I am practicing my violin. Pearl loves to be petted and to snuggle up on the sofa at the end of a long day. Her ears are one of her best features. They bounce up and down when she walks in the most adorable way! We are so proud of Pearl and her wonderful attitude. She shows us every day how to enjoy life and take things as they come. ND 28 Northern Virginia Dog

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A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation is a non-profit dog rescue group that operates in the Northern Virginia / Washington Metropolitan area., @aforeverhome.