NOVADog Magazine Summer 2012

Page 1


Summer 2012



special report:


Omid’s rescue from the streets of Tehran is an incredible story of faith and healing

Born Survivor Also Inside: Take a Pet Safety Class Banning a Breed: Maryland’s pit bull law Digital Edition Sponsored by: Becky’s Pet Care Inc.

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contents Summer 2012

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



Born Survivor Omid’s rescue from the streets of Tehran is an incredible story of faith and healing. By Juliet Farmer



Banning a Breed Breed discriminatory laws and what Maryland’s Solesky opinion means for Virginia. By Heidi Meinzer



News, information, and products


Omid was rescued from the streets of Iran after he was found at the side of the road; he was likely hit by a car, which left his back legs paralyzed. Through a combined effort involving many people, Omid came to the United States to receive the care he needed.Photo by Bill Owen. To view more of Bill’s work visit

A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs

Advice and information on canine health issues




Feeding our senior dogs

On the cover:



Dog-friendly spaces in Northern Virginia and beyond

14 PETCENTRIC PEOPLE Hanging with DC Metro’s dog-crazy crowd

Literature, arts, and new media

24 CANINE CALENDAR 27 HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy


Adoption success stories

Find a pet service provider—see the directory on page 25.

special report:


Pages 7 & 10


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


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2 Northern Virginia Dog

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PUBLISHER Janelle Welch CONTRIBUTORS Carol Brooks, Eric M. Cryan, D.V.M., Juliet Farmer, Taylor Ham, Sabrina Hicks, Ingrid King, Heidi Meinzer, Elissa Matulis Myers, Bill Owen, Liora Robinson, Carina Thornton ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Angela Meyers, Vice President, Advertising p: 703.887.8387, f: 815.301.8304

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We’re Environmentally Friendly. The pages of NOVADog are printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based inks. Please help us make a difference by recycling your copy or pass this issue along to a fellow dog lover. NOVADog Magazine is committed to creating and fostering an active and supportive community for local dogs and their owners to share, learn, interact, and engage. Our mission is three-fold: • Educate—Provide training and canine health-care tips to help dogs live long and fulfilling lives. • Inspire—Publish insightful stories about local heroes and organizations that are doing good in our community. • Collaborate—Help local animal welfare organizations to save and enrich the lives of homeless and abused animals.

Northern Virginia Dog Magazine © 2012 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 website for more information. Send change of address information to or P.O. Box 30072, Alexandria, VA 22310, 703.850.6963. 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. Visit us on the Web at or scan the QR Code.

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Must Love Dogs: Top 5 Breeds for Landing a Hot Date It’s no secret that taking your dog for a walk is a great way to meet other singles, make a connection, and potentially land a hot date. But what dog breeds give men and women the best chance of getting a “leg up” on the competition in the “dog-eat-dog” world of dating and romance? A new international poll by Klooff, an app for pet lovers, surveyed what goes on in one of the hottest singles scenes—the dog park—and suggests certain breeds best help singles navigate the “ruff” world of dating. The results shed light on what types of dogs men and women should own to attract their next girlfriend, boyfriend, hookup, or soulmate.

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1 German Shepherds 2 Golden Retrievers 3 Labrador Retrievers 4 Huskies 5 French Bulldogs

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4 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

This Do-Rite-using little Dachshund is named Barbie and she has many reasons to be happy. Do-Rite diapers have changed her life in quite an unexpected way. To learn more about this amazing little dog, visit: .


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Merry Christmas in July?

1 Use what you have. You do not need a profes2


sional camera or a huge investment to get great photos of your pet. Your basic point-and-shoot will do the trick! Get out. My favorite spot to photograph pets is outdoors, in natural light. Direct sunlight makes for harsh, unflattering light, so, contrary to belief, try to find a spot in the shade. Once you have found a nice shady spot, make sure the sun is at your back. This will ensure you get those fantastic “catch lights” in the eyes. Get dirty. This is the fun part! Try to get at your pet’s level. You want to see their faces, not just the top of their cute little heads. Bend, kneel, or even roll in the grass! If you have one of those great cameras that allows you to shoot without putting it up to your face, that may help your pet feel more comfortable. Never compromise your pet’s safety. Professional photographers use software to remove leashes from photos. Keep your pet on his leash when in open areas.

4 Grab their attention. 5


© Carina Thornton

It’s never to early to think about Christmas cards. Before you know it, beachballs will be replaced with snow globes—fast enough to make your head spin. Here are six do-it-yourself tips from a local professional:

Keep a dog’s attention with treats and/or squeaky toys but use them sparingly. Avoid the flash. The time of day is what matters most when trying to capture that perfect shot. By not using your flash, you will help eliminate glowing eyes. If you must shoot indoors, find a window where you can place your pet. If there is bright sun coming through the window, a sheer white curtain will help soften the light. Stay relaxed. Have fun, be patient with your pet, and enjoy your time together! ND

Carina Thornton is a photographer specializing in the balance of playfulness and poignancy to provide Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC families with soulful and honest images of their beloved family pets. She holds a degree in commercial photography from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and started Fuzzypants Pet Photography in 2010. Carina also volunteers her time to various animal rescue groups to provide no-cost photography for adoptable animals. Visit her online at

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6 Northern Virginia Dog

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irgiNia M NV a






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H E A L T H  W I S E

special report:

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


The Health Challenges of an Aging Dog By Eri c M . C r y a n , D .V.M .


s we drove down Burke Centre Parkway in our mobile hospital, affectionately called the vetmobile by our staff, the familiar neighborhoods I grew up in greeted me with each passing turn. We were heading to our next appointment to examine a 10-year-old chocolate Lab named Milo. Milo was due for his annual checkup and rabies vaccine, and his owner also mentioned he was moving a bit slower than usual.

Milo’s Exam

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My technician and I pulled in the driveway and were greeted by a stiff moving but very energetic Milo, who wagged his tail vigorously as we approached. We examined Milo in the comfort of his home and then addressed the questions and concerns of Milo’s owner while discussing the physical examination findings. Milo’s heart and lungs sounded completely normal and healthy, which was great news for a large, 10-year-old dog. I explained, however, that Milo did have evidence of moderate dental disease. In addition, Milo’s hind legs had decreased range of motion, and there was evidence of some muscle atrophy. Finally, Milo’s eyes had begun to look cloudy, a common change called lenticular sclerosis, which does not necessarily result in the same negative prognosis as cataracts. Continuted, next page


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Have a veterito muscle wasting from lack of use in the hind legs, and “Overall, Milo is looking good, but he is starting to soreness in the front from overuse. show some changes consistent with his age,” I began. narian examine “Makes sense doc, I never really considered Milo old, “What do you mean his age?” the owner quesany new lumps but he was born in 2002. What else do you recommend tioned, “Milo is not old, is he? I had a Mini-Poodle that or bumps as for him?“ lived to 19!” they develop, I offered Milo’s dad the option of taking him out to I explained to the owner that Milo, being a Lab mix, especially if my mobile hospital for a digital x-ray to get an immeditends to age a little quicker than smaller dogs. Take for they grow ate look at his hips, but, in relatively mild cases like this, instance his eyes. You can tell a human’s eyes are startI will typically treat the condition with some simple and quickly or ing to deteriorate when one must hold books further inexpensive medications to see if that can improve the away to read. In Milo’s case, like many dogs older than change in size situation. Together, the client and I decided to try these age seven, his eyes are getting a little cloudy, which can or consistency. first. I then proceeded to discuss our senior wellness check decrease his visual acuity. and our recommendations for dogs as they age, which “You mean he has cataracts?” includes the following: “No, I can still see through his lens,” I explained. “It is just somewhat cloudy as the proteins in the lens break down over n Annual Senior Blood Work on all dogs and cats older than seven. time. Humans with a similar condition describe it as like looking into a This includes a CBC (complete blood count to check for infections frosted pane of glass. In addition to his eye condition, Milo’s teeth have and anemia), a chemistry (checks electrolytes, liver, and kidney values) moderate dental disease, and his hips may be bothering him as a result and a thyroid level (often low in older dogs and often high in cats). of arthritis.” n Keep your dogs and cats fit and trim to prevent excess stress on their “Yes, now that you mention it, he does have more trouble getting in joints and decrease the risk of diabetes, allergies, and other obesitythe car and going up the stairs. That’s why I called you guys. He hates the related diseases. car ride now,” the owner commented. n Continue to test for heartworm disease and consistently give flea, That comment does not surprise me; a lot of my clients’ bigger dogs tick, and heartworm preventative monthly. (Especially this year after can become “front wheel drive” dogs if their hips or knees are bothersuch a mild winter!) ing them as they age. They pull themselves around with their front legs n Maintain good dental health with at-home care and periodic dental because their back legs are bothering them. This, unfortunately, can lead prophylaxis.

8 Northern Virginia Dog

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n Have a veterinarian examine any new lumps or bumps as they de-

velop, especially if they grow quickly or change in size or consistency. n Consider supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin and fish oil supplements with Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which help maintain joint structure and function. n Talk with your doctor about medications such as nonsteriodal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s), pain medications, or other treatment modalities to help with osteoarthritis and to prevent muscle atrophy. Milo’s dad thanked me for explaining our concerns, and we elected to check his labwork, which came back well within normal limits. A few weeks later, we cleaned Milo’s teeth and started him on some medications to help with his arthritis. Then we got the call we love to hear, “Doc, you would not believe how active Milo is. He is running around like he did years ago!“ I thanked him for the call and told him to keep us apprised of how Milo was doing as we headed to our next call in Fairfax. ND Eric Cryan, D.V.M., is the chief veterinarian at NoVa Mobile Vet, the new state-of-the-art mobile practice he started last year. He grew up in Burke and received his veterinarian degree from the VMRCVM at Virginia Tech. Dr. Cryan currently lives in Springfield with his wife, Alicia, their two children, two cats, and a dog named Bliss. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach Dr. Cryan at drcryan@ or call 1.866.946.PETS (7387).

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Feeding Our Senior Dogs B y L i o ra R o b i ns o n

special report:


“My black Lab, Bella, is starting to noticeably slow down. She is turning 10 this year (we her from the pound, so that was the estimate when we adopted her many years ago), and I’ve noticed that certain foods that never bothered her before are causing gas and stomach upset. What sort of diet recommendations do you suggest for a senior mid-size dog?” QUESTION

Liora Robinson is a co-owner of Whole Pet Central, which specializes in healthy, allnatural food, treats, and supplements for dogs, cats, and small mammals. She’s been in the pet care business for more than 15 years, focusing primarily on animal nutrition. She is dedicated to helping pet parents understand the best nutrition for their pets. Whole Pet Central has locations in Rockville, Ashburn, and Herndon and can be found on the Web at www.

As our dogs get older, we often notice ANSWER changes in their behavior and habits. It’s common that foods and treats used throughout a dog’s life can cause unusual reactions as they age and their needs change. Some dogs will go all their lives eating the same food, and then at some point, just stop eating it or simply not do as well on it as before. After ruling out any possible health problems, there could be many reasons for your dog’s reaction:

n Ingredients might be different because of new suppliers. n Changes in manufacturing plants may slightly alter formulas. n Overexposure to similar ingredients may result in intolerances or food allergies. n Your pet may simply become bored with the food.

n Pet foods can change over time.

Look at your senior dog’s activity level. If your dog is over seven but still runs and plays like a younger dog, do not rush into a “senior” diet. Most commercial

n Companies get purchased by other companies. n New research may influence formula changes.

10 Northern Virginia Dog

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What to watch out for:

senior foods are very low in protein, averaging about 18 to the low-20s percent. Most healthy, active dogs, regardless of age, still need at least 24 percent protein to maintain muscle mass. If your older dog has slowed down and is gaining weight, I suggest looking for a low calorie food versus a low protein and low fat food. Foods that are too low in protein and fat often leave our pets feeling hungry, and that may result in the consumption of inappropriate things (socks, dirt, and everyone’s favorite…poop).

Consider digestibility. Some pet foods contain ingredients that are very difficult to digest. As our pets age, they find it more difficult to process foods efficiently. Switching to a less processed food can result in improved utilization of the food and less strain on the digestive system. Gas and flatulence are a result of undigested food fermenting in the colon. Foods with better digestibility usually resolve those issues. The use of probiotics also aids in the digestion process and can help relieve gas, burping, and flatulence.

Be aware of common senior pet issues. Kidney disease is the most common concern. Depending on several factors, including your veterinarian’s recommendation, we encourage pet parents to consider alternatives to dry food. Pets with kidney issues desperately need hydration. Exclusively feeding your pets dry food robs their organs of vital moisture that cannot be replaced with water alone. Canned, dehydrated, and some freeze-dried options (that you rehydrate) make much more sense than super-processed kibble. Acknowledge that with age comes change. I’d love to speak to Bella’s parents to discuss her individual situation and the specific needs Bella is presenting. Every dog is an individual, and it’s important to remember that there is no one perfect food. It is impossible to duplicate the natural diet intended for our dogs, so keeping an open mind to alternative feeding styles is very important in satisfying the needs of our aging puppies. ND

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Learning Pet First Aid—Save Your Dog’s Life Hands-on classes transform pet parents into first reponders


By Taylor H a m

If you’ve “ never imagined

yourself as the hero type, fear not—the classes are designed for people with a wide range of skill level and


—Ines de Pablo, founder of Wag’N Enterprises

12 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

ducational travel and learning vacations are all the rage these days, as people launch new careers or simply want to expand their horizons. But you don’t have to travel far this summer to learn something new. Thanks to the work of a couple of local businesses, you can gain the skills you need to be certified in pet first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) right here in your own community—a community that Terry Haas, founder of Loyalty Pet Care in Arlington, says she wants to see become “the most pet-friendly, responsible, caring, and safety conscious community of urban pet guardians.” Haas is achieving that mission through Safety Furst, a division of Loyalty that offers hands-on pet first aid classes designed to give participants the skills they need to transform from pet parents into pet first responders. Haas teaches classes for fellow pet professionals as well as pet parents who want to learn more about ensuring the health and safety of the animals they care for. If you’ve never imagined yourself as the hero type, fear not—the classes are designed for people with a wide range of skill level and experience. “Each and every one of us can make a difference in an animal’s life during an emergency situation,” says Ines de Pablo, founder of Wag’N

Enterprises. De Pablo, like Haas, is a certified pet tech instructor and offers pet first aid workshops to the general public as well as to professional first responders. “Our goal is to empower pet owners to learn the skills necessary to save lives should a crisis occur,” she says. Pet TechTM is the work of Thom Somes, often referred to as “The Pet Safety Guy,” who was first trained as an underwater rescuer and emergency ambulance technician before becoming a human first-aid instructor. Questions from his students about how they could translate first responder skills to their pets prompted Somes to develop Pet Tech. Pet Tech is now an international training center dedicated to teaching pet CPR, first aid, and care to pet owners and pet professionals, as well as to training instructors in the Pet Tech method.

What You’ll Learn Pet Tech’s PetSaver Program is a comprehensive, day-long course that covers everything from taking vital signs, to building a first aid kid, to identifying situations requiring veterinary care and handling emergencies. Skills are taught hands-on with the help of both stuffed animals and real dogs, and include the following: n restraining and muzzling n assessing emergency situations

n rescue breathing n CPR n chocking management n snout-to-tail wellness assessment n assessing vital signs n insect bites, stings and snakebites n heat and cold injuries n seizure management n caring for your senior pet n dental care.

Small class sizes ensure that you will get personalized attention and plenty of time to practice what you’ve learned. At the end of the day, you’ll leave with a certification in pet first-aid and CPR that is good for two years, access to the new Pet Tech PetSaver Smartphone App, and, best of all, the opportunity to refresh your skills for free at any public Pet Tech class in the future.

Find a Class Pet Tech classes are designed to bring out the hero in all of us. After taking one of these classes, you’ll not only know a lot more about maintaining the health and vitality of your own pet, but also you’ll be transformed into that person at the dog park who is calm, collected, and knows exactly what to do when the worst happens—and that’s something to bark about! Classes range in price from $60 to $120 with all materials included, depending on the length of class you select. n Safety Furst—A Division of

Loyalty Pet Care

Loyalty’s Pet Tech classes are generously hosted by Dogma Bakery at 2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive in Arlington, VA. View the schedule and register online at www. n Wag’N Enterprises, LLC

Wag’N Enterprises offers a variety of Pet First Aid workshops at its headquarters: 483 Carlisle Drive, Suite B, Herndon, VA. Learn more at

When You’re Not Home Leaving your four-legged child at home is hard enough. Have some peace of mind by asking your pet-care provider if its staff are trained in pet first aid and ready to act in the case of a medical emergency. Here are some Northern Virginia businesses—and NOVADog Magazine advertisers in this issue—that offer pet safety training for their employees or independent contractors:* * Based on a recent poll of advertisers in this issue.

n All Friends Pet Care, Co-owner is a certified Pet Tech instructor, and offers in-house pet safety training to the team. n Amanda’s Pet Care, Amanda is certified in pet first aid by the American Red Cross. n Barkley Square/Karing By Kristina, Karing By Kristina offers and requires pet safety training to all staff. n Becky’s Pet Care, Inc., Becky’s Pet Care has been offering free Pet Tech pet first aid and CPR workshops to its staff since 2010. n Dogtopia, Dogtopia requires all shift leaders, assistant store managers and store managers be certified in pet first aid, as well as every franchise owner. Recently, upper management was certified as Pet Tech instructors so that they can offer this certification in-house to ensure that all safety procedures are in place. n Kissable Canine, All trainers are pet first aid certified with the American Red Cross. n Loyalty Pet Care, Every employee at Loyalty is Pet Tech PetSaver pet first aid and CPR certified and ready to act in the case of a life-threatening emergency. n Olde Towne Pet Resort, The company trains all staff for pet first aid certification and CPR through Wag’N Enterprises, hires staff with veterinary or related experience, and provides continuing training on a regular basis. n Rover N Out, Staff receives formal pet first aid training and also undergoes pet first aid certification through Red Cross before graduating from the probationary period. n Time for a Walk, LLC, Owner Christina Keough is a certified Pet Tech instructor and ensures all of her pet sitting and dog walking employees are meticulously trained and ready to act in an emergency. n The Dog Eaze Inn, Management personnel are trained to handle emergency situations by the Red Cross pet first aid class and certified in pet CPR. n Very Important Pets, Staff are trained in pet first aid and CPR through a Pet Tech training course.

Dog Training & Behavior Modification

703-574-3383 Sign up for a creative learning workshop! n Artful Dog-rrr— Color outside the lines in this fun art class for canines! n The Nose Knows— Focus on your dog’s keenest sense: smell. n K.I.S.S. Bad Habits Goodbye—Present your dog’s problem behavior. n Canine Mediation and Healing—Learn meditation and healing techniques to practice with your dog. n Urban Herding 101—Teach your dog this new sport, herding for the dog not on a farm! To register for workshops visit the KissAble Canine website:

Happy Dogs. Happy Homes. —KissAble Canine Voted Best Trainer two years in a row! Northern Virginia Magazine

Taylor Ham is a freelance writer from Ithaca, NY. She currently lives in Alexandria with her husband Stephen and two dogs, Samson and TJ.

Editor’s note: Dogs are not usually invited to safety classes, so, this time, you’ll have to leave yours at home.

Serving the Washington, DC Metro area



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t all started when I bought a $24 barrette for my female Yorkie, Gabi. The barrette broke on the first day, so I went out and bought a glue gun to fix it,” says Syndee Cooper, owner of the upscale Uptown Pet Bistro and Boutique located in Fairfax. What began as a practical fix has turned into the realization of a life-long dream: running a stylish (à la Paris, Rome, London) shop of wonderful clothes and accessories for pets. Of course when Cooper, as a little girl, dreamt of running her own couture boutique, she envisioned her clients as petite, fashion conscious women. In her reality, Cooper caters to the luxury tastes of little dogs (and big dogs) and their owners—offering unique dresses, crystal necklaces, embroidered collars, fancy treats, healthy food— and, yes, barrettes and bows for little topknots and ponytails.

A Fantasy Land for Pets The store, on Market Commons Drive in the Fair Lakes shopping area is a fantasy land. The walls are beautifully adorned with hand-painted murals of Labradors and Golden Retrievers, a Jack Russell Terrier leaping in the air, irresistible mutts, Great Danes and German Shepherds, and, of course, lots of Yorkies and other little dogs. The dog paintings are placed among lifelike flowering trees, under fluffy clouds.

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14 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

Syndee Cooper and her Yorkie, Nykee, in the store.

Favorite dog movie? Lady and the Tramp—Disney’s elegant little Cocker would love the Uptown Bistro and Boutique! Dog of her own? Three very well dressed and adorned Yorkies— Nykee, Mykee, and “my toothless wonder,” Gabi. “Gabi ate food that destroyed her teeth. Now I know better,” says Cooper. And she has two cats—Sebastian and Spencer. Advice for other petcentric careerists? Be different and follow your own heart. You have to find your own niche. Favorite Product? There are so many, it’s hard to say. I love the choke free harnesses and the pretty embroidered velvet and satin lined collars. Special events? We just had a wonderful formal portrait day, and we are planning a fashion show. “The front window of the store changes monthly and is themed. This month’s theme is ‘June Bugs,’” says Cooper.


Read the review on page 22

The adventures of a well-traveled airline pilot and a year in the life of his adopted shelter dog, Oliver. Get Your Copy Today: Available on Amazon, Kindle (free reading apps or iPad, smartphones, etc, at Kindle Store), or The Virginia Shop 104 S. Union Street, Alexandria, VA. “From beginning to end, this book is full of love, understanding and patience; but the greatest of these is love. Oliver is so much more than a dog!”

There’s a cat section too, with big eyed cats and paraphernalia that will keep your feline amused and in style. Cooper grew up an only child in Philadelphia, and she was born loving animals. “I was always bringing home turtles or other creatures that I found, but I desperately wanted a dog. My mother was afraid of them and wouldn’t let me have one, but, finally, when I was 12 she relented and I got a Chihuahua. It was funny; at first my Mom wouldn’t have anything to do with him, but one day something frightened him, and he jumped into her lap, and they became inseparable. I had my dog, but he was her dog too.” The boutique is not Cooper’s first foray into sales. Trained as a medical technician, she went into medical sales and became a national sales manager, and then beauty supply sales, building million dollar territories. “I learned that the secret to successful sales is building relationships, respecting other people, and letting them know that you genuinely appreciate their business. Customers need to know that you are honest and that you really care about them. I don’t need a ‘return policy,’ – if a customer is unhappy with something I sold, or if it doesn’t work for them, they can bring it back. Period. They don’t even need a receipt since I keep a computer record of what they bought. I want to be the ‘Nordstrom’ of the little stores – delivering great customer service.”


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Good Will Rewarded “I believe,” says Cooper, “that if you throw good will out there, good things come back to you.” And it looks like that philosophy is working for her. There are a range of friends —human and canine —that drop into the shop regularly to see what’s new. One, a chocolate Lab, wandered in and walked around one morning, politely and carefully inspecting the neat and colorful packages of Bistro Bites and considering carefully the just-for-dogs Redskin sweatshirts and Redskinette dresses. By the time his owner showed up to say “hello,” he was gratefully swallowing the last of a treat from Cooper. Cooper has put her medical background to good use studying and learning about dog nutrition and healthy eating. Beyond the “just great five-star dog food” she sells, she offers a variety of products addressing specific medical issues that dogs experience —dry itchy skin, joint discomfort, allergies. “I work with my customers to make sure that what they buy helps with whatever problem they are addressing—and I learn more about what works and what doesn’t from them,” she says. Cooper’s products are unique: she sells one-of-a-kind handmade dresses, cute play clothes, and even an authentic antique army outfit complete with three gold stars and a medal. Buyers can select from Swarovski crystal necklaces or necklaces created from unusual exotic stones and jewels, which Cooper makes by hand. “The doggie jewelry is sturdy enough to withstand a little rough and tumble play, but has a break-away feature to prevent choking.” When asked what the future holds for expansion of the business, Cooper says, “I just turned 61, and I am happy with one store. My plan is to be the best little store and have the best customer service! Life is good. Plus, I have the best boss I have ever had!” ND

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Elissa Myers is a writer in Northern Virginia. She lives in Springfield with her tireless black Lab Indi and writes a daily column for the on-line Examiner.



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16 Northern Virginia Dog

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ast year, when a couple spotted a dog dragging himself down the side of a quiet road in Jajrood, they stopped to give him something to eat. The dog showed no interest in food, and, concerned for his wellbeing, they took him to a clinic in Tehran for a checkup and some X-rays. After the exam, the veterinarian said the dog didn’t have feeling in its back legs, possibly due to a spinal injury. They were referred to VAFA Animal Shelter in Hashtgerd, and the couple made arrangements to have the dog taken there. The volunteers at VAFA looked in to finding the dog a sponsor and a temporary foster home. A VAFA supporter residing in Paris offered to sponsor the dog by paying for the expense of his transportation, and her generosity was rewarded with a special task— naming the dog. She decided to name him Omid, which means hope or faith in Persian. Once funding was secured, VAFA reached out to its network in the United States and quickly received a few offers to host Omid stateside. Next, the search began for a volunteer traveler to escort Omid to

Washington, DC. This is one of the services provided by Sara Trab Nielsen’s Street Dogs International: instant assistance with the transfer of dogs, whether financial or simply a human travel companion. Nielsen offered to reach out to her network (as an employee of World Bank, her network is extensive and international). Nielsen’s former college roommate, Neda Biyabani, happened to be in Tehran at the time, and she offered to be Omid’s companion back to the United States. Before Omid flew, he had to get a vet health


Above (L to R): Sara Nielsen, Michael Bailey, Omid, Banafshé Alavi-Alipour, and Babak Alipour.

By Juliet Farmer Photography by Bill Owen. To view more of Bill’s work or to schedule an appointment for pet photos, visit


Related LInks VAFA Animal Shelter: Street Dogs International: Omid walking for the first time with his wheels:

certificate, microchip, and rabies vaccinations. Then, he was on his way to America, where he was initially fostered by Nielsen and Michael Bailey of Street Dogs International. Once on U.S. soil, Omid was assessed by more veterinarians. “Like any street dog, his skin was dry and his fur was rough; he was skinny and needed to gain weight,” recalls Nielsen. “In addition, he had some big sores on his knees, tail, and feet from dragging them after himself.” Less than a week after his arrival in the United States, John Leotta, whose dog Buddy had recently passed, donated his dog cart to Omid. Although he was five hours away, Leotta drove to Omid to help fit the cart.

Taking It In Stride Finally, Omid headed to his forever home with his foster-to-adopt parents Banafshé Alavi-Alipour and Babak Alipour. They say Omid has adjusted surprisingly well, taking each transition in stride. The Alipours walk Omid, and he also goes to weekly swim/massage and Rikki therapy at Gunny’s Rainbow in Bethesda. “Most dogs do not ever have a chance to be adopted in Iran,” explains Farah Ravon, U.S. representative of VAFA Animal Shelter. “The country recently considered banning pet ownership, and, culturally, people of Iran have no interest in street dogs.” According to Nielsen, in Iran dogs run free in the street, un-neutered/ spayed, with no vaccinations, and some become rabid, some aggressive, all of which fuels what she calls “an evil cycle of looking at dogs as dirt and only using them for protection.” She adds, “One of the goals of Street Dogs is raising awareness of responsible dog ownership and keeping a healthy dog population internationally by working with local rescue groups here and abroad.” That Omid won the NOVADog Magazine cover contest (he got a whopping 1,653 votes!) is no surprise to Nielsen, who says she entered him in the contest to show the world that a paralyzed dog or dog with disabilities is still a good dog and can be an excellent pet. “He deserves it—he fought for his life,” she notes. Omid teaches lessons daily. Among them, says Ravon, “Even during the hardest times, and under the toughest circumstances, one should never lose hope. We faced so many hurdles during the process of getting Omid out of Iran, but he finally made it out, against all odds.” “Omid’s an inspiration,” concludes Alavi-Alipour. “No matter what his disability is and no matter what he has gone through, he’s so happy to be alive and appreciative for the love he’s getting.” ND Juliet Farmer has contributed pet-related stories to numerous publications and websites. She and her husband live in Sacramento, CA, with their retired racing Greyhound and two cats.

18 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

Banning a



Tracey v. Solesky. Dorothy Tracey, a woman in her late 80s, rented a duplex to Thomas O’Halloran and Erin Cesky, with the original lease allowing for an “American Bulldog Terrier” on the premises. When Tracey inspected her property after the initial lease term expired, she saw a male and a female dog in a 5’x5’x4’ chain-link pen with no cover. Other than the pen, the backyard was not enclosed. She renewed her tenants’ lease, this time allowing on the premises “two pit bull dogs.” The lease stipulated that O’Halloran and Cesky would be fully responsible for any harm caused by the dogs and that Tracey would in no way be responsible for the dogs’ actions. Three months after the new lease was signed, 10-year-old Dominic Solesky was playing with three friends in the alley behind Tracey’s property. While they were playing, the male dog escaped its pen and bit Dominic’s friend Scotty. O’Halloran placed the dog back in the pen. When Dominic went to pick up Scotty’s toy gun that was lying in the alley, he saw the male dog climbing on the female dog’s back trying to escape the pen a second time. Dominic ran away, but the male dog escaped, caught up to him, and pulled him to the ground. The dog dragged Dominic and bit his face, arm, and leg. O’Halloran was able to pull the dog off the boy. As a result of the attack, Dominic was hospitalized for two-and-a-half weeks at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he

was treated for injuries to his face, arm, nose, chest, and a torn femoral artery, which required extensive surgery and physical therapy. Dominic’s parents sued O’Halloran, Cesky, and Tracey. O’Halloran and Cesky dropped out of the suit when they filed for bankruptcy, and the claims against them were discharged. The claims against Tracey, however, went to jury trial. At the close of the evidence, the trial court ruled the case would not be submitted to the jury because there wasn’t enough evidence Tracey knew of the dog’s vicious nature or retained enough control over her tenants’ use of the premises. The Soleskys appealed. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, concluding that the Soleskys presented enough evidence and the case should have gone to the jury. The case was appealed again to the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court. Going further than the Court of Special Appeals, the Court of Appeals amended the long-standing “one free bite” law requiring owners and landlords to have previous knowledge of a dog’s aggressiveness before they could be liable in a dog bite case. The court decided that when an attack involves a pit bull or a pit bull mix, a defendant no longer gets “one free bite.” Instead, once a plaintiff proves the dog involved is a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix,” the plaintiff no longer has to prove the dog’s owner or a landlord

knows that the particular dog is aggressive or has vicious tendencies because all pit bulls and pit bull mixes are “inherently dangerous.”

Problems With the Case. As they say, bad facts make bad laws. The Solesky opinion is bad law for many reasons. First, the Court of Appeals concluded pit bulls and pit bull mixes are “inherently dangerous” by relying on previous cases and outdated statistics that were not presented as evidence to the trial court. Second, the court gave no direction whatsoever regarding what defines a “pit bull” or “pit bull mix.” There is no “pit bull” breed and the court gave no direction on how much of a mix would trigger such liability. Visual breed identification is incredibly unreliable, causing rescues and shelters to understandably place disclaimers on their websites about their dogs’ breeds. Third, this is hardly a situation where bright-line rules are the answer. Laws aimed at the specific behavior of a specific dog are much better solutions to address dog bite cases. Just like breed discriminatory legislation, the court’s opinion has the dual problem of being both over-inclusive—by sweeping up temperamentally sound pit bulls and mixes—and underinclusive—by failing to address dogs of other breeds who are dangerous. Here’s a prime example of


ness: Melody, an adorable and well-behaved one-year-old white pit bull with a brown patch on her eye, was adopted during the holiday season by a family who fell in love with her. But Melody’s family rents, and when their lease expired around the time the opinion was released, their landlord refused to renew the lease if Melody stayed. Although a group managing a Facebook page named Maryland’s Displaced Dogs succeeded in finding Melody a new foster home, many more dogs likely won’t be as lucky as Melody. A sad example of how Solesky is underinclusive happened in Culpeper, VA, only one week after the court released its opinion: a Jack Russell Terrier mauled a 20-day-old baby as he lay in his bassinet. The baby was treated at Innova Fairfax Hospital for injuries resulting from more than 30 bites. Nothing in the court’s opinion explains why Melody can be considered “inherently dangerous,” while the Jack Russell terrier is not. On the problems of over- and under-inclusiveness, a fair question many are asking is this: “What breed is next?” Breeds like German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers have had their day as the dangerous dog de jour, and the court’s opinion mentions Rottweilers more than once. In jurisdictions with pit bull bans, other breeds—such as Presa Canarios and Dogo Argentinos—are taking the pit bulls’ place.

Breed Discriminatory Laws (BDL) and Pit Bull Bans. Breed discriminatory laws are nothing new, and pit bull bans have been passed in countless localities throughout the United States, including in Prince George’s County, MD. In 1989, Denver passed a pit bull ban, which the city has tenaciously guarded since inception. When the Colorado state legislature outlawed breed discriminatory legislation in 2004, Denver challenged the law and succeeded in keeping its pit bull ban intact as a “home rule” exception. But the winds are constantly changing for breed discriminatory laws. For instance, Ohio became the only jurisdiction with a statewide pit bull ban when it passed a law in 1987

20 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

Jurisdictions should pass laws geared towards owner responsibility, including laws requiring leashes and laws prohibiting leaving pets unattended for extended periods of time. categorizing all pit bulls as “vicious.” Just this year, however, Ohio voted to get rid of its statewide ban on pit bull ownership. Likewise, Miami-Dade County, FL, is considering to repeal its 23-year-old pit bull ban. When it recently revised the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the definition of “service animals,” the Department of Justice added strong language against breed discrimination, stating the ADA would not bow to local or state breed bans.

BDL and Breed Bans Don’t Work. The most powerful criticism of BDL and breed bans is that they have not been shown to reduce the number of dog bites. The ASPCA ( points to the following specific examples: n Despite a pit bull ban in Toledo and throughout Ohio, dog bite claims spiked in Lucas County. n In New York City, dog bites have declined, despite the fact it has no breed ban. n The Netherlands got rid of its 15-year-old BDL in 2008 because it did not result in a decline in dog bites. Many factors other than breed contribute to dog bites. Factors that weigh heavily in dog bite cases include a dog that is chained or tethered, whether the dog is intact or neutered, and whether the owner or handler provides sufficient supervision, particularly in incidents involving children. Liability laws should focus on the particular behavior of a particular dog. In addition, jurisdictions should pass a host of laws geared towards owner responsibility, including laws requiring leashes and laws prohibiting tethering animals, leaving them unattended for extended periods of time, and allowing them to run at large. Considerable efforts should be expended to encourage spaying and neutering of companion animals and to promote safety and adequate supervision of children and dogs.

Maryland’s Response to the Court Opinion. On May 15, 2012, a crowd gathered in Annapolis to express discontent with the court’s opinion. People opposed to the opinion and BDL point to a variety of concerns, including the fundamental unfairness to responsible families with well-behaved dogs. pit bull surrenders to shelters and rescues have already begun and will undoubtedly surge. Many Maryland shelters and rescues initially halted pit bull adoptions after the opinion but have resumed adoptions with some caveats, including added language in adoption contracts and policies against adopting a pit bull to renters. Shelters and rescues will need not only to combat the issue of what to do with so many pit bulls but also will incur added expenses as their populations swell. Another realistic consequence is insurance companies writing pit bulls out of home owner and rental insurance policies, which will ironically result in removing a source of compensation for dog bite victims. Dog owners who stand up for their dogs and landlords who attempt to oust tenants who refuse to give up their beloved family pets will incur substantial litigation costs fighting in court over whether the dog really is a pit bull or pit bull mix. Landlords in Maryland will undoubtedly refuse to rent to pit bull owners and may even choose to refuse to rent to anyone who owns a dog. At study commissioned by Best Friends Animal Society shows this would be detrimental to landlords. Landlords who rent to pet owners typically get more rental applications, can charge higher rent, have renters who stay considerably longer, and pay less in advertising costs. The landlords who lease to pet owners are not the only ones to benefit: these perks amount to higher state and local business tax, income tax, and property tax revenues. Perhaps realizing those unintended conse-

quences of the opinion, the Maryland General Assembly immediately proposed four bills to reverse the effects of the opinion. On May 31, the General Assembly formed a task force to further study legislation in the wake of the opinion. A bill will likely be introduced that would do away with the “one bite” rule in favor of strict liability for all dog owners, regardless of breed.

Impact on Virginia. The impact of Tracey v. Solesky will undoubtedly spill into Virginia. Some of those consequences will be difficult—particularly if Virginia sees a surge in pit bull surrenders. Other consequences may actually work to Virginia’s advantage. For instance, the flipside of lower rents and tax revenues in Maryland may translate into higher rents and tax revenues if Virginia landlords continue to rent to pet owners and pit bull owners. Fortunately, Virginia is not at risk to be impacted legally by the Maryland Court of Appeals opinion, which is not binding in any way on Virginia courts. More important, it is directly contradicted by language in Virginia’s dangerous dog statute that prohibits breed specific legislation and states: “No canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog or vicious dog solely because it

is a particular breed, nor is the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed prohibited.”

Virginia Liability for Dog Bites. Virginia still adheres to the “one free bite” rule. A dog owner, however, may not be off the hook for the dog’s first bite. Virginia’s “dangerous dog” statute allows the Commonwealth to bring a “dangerous dog” case against a dog owner even for the dog’s first bite. As part of those cases, the court can order the owner to pay actual damages to the victim. Dangerous dog proceedings are civil in nature, but they have all of the protections of a criminal trial—including the right to a jury trial and the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof. To prove a dog is “dangerous,” the Commonwealth has to show that the dog bit, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or caused serious physical injury to or killed a dog or cat. The statute has a number of defenses, including if the dog was provoked or abused, in pain, or protecting itself, its offspring, a person, or its owner’s property. A catchall defense allows a court to conclude based on the totality of the evidence that the dog is not dangerous or a threat to the community. Those proceedings can be quite onerous.

Often, the Commonwealth requires the dog to be quarantined in the local pound pending resolution of the case, which can take months. If the Commonwealth succeeds in proving the dog is dangerous, the owner must comply with numerous requirements, including registering the dog on Virginia’s dangerous dog registry, posting signs warning the public where a dangerous dog resides, ensuring the dog is properly confined on the property, leashing and muzzling the dog in public, and maintaining at least $100,000 in liability insurance coverage. If the dog continues to show dangerous behaviors, the dog may be euthanized and the owner may face further criminal and civil penalties. The goal of these laws is as it should be— responsible dog ownership, regardless of breed. ND

Heidi Meinzer is an attorney and shareholder with Bean, Kinney & Korman, P.C., where she practices in the areas of animal law and litigation. Heidi currently shares the company of Sophie, her rescued German Shepherd mix, and Boomer, an adorable black Lab. She is the owner and founder of the Companion Animal Law Blog ( Contact Heidi at or 703.525.4000, extension 348.

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In Review

L i tera tu re , a rts , a n d ne w me d i a

book reviews

My Wingman Oliver: A Book About a Pilot and His Loyal Companion By Randy Plante, reviewed by Juliet Farmer


f you’re in the Washington, DC, area and have a dog or are considering adopting one, before you do anything else, read My Wingman Oliver by Randy Plante. Part “dogmoir,” part guidebook, My Wingman Oliver is a comprehensive snapshot of one year in the life of an Alexandria man and his dog, chock full of local flavor and color, including local history and information on the area’s thriving dog-friendly community. As an added bonus, the book contains lots of information about dog-friendly establishments and dog-related social events. When Plante broached the subject of adopting a dog, the initial reaction of those in his immediate network (including his family) was that he was crazy to consider adopting a dog, given his chosen career (commercial airline pilot) and the fact that he lived in a third-floor condominium. However, Plante wanted a canine companion. After some research, he decided on a German Shepherd, who had bounced from an abusive home in West Virginia to a three-month stint at a local animal shelter, all before being rescued by Plante and whisked to his forever home. With patience and curiosity, Plante worked with Oliver’s issues, including the dog’s fear of men, sudden stubborn streak, and new-found penchant for stealing household items. As the pair learned to live together, they explored dog parks, tried agility training, attended social events, and even participated in a doggie version of the Olympics. The fact that Plante clearly gets the joy of sharing life with dogs is evident. “Dogs are special animals that give so much more than they receive. They do not live nearly long enough for the amount of joy they bring to the world,” he says. Plante’s chronicle of his first year with Oliver, from his pre-Oliver urge to adopt a dog to their escapades throughout the area, is both entertaining and informative. Among the book’s many insider tips is the very best area dog park (which Plante and Oliver decided on after vetting the area’s 20 dog park offerings), as well as funny anecdotes about dog park interactions. (Surely, we can all relate to the no-name game at the dog park, as in, “Hi Oliver’s dad!”) My Wingman Oliver is a great slice of dog life in the Washington, DC, area. ND Juliet Farmer has contributed pet-related stories to numerous publications and websites. She and her husband live in Sacramento, CA, with their retired racing Greyhound and two cats.

22 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012

Catching Up With Randy (and Oliver) Recently, Juliet checked in with Randy and Oliver:

How’s Oliver these days? Oliver is good—he just turned 10 in January. He’s getting older and slower, but has no physical problems

Any interesting adventures since your book was published? Oliver gets very hot with a long winter coat. (Oliver is mostly German Shepherd with a mix of Red Tick Coonhound thrown in.) After a few years of watching him get sluggish every summer, I decided to get him a summer haircut. I brought Oliver in for his grooming appointment and told them to call as soon as they were done. No one had told me about the immediate after-effects of grooming. I didn’t even recognize him when the groomer brought him out! He was a whitish-yellow color with a thin coat of hair, not his normal shades of dark brown. I started laughing. Oliver saw my reaction and looked like he was embarrassed—like he felt naked and I was making it worse. The poor dog had gone through something he had never done before, and here I was laughing at him in front of others. I felt terrible and learned a big lesson about parenting that day.

What’s next for you and Oliver? I’m taking notes now for a second book, and I plan on starting it over the winter. Like My Wingman Oliver, I want the second book to teach people about life, this time about the aging process in dogs and how we turn into their caregivers over time, as well as address the joys and pitfalls of getting/ having two dogs. I adopted a second dog, Abby, in December 2011, to help Oliver stay young longer. She is a sweet and spunky one-and-a-half year old German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix. She is hyper and food obsessed—the opposite of Oliver!

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Reiki for Dogs: Using Spiritual Energy to Heal and Vitalize Man’s Best Friend By Kathleen Prasad, reviewed by Ingrid King


eiki is an energy therapy that can bring relaxation, comfort, healing, and an increased sense of well-being to pets and humans. Reiki originated in Japan; the word Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is a Japanese composite word usually translated as “universal life energy.” It is based on the idea that all living beings have life energy flowing through them. When life energy is high, your pets are healthy and balanced, more relaxed, and less likely to get sick. When it is low, they’ll often be more easily affected by stress and less resistant to illness.


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Animals are naturally receptive to the Reiki energy and tend to gravitate towards it readily. In Reiki for Dogs, Kathleen Prasad explores how this gentle and natural, yet powerful, modality can help dogs as well as their humans. Drawing from her experience of working with pets and teaching animal Reiki to others, Prasad offers tips and tricks for getting started, step-by-step examples of how to conduct a Reiki session with dogs, and real-life case studies of dogs helped by Reiki. But this is not just a book for Reiki practitioners, or those who are interested in the modality. It is also a book about what can happen when we connect with dogs on a spiritual level, and how this connection can enhance and deepen the bond with these special companions. Prasad makes the case that this healing therapy not only helps the dog but also helps the dog’s guardian. Like Prasad, I’m a firm believer that animals come into our lives to teach us, and Reiki is one way to help us open to allowing the lessons in. The book provides plenty of exercises to guide readers on their own journey of connecting with energy, as well as examples of how Prasad and other Reiki practitioners have helped the dogs they’ve treated with issues ranging from illness to abuse to end of life transitions. Whether you’re a seasoned Reiki practitioner, just curious about Reiki or energy healing in general, or simply want to connect with your dog on a deeper level, this book will provide inspiration and guidance. ND

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Website: email:


Doodlebug Quilts Custom pet photography by CARINA M. THORNTON

Custom Handmade Quilts and Wall Hangings

(631) 766-5282


Mention code NOVASUN

Mention you saw us in NOVADog Magazine!

Fresh homemade organic/ all natural dog treats TM

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“ We’re more than just a walk around the block! ”

uniquely different exceptionally healthy


Is your dog getting enough exercise?


E v e n ts y ou w on ’ t w a n t to mi s s

transferable to other areas of your training. More info:

J U LY July 11 6-9PM— Canines on the Courtyard at the Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW) Doggie happy hours are held here every Wednesday evening until September 26. Enjoy the “Bark-a-rita” specialty drink and part of the proceeds will benefit the Washington Humane Society. Weather permitting each week. Happy hour will be cancelled in the event of rain or excessive heat.

July 14 9AM-10AM— Puppy Pre-School at the Olde Towne Pet Resort. Set your puppy up to be a successful, well-mannered dog. You will learn to teach your puppy basic obedience, socialization, off-leash commands with other puppies, and learn about topics such as house training, nipping, chewing, body language, grooming, handling, living with children, and management of puppy’s environment. Puppies ages 8 weeks up to 5 months. More info: www.oldetowne

July 14 10:30-11:30AM— Agility Field Work at the Olde Towne Pet Resort A-frame, dog-walk, teeter-totter, weave poles, tunnels, chutes, jumps, and more. All agility training is done through positive reinforcement methods. We require and will evaluate for completion of basic obedience skills; off-leash training is helpful, but not mandatory. Group training runs once a week for six weeks. Groups are limited to a maximum of 6 dogs at one time. More info: www.

12:30PM—Confidence Building for the Shy or Fearful Dog at Fur-Get Me Not, Arlington, VA. (6 weeks $190) Address how stress impacts your dog’s life and how to properly read stress signals from your dog. Build a foundation of basic coping skills and practice on exercises to boost confidence. Emphasis will be on creating a safe place for each individual dog to learn, relax, and encourage curiosity that will foster joy of learning. More info: www.furgetmenot. com.

July 25 8:30PM—Tricks Workshop at Fur-Get Me Not, Arlington, VA. (50 mins., $35) An abbreviated version of the tricks class, to help you get started. Learn the finer nuances in animal learning that will be

Saturday, August 25th 11am to 4pm

July 28 8:30PM—Therapy Dog Class at Fur-Get Me Not, Arlington, VA. (6 weeks $190) This class is for the present or future therapy dog. Talk about the challenges and demands that are put on these dogs and focus on obedience cues that are particularly helpful in a therapy setting. Dogs should be at least 6 months old in order to participate in this class. More info:

July 29 11AM-3PM—Indoor Dog Park at Dogtopia of Woodbridge Beat the Heat! Your dog gets to play with all of his friends in a climate controlled environment. Large dogs/High Energy- 11AM-1PM, Small dogs/Lower Energy-1PM-3PM. Cost: $10 for current Dogtopia customers $15 for all others More info call 703-497-1893. Owners must sign a waiver certifying that their dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and in good health.

July 15 11AM—No Jumping! Workshop at FurGet Me Not, Arlington, VA. (50 mins., $35) Learn to combine management and training in everyday life and how to make the dog offer a sit whenever approached by a stranger or in the presence of other distractions. More info:

Sit. Stay. Play with Shirlie.

July 28

AUGUST August 11 3-4:30PM—Yoga for your dog workshop at Sun and Moon Yoga Studio, Arlington, VA. Bring your favorite four-legged friend to this fun workshop designed to help you build a better connection with your dog. Learn how your own energy greatly affects your dog’s behavior and how to adjust it. No prior experience with yoga necessary. $25 per dog (people free). More info


August 11-12

August 24

Dog Days Peach Festival at Great Country Farms in Bluemont, VA. Bring the whole family including your pooch for a romp in the play area and for u-pick peaches. Agility course, retriever contests, Doggie Olympics. Each pup will receive a doggie bag of goodies, owners can shop for fun gifts to bring home! All friendly, vaccinated and leashed dogs welcome. Canine drinking water and scooping bags provided. More info:

August 25

August 16 10:30-11:30AM— Agility Field Work at the Olde Towne Pet Resort A-frame, dog-walk, teeter-totter, weave poles, tunnels, chutes, jumps, and more. All agility training is done through positive reinforcement methods. We require and will evaluate for completion of basic obedience skills; off-leash training is helpful, but not mandatory. Group training runs once a week for six weeks. Groups are limited to a maximum of 6 dogs at one time. More info: www.

August 23 6:30 - 8:30PM—Low-Cost Rabies and Microchip Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. $10 Rabies shot, $30 microchip. Bring prior rabies certificate (not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. More info www.

6-10PM—Bark in the Park to benefit BROOD, Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, VA. Come out and celebrate our national pastime with your pup—bring your dog along for the fun! Watch the Potomac Nationals take on the Frederick Keys. Tickets must be purchased in advance. More info: htm.

11AM-4PM—Wags ‘n Whiskers at the Village at Shirlington. Plenty of exhibitors, pet contests, pet adoptions, pet portraits, live music, and Village at Shirlington merchant specials and giveaways. More info on attending or exhibiting:

SEPTEMBER September 14 7-10PM—Bark and Bowl at AMF Alexandria Lanes. Presented by the Canine Cancer Foundation. Lace up your bowling shoes, grab your bowling ball and help find a Cure for Canine Cancer. (Please leave the pooches at home) All proceeds from the event will benefit the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Canine Cancer Foundation. More info:

Join the pack. Stay informed.



[hurry!] 24 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012 BARK BUCKS! $5 off! Enter coupon code NOVAD8 at checkout

Find more events online at

September 18 11AM-11PM—Dogfish Ale and Waggin’ Tails at Dogfish Head Alehouse (13041 Lee Jackson Mem. Hwy) to benefit Guiding Eyes for the Blind. A family-friendly event featuring lots of Guiding Eyes puppies (newest trainees to seasoned jacketed dogs and their handlers), great food, door prizes and auction items and awards, local personalities throughout the day, and live music during evening yappy hour.

September 22 1:05PM—Pups in the Park with the Washington Nationals vs. Milwaukee Brewers. Bring your dog to the game! You must reserve human and dog tickets

in advance. ($22 owner, $8 dog with all proceeds from dog tickets going to the Washington Humane Society.) Get more info and buy tickets here:

September 27 6:30 - 8:30PM—Low-Cost Rabies and Microchip Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. $10 Rabies shot, $30 microchip. Bring prior rabies certificate (not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. More info

September 29

September 30

Barktoberfest 2012: A Purrfect Pet Celebration to benefit the Friends of Homeless animals. NEW location at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds. Enjoy a variety of music, food, vendors, and games for kids and dogs. New this year: the Mutt Strut, canine demonstrations. More info: www.

6th Annual Olde Towne Dogge Walke in Old Town Alexandria Save the date! More information coming soon. ND

September 29 10AM-4PM— DC Walk for the Animals & Pet-A-Palooza at Marie Reed Elementary School field (2200 Champlain Street, NW) For more information, to register to walk, to support a fellow walker/walk team, or to check out all of the activities scheduled for the day visit www.wash

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

SAVE MONEY! Look for the companies highlighted in yellow for

special offers. Turn to the page number listed for full discount details and exclusions. Agility

Frying Pan Farm Park 703.437.9101.....................................p. 16

Boarding Olde Towne Pet Resort ......inside back cover The Dog Eaze Inn 8

Cremation Services Sunset Pet Services, Inc 7

10% off

Dog Bakery/Treats Bistro Bites 14 Dogma Dog Bakery 5 Simply Pawesome 23

free shipping

$25 off 10% off 15% off $20 off

Pet Therapy/Volunteerism Photographers/Pet Portraits Bill Owen 18 Fuzzypants Pet Photography 23

Dogtopia 7

Dog-Friendly Events

free item

Rescue Organizations

Wags N’ Whiskers 24 Washington Nationals Pups in the Park

Friends of Homeless Animals p. 28 Washington Humane Society ............p. 28

Retail Goods

Dog Food/Nutrition

Do-Rite Disposable Dog Diaper 23 Doodlebug Quilts 23 My Wingman Oliver 14 Uptown Pet Bistro & Boutique 21

Whole Pet Central 11

Dog Spa/Grooming 10% off

Full Pet Services (dog walking/pet sitting/boarding/daycare/training) Always There Pet Care 9 Fur-Get Me Not 6

free item

Training/Behavioral Counseling/Advice KissAble Canine 13 Olde Towne School For Dogs 4 Pawfect Pups 23 Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, Inc. 9 Unleashed Abilities 3

$25 off

Veterinary Services

Pet Safety Goods & Services Loyalty Pet Care p. 15 free item Wag ’N Enterprises ..........................back cover

Pet Sitting/Dog Walking All Friends Pet Care ............inside front. Amanda’s Pet Care 23

$20 off

Fairfax Pets On Wheels, Inc. 2

Dog Day Care

Barkley Square Gourmet Dog Bakery & Boutique 3 Bark ’N Bubbles front. Pampered Pets Grooming 23 The Purrfect Grooming Company 23

Becky’s Pet Care 2 DogOn Fitness, LLC 23 K9 Nirvana 6 Northern Virginia Professional Pet Sitters Network 16 Rover N Out! Pet Care 9 Time for a Walk 5 Very Important Pets 11 Your Dog Smiles 21

$25 off 10% off

Blue Ridge Veterinary Hospital 10 NoVa Mobile Vet 15 NOVA Pets Health Center 23 Veterinary Surgical Center 4

10% off

Don’t like to hike alone?


Join us for our monthly group trail hike and F.I.T. Clinic. Find out more:

Local walks to enjoy

Hemlock Overlook Loop Trail and Paradise Springs Winery By Carol B r ooks Nadine Namoff with Leelu, and Kristin Salvatora with Maverick.

actual trails and signs. The start point for our hike is the yellow horseshoe-blazed Yates Ford Trail, located to the left of the park entrance behind the Bull Run-Occoquan Trail sign. Follow this trail gradually downhill for about 100 yards to the intersecting red-blazed Horseshoe Trail on your left. Take the rolling Red

Erin and Paul Gray with Lexi, and Sharon and John Hoffman with Trooper.

Horseshoe Trail to the river, an easy hike except for an initial steep downhill, spring crossing, and

turn right into the parking area. Dogs are not

steep uphill about 100 feet into the trail. Hills are

permitted inside the buildings, but you can grab

an excellent way for healthy dogs to strengthen

a picnic table in the fields next to the winery and

ummertime, and the livin’ is easy. It’s the

leg and shoulder muscles, so think of this dip as a

take advantage of the available wine and snacks

perfect time for you, your dog, and your

workout for your dog. Although the Horseshoe Trail

inside. I saw several well-behaved dogs off leash

dog-loving friends to take a hike followed

feels remote and peaceful, be aware that noise

on the property, but the winery website asks that

by a picnic and refreshments at a nearby winery.

from a nearby shooting range might be a problem

you keep dogs on leash. You will need to bring

On a tip from a friend of a friend, I found a

for gun-shy dogs.

your own water and water dish.


little-known summer hike/winery combination in

At the river, our hike turns to the right along

Hemlock Overlook Regional Park and Paradise

the well-marked blue-blazed Bull Run-Occoquan

Getting There

Springs Winery in Clifton, VA, less than an hour’s

Trail. For a longer hike, go left for as long as you

To get to Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, use

drive from most Northern VA locations.

want, then retrace your steps back to this point.

your favorite mapping system to find 13220

Continue along the trail, keeping the river to your

Yates Ford Rd, Clifton, VA 20124. ND

The uncrowded trails at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park offer shady options for quick

left for about half a mile. The river flows along at

jaunts or extended hikes, and the winery is

a lazy pace, perfect for dogs to take a dip at one

within walking distance of the trailhead. Several

of several inviting beach areas. Shortly before our

mapped hikes offer circular route possibilities, an

turn-off point, you and your dog will be scram-

easy hike to Bull Run and back, or an extended

bling over rocks for about 100 feet—another

outing along the river on a trail that measures

good workout for your dog’s core muscles and

17.5 miles.

balance, but definitely an area where you’ll want

My suggested 2.0-mile loop hike begins near

to wear sturdy hiking shoes. Turn right when you

the public parking area on Yates Ford Road. To

reach the intersecting yellow-blazed Yates Ford

get your bearings, check the trail map located

Trail. If you want to add distance, continue to the

in the parking area to see available options, but

Union Mill Trail and follow it through the park

don’t count on it for accurate blaze colors or

and back to the parking area for a total 3.5 mile

distance information. For this article, I follow the

hike; otherwise, follow the Yates Ford Trail uphill

About Your Guide Carol Brooks is co-owner of DogOn Fitness, a daily exercise service for dogs. She specializes in high-energy and overweight dogs, providing them with working walks, running, adventure hikes, training reinforcement, and more. Headquartered in Reston, DogOn Fitness services Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD. Visit them on the Web at

to the parking lot. On weekends, you’re likely to see other dogs


Hours: Park and trails are open during daylight hours year around. Paradise Springs Winery opens daily at 11 am. Note: Hemlock Overlook Regional Park is an outdoor education center open to the public by reservation. Only the hiking and horse trails are available to the public without reservation. What to Bring: Be sure your dog has adequate tick protection. Wear sturdy waterproof shoes because the trail is muddy in areas. Bring water for you and your dog, poop bags, mosquito protection, blankets and towels for after-hike clean-up. Distance: 2.0 miles

and possibly horses, so keep your dog on leash

Time: 60 minutes or more for trail hike

and under control. The trail can also be muddy in places, and there are several rocky points along

Fido Friendly Features: Off-street parking (limited space), fun dog-safe trails, and water access.

the river. Again, wear hiking shoes for comfort

Use: Hikers, runners, horses, on-leash dogs.

and safety and bring along post-hike street shoes for the winery. Don’t forget bug repellant, and

Best Time to Go: Weekdays and weekends before 3:00 pm.

bring plenty of water for you and your dog.

Rated: 2 paws (medium)

If you want a follow-up picnic at Paradise Springs Winery a short drive away, continue on Yates Ford Road for one-tenth of a mile and

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert


WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories

Tinker and CeeCee Adopted from: The Lucky Dog Animal Rescue on March 26, 2010 (Tinker) and April 11, 2011 (CeeCee). Tinker (above, left) and CeeCee are both almost 3-years-old and loved by Vernisha and Joe in Falls Church.

How did they get their names? Tinker and CeeCee both came to us with those names. We thought about changing them, but we thought they suited their personalities perfectly. Tinker loves to snoop around and stick her nose into just about everything! CeeCee is a bit on the shy side, so she has to thoroughly scope things out before she starts to feel comfortable.

You picked them because... Tinker’s beautiful face captured us right away. Her bio said that she was a little diva who loves attention and had to wear a sweater when it was below 50 degrees! I couldn’t believe how much her personality appealed to me before I even met her. When her foster mom brought her for the home visit she ran right up to us and gave us doggie kisses. CeeCee started out as our shy foster dog. Tinker played a huge role in her development, showing CeeCee it was OK to trust us. We formed an incredible bond with her during the few months we were fostering her, and Tinker would cry every time we took CeeCee to an adoption event. We couldn’t bear having another family adopt her, so she’s been with us ever since!

With the Pet-A-Palooza! Saturday, September 29, 2012 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM Marie Reed Elementary School 2200 Champlain St. NW Washington, DC 20009

Favorite activity together: Tinker and CeeCee love it when Joe and I play keep away with them! They keep their eyes on the ball and pounce on it whenever we slip up and drop the ball! Favorite toy: Tinker’s favorite is the Tuffy brand Starfish—we call him, “Star Man.” CeeCee goes bonkers for racket balls.

Join Us! For more information, please visit Call or email us at 202-683-1822

You love them because... We love our girls because their contrasting personalities give us something to look forward to day in and day out. On vacations, we find ourselves talking about how much we miss them! We honestly can’t imagine our lives without them. ND

Lucky Dog Animal Rescue is an all-volunteer, nonprofit animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals and educating the community on responsible pet ownership. To see adoptable dogs and to learn more, visit

28 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2012


We offer several rooms for dogs to play, interact and socialize.

TRAINED SUPERVISORS Our professional pet care staff ensures safe play.


Indoor and outdoor spaces are used for play, snack and rest time.


21460 Squire Court, Sterling, VA 20166 RESERVATIONS 571.434.3300 | @OTPRDulles


8101 Alban Road, Springfield, VA 20150 RESERVATIONS 703.455.9000 | @OTPRSpringfield




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Don’t need a full day of Day Camp? Half-day rates are available.


Day Camp runs during both business days and weekends!


Individual play times or group play sessions are available for boarders.

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