NOVADog Magazine Summer 2016

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novadog Summer 2016



Guilty Dog


winner see page 15

GUILTY As Charged?

When your dog gives you “the look,” you shouldn’t jump to a flurry of assumptions

Also Inside: Recognizing Your Pet’s Allergy Symptoms Destinations: The Mountain Lake Lodge

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE T H Ehis issue S Cis going E Ndown E asAonegl iofm psmye i n to the l i fe of No rth e rn V iFairgrounds! rg i n i a d o g s at the Loudoun County


Third, but certainly not last, our Destinaabsolute favorites. Over the past seven tions article is the Mountain Lakeand Lodge, which and a half years, our team has always Cage-free daycare, boarding, grooming more. Five great locations in BROUGHT TO YOU BY is the Dirty Dancing Hotel. The Dirty Dancing taken pride in producing great articlesNorthern that Virginia. Visit Winners receive a NOVADog Magazine limited-edition T-shirt gift certifi cate from A Dog’s Day Out. Hotel I tell you! How didand I notaknow it was in can entertain and inform. I am constantly Virginia until now? And how did I not know impressed by the ideas the team develops, and it was dog-friendly (and I mean really dogby the way our staff covers topics before they 2 the assignment to 1 into the latest trends. The stories are friendly)? To top it off, I got evolve cover that one. Maggie and I loved it, which timely, relevant, and comprehensive. So while means you need to make some reservations! I do love all of our issues, this one has a special Not only did I get to relive scenes from an place in my heart for a few reasons. connect with us First, the issue kicks off with the Guilty Dog iconic movie from my youth, but I also enjoyed 1. FRITZY loved by Regina some serenity. The resort has a calming, relaxed Contest winner. The entries were so adorin Virginia Beach charm that gently urges you to turn off cell able, we PRIZE had a really tough time choosing a 2. BLUE loved by MaryJo in phones and computers and enjoy the company winner—and Centreville Packbecause they were so adorable, you are with, as well as the gorgeous nature we had to include a few additional entries in 3. DAYTONA loved by Brittany in Woodbridge that envelopes the entire 2,600-acre resort. various sections of the magazine. There were Prepping for this issue has reminded me just so many good guilty dogs! 4. MINNIE loved by Scott & Laura in Fairfax to do my best to take the “busy” out of my Second, our new events division and the life, and I hope ideas we’ve written help you return of GlowDOGGlow have been incred5. GRETEL loved by Bev in Springfield do that, too. The entire team had a great time ibly fun. These events give us all a great way pulling it together. See you at GlowDOGGlow, to connect in person, stimulate our dogs in a a fall hike, or toy making event. Remember to positive environment, do something dogtake time to enjoy our beautiful area. centric, and have some laid-back fun. These And remember: “Nobody puts baby in the events have been my favorite things to do over corner.” — Johnny Castle the past six months. I have met many wonderVisit us on the Web at ful people and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am very hopeful that I will see you at an upcoming —Angela or scan the QR code above. event—GlowDOGGlow will be September 24


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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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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 © 2016 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, 703-887-8387. NOVADog Magazine neither endorses or opposes any charity, welfare organization, product, or service, dog-related or otherwise. As an independent publisher and media organization, we report on news and events happening in our local area. Events are used as an outlet to reach new readers interested in all aspects of dog ownership. We encourage all readers to make their own decisions as to which products and services to use, organizations to support, and events to attend.

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contents Summer 2016

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 G uilty As Charged?

When your dog gives you “the look,” you shouldn’t jump to a flurry of assumptions By Lisa Tudor

16 R ecognizing Your Pet’s Allergy Symptoms

Food and Environment Play a Main Role in your Canine’s Health By Liora Robinson


16 D E PA RT M E N T S


News, information, and products


Tips on dog health


ON THE COVER: Meghan Foy, winner of our Guilty Dog Contest, submitted this photo of her (sometimes) troublesome pups Dublin and Britain.


A glimpse into the lives of Northern Virginia dogs


Answers to your behavior and training questions



Dog-friendly spaces




Hanging with DC metro’s dog-crazy crowd


Hiking with your dog


Adoption success stories

Read Ray Charles’ adoption success story on page 28.



N ew s , i nfo rm ati on , a n d p ro d u c ts

First and only FDA-approved treatment calms without sedating Dogs that experience fear and anxiety in response to loud noise such as fireworks, thunder, and construction work now have a new treatment option with the launch of SILEO®, the first and only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of noise aversion in dogs. Noise aversion refers to the behavioral signs of fear and anxiety experienced by dogs in response to noise. SILEO, which is being marketed in the U.S. by Zoetis Inc., is available from veterinarians by prescription and can be safely administered at home by pet owners to help calm dogs without sedating for the duration of noise events.

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“We know that noise aversion has been difficult to treat, is stressful for pet owners and can be traumatic for their dogs. SILEO works the way veterinarians and pet owners need it to work, calming dogs while allowing them to interact normally with the family,” said Shelley L. Stanford, DVM, MS, MBA, group director, Companion Animal Veterinary Professional Services at Zoetis. “It has rapid speed of onset, is easy to administer at home and works ‘in the moment,’ without any other treatments or training.” SILEO is an oromucosal gel formulation of dexmedetomidine, a highly selective alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist that blocks norepi-

nephrine release, a chemical in the brain that is involved with the development of fear and anxiety. SILEO is administered via oral transmucosal absorption, limiting the amount of dexmedetomidine available in the body at any given time after administration and thereby providing a calming effect without sedating. This allows dogs with noise aversion to remain calm yet fully functional. In addition, SILEO has a rapid speed of onset that can be tailored to the timing and duration of noise events. Interested? A trip to your veterinarian is required to find out more information and if this new medication is appropriate for your dog. FIND  it: http://.www.sileodvmus. com

Must Love Dogs & Coffee Every dog owner who also loves coffee will enjoy giving their pup this Starbarks Coffee Cup With Lid plush dog toy. Haute Diggity Dog’s best-selling plush toy is now available in two sizes. Starbarks Frenchie Roast is available in new mini size or the original regular size. Mini Starbarks measures 4 inches. Regular size Starbarks measures 7 inches. Your dog will love this soft plush toy with a squeaker inside. Every Pampered Pup should have one of these cute fun toys. Starbarks Coffee Cup dog toy makes a great gift too! FIND  it: sells for $16 from http://www.

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H E A L T H  W I S E

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

Pets need to be checked for ticks! By Dr. Jen n if er B oy le


ith lots of luscious greenspace, wooded hiking trails, and an abundance of waterways including ponds, creeks, and rivers, Northern Virginia is a beautiful place to live and play. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones who think so. Ticks thrive in these environments and are extremely prevalent in our region. Lyme disease (and several other diseases including Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever) are transmitted by ticks and can infect our furry friends—not to mention us. Ticks will usually latch onto a dog while he’s having fun in long grass or wooded areas. These ticks like to hang around such places waiting for a host to feed on. In most cases, they’ll hitch a ride on your dog’s fur (or cat’s if they go outside) as he’s walking, running, or playing. Once attached, they remain on their host for hours or days, depending on when they finish eating. Common symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne

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diseases in dogs include joint pain and lameness, lethargy, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and a decreased appetite. If you notice these signs, take your dog to the veterinarian right away and discuss possible testing for tick-borne diseases. Cats do not suffer from tick-borne disease very often in our area, but if you notice similar symptoms in your cat, then screening blood work by your veterinarian is advised. You can minimize the risk of your pets getting exposed to Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses with a few active, preventative measures. The most effective protection for dogs includes a year-round preventative, annual blood testing, Lyme vaccination, and regular tick checks. There are a variety of tick preventatives on the market—ask your veterinarian which monthly flea and tick items they recommend, and use them as directed. The ideal medication should be easy to give or apply, safe, effective, and readily available all year


Dr. Boyle demonstrates how to check for and remove ticks—and of course how to show your dog some love afterwards.

round. It is important to treat your pet during the winter months, as parasites can thrive in the relatively mild Virginia climate. These preventative medications should be the appropriate size/dosage for your dog or cat, and specifically meant for your pet’s species (medications labeled for dogs should never be used on cats, and vice versa). Routine tick checks of your pets after they come in from outside, especially after spending time in grassy or wooded areas, are very important. The sooner the tick is removed, the less likely disease transmission will occur. To check your pet for ticks, run your hands through her entire fur coat and feel for any small bumps. Also, make sure you visually inspect for the pesky parasites, which can range in size from very tiny (a few millimeters) to quite large (over a centimeter) when engorged. Ticks will often hide in pets’ ears, between toes, and around the tail, so don’t forget to check these areas, too. A cautionary word: be sure you differentiate normal anatomy from what could be a tick. I have seen several pets whose owners have tried to remove a nipple, thinking it was a tick. If you do see a tick, you should remove it. It is best to use tweezers or a commercial tick removal device. The goal is to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and then provide gentle traction (sometimes a slight twisting action is needed) to release it from the pet’s skin. Ideally, the entire tick will be pulled off at once. The area will likely be red from where the tick was attached, but this does not mean disease was transmitted; it is just an inflammatory reaction of the skin. Usually no treatment needs to be applied to the skin besides gently cleansing the area with mild soap and water. It is best to use gloves when handling ticks, since they can transmit disease to humans too. It is important to properly dispose of any live ticks in a sealed container or ensure that they are no longer alive, since they will easily climb out of your trash can or sink to find another meal. Ticks are very resilient parasites! Don’t let ticks ruin your outdoor playtime with your furry friends this summer. A little preventative care can go a long way in helping to prevent tick infestation and Lyme disease. ND Jennifer Boyle is a DVM at Leesburg Veterinary Hospital, which offers both traditional medical and holistic veterinary services. To get more advice on animal-related topics, visit LVH’s blog at

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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

The Mountain Lake Lodge = Exactly what a vacation should be. By Ange la M ey er s


riving up the steep, winding mountain road, you’ll catch breathtaking views through the treetops as the agendas and stress of the past week fade away. From the friendly, helpful staff, to the wide-open lawn, to the nightly fire, the resort has perfected a setting where you just want to relax, enjoying freedom from electronics and to-do lists. Maybe it’s the tranquil vibe, or maybe that Southern hospitality, but there is no denying you’ll meet a new friend wherever you go. Upon arrival, take some time to walk the property and plan out the areas you want to explore. You’ll find a game room at the top of the hill beside the 24-hour fitness center, great trail heads, a centrally located pool open Memorial Day to Labor Day, Mountain Outfitters (for activities such as the Treetop Adventure Course, Archery Tag, and Bubble Ball), as well as dozens of nooks and crannies where you can relax with a book and your beloved pup. The check-in staff is more than helpful in answering any questions and directing you to whatever you need. The

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dog-friendly rooms have a quaint private porch with chairs, as well as mini fridges and microwaves. Your dog will feel as welcome as you do. Activities for both you and your furry friend abound throughout the entire property. The daily activity calendar includes everything from archery to yoga, as well as nightly fires and movies on the lawn. Not only will your dog join in the fun, but she will love being lavished with attention from staff and guests alike! Not to be missed are the wide selections of hiking trails on the property, with lengths ranging from a short ¼ mile to about 2 miles. Many intersect to make longer treks, and they are all stunning. Some favorites include Indian Trail, Bald Knob Trail, and Cliff Trail. These natural paths are well-marked, but you can also grab a map at the Registration Desk. Ample activities are available, but there is no sense of busyness or urgency, no crowds or lines. Maybe the extensive 2,600 acres has something to do with it, but if you are seeking solitude, it’s not hard to find.

Top Nearby Hike: While it would be easy to avoid leaving Mountain Lake during your visit, it would be a shame to be so close and not hike the Cascades Trail. The trail is an incredible stream-side, moderate, uphill (with a few scrambles) hike along Little Stoney Creek, culminating in a 69-foot waterfall. 4 miles round trip. You can add on an additional 2 miles each way and enjoy the view from Barney’s Wall. 20 minute drive to the trail head. $3 parking fee. Maggie looks majestically out at the property, near some giant chess pieces.

Much of the resort looks as it did in the scenes from Dirty Dancing. Stop by the “Remembering Dirty Dancing” movie cabin filled with memorabilia, photos, and more. The map lays out where various scenes were filmed so you can seek them out as you move about the beautiful property. The Stone Lodge and lawn are main hotspots from the film, as is the gazebo. The gazebo used to sit right at the edge of the lake, but due to seismic activity in 2006, the lake released much of its water and shrunk to about a 1/3 of its size. You can still see the lake further beyond the gazebo, but it no longer sits right at the water’s edge. The history of the movie is an exciting draw, but the resort offers so much to enjoy in its own right. This destination will replenish your soul and reconnect you with the wonders of nature. Add it to your list for an adventure this summer or fall, and you and your dog will be very happy you did.

Getting There: 4.5 Hours from DC. 115 Hotel Circle, Pembroke, VA 24136 Mix and Match. A Collection of Dog-Friendly Stops along the way to stretch your legs, soak up some history, wet your whistle, and fill your belly. New Market Battlefield. Exit 264 off I-81. This site has the Virginia Museum of the Civil War (inside is not dog-friendly) but the grounds surrounding it are rich with history and great for all canines. There are 2 miles of trails along a self-guided tour. $7 per person, nice facilities and picnic area. Old Hill Cider. Also Exit 264. 9 miles from the New Market Battlefield. Outside seating area. They also have an orchard, gift shop, and greenhouse. A good stop on the way home. Bring your own picnic. Blue Lab Brewing Company: Exit 188 off I-81, Lexington. Inside dog-friendly Taproom with about 5-8 different options on tap. Pure Eats: These delicious, locally sourced doughnuts and burgers will sustain you for the rest of your journey. Lexington location features outdoor seating. Natural Bridge: See the wonder of the Natural Bridge while you stretch your legs on roughly 3 miles (round trip) of hiking trail with a waterfall at the turnaround. $20 per person. Meems Bottom Covered Bridge and Rt 11 Potato Chips: On your way to the fry viewing (that means “seeing pros make potato chips”)—don’t miss this historic covered bridge. Stop a minute and stretch your legs and grab a photo. Then head over to Rt 11 Fry Viewing M-Sat 9-5. and http:// Rest areas: Located along I-81 at mile markers: 262, 233, 199, & 158. Each have facilities and small pet walk areas.

The Details: Your dog is free to go most places with you. They are allowed in the Stone Lodge, just not in the Harvest Dining Room (but you can enjoy many of the same meals in the Stony Creek Tavern, where your dog is quite welcome to join you). But you can enjoy many of the same meals in the Stony Creek Tavern where your dog is quite welcome to join you. Dogs are also allowed throughout the entire property except for the pool. There are no specific dog amenities, so you will need to bring bowls, food, leash, dog beds, and any additional supplies. There are also no supply areas or grocery stores near by, nor snacks available at the lodge, so bring any snack or treat you need in your room. The drive to supplies is about 30 minutes. The Harvest Restaurant serves meals all day and brunch on Sunday. It is the only restaurant on property. http:// Insider tip: Book a room in the cottages or rustic cabins, they have private porches offering the perfect perch for your pooch. ND Angela Meyers is the owner of both NOVADog Magazine and a lovely pup named Maggie.

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Escape to the NY countryside with your dog! 175 acres of off-leash adventures await! • explore trails through forest and meadows • swim in the spring-fed pond and creek • relax in the sun • share dog tales with other dog-lovers Lodging options include full-amenity RVs, cozy cottages & cabins or tents. All proceeds benefit our on-site Border Collie rescue! Book your Getaway today and feel good knowing your vacation dollars help dogs in need!



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

Fulfillment Comes From Partnership and Pups By Jo sep h G r a m m er

We love sitting down with canine experts to get the story behind where they are now, such as how they landed in the animal industry, what drives them, and how their passion for pets brings out meaning in their lives. This issue we talk with Michele Fisher, co-owner of Always There Pet Care in Falls Church, Virginia. NOVADOG MAGAZINE: How do you think you’ve stayed in business for over 20 years? MICHELE FISHER: It’s about finding a good partnership. Some don’t find the right person, or your partner might not be in it for long haul. Angie [co-owner] and I have a good yin and yang—and we’re both huge animal lovers. I know we’re never going to get rich at it, but we enjoy what we do. At some point you know you’re going to hit burnout, and if you do, you can rely on the other person. Her strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa. I was a serious animal lover before—my parents bred and showed Persian cats. Later, I worked in an animal hospital for nine years. Originally I wanted to be a veterinarian, but eventually I started to wish for the fun side of animals, which led me to this. I definitely saw a big need in the area for dog training and pet-care.


ND: What kind of differences do you notice when training canines? MF: Trainability is more of an owner thing—younger dogs generally do better, and they learn faster. When dogs are older they have bad habits if they haven’t been trained before. Depending on their history, dogs who’ve had many owners or who’ve been adopted can take several weeks of training before you see a breakthrough. Trust is the first barrier. It’s all about time and skill, not rushing, making them comfortable. Going slow is important, especially with adopted dogs because they have baggage. Patience. Practice. ND: Do you have any favorite pet-sitting or training stories? MF: We had one woman without arms who wanted to train her dog with her feet. It worked out really well. I spent three weeks with her dog while she was in the hospital, using my feet to conduct the training. Now she gives commands without any problem—they’re both happy now.

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My biggest gratification is seeing how people respond. It’s that “wow” moment when the owner sees training is easier than she thought. Plus the dog’s response is rewarding. When they get that “click” of understanding, I feel like I’ve done what I came here to do. Once we get to know the animal, we can tell how they’re doing. For example, I might say, “He looks dehydrated: have him checked.” Knowing them helps me see the change the owner might miss, since she sees her dogs every day. We’ve helped three different puppies over the past four or five months go to the vet just by paying attention. One of them had a urinary tract infection that had gone unnoticed and could’ve gotten worse over time without help. Some of our clients we’ve worked with for 16 years, so we see “generations” of their pets. I think about these dogs. I miss them when they leave. When one passes away, it’s a loss to us as well as the owner. I feel bad. … Several clients have just given me their pets. I’ve taken these animals into my home, and sometimes I even end up keeping them. ND: What have you learned this far from running Always There Pet Care? MF: “You get to do what you love every day,” my mom told me recently. You’re going to excel at pet-care if you love it. When the economy slowed down, we did everything we could to save our business. I think the difficult times taught us that animals still need care, regardless of money. And we were willing to work with people all through that. Stick it through. I didn’t want to give up the business, even if other people thought it wasn’t a good idea. This is what I was meant to do. Of course I needed help, but we made it. Animals help people in general, you know? They help me. ND Joseph Grammer is Managing Editor for NOVADog Magazine. He lives in Alexandria, VA, but grew up in New Jersey with a bunch of adopted dogs, including a mutt he found on the street.

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Michele Fisher is co-owner of Always There Pet Care, a business that provides everything from pet-sitting to dog training to photography, located at 7143 Shreve Road, Falls Church, VA 22043.

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Guilty as When your dog gives you “the look,” you shouldn’t jump to a flurry of assumptions By Lisa Tudor, CPDT-KA


e’ve all seen it or experienced it: you notice a ripped couch cushion, chewed slipper, piddle spot on the rug, or missing steak. You let out a sigh and approach the suspect, your dog.

Her tail drops or stops wagging, the head starts to lower or turns away, and you announce to the room, “What did you do!” It’s a story that I hear often as a trainer and behavior specialist working with families and their dogs. The owner arrives on the scene and he concludes, “She knows it was wrong, you could just tell.” I ask how, and he explains the dog looked guilty.

Appropriate Guilt Guilt does serve a function in humans. According to PsychologyToday, “Appropriate guilt can function as social glue, spurring one to make reparations for wrongs.” Or as Merriam-Webster describes, “guilt is a bad feeling caused by knowing that you have done something wrong.” When my clients make their claims about guilt in their dog, it requires one to think the dog knowingly did harm to the owner or the owner’s possessions of value. To continue this line of thinking, the dog should feel worse for her choice, and

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the owner’s arrival makes them reflect on their actions and experience guilt. This guilty emotion presents itself in what the owner describes as “looked guilty.” By looking guilty the dog admits wrongdoing. However, this is a flurry of assumptions. According to the American Psychology Association, “basic emotions such as anger, surprise or fear tend to happen automatically, without much cognitive processing, the self-conscious emotions, including ... guilt ... are more complex. They require self-reflection and self-evaluation.” Can a dog self-evaluate? I’ll be the first to admit that I have held a Canine Meditation class, but I wasn’t asking the dog for mindfulness—I was calming the owners to a place where even dogs can benefit. It wasn’t because we believed dogs could sit still, breathe deeply, and selfreflect. I’ll explain it this way: in our class, the dog reacts to the owner’s sense of calm and behaves similarly. There have been studies about the owner-described “guilty look,” and these studies generally do not support the dog owners’ conclusion that the misdeed makes a dog express guilt. A popular study from 2009 (Horowitz) concludes that a dog’s guilty look is actually a response to the owner’s cues (however slight). If we look back at our example of the missing steak, the owner is part of the scene, not just a casual observer. Simple owner-behaviors such as sighing or scolding, or even subtle behaviors, like an eye glance from a stolen steak to the puppy culprit, can cause a response. A dog is almost always reading the body language of the people around him. The dog isn’t responding to his misdeed as much as he is reacting to the owner’s presence and the owner’s reaction to seeing the evidence.

Calming Signals In another experiment Hecht et al. (2011) suggest that a dog’s guilty look may decrease the scolding response from a human. Meaning the lowered head or dropped tail that an owner observed when the steak went missing may actu-

14 Northern Virginia Dog

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ally reduce an owner’s adverse reaction. This could mean the dog’s behavior is not serving as an outlet for emotion, but as a function of calming down the owner. These “calming signals” (Rugaas, 2005) have been documented to have two purposes: to calm the recipient of the signal or to calm the signaler. This is an important distinction since the dog’s behavior has a simpler purpose and does not showcase a dog’s moral standard (if he has one). The conclusion is looking guilty is a label. This labeling is for the owner to summarize a group of behaviors, not necessarily explain a dog’s state of mind in a moment in time. Am I saying that a dog is completely unable to feel guilty? In humans the prefrontal cortex has been shown to light up when we feel guilty. Dogs have this structure, although it’s only about 7% of the canine brain, while it’s about 30% in humans. From a scientific point of view, perhaps evolutionary biologist, Marc Bekoff, PhD, says

it best: “There have been no neuroimaging studies that focus on guilt. So, we really don’t know if dogs feel guilt.” And he is right. I don’t believe there is a study that has imaged a dog’s brain after we let him eat a steak without permission. As for my behaviorist perspective and my experience working with family dogs over the past 10 years, I always like to remember there may be a simpler explanation for the missing steak than a complex cognition process. Now, I know I will be flooded with emails or even videos showing dogs whose owners swear up and down that their dog really, really knows they did something wrong. Please do! I would love to observe your dog’s actions, I just ask that you monitor your dog’s behavior before, during, and after you find him chewing your shoes. Please send them to info@ Lisa Tudor, CPDT-KA is Founder of KissAble Canine, LLC. Contact her through the website at, or call 703-574-3383.

More Favorites

Submitted by: Karen McGirk, Nokesville, VA


“The picture of Tahoe and Fiona was taken shortly after they were both sprayed by a skunk for the third time in 8 months. I love them.”

NOVADog interviewed Alexandria resident Meghan Foy, winner of our Guilty Dog Contest, to learn about her (sometimes) troublesome pups. NOVADOG MAGAZINE: Tell us a bit about your dogs. MEGHAN FOY: We have two American Brittanys. Dublin is six, Britain is four. We adopted them both through the American Brittany Rescue. ND: What’s the story behind your dogs’ “crime”? MF: My fiancé has a bit of an unpredictable schedule, and our dogs like to express that they disapprove of his travel. … Typically, they target his pillow on the bed, or his shirt, or anything of his. (Oh yes, they know whose things are whose around the house!) One day I came home to find they had showed their anger by destroying their dog bed! Needless to say, they knew exactly what they had done. Britain shows much more guilt and remorse (like putting his paws over his face) than Dublin, who just stares blankly at the camera as if to tell us, “Yup, we did it, whatcha gonna do?” Sometimes they both give the tough stare like they’re saying, “And this is why Dad shouldn’t go away on work trips!” ND: What good things do Britain and Dublin do? MF: They love to play with the neighborhood kids. Both of them are really affectionate and quick to figure things out. Most of the time they’re great to hang out with … it’s just when Paul leaves on his trips and I’m at work during the day that they can get into mischief. ND: Do you have a lot of experience with Brittanys? MF: I actually run a meetup in Alexandria called “Brittanys of DC, VA, MD.” Also I volunteer with and foster the breed. American Brittany Rescue all the way!

Submitted by: Vicki and Billy Krause, Centreville, VA “This is my 2 year old Cheapeake Retriever Bayleigh Madison. Bayleigh hates to be left alone and tends to make that point very clear when we have to leave.Time for another new bed!!!!”

More HELP to manage distructive chewing See page 22


Recognizing Y Food and Environment Play a Main Role in your Canine’s Health By Liora Robinson

16 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2016

Your Pet’s

Allergy Symptoms


very day we talk to customers whose pets can’t eat certain foods or have severe reactions to certain environmental factors. These reactions range in severity, but with a rapidly growing number of pets suffering from allergies, you might wonder what is causing this increase, and how can I protect my pet?

The cause for this increase can be debated all day long. We have heard many opinions including overbreeding, unnecessary vaccinations, overuse of food ingredients that are not biologically appropriate, GMOs, and overexposure. But until significant scientific proof is found, we have to accept that our pets are reacting to their environment, and some of them are limited in the types of foods they can tolerate. We must learn to recognize which symptoms may be food related, environmental related, or both.

How to spot allergy symptoms. Environmental allergy symptoms often include reoccurring “hot spots,” itchy skin, dry skin, hair loss, red irritated skin or paw pads (which cause chewing of the legs and feet), rash-like bumps on the inner thighs and abdomen, coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. Some environmental allergies are found in the home. Many pets are allergic to dust mites, and unfortunately dust mites are in-

evitable, even in the best-kept homes. Other indoor environmental factors include scented candles, air fresheners, carpet cleaners/ powder fresheners, cigarette smoke, laundry detergent, fabric softeners, cleaning supplies, and even food bowls. Many pets suffer from environmental allergies found outside of the home. Our pets react to many of the same grass and pollen allergies that bother humans. It is very difficult to completely avoid most environmental allergens. Pets with severe symptoms almost always require additional support from natural remedies recommended by a holistic veterinarian or from the aid of allergy medication. Feeding your dog a high-quality, natural diet and using immune-boosting supplements can help reduce the severity of many environmental allergy symptoms. In addition to supporting your pet’s immune system with a proper diet, try to reduce his exposure as much as possible. Bathing and foot soaking can significantly reduce

irritations caused by environmental allergies. Some pets are sensitive to shampoos, so be sure to look for a natural, detergent-free, hypoallergenic shampoo. Your intent is to remove dust and pollen from their coats, not cover them in artificial fragrances. Plus, harsh shampoos can damage the delicate pH balance of your pet’s skin and can actually create additional irritation. If symptoms do not improve, visit your veterinarian for additional support. Some animals suffer from a combination of environmental allergies and food intolerances. Pets can develop food intolerances, which are often misidentified as a food allergy. A food allergy usually invokes a severe reaction, like anaphylactic shock. Food intolerances also invoke a reaction, but generally are not life-threatening. Dogs and cats with a food intolerance often show symptoms very similar to those with environmental allergies, which may


include ear infections, skin infections, anal gland problems, chronic diarrhea, burping or acid reflux, irritable bowels, and digestive upset. Food intolerances can occur at any age and can develop especially if a pet is fed the same food for an extended amount of time. Some pets outgrow their sensitivities, while others continue to show sensitivities to a growing number of food ingredients.

What do you do if you suspect your pet may be suffering from a food intolerance? The first bit of advice I’d like to share is to remember that every pet is an individual. Just because you once had a dog or cat who suffered from a chicken intolerance doesn’t mean your new pet will have the same problem. No one wants to see their pet suffer from itchy skin or stomach upset, so it’s understandable to try to learn from our past experiences. However, until you have a legitimate reason to avoid a certain food ingredient, it doesn’t help to automatically eliminate any specific ingredients. If you jump directly into a food with unique, novel ingredients, you will be limiting your options if you ever do truly require a “hypoallergenic” formula.

Many people misuse the term hypoallergenic. What is hypoallergenic for one pet may not be for the next. A hypoallergenic diet is one that does not contain ingredients that a pet is intolerant to. There are a few options for determining which food ingredients to avoid: an elimination diet and/or allergy testing. There are blood and saliva tests available through your veterinarian. These tests may offer some insight or at least give you a starting point for elimination. Many veterinarians feel that these food allergy tests are not dependable for determining food intolerances. Some veterinarians do not offer these tests at all. Many vets, who do not believe food allergy

Shedding a lot? Not hungry? Dry skin?

testing is a good method for determining food intolerances, will prescribe a special “hypoallergenic prescription diet.” These diets are made with hydrolyzed proteins, so they are less attractive to the pet owner who is looking to feed their pets an allnatural diet, as they do not contain biologically appropriate ingredients. The most effective method is the elimination diet. This method requires a strong commitment from the pet owner as it takes time (usually about 90 days), and you must be strict about sticking to the limited meal plan. An elimination diet is achieved by cutting out ingredients that may be causing a reaction in your pet. If you have no idea where

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18 Northern Virginia Dog

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to start, you should review everything your pet consumes and try to identify a “trigger.” Your veterinarian or local Whole Pet Central can help you reach this first step. Once you eliminate your pet’s “triggers,” you should notice an improvement in their symptoms. This improvement can take up to 90 days, as the body needs time for the build-up to be cleansed out of the body. Some symptoms actually temporarily spike during this cleansing period. Once your pet is free of all symptoms, ingredients can be reintroduced, one ingredient at a time, so you can observe which substances cause the symptoms to reoccur. I recommend reintroducing ingredients for at least a week or longer, as some pets don’t have an immediate response. Others will react fairly quickly, and that ingredient should be avoided in foods as well as treats. Using this method for any suspected “triggers” will allow you to customize the perfect hypoallergenic diet for your pet’s unique needs. ND Liora Robinson is co-owner of Whole Pet Central, an all-natural pet food company with four locations across Northern Virginia and Maryland. Visit them on the Web at www.

Diet Elimination Techniques: Step-By-Step I have used the elimination diet technique many times to determine if my own pets were suffering from food intolerances. In doing so, I’ve discovered that one of my dogs has a chicken sensitivity. If he eats chicken for a few days in a row, he becomes very itchy, and the skin on his underside becomes red. He can tolerate a meal that contains chicken from time to time, but whatever it is that causes this reaction seems to build up over a short time. Some pets have an immediate reaction. I’m able to report this with confidence because I eliminated chicken for a few months, and as I reintroduced it back into his diet, the symptoms reoccurred. —Liora Robinson

Step 1:

Step 2:

Based on your observations of possible allergens, determine a new diet for your pup. Use this new diet exclusively for a minimum of 4-8 weeks.

Step 3: Monitor the reaction spots on your dog closely. Step 4:

If the spots clear up, reintroduce the suspected allergen and monitor. NOTE: If the spots do not clear up, try a new food source with different ingredients OR confirm that the allergen is not food based.

Step 5: If the reaction returns, the food allergy is confirmed; if not, reintroduce

another suspected allergen after 3 days.

Note: Please consult your veterinarian before implementing any new treatments for your pet.

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E X P E R T  A D V I C E

An s w e rs to y ou r 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

Chewing: A Normal Dog Behavior By Vi v i a n Levén , C P D T- K S A , C B C C -K A


ll dogs chew. It is a normal canine behavior. It is a form of investigation, and the dog feels good putting things of varying chew resistance and texture in his mouth. It helps to keep this in mind as we try to protect our shoes, couches, the TV remote, or whatever else might lay in the danger zone for an inquisitive dog’s mouth! We need to ask ourselves “what, when, where, and how” and plan accordingly until we establish good chew habits in our dogs. We should recognize that for the dog, this is a much-enjoyed pastime. Our goal is not to stop chewing, but to teach what appropriate chew items are, and readily provide these. Puppies have a stronger urge to chew than adult dogs. They have a greater need to explore their environment, and they also go through teething, a time when chewing offers an immediate release for itchy gums. Be mindful that dogs from the retrieving and herding breeds tend to have a stronger need to chew than other dogs. For some pups, chewing can function as a self-soothing mechanism when they feel a bit anxious. Building appropriate chewing behavior in our dogs requires a combination of the following: (1) Management, (2) Training, and (3) Mental and physical stimulation.

Management When you are not around to supervise your dog, put her in a safe space (e.g., in a crate or behind a gate) where she doesn’t have access to the shoes and other belongings you would prefer to preserve. In addition, leave durable chew toys in your canine’s designated space, ideally treat/ activity toys or bones that will entice the dog and help her choose to chew on appropriate items. For example, you might offer a frozen Kong, a marrow bone, or a bully stick. When the dog is in human company, continue to gate off rooms you do not want the dog to have access to, and remove any loose items the dog may find appealing in the space you share: sneakers, keys, pillows, newspapers, tissue boxes. Provide plenty of chew toys that the dog is allowed to have. If he insists on gnawing something that is not his, try the following with your dog: (1) Redirect him to something that is allowed and hopefully more enticing, (2) Spray the targeted item with bitter apple to discourage him, (3) Remove the item, (4) Tether the dog to you, or (5) Remove the dog from the space altogether.

Training All dogs need some form of basic training. Teaching your dog a set of vocabulary words will build a better relationship with him, provide mental stimulation, and set expectations, as well as create a way to intervene when he is about to get himself in trouble chewing that forbidden shoe. Especially consider teaching “Leave it,” “Drop it,” “Get your toy,” and “Go to (place).” These skills are a great help for managing any dog. In addition, make sure to practice lots of trading. Walk up to your dog when he has something in his mouth and give him a treat for letting go of it, and then give the object back to him. Whether you incorporate it as a “Drop it” or just work on trades, practice often with items he can chew

22 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2016

so rewards are not contingent on your dog having improper objects in his mouth—you wouldn’t want him to expect a treat every time he eats your slippers!

Mental and physical stimulation It is not uncommon that dogs with a chewing problem just need more physical exercise, mental stimulation, or social company. Make sure you provide enough of these. If you are gone for a large part of the day, maybe you can take your dog to daycare or hire a dog walker. Another option is feeding your dog with a food dispenser. When you are home, play with your dog and engage her in a combination of physical and mental activities she enjoys. Give your dog an appropriate outlet so she is content and will not need to chew on something to occupy herself. This is helpful in expanding and reinforcing your dog’s idea of positive things to do, so that you are not stuck with a pup who only knows one way to be entertained. Try some of these suggestions: • Play games with your dog: recall games, find it games, retrieving games, tug games, and shaping games. • Teach your dog tricks. YouTube is a great resource for “how to.” • Make a point of bringing your dog places with you: outdoor sporting events, a friend’s house, a farmer’s market, a pet friendly store, a stroll in the city. • Introduce your dog to treat puzzles and toys: see sidebar. • Provide your dog with bones and frozen food in Kongs or other toys. • Engage your dog in a fun class activity: nose work, agility, tricks, treibball, rally, Wag It Games.

What not to do It is important, no matter how frustrating, not to resort to punishment. (1) The chewing problem could easily intensify because now the dog is

more stressed out due to the punishment, (2) You can get a dog that keeps running away from you or is hiding with the things he grabs to chew on because he is scared of you, (3) It can lead to an aggressive response. Also, try to avoid chasing the dog to get the item or prying things out of your dog’s mouth. These actions can make the problem worse. In an emergency situation it might be necessary—just do not make it a habit.

Recommended activities and chew items for the “mouth happy” dog:

Beyond normal chewing

• Marrow bones

Be aware that there are certain conditions that go beyond normal chew behavior. For example, a dog with separation anxiety may chew on things because of severe distress, which is directly correlated with being left alone. A dog suffering from pica will have a compulsive tendency to eat foreign objects. These dogs will often need a combination of medical and behavioral interventions. ND Vivian Levén, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, is Dog Training Director at FurGet Me Not, a pet care services company with three locations in Northern Virginia and Washington, DC ( She lives in Alexandria with her daughter Isolde and her rescue Lab/Shepherd mix Karma.

Fur-Get-Me Not favorite food activity toys

Games to play

• Frozen Kong with peanut butter, cream cheese, or yogurt

• Recall

• Bully sticks • Wobbler • Buster cube • Kyjen puzzles • Nyla bone basted in bullion and dried and/or frozen • Large wet rag—freeze it and offer to teething puppies for chewing fun

• Retrieve Tug • Flirt pole game (chase, grab, tug, and release) • Find it • Practice tricks • Shaping with a box For the chewing dog that destroys everything, consider Goughnut toys. (http://



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

at Lilypons Water Gardens, in Adamstown, MD. A day of fun with hounds, including auctions, raffle baskets, games, and contests. Don’t miss the Basset 500 Race! (Or the pie-eating contest.)

Sep. 11 Bichon Bash, Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.: Celebrate the magnificent Bichon Frise with a whole day of festivities! Register early for a goodie bag and personalized bandana. Door prizes at the event. http://www.

MARKETPLACE Spring into paradise! All the fun of a dog park with the safety of trained professionals climate-controlled facilities

• • dogs grouped by size and play style • dog safety assessments

Sep. 12 For more events check out our Canine Calendar online at:

J U LY July 17 2nd annual Red, White & Beagle Fundraiser 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Hosted at Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, VA this event includes wine tastings, tasty vegan snacks, a silent auction, raffle, and swag bag giveaways for humans and pups. Come mingle with the DC7 beagles, learn about Beagle Freedom Project, celebrate our successes and help us achieve new ones.


live webcams

Yappy Hour, 5:30-10:30 p.m.: Hosted at Cantina Marina,

daycare • boarding • spa

Sep. 17 Canine Companions for Independence DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Come for the live music and agility course, stay for the amazing pups. Hosted at Pentagon Row (1101 South Joyce Street, Arlington). Follow at #DogFestWalknRoll on Instagram.

Sep. 18 DC Walk for the Animals & Pet-A-Palooza, Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.: Hosted at the Capitol Riverfront. Check for details.

Sep. 19 Yappy Hour, 5:30-10:30 p.m.: Hosted at Cantina Marina.

Sep. 24

Aug. 8 Yappy Hour, 5:30-10:30 p.m.: Enjoy drinks overlooking the Potomac as you visit with some of Rural Dog Rescue’s adorable adoptable pups! A portion of the sales will support WHS/WARL. Hosted at Cantina Marina in DC (600 Water Street SW) every second Monday of the month through September.

Aug. 27 Wags n’ Whiskers, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: A communityoriented event for animal-loving shoppers of all ages! Spend a day at The Village at Shirlington with your pet. For more details, visit www.villageatshirlington. com/events/upcoming-events.

SEPTEMBER Sep.-Oct. HSFC Beer Fest: Exact dates TBD. Details will be posted at or contact outreach@hsfc. org.

Sep. 2 Potomac Nationals Bark in the Park: Bring your favorite four-legged Nats fan out to the ballpark! All dogs are welcome to enjoy the game with their owners. Dogs (and humans) are also invited to take part in a pre-game dog parade. Buy tickets at http://www.

Sep. 8 Pups in the Park, Thursday at 7:05 p.m.: Leash up your pup and bring her to the baseball game to support the Washington Humane Society. Nats against Phillies. Buy tickets at http://washington.nationals.

Sep. 10 BROOD Ramble, Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Basset Rescue of Old Dominion’s annual bash, hosted

Barktoberfest & GlowDogGlow 5K: NOVADog Magazine has partnered with Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) to hold the GlowDogGlow 5K, in conjunction with FOHA’s Barktoberfest. Barktoberfest is a full day of fido- and family-friendly fun that offers live music, games, pet contests, demonstrations, and much more. The Mutt Strut walk starts at 9 a.m., and the festival at 10. We are thrilled to include the GlowDogGlow race in the festivities! Barktoberfest by Day, GlowDogGlow by Night. Hosted at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds (17558 Dry Mill Road, Leesburg, VA). #GlowDogGlow on Twitter and Instagram. “Let’s Get Lucky!” Casino Night, 7-11 p.m.: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue will host an extravaganza of poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette. Featuring an open bar, live band, and raffle prizes at the Hamilton Live in DC. Cocktail attire. (No dogs allowed this time.) https://luckydoganimalrescue. Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, 6-10 p.m.: Prepare your fork for the 6th annual Spaghetti Bingo fundraiser. Ticket price includes all-you-can-eat pasta, salad, bread, and dessert—plus 5 bingo cards. Beer and wine available. Hosted at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington (4444 Arlington Boulevard): Bark, Wag, & Wine, 11 a.m.-3 pm.: Hosted at the Desert Rose Ranch & Winery in Hume, VA. $25 ticket includes a wine tasting and doggie bag (with treats). Proceeds go to stopping pet shelter euthanasia.

OCTOBER Oct. 1 Pups in the Park, Saturday at 4:05 p.m.: Bring your dog to the baseball game for a little fall-season fun. Nats versus Marlins! Buy tickets at http:// jsp?c_id=was.

Oct. 15 PetOberfest, 12-4 p.m.: Free family and pet-friendly activities, plus a pet costume contest! Hosted at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center (14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge). http://www. sptcpetoberfest.

Oct. 30 AWLA’s Howl-O-Ween: Howl-O-Ween offers food, fun, and a pet costume contest hosted by TV’s Dr. Katy Nelson. Visit ND



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

Windy Run Park and Nature Trail By Carol Brooks


hen I saw a park I’d never heard of, Windy Run Park, listed as a top vote-getter in the Arlington Magazine “Best Hiking Trail of 2016,” I wanted to find out more. I love exploring neighborhood parks and trails and wanted to know why this one got the votes. I checked the park’s website (www.parks. for more information and then visited it on a warm weekday afternoon. I wasn’t immediately impressed, so my later discoveries came as a pleasant surprise. The park offers limited parking on a cul-de-sac, and the trailhead is a hard surface and gravel path leading past a brick building. Fortunately, I found an informative kiosk with a detailed trail map and planned to hike what looked like an easy loop. This was not a good idea after all. I followed the single trail for a short distance where it forks at a stream crossing. At the fork, I followed the trail to the right and over a bridge. This turned out to be a somewhat precarious and challenging climb to a high cliff. Although it offered stunning views of the Potomac River at its endpoint, there were no barriers to keep hikers and dogs from tumbling down a steep cliff. The rocky path leading downhill to meet up

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, and training reinforcement.

26 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2016

with the rest of the loop required me to crab-crawl on all fours. I couldn’t imagine any scenario where this was a safe option for hikers with dogs. Do not take this trail! For a safe hike, take the left fork that crosses the stream, stay level with the creek, and follow this trail as it winds along and over Windy Run several times. This part of the trail, and what soon followed, must be what got those “Best Hiking Trail” votes! You and your dog will appreciate the cooler park temperatures on a hot summer day, and your dog will have many opportunities to cool off in the stream. The trail pauses at a rocky outcropping overlooking the Potomac River. If you’re just looking for a quick

and sandy beaches. You’re also likely to see waterfowl, boaters, and turtles. Key Bridge and Georgetown are always visible in the distance, providing an unusual contrast of worlds. The trail is very flat and easy to hike, with lots of off-trail options for you and your dog to take a break. This is an out-and-back hike with only a few trail markers. Pay attention to your route so you can return to the starting point without a problem. The Windy Run Nature Trail follows Windy Run, so as long as you keep the stream in view, you’ll find your way back. The Potomac Heritage Trail is sandwiched between the Potomac River on one side and the George Washington Parkway on the other, so there are not too many opportunities to get lost.

Getting There

Susan Cielinkski and Bindi on the trail.

out-and-back with some fun stream crossings, turn around at this overlook. If you’re interested in a more robust hike, keep going. The best is yet to come, and well worth the extra steps. To continue, go right from the overlook and cross the stream. Then go left down some steep rock steps. This section is a little challenging, but with the help of a wobbly pipe handrail, hikers of all levels—even children—should be able to make it down safely. Stay on the trail to the Potomac River and Potomac Heritage Trail, and then go right. Take a moment as you reach the river to take in the picturesque views from all directions. Continue on the Potomac Heritage Trail as long as you want. Roosevelt Island is about 1.7 miles away, a total of about 5 miles from your car if you go all the way out and back. You’ll find a surprising variety of landscape features along this trail: marshland, trickling streams, woods, cliffs,

Windy Run Park and Nature Trail 2420 N Kenmore St Arlington, VA 22207 Open: Daily Dawn to Dusk.


Distance: 1.0 mile or more (out and back) Time: 60 minutes or more Fido-Friendly Features: Off-street parking, fun dog-safe trails, water access, trash containers at the trailhead. Use: Hikers, runners, on-leash dogs. Best Time to Go: Anytime. Rated: 2 paws (hilly in places

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert

What To Bring Be sure your dog has adequate tick protection. Wear sturdy waterproof shoes— the trail is muddy in areas. Bring water for you and your dog, poop bags, and blankets and towels for the after-hike clean-up. Bring chairs if you want to sit outside at the winery. ND

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Untitled-4 1

3/16/16 8:14 AM 27

WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories

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Ray Charles

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age 13, is loved by Melanie

Adopted in: 2011 from A Forever Home in Fairfax, Va.

How did he get his name? Ray is blind. We sometimes

joke that he should have an enormous callous on his head where he bumps into things, but we just let him bump along. After several years he’s finally learned the layout of the house fairly well, can follow by echolocation when we’re trying to steer him, and knows where his food bowls are, so he’s adapted pretty well.

You picked him because … One of the volunteers asked us what we were looking for in a dog, and my husband jokingly said, “One that doesn’t shed, doesn’t bark, doesn’t need walking, and that my wife can hold.” They shoved Ray into my arms, and that was pretty much it. A done deal. Favorite activity together: He definitely loves being held.

We’ve got an “Outward Hound” chest pack that I tote him around in, which also slings over the headrest in the car to make his drive times safe.

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Favorite treat or snack: We feed him little nibbles of whatNE R! WT HIS YEA

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ever human food we’re having, so he’s a spoiled gourmand.

Favorite toy: He sleeps with a tiny, white stuffed lamb that he rests his head on, though it’s sort of a crapshoot as to whether or not he can actually find it in his crate … blindness does that!

You love him because … One of my elderly neighbors

asked me in that querulous voice that only the elderly can manage, “What’d you get that defective dog for anyway?” I told her it was simply because we could, when no one else would. He is blind, toothless, incontinent, and we love him anyway. ND

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

28 Northern Virginia Dog

| Summer 2016