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novadog puppy Winter 2010




one year




local couples who’ve shared their big day with the dog

Also Inside:

Pilots Give Dogs a New Leash On Life

Online Edition Sponsored By: www.beckyspetcare.com

Doggy Walks Voted Best By:

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Brush Up on Training in the New Year Don’t Miss the Super Pet Expo


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contents Winter 2010

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



Puppy Love Three local couples say “I Do” to putting the pooch in the wedding party. By Amanda Long


The Way Home The Pilots N Paws program helps connect animal rescue groups with pilots who are willing to transport homeless animals. By Kelly Pike








News, information, and products

Advice and information on canine health issues

On the Cover:

Melissa and Nick Snyder shared their big day with Nick’s Bulldog, Mack. Photo by Cascades Photography, a husband and wife team who specialize in photojournalistic portraits and event photography. To schedule an appointment visit www. cascadesphoto.com.

Answers to your behavior and training questions


Tips, products, and insights for greener living


Dog-friendly spaces in Northern Virginia and beyond

Literature, arts, and new media

A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs

Local walks to enjoy


Adoption success stories


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


PUBLISHER Janelle Welch janelle@2houndsproductions.com CONTRIBUTORS Lydia Best, Jessica Blaszczak, Hilary Bolea, Alexandra Bowens, Carol Brooks, Cascades Photography, Juliet Farmer, Sabrina Hicks, The Hope Center, Ingrid King, Amanda Long, Kelly Pike, Veronica Sanchez ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Angela Meyers Vice President, Advertising p: 703.887.8387 f: 815.301.8304 ahazuda@yahoo.com DISTRIBUTION H.D. Services, Inc. 540.659.4331

We’re Environmentally Friendly. The pages of Northern Virginia Dog 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.

������ Doggie Swim

In Our Indoor Doggie Dome Pool is heated to 85 degrees

Great Exercise for: Pre/post Surgery ■ Arthritic Dogs ■ Energetic Puppies ■

NOVADog Magazine is committed to creating and fostering an active and supportive community for local dogs and their owners to share, learn, interact and engage. Our mission is three-fold: • Educate—Training and canine health care tips to help dogs live long and fulfilling lives. • Inspire—Insightful stories about local heros and organizations that are doing good in our community. • Collaborate—Helping local animal welfare organizations to save and enrich the lives of homeless and abused animals. Northern Virginia Dog Magazine © 2010 is published quarterly by 2hounds Productions, LLC. Complimentary copies are distributed throughout the DC Metro area, and are available in select locations. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a distributor or to find a distributor near you. P.O. Box 30072 Alexandria, VA 22310 703.850.6963

www.novadogmagazine.com facebook.com/novadog

We also offer: ■


www.lhpaws.com 2 Northern Virginia Dog

Boarding for dogs with supervised outdoor play activities DoggieDay Care with large & small dog play areas

Training—group classes or private training sessions available at the resort or in your home Grooming

10401 Green Rd., Bealeton, VA

| Winter 2010


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Complimentary issues disappear quickly—don’t miss an issue! Have NOVADog delivered directly to your mailbox for only $19.95 per year. Visit www.novadogmagazine.com to pay with your MasterCard, Visa or Discover. (Domestic U.S. delivery only.) $1 off when you enter coupon code NOVAD2 at checkout


N e w s , i n f o r m a t i o n , a n d products

Spay Day 2010


pay Day, a program of The Humane Society of the United States, promotes spay/neuter procedures as the only 100 percent effective method of birth control for cats, dogs, and other pets. The goal is to reduce the number of unwanted animals in the nation’s shelters. On Tuesday, February 23, thousands of veterinarians, clinic staff, and animal welfare professionals will partner to host special spay/neuter events for their communities. Since Spay Day’s inception in 1995, the campaign has been a contributing factor in the spaying/neutering of almost a million and a half animals.

Here are some ways you can help to combat pet overpopulation: • Make sure your own animals are spayed or neutered. Visit your own vet, or the Washington Humane Society National Capital Area Spay & Neuter Center provides low-cost sterilization surgery to cats and dogs five days a week by appointment only. Call 202-88-ALTER. • Donate money to the cause. The Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org) or the Washington Humane Society (www. washhumane.org). ND

NOVADog Magazine is excited to be a part of the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo this year. Come see us and our partner companies in The NOVADog Safe & Healthy Pet Pavilion (booth 2210) on January 16th and 17th. For more info visit www.nbcwashington.com.

chow hound

Super Bowl Fare for the Pup The road to the 44th Super Bowl will end in Miami on February 7, 2010. Don’t forget Fido in the festivities—order your Puppy Pizza and get the pre-game rolling. Made with whole wheat flour, oats, cheddar and parmigiana cheeses, it’s enough to make your own mouth water. Your pup can enjoy a non-alcoholic brew too! Bowser Beer comes in two flavors: Cockadoodle Brew and Beefy Brown Ale with glucosamine. Doggie Brew comes in three flavors: Amber Bark, Doggie Lager, and Wet Snout Stout. FIND it: www.reddogspa.com/treats.html

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novadog magazine

Canine Fitness


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Tippy Has Some Success


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cage-free grooming bath ‘n dash walk-in nails boutique & eatery

Fairfax Towne Center


4 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

Megan Lee, Paws and Claws Photography

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ast spring and summer, we invited our readers to send in photos of their “couch potato” dogs in need of a fitness makeover. We hope you have been following our winning candidate, Tippy Peterson, on the NOVADog Blog. She is a four-year-old mixed breed from Herndon, VA. Tippy’s owner Amy Peterson has been blogging about the accomplishments and challenges of helping Tippy lose weight and become more fit. Tippy has actually lost weight thanks to a healthy diet, courtesy of Canine Caterers; a personalized fitness plan and dog walking from DogOn Fitness; Wellness visits and weigh-in appointments at Caring Hands Animal Hospital; and pampering from Bark ‘N Bubbles Dog Wash. Before the program began, Amy tells us that Tippy would bolt at the mention of a walk, terrified of loud Tippy, pictured here wearing the Thundershirt, a sounds and commotion in proven solution for dog anxiety, which was donated by Thundershirt owner Ben Feldman. Photographed her neighborhood. Thanks Paws and Claws Photography. The official to the training and patience by photographer of the NOVADog Canine Fitness of DogOn Fitness counselChallenge. ors and her speciallydesigned wrap made for dogs with anxiety, she is so much more confident on her walks, which is a key part to her weight loss plan. “I am truly grateful for the dog walkers of DogOn Fitness because without them Tippy would definitely not be getting the exercise she needs to meet her goals,” says Amy. Our vet consultant says that Tippy has about 12 pounds total to lose during the six month Fitness Challenge, which runs through March 2010. We invite our readers to check in at the NOVADog Blog to follow her progress. Just look for the NOVADog Canine Fitness Challenge logo! (http://2houndsproductions.com/blog/) ND


A d v i c e a n d i n f o r m a t i on on canine health issues

Moving Through the Golden Years Specialists from The Hope Center in Vienna, VA, offer tips for aging pets


enior pets give us many years of companionship, dedication, and love, and as they reach their Golden Years, they may need special attention to keep them healthy and happy. Pets show their age according to their breed, size, and lifestyle, so the standard thought of “one dog year for every seven human years” doesn’t always apply. As with humans, many conditions can develop later in life, and can be treated by being aware of the symptoms.

obesity, diabetes, joint problems, and endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism—also appear more often in senior dogs. These conditions each require a different diet, such as a low sodium diet for heart health and fewer calories for obesity management and hypothyroidism.

senior dogs who lose confidence on their feet. Gate off stairwells and place non-slip pads on slick surfaces to prevent slips and falls. Much like humans, dogs can suffer from arthritis, causing stiff joints and muscle aches. Provide a padded surface or bed to support joints and encourage movement during the day to minimize aches and pains. Adjust the routine. Shorter, more frequent walks can provide movement without overexertion (see sidebar on page 7 for additional exercise tips). Watch your dog for signs of fatigue or lameness and don’t push him too far. A 15-25 minute walk a few times a day is ideal. Some warm-up exercises and heat therapy for shoulders and hips, soft massage, and passive range of motion (bicycling motion of the rear legs) help improve circulation and prepare joints and muscles for exercise.


Heart Disease

floors and stairs can become a challenge for

Guidelines to maintain cardiac health for pets are similar to those for people:

Nutrition Weight control is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy. Dogs that maintain a healthy weight can live an estimated two years longer than those that are obese. As your pet’s activity decreases, switch to a balanced, senior formula diet without adding table scraps or lots of treats. Kidney health is also an important factor in aging dogs. If there is a concern about your dog’s kidney function, a food with lower protein and sodium could be helpful. Other medical conditions—such as heart disease,

Keep areas safe and comfortable. Slippery



H E A LT H W I S E • Begin weight control measures now. Avoiding weight gain takes stress off the heart. • Exercise daily. Have some fun with laser lights, play ball, or play dates to assist in weight loss. • Schedule routine checkups. Plan on at least twice yearly for pets over eight years of age. These visits include evaluation of the heart and lungs, plus blood and urine tests for overall wellness assessment. Ask your veterinarian for a referral to a veterinary cardiologist for a heart murmur or rhythm problem. Cardiac disease is treatable in pets, too.

Cancer While cuddling with your dog, you may discover a lump that was not there before. Although alarming to find, not all lumps are tumors. Infections, inflammation, or allergic reactions can appear similar. Any new lump or swelling that you find should be taken seriously and evaluated as early as possible. The earlier the problem is diagnosed by your veterinarian, the greater the chance to treat it. If you notice a new bump, monitor the area and, if it has not improved in three to five days, see your veterinarian. Your

6 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

veterinarian may look at and feel the area to get a general impression, but a sample of the mass is usually required to determine if it is malignant or benign. Fatty tumors, called lipomas, are common and rarely need treatment, but more aggressive growths may need to be controlled with treatments through a veterinary oncologist.

Eyes As dogs age their eyelid skin becomes thinner and less elastic. For most dogs this is not harmful, but this lax tissue could allow for the development of entropion (eyelids rolling inward). Some dogs will need surgical correction if the eyelid skin and fur rub the eye, causing irritation or corneal ulcers. Some may need topical lubricant therapy to reduce the irritation to the corneal surface. You may notice your dog’s eyes are more sensitive to bright sunlight. Atrophy of the iris muscle is a common change that reduces a dog’s ability to constrict their pupils, making them light sensitive. Age can affect the retina causing retinal degeneration. In most dogs with mild age-related retinal degeneration, you may not observe any vision changes.

Probably the most obvious age-related change affects the lenses. By age six or older, your dog’s eyes may develop a cloudiness to them caused by nuclear sclerosis or lenticular sclerosis. In humans, these conditions lead to the need for reading glasses. As we age, our lens continue to grow, but must fit in a very small space within the eye. You may notice your dog can not see as well up close. Small cataracts are common and may not affect vision, but large cataracts, a white, marble-like film inside the eye, can cause blindness. Some cataracts can be surgically removed to completely restore vision. If you notice vision or other health-related problems, see your veterinarian. ND This article was written with contributions from specialists at The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Visit them on the web at www.hopecenter.com. Contributors: Bonnie Lefbom, veterinary cardiologist; Conor McNeill, veterinary oncologist; Heidi Allen, resident in veterinary clinical nutrition; and Kasey Kephart, certified physical rehabilitation specialist.

Exercise Tips for the Aging Dog


eemingly with the blink of an eye, the puppy you scolded for chewing those Manolos begins to take stairs one at a time, napping on the couch becomes the activity of choice, and their muzzle takes on those distinguished gray highlights. As our dogs age, it’s common to assume they’d rather be left alone than roused from slumber for a walk or a game of fetch in the backyard. But lack of exercise can lead to obesity and cause an array of health problems just as it does in humans. The mental stimulation brought about by exercise is important as well. A busy brain is a happy brain! Modifying traditional activities can keep your mature doggy in top physical condition: The Classic Walk. At 10 months or 10 years, your dog will still love a nice walk with you, though you’ll need to make some adjustments for the latter. If your dog begins to display stiffness after walks, shorten the length and slow your pace, or consider breaking your daily walk up into two sessions. Take A Dip. Swimming offers a great cardiovascular and muscle strengthening workout that is non-weight bearing—a particularly good choice for dogs with arthritis or hip dysplasia. Mingling Doggy Style. Even if your dog isn’t the same pouncing player he once was this five-word sentence can still elicit an enthusiastic tail wag: “Wanna go to the park?” At any age, a trip to the dog park offers a chance to romp and socialize, plus the sights, sounds, and smells will offer valuable mental stimulation. Indoor Fun. For unpleasant weather conditions, keep the play indoors to help with sensitivity to hot and cold. A small room with adequate open space and carpet for grip can become your own playground for a modified game of fetch or tug-of-war. Some activity and play is always better than none. Consult your veterinarian before beginning any exercise regimen. Senior years needn’t mean sedentary years. Sharing exercise will add to a healthy, happy life together. ND Alexandra Bowens is the marketing manager for Dogtopia—a dog daycare, boarding, and spa facility with five locations in Northern Virginia. Dogs are free to romp and play in open playrooms, monitored by staff trained in pack management and dog behavior. Live webcams on the company’s web site (www.dogdaycare.com) offer a peek into the fun.

Diapers for Incontinence in Senior Pets Do-Rites® is a revolutionary, disposable dog diaper that actually fits your dog comfortably. The patented adjustable straps ensure that the diaper stays in place and won’t come off until you are ready to remove it. Constructed of soft, absorbent materials, it stretches to fit a dog’s body comfortably, and the clever diaper design keeps both liquid and solid waste from escaping. Do-Rites® premium dog diapers come in three small dog sizes: medium, large, and extra large. A six pack is $21. FIND it: www.do-rites.com

Advanced Care, 24/7 Compassion, 365 When Merlin needed his trachea repaired, Anne knew where to take him. The same place that enucleated his eye and pinned his broken leg. The Hope Center’s surgical department provides life-saving and life-enriching surgical procedures for your pet.

Now Anne just has to worry about what Merlin might get into next, and not what her plan is if he does. If you ever encounter an emergency or need specialist veterinary care, do what Anne did and put your pets’ paws in our hands.

24/7 Emergency • Internal Medicine • Ophthalmology Oncology • CT Scanning • Cardiology • Surgery


703-281-5121 140 Park Street SE Vienna, VA


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A n s w e r s t o y o u r behavior and training questions

Brush Up on Training in the New Year B y Ve r o n i c a S a n c h e z

My three-year-old mixed-breed dog is sweet and friendly but has some annoying behaviors. She gets into the trash, jumps up on visitors, and it often takes many repetitions for her to listen. I took a great dog training class years ago and it seems like my dog forgot everything. Any suggestions? QUESTION

What about making ANSWER a New Year’s resolution to brush up on your dog’s training skills? Like getting in shape, lifestyle changes and ongoing practice are needed in order to maintain improvements in your dog’s behavior. Below are three important keys to a wellbehaved pet: 1. Thoroughly train desired behaviors. You may have started training a particular skill but never really spent time to solidify the behavior. Do not assume that your dog has truly learned all the basics. Take time to patiently re-teach weak behaviors from scratch. Try setting aside 15 to 30 minutes to work on your training goals every day. Prioritize and just work on one or two goals at a time. Try having your dog earn part of her dinner through training practice for several weeks. Whatever food is left after your training practice you can put in her bowl.

Veronica Sanchez, M.Ed. CPDT, CABC, is a dog trainer and behavior consultant in Northern Virginia. Visit www. cooperativepaws.com for more information.

8 Northern Virginia Dog

2. Set your dog up to succeed. Practiced behavior gets better. This goes both ways, so if your dog has the opportunity to practice behaviors you do not like, those unwanted behaviors will continue. If your dog gets into the trash, practice rewarding the command “leave it” and prevent your dog from having opportu| Winter 2010

nities to get into the trash. Think ahead to hinder your dog from practicing bad habits. Jumping on people is so exciting that the behavior tends to self-perpetuate. Keep a leash by the doorway so you can quickly put your dog

on leash before people enter your home and teach visitors not to interact with your dog unless “four are on the floor.” 3. Incorporate training practice into your routines. Rewarding behaviors intermittently with treats will maintain your dog’s training skills over time. Set up containers with treats throughout your home, so you are always ready to reinforce desired behavior. If you purchase a treat tote that also holds clean up bags and your keys, you’ll remember to bring treats with you on walks. Reward with non-food rewards by having your dog work for other things she enjoys. For instance, ask your dog to sit at doorways before opening the door. Anything your dog likes can be used as a reward. Ask your dog to sit before letting her greet a friendly dog, putting her leash on, tossing a ball, and so forth. If “sit“ is easy, try asking your dog to “lie down” or even “stay“ instead. While training your dog requires some self-discipline, it is more fun than dieting and exercise. As an added bonus, you might find yourself getting healthier because of the extra time you spend walking and playing with your dog. Have fun working on your dog training resolutions and have a wonderful New Year with your pooch! ND


E-mail your dog behavior questions to Veronica Sanchez at askdogexpert@cooperativepaws.com. We regret that we can’t answer each e-mail personally. The most interesting and timely topics will be chosen for review in this column. Questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.


Ti p s , p r o d u c t s , a n d i n s i g h t s f o r greener living

Collars & Leashes Fashion meets (eco-)friendly Earthdog collars

By Julie t F a r m e r


here are no shortage of cute and fun dog collars and leashes, but some are “greener” than others. Here are our top picks—all you need to do is choose an ensemble that meets your needs, then head out with your canine companion.

Wagging Green (www.wagginggreen.com) makes all natural, un-dyed 100 percent bamboo fiber collars, as well as dedicates 5 percent of its profits to environmental issues. The Melbourne, FL, company has a patent for the process of creating bamboo fiber webbing that has a 2,000 lb breaking strength (comparable to standard nylon webbing), is stronger than cotton, and doesn’t stretch. Bamboo fiber is also organic, renewable, soft, bio-degradable, naturally anti-bacterial, and hypoallergenic. Wagging Green owners Sonya and Sean Ryan offer three collar/leash “collections”: the Solid Bamboo Collection ($16.99 to $18.99 for collars, and $22.99 for leashes); the Save the Earth Collection, spotlighting causes such as honey bees, solar energy, and spay/ neuter programs (collars $10.99 to $21, and leashes $24.99); and the Eco-Hip Dog Collection ($21.99 for collars and $29.99 for leashes). When Earthdog owners Dave and Kym Colella of Brentwood, TN, aren’t busy rescuing wolfhounds and other canines, they are crafting hemp collars and leashes for their company (www.earthdog.com). Earthdog donates 10 percent of its profits to kody’s fund (www.kodysfund.org), a nonprofit that funds spay and neuter programs. Earthdog collars are hypoallergenic, machine washable, and available in adjustable, buckle designs with quick-release hardware, and martingale styles. Matching leads are available in 4’ and 6’ lengths. Earthdog hemp collars feature triplelayered hemp canvas construction finished in 19 decorative styles ranging from extra-small to large (7” to 26”). Decorative, adjustable and martingale collars range from $20 to $25 ($19 for x-small), and $24

to $28 for leashes; solid hemp adjustable and martingale collars range from $17 to $19, and leashes $22 to $26.

Krebs Recycle (www.krebsrecycle.com) located in Washington state, boasts the motto “Get a new leash on life,” and they aren’t kidding. The company makes dog leashes from climbing rope that’s been retired for safety reasons. The leashes are up-cycled, so unlike recycled products that require carbon-intensive processes to turn them into something else, Krebs takes something that already exists, is in pretty good shape, and turns it into something useful—a dog leash. Krebs leashes are handmade. Prices are $13 for a 2’ heeler, $14 for a 4’ leash, and $15 for a 6’ leash. All leashes are available in red, blue, orange, and yellow.

Annie’s Sweatshop

(www. anniessweatshop.com) in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, is the home of upcycler Annie, who uses discarded working hardware (typically, once a collar or leash is unfashionable or the material breaks down, the hardware is tossed away) and soft, renewable cotton webbing that’s biodegradable, as well as repurposed tablecloths, pillowcases, and clothing to create collars. (If you recycle your old collar parts with her, you get a $5 rebate.) And FYI—the “sweatshop” reference is nothing more than an endearment. The collars are available in many colors and prints, and range in price from $23 for a 1” renewable collar and $28 for the matching 4’ leash, to $28 for a 1” recycled necktie collar and $33 for the matching 4’ leash. These four companies prove that you can have it all—style, function, and affordability—all wrapped up in eco-friendly canine collars and leashes. ND Annie’s Sweatshop collar and leash set

Stack of Wagging Green collars

Juliet Farmer has contributed pet-related stories to numerous publications and web sites. She and her husband live in Sacramento, CA, with their retired racing greyhound and two cats.




D o g - f r i e n d l y s p a ces in Northern Virginia and beyond

Pet Owners Paradise

The Super Pet Expo is back in town by Jessica Blaszczak


t’s that time of the year again! Time for the annual Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, VA, and this pet-lover couldn’t be more excited. Time for some dogpetting, cat-toy buying, and ferret-coveting. (Man, I love those playful little critters!) NOVAdog spoke to Eric Udler, the director of the Super Pet Expo, to get a little insider information on what’s in store for us pet people this year. “Super Pet Expo is a fun-filled event in which the entire family—including your four-legged friends—will When: March 19–21, 2010

IF YOU GO: Super Pet Expo, now in its 10th year, is a great place to get out with your whole family including your leashed, well-behaved pets.

Where: Dulles Expo Center 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center Chantilly, VA 20153

Kids get in free when you purchase an adult ticket online at www.superpetexpo.com. Use discount code NOVA10 and save 20 percent.

Show Hours: Friday, March 19, 2010 4 pm - 9 pm Saturday, March 20, 2010 10 am - 7 pm Sunday, March 21, 2010 10 am - 5 pm

10 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter Summer 2010 2009

have an enjoyable time,” says Udler. “Pet owners will be able to shop for the coolest pet products and services. We have a ton of animal entertainment and education, and have I mentioned the world’s largest indoor puppy playground, sponsored by Dogtopia Dog Daycare?”

An Action-Packed Weekend There is so much to do and see, you won’t want to miss any of it. Let’s start with my personal favorite, the shopping! Pick up some gourmet doggy biscuits at Annie’s Dog Bakery and Boutique, shop for a handmade harness at Hug-A-Dog Harness, and get that beautiful, new pet bed you and Fido have always dreamed about at Bed Time Tails. Then, give your credit card a break and catch a show. Join Laurie Williams and Andrew from the CBS reality show, Greatest American Dog as they lead the Mighty Mites “teacup” dog agility team. Or, watch Jessie and James and their mischievous mutts in “Mutts Gone


Nuts,” a comedy dog thrill show that will have you begging for more. Continue the thrills and visit with pet communicators Suzanne and Chuck Fisher. Or, experience the cool, creepiness of the venomous snake exhibit. Plus, if you have any questions about your pet’s behavior, representatives from the International Association of Canine Professionals will be around to answer all of your questions. Oh, and don’t worry, bird-lovers. The Super Pet Expo would never leave you out. Bailey Bird Foundation, a non-profit education, rescue, and rehabilitation and adoption service organization, will be happy to speak with you about your own lovable birds or about adopting a new bird. If I sound stoked, well, it’s because I am! And I’m not the only one. “The Super Pet expo is amazing,” says Julie Futrovsky of Rockville, MD. My dog, Otis, thinks he has died and gone to heaven with the hundreds of vendors and all of the great treats available. There is literally every kind of cool and crazy pet product you can imagine with the opportunity to try out the latest and greatest pet gadgets. I also love and appreciate the Super Pet Expo because in attendance are a number of animal rescue organizations.” And speaking of rescue organizations, Friends of Homeless Animals, Blue Ridge Bull Terrier Club, Inc., Golden Retriever Rescue, and Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League and many other rescues and shelters will all be on hand to help place some adorable dogs in the loving and forever homes they deserve.

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Something for Everyone Walking into the event is always a thrill. A huge, open building full of nothing but pet-related items like fashionable dog collars, reptile enclosures, hamster environments, cat scratching posts, bird toys, animal shows … did I leave out anything? Well, I’m sure I have. The amount of pet stuff available at the Super Pet Expo is staggering! After all, they don’t call it “super” for nothing. But, don’t let that overwhelm you. When you visit the Dulles Expo Center on March 19-21, just plan on having a good time with like-minded animal lovers. So, bring along your pet and don’t forget the leash! Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend. ND Jessica Blaszczak lives in Arlington, VA with her husband and three beautiful children (one Border collie and two tabby cats!). She works as a professional freelance writer and has written articles for both multimillion dollar corporations and small non-profits. Fan us on Facebook (facebook.com/novadog) for a chance to win one of 20 free admission passes to the Super Pet Expo! To enter, just post a comment to the wall. We’ll choose the winners at random from posts.

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Three Couples Say “I Do” to Putting the Pooch in the Wedding Party By Amanda Long

12 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010


hey won’t complain about the bridesmaids’ dresses not fitting right, nor get drunk at the reception and hit on your college roommate. They won’t subject you to wearing a tiara at your bachelorette party, nor hire a stripper when you’ve begged them not to. And they’ll happily walk down the aisle with your most single of friends, your creepiest of cousins, and your most nervous of nephews. The more you think about it, dogs really are the perfect friends to have in your wedding. We caught up with three local couples who have shared their wedding days with their dogs. While each couple shares a bond with their dog as unique as the one they share with each other, the common thread pulling the canines into the ceremony is the dogs’ central role in their relationships. According to an American Kennel Club survey, 18 percent of dog owners have included (or would include) their dogs in their wedding ceremonies. Couples under 30 are 17 percent more likely than those 60 and older to say “I do” with their dogs in tow. Our couples insist they were following their hearts, not trends, when they told their parents, their preacher, and a few eye-rolling wedding planners that a dog would walk down the aisle before the bride. “The bottom line is you’re not just marrying the twolegged; you’re marrying the four-legged one as well,” says Stephen Dickstein, who married his bipedal bride, Stephanie, with five dogs at their sides.

E V O Melissa, Nick, and Bulldog Mack, on their wedding day in Tampa, Florida.

Photo by Cascades Photography—also known as Kristi and Gary—a husband and wife team who specialize in photojournalistic portraits and event photography. Always prepared to go the distance, they make every effort to capture smiles from every family member (even those with four legs!) Tennis balls and Milk-Bones not included. To schedule an appointment visit www.cascadesphoto.com.

Boy Meets Girl, Girl Meets Mack the Bulldog


n English Bulldog might not sound like the most practical high school graduation gift, but don’t tell that to Nick Snyder. His pup Mack proved to play a much more pivotal role in his future than any laptop, savings bond, or other more traditional gift possibly could. During his sophomore year at Florida State University, Nick was working at Staples and falling for a coworker and fellow Seminole Melissa McCorkle. She, however, saw just another nice-enough, goofy guy restocking jumbo packs of coffee filters and printer paper—until a fateful visit from Nick’s mom and Mack. “Nick pursued me almost immediately, even telling me he loved me and using every cheesy pickup line within the first few days of meeting me,” says Melissa, who was pining for her own dog back home in Virginia. “I wanted nothing to do with him, until I saw he had Mack.” The two started spending more time together, playing, cuddling—and occasionally letting Nick in on the fun. “Eventually,” she says, “I realized Nick was awesome, too.” The couple dated through college, and Nick moved to Alexandria to live with Melissa in 2006. When he popped the question, Nick had just two requests for their big day: keep tuxedos out, and put Mack in. Melissa easily jettisoned the formal wear, but wasn’t immediately thrilled with the idea of a 70-pound Bulldog hauling his wiggly butt down the aisle. She worried that having a dog in the ceremony might lessen its meaning or make people think they weren’t taking their commitment seriously. But when she tried to picture the day without him, “it just didn’t seem right.” “Mack is the reason we’re together,” she says. “He’s part of our story. How could we leave him out of this important chapter?” Or, as Nick says, “He does everything else with us; it would have felt weird to not have him there.”

A Wrinkle in Their Plans The two made careful plans for Mack to fit into their laid-back June 12, 2009, ceremony at a private resort in Tampa. Nick asked his brother to be the best man, as well as the man in charge of man’s best friend, keeping Mack

14 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

Stephanie and Stephen’s dogs Jake and Tee participated on their wedding day.

occupied, fed, relieved, and ready to roll when the music started. Melissa’s four-yearold nephew, Jeremiah, happily took the job of Mack’s escort down the aisle. They asked their florist to make a champagne-colored dog sash to match the bridesmaid dresses and the caterer to provide a 25-pound bag of ice to keep Mack cool on the beach. There was just one glitch, and it’s a critical lesson for anybody planning to include dogs in a ceremony: The venue had a “no pets” policy that Melissa didn’t discover until she casually mentioned Mack to the resort coordinator later in the planning process. Faced with the possibility of leaving the Bulldog at home, Melissa bared her teeth. “I said, ‘Look, we’re about to spend a lot of money at your resort and bring a lot of people here. We’re not tied to this location, but we are tied to having Mack in the wedding.’” Her bark had some bite. The no-pets rule was suspended, but only for the outdoor ceremony. There would be no dog bed in the bridal suite, no puppy treats at the reception. On the day of the event, Mack was the calmest of attendees. A grandson of one of the University of Georgia’s famed bulldog mascots, Mack wasn’t a bit rattled by the crowd. As he made his way down the aisle, he’d spot people he recognized and just casually mosey over to say hi (until Jeremiah would grab his neck and issue a stern “No”). Mack, a “grumpy, but sweet” grandpa to their Labrador puppy, continues to play a key

role in the couple’s life, recently “test driving” backseats for a new family car. “Our life does revolve around our dog sometimes,” Nick says, “but we owe him.”

The Barky Bunch


few years ago, single and falling in love, Stephanie Alleman heard the words every single dog owner fears: “It’s either the dogs or me.” She chose her three Tibetan Spaniels. That’s one of the reasons she re-entered the dating scene via AnimalAttraction.com, a D.C.-based dating site designed specifically for singles who love pets. There, she met Stephen Dickstein, owner of dogs Jake and Tee and an employee of Montgomery County Animal Services. Their first date revealed another shared animal attraction: Both were Disney fanatics. When they got engaged in 2008, the couple initially considered having their fairytale wedding at the Magic Kingdom, but the no-pets policy was a deal breaker. Instead, Stephen and Stephanie chose their Frederick, MD, backyard, where her pooches Kiri, Travis, and Toby joined Tee and Jake for a blessing of the animals at the beginning of the ceremony. The five dogs stayed at their sides for most of the remainder of the event. “Travis wandered off a little toward the end; he was always a free spirit, and, plus, his leash broke after Toby chewed through it!”

Stephanie says. “No humans could have done their jobs better.” She is, however, thankful for the humans who shared in leash duty during the ceremony and helped entertain the dogs at the reception—necessary attendants to add to your wedding party if you have pets involved. Jake and Travis died in early 2009. Shortly thereafter, the Dicksteins and their three “four-legged kids” moved closer to Mickey territory in Central Florida. They found the perfect little house in a nice neighborhood with a pool—but passed it up because the dogs needed more yard space.

The Other Woman


hen Randee Young and Jonathan Wittkopf began dating, Jonathan would come over to her Arlington apartment while she was working to hang out with her roommate, Ellie. When he and his friends would have a house party, Ellie was always the life of it. And when Randee wanted some alone time with her new boyfriend, she often had to get him off the floor, where he was cuddling with Ellie, her black Labrador. “Jonathan fell in the love with Miss Ellie before he fell in love with me,” Randee says.

Randee and Jonathan with their dog Ellie at Historic Whitehall Manor in Bluemont, VA.



Amanda Long is a trade magazine editor, freelance writer, and beagle-zilla. Her wedding was dog-free, but so was her life when she got married.

Jeff Haden of Blackbird Images

“But, it’s a good thing, because if Ellie didn’t approve, then we probably wouldn’t be talking to you right now.” When the couple began planning their October 2005 wedding at Historic Whitehall Manor in Bluemont, VA, they wanted Ellie involved as much as possible. The caterer at Whitehall was “super flexible about having a dog inside—as long as someone was on bathroom duty,” Randee says. Ellie’s smiling mug set the tone on the Save the Date card, and that same big ol’ face met the minister before the ceremony for a blessing. Ellie was the ring bearer with her own groomsman. “She absolutely thought this was a big party for her,” Jonathan says. “She was hamming it up and loving the attention.” In fact, that excitement added some unexpected musical accompaniment to the vows. Ellie’s loud, distinctive panting could be heard from the back row. “She was right there at our feet, and she wanted everyone to know it.” Ellie died in September 2008, but not before welcoming baby Tucker to the family. “She was so protective of him, just as she’d been of Randee,” Jonathan says. The couple adopted Stella, a Chocolate Lab, a few months later, and late last year, Stella helped welcomed baby Braden to the growing Wittkopf family. ND

Alexandra and Brian’s dogs Kennedy the Boston Terrier, and Ellie the Chocolate Lab joined the ceremony after the vows.

PICTURE PERFECT Alexandra Bowens-Mason, a marketing manager with Dogtopia Daycare, held her ceremony at Fox Hill Bed and Breakfast in Lexington, VA. It was the very first vacation she and (now) husband Brian took together as a couple. (Plus the place is dog friendly—so a perfect romantic setting for their wedding.) When Brian met Alexandra, she had Kennedy and he had Ellie. They were equally important in their lives and many first dates involved bringing the dogs along—trips to Alexandria, hiking in the Shenandoahs, visiting the lake. “It seemed wholly unnatural to leave them out of this big step,” says Alexandra. “The only thing I’d mention with dogs is keeping an eye on them—we actually chose to have them join the festivities after the vows. It turned out to be a good idea, because once Raleigh, a friend’s Pomeranian in attendance, greeted me he promptly sniffed my dress, found something about it he found distasteful and went to raise his leg on me!” Dogs, no matter how much we love them, can be a tad unpredictable, so if you plan to involve them in your wedding day, you should be prepared. Dogs aren’t interested in your perfect plan for the day, so sitting quietly or posing for pictures may not be in their plans. “For us, it worked out wonderfully and I loved having Kennedy with me to settle those wedding day jitters, says Alexandra. “For Kennedy, it was just another day with mom and dad.”

Walking Your Dog Down the Aisle By Hilary Bolea Having a dog in your wedding ceremony is risky, but like most things in life, good planning is the key to success. Know Thyself. No matter how well you plan, weddings are full of variables you can’t control— the weather, the food, your mother-in-law. If the thought of things not going precisely according to plan makes you hyperventilate, you may want to consider leaving your pup at home with her favorite toy.

Honestly Assess Your Dog’s Behavior. If your dog likes to

greet strangers by jumping, barking, lunging, or cowering, a wedding ceremony may not

16 Northern Virginia Dog

be the place for him. Consider having him at the rehearsal instead.

Practice, Practice, Practice.

Whoever will handle your dog on your wedding day should practice walking your dog in crowded locations. The most important place to practice is at your wedding venue, just before the ceremony begins. This will get your dog used to the sights and smells of the assembled guests, so she won’t be so fascinated (or terrified) when it’s time to walk down the aisle. Also, make sure she’s used to the sound and vibrations of a pipe organ.

| Winter 2010

A Tired Dog is a Calm Dog. Your dog should get 10 minutes of vigorous play before the ceremony begins to work out extra energy. This means running, chasing, and playing tug—not a leash-walk. Skip the Milk-Bones. Your handler should have a pocket full of very high-value treats, like tiny pieces of cheese or cooked chicken. When your dog sees you, his first impulse will be to reconnect with you, and you need a powerful incentive for him to stay focused on the handler. Have a Backup Plan. Weddings are full of new sights, sounds,

and smells, and that can overwhelm even the best-behaved dog. Have a Plan B—a place where your handler can take your dog if she starts behaving in unexpected ways. A dog-friendly wedding can be a wonderful thing, as long as you prepare for the unexpected, and have a trustworthy friend lined up to handle any minor emergencies. Hilary Bolea, is a certified professional dog trainer and owner of Old Town Dog Behavior. She lives in Alexandria with her husband Brent, three rescue cats, and their Yellow Lab mix Bagel. Contact her at www. oldtowndogs.com.

home The way

Pilots Give Dogs a New Leash on Life

By Kelly Pike L to R: Julian the Cocker Spaniel, was flown by pilot Steve Shivers to his rescue home in Maryland. Muzzles, a Shar-Pei mix was found on the streets of Philadelphia with his sister. They do not know how he lost his leg, but he gets around just fine! He is currently in a foster home and available for adoption through Shar Pei rescue of Virginia. This little Beagle had no name at the time of the transport but was saved by pilot John Lee along with five other dogs from a high-kill shelter in Ashland, KY. They were flown to New Jersey where a big adoption event was held and four out of the five dogs on the transport were adopted right away.


t was a week before Thanksgiving, and things weren’t looking good for Sawyer or Huck. Sawyer, a handsome Black Lab, had been turned in by his owner, and Huck, a sweet Chocolate Lab, had been found as a stray. They were waiting for new families at a high-kill shelter in rural North Carolina. But time, as it often does, was running out. With literally a day left, two volunteers plucked the pair from the shelter and found them a foster home—only it was 300 miles away in Silver Spring, MD. Normally that would have meant an intensive six-hour car ride, but thanks to the volunteer aviators of Pilots N Paws who swooped in, Sawyer and Huck took to the friendly skies instead. Hitching a ride with Williamsburg, VA-based pilot Nick O’Connell and his Cherokee 180 single-

engine plane, Huck and Sawyer flew to Chesterfield County Airport outside of Richmond and then took a connecting flight to Silver Spring with pilot Michele McGuire. Neither O’Connell nor McGuire were compensated for their time, the use of their plane, or fuel. They simply did it out of love.

Rewarding Experiences O’Connell and McGuire are just two of more than 1,000 pilots who are members of Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit organization that helps connect animal rescue groups with pilots who are willing to transport homeless animals. Using the Pilots N Paws online message board (www.pilotsnpaws.org), rescue groups can make transport requests, that volunteer pilots then review. If the pilots are able to take on the mission, they contact the groups directly www.novadogmagazine.com


ABOVE: Sarah Owens has rescued 23 dogs and a cat over nine flights. One of her favorites is Puggy, a Puggle she flew to Sandy Spring, OK, to a forever home with the Martin family in Dallas, TX. OPPOSITE PAGE: Puggy’s new home with the Martins’ started on a happy note, with a great big welcome at the airport as the plane landed. Macy Martin, dressed in her princess attire, shows off Puggy’s new front yard.

Volunteer Information

and work out the arrangements—sometimes teaming up with other pilots to divide a long trip into several short flights. “You won’t find a more rewarding flying experience,” says O’Connell, who has flown more than 30 dogs to new homes and added one more to his pack along the way. “I’m really proud to be a part of this organization.” Pilots N Paws is the pet project of animal rescue enthusiast Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg. Boies was planning to drive 12 hours from her home in South Carolina to Tallahassee, FL, so she could adopt a Dober-

Pilots and rescue groups interested in Pilots N Paws can log onto www.pilotsnpaws.org. The site includes a message board with sections for Animals Needing Transport and Pilots Volunteering Services. Pilots can respond to transport requests or volunteer their services. Each pilot works individually with the rescue groups to coordinate details of the trip. They also get to decide which missions to fly and when. Trips can be planned days in advance or occur at the last minute. Rescue groups should know most pilots fly small aircraft and limit their flights to 150 to 300 nautical miles. That means cross-country transports are unlikely, though some pilots are willing to link up with other pilots for a multi-leg journey. Pilots’ aircrafts vary and some pilots can fly just one or two animals while others can fly 18. Rescues also need to be flexible: Weather conditions can change travel plans at the last minute.

18 Northern Virginia Dog

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man Pinscher when Wehrenberg offered to pick up the dog with his plane. It was such a good experience for Wehrenberg, and the dog arrived so much less stressed than if he had been transported over ground, that Wehrenberg and Boies decided to start Pilots N Paws to help get other pilots involved in animal rescue. “We knew if we could get these adoptable animals moved to others areas we could find adoptive homes. The problem was we only had ground transport,” says Boies. “And while the “road warriors” who transport animals are critical to animal rescue, there were always more animals to move. We realized pilots could fill that need.” That was in February 2008. Today thousands of dogs have been flown to new homes. Most of them come from shelters in Southern states with high euthanasia rates, but passengers have also included service dogs and those in need of medical attention.

Making a Difference One of the pilots carrying canines in the cockpit is Sarah Owens of Kansas City, KS.

An air traffic controller with two beagles, Owens has rescued 23 dogs and a cat over nine flights. With each flight, Owens documents the trip with pictures of her passengers. Afterwards she gives the photos to the dog’s new shelter or owner. In return, she often receives thank-you notes and pictures from adoptive families—a big perk of the job. One of her favorites is a photo of Puggy, a Puggle she flew to Sandy Spring, OK. In the picture, Puggy is sitting in her new front yard with her new owner: a little girl in a pink princess dress. “I love seeing Puggy with her new owner. They both look so happy,” she says. But happiness isn’t the only way pilots benefit. Although flying isn’t cheap, with some flights costing hundreds of dollars in fuel, the flights are tax deductible thanks to Pilots N Paws’ status as a 501(c)(3) corpora-

tion. Also, pilots are required to log a certain number of hours each year to keep their licenses current. Transporting dogs helps them to fulfill the requirement and build more experience. Chris Adams of Hoschton, GA, has always wanted to participate in Angel Flights, an organization of pilots that provides free air transportation for people with a medical need, but he doesn’t have the necessary hours of flight experience. Transporting pets through Pilots N Paws is helping him gain the experience he needs while giving him a sense of purpose. “A lot of the stories you see are dogs looking to get away from kill shelters to fosters or permanent adoption. Others are dogs who need surgery or medical attention that local facilities can’t provide,” says Adams. “Looking at some of the pictures you feel so bad, so

Chris Adams of Hoschton, GA, and his wife Jessica transported Harry, a Pit Bull, and Lilly, a Lab mix, to their new home.

if we can be a small part of helping them, it makes us feel good.” The organization is a perfect fit for Adams who, along with his wife Jessica, is the owner of six dogs, including four former strays. On a recent flight, Chris Adams piloted the aircraft while Jessica watched over passengers Lilly, a Lab mix puppy, and Harry, a Pit Bull. Initially nervous about flying with a 50pound dog, both Jessica and Harry relaxed in flight when the sleepy dog stretched out in the sunny backseat.

A Relaxed Flight Calm passengers are the norm for Pilots N Paws, as the pilots will tell you. “The dogs seem to like flying,” says O’Connell, who reports that Sawyer fell fast asleep while sitting straight up on his flight. “Part of it is the altitude, and the vibration and noise of the engine puts them to sleep.” Owens thinks the dogs also relax due to intuition. “Sometimes I think they know they are going someplace better,” she says. Like all rescue groups, the volunteers of Pilots N Paws hope that pet owners will become more responsible about spaying and neutering their pets so one day their services won’t be needed. Until then, they’ll keep flying the pet-friendly skies. “These are average, everyday working people who love to fly,” says Boies of the pilots who have aided thousands of animals. “They want to make a difference, and this is how they are choosing to do it.” ND Kelly Pike is a freelance writer in Annandale, VA. When she’s not busy writing about business and finance, she and her husband enjoy jaunty walks with their Puggle, Lola. www.novadogmagazine.com



L i t e r a t u r e , a r t s , a n d n e w media

literature review • by ingrid king

Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life


nce in every dog lover’s life, if you’re lucky, that special once-in-a-lifetime dog comes along. You know this relationship is golden, a gift from the spirit world. You have found a soul mate.” So begins Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to share such a special relationship with an animal will find ourselves going down memory lane as we savor this book. Maggie enriched the author’s life in ways she never could have imagined when she took the little black Lab puppy home with her. Maggie’s joyful, exuberant spirit touches all who come into contact with her. After several happy years together, Dawn Kairns discovers a small lump on Maggie’s chest. It turns out to be a mast cell tumor, a form of cancer. The tumor is removed. After getting over the initial shock of this diagnosis, Kairns begins exploring the world of holistic pet care. The chapter titled “What’s Really Best for Our Pets” provides excellent information on how diet and environment can and do influence our pets’ health. Kairns makes changes in Maggie’s diet and lifestyle based on her research, and, for several years, Maggie thrives. Then Kairns discovers another mass on Maggie’s throat. This discovery is followed by a nightmare round of veterinary visits and misdiagnoses, until Maggie’s tumor is finally identified to be thyroid cancer. The author shares with great

Lee Anderson

fine art black & white pet portraiture


20 Northern Virginia Dog

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By Dawn Kairns

detail and emotional openness how she dealt with this devastating pronouncement and the subsequent treatment. Maggie loses her battle with the disease, and Kairns is left to confront not only her profound grief, but also the realization that she intuitively knew long before Maggie was diagnosed that something was wrong. She realizes that she did not trust her intuition while Maggie was still alive, which compounds her grief. Reading the author’s account of how she coped with her loss will no doubt serve as an inspiration and provide counsel and wisdom for others who are struggling with the loss of a beloved pet. Ultimately, this book shows us how deep the connection between humans and animals runs, and how our animal friends are so much more than just pets. They are spiritual beings who are on this planet to teach us about joy. ND Ingrid King is the author of Buckley’s Story: Lessons From a Feline Master Teacher. A former veterinary hospital manager turned writer, she publishes the e-zine News for You and Your Pet, covering topics ranging from conscious living to holistic and alternative health. She shares her experiences of consciously creating a joyful, happy, and healthy life for pets and people on her popular blog, The Conscious Cat. Ingrid lives in Northern Virginia with her tortoiseshell cat, Amber. Visit www.ingridking.com .

������� April 2-4, 2010

Dogtown: The Happiest Canine Community The Volunteer Experience at Best Friends Animal Santuary B y Ly dia Best forever home, they will live their lives surrounded by love and compassion. I have visited many shelter facilities that left me with a hopeless feeling— wanting to take each and every resident home with me. At Best Friends, I know my new friends are in good hands until I can return to volunteer again. ND

for the

Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase a special USDAA event Three rings of Agility Competition for three days

Lyda Best, (pictured above) lives in Leesburg, VA, and owns Everything and the Dog, a company providing dog walking, pet sitting, and errand services to the Northern Virginia area. Reach her at www.everythingandthedog.com

M. Nicole Fischer

I’ve browsed the web site, received the e-newsletters, and, like millions of others across the country, watched the first season of Dogtown on the National Geographic Channel. But none of these things prepared me for my journey to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last Fall. Located on 33,000 acres in the majestic red-rock country of southern Utah, approximately 1,700 dogs, cats, birds, horses, and other creatures are cared for at this no kill shelter. Each grouping of animals has a section of the sanctuary, where they are housed in heated and cooled buildings. They receive the best food, vet care, training, and rehabilitation—all in an effort to find them a forever home. Only a small number of animals never leave, living out their lives at this remarkable facility. I was fortunate to be one of approximately 20,000 volunteers who visit yearly. I took a tour of the whole facility but spent my days at Dogtown, where I walked, fed, and loved about two dozen pups. Some of the dogs were The Vicktory Dogs, rescued from the horrible conditions at Michael Vick’s dog-fighting facility in Virginia. These dogs, by court order, will spend their lives with Best Friends, unless they have passed rigorous testing, Canine Good Citizen exams, and are approved for new and loving homes. Several of these wonderful and truly remarkable dogs have gone on to find just that—a forever home where they will be loved and never abused again. The unique volunteer program allowed me to take dogs on hikes through the canyon during the day, and each night I was able to spend the night with one in my hotel. Best Friends uses volunteer feedback to find a perfectly-matched family for each of the animals. I left Best Friends with hope and the comfort of knowing that even if the animals in residence do not find a perfect

in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Tournament Events Premiering the As seen on the National Geographic Channel—

Now a book! Dogtown takes you behind the scenes of the hit National Geographic television series to chronicle some of the most memorable cases, including Georgia, a Pit Bull once owned by pro football player Michael Vick. Every resident of Dogtown has a story, including the staff, volunteers, and adopters whose lives have been forever enriched by the dogs they set out to rescue. Always moving, sometimes heartbreaking, ultimately inspiring, the stories of Dogtown will stay with you long after you’ve put down the book. Available at http://shop.nationalgeographic.com $26

Triathlon Class with a

$5000 purse! Come watch the action, and shop for the very best dog products from our vendors! MidA-AgilityShowcase.com

Sponsorships & Vendors Invited

Thanks to our Sponsors:

WIN A COPY! Fan us on Facebook (facebook. com/novadog) for chances to win a copy of Dogtown. (Winners picked at random from posts.)




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new media

Yes, There’s an App for That Dogbook F ollowing the popularity of the Dogbook

Facebook application, its creator, Poolhouse, has launched the Dogbook iPhone application, which is now available as a free download at the iTunes store. “Having Dogbook on your iPhone allows you to always have your dog with you, connect with other dog owners, and gives you constant access to a number of resources like finding a dog park nearest to you,” says co-creator Alexandre Roche. Features of the application include photo uploads, lists other Dogbook users who are near you, and locates nearby dog parks no matter where you are in the world. Lost a dog? You can use the application’s “Arf Alert” to send a message to all Dogbook users within a nine mile radius with a photo and your contact information. Found a dog? Call the happy owner right from your phone.

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| Winter 2010

iPhone Applications that get two paws up

“Posting your lost dog’s photo on a telephone pole is now a thing of the past as a way to find your favorite friend,” says Geoffrey Roche, Dogbook co-creator. “Posting a photo on ‘Arf Alerts’ takes all the great features of the iPhone, like GPS, and combines them with our 2 million strong user base to save the day for your dog.” Dogbook is the creation of Canadian father and son team Geoffrey Roche and Alexandre Roche. Poolhouse developed the Dogbook iPhone application in conjunction with Five Mobile. The Dogbook Facebook application has over 2 million users and has been featured on ABC World News, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and BBC.

Rescue Cleaner This iPhone application is pure entertainment and benefits animal rescue organiza-

tions. It features videos of six dogs, two cats, and a ferret that are put to work inside your mobile device cleaning your screen with their tongues. Animals that star in Rescue Cleaner are rescue dogs and cats, none of which were harmed in any way during the making of the application. iPhone owners should take note that the animals are not actually touching the screen, so the drool used in production of the videos will not cause water damage to the device! Best of all, Rescue Cleaner is an app with heart. Creator Silver Lining Ideas donates 25 percent of all proceeds from revenue generated by Rescue Cleaner to rescue organizations nationwide. Of the more than 100,000 apps on the iTunes App store, no other application donates funds to help animal rescue organizations. Rescue Cleaner’s cost per download is $1.99 (http://appstore/rescuecleaner). ND


A g l i m p s e i n t o t h e l i f e o f Northern Virginia dogs



Loved by Victoria in Alexandria


Loved by Liz & Rhett in Vienna




Loved by Dessia in Fairfax


5. HUCKLEBERRY HOUND Loved by Bobak in Herndon




Loved by John & Ron in Springfield


Loved by John & Ron in Springfield



Loved by Tina in Fairfax



Loved by Helene in Arlington



Loved by Tom & Beth in Falls Church


Loved by Julie & Katie in Centreville



Loved by Ruchi in Chantilly


Loved by Laura in Alexandria



Loved by Melissa & David in Springfield



Loved by Suz in Falls Church




Hey, where’s my dog? If you submitted a photo, and don’t see it here, check out the NOVADog homepage for the slide show of NOVADogs! Submit your photos at www. novadogmagazine.com/ submissions.html

Loved by Cindy in Reston


Get your FREE 2010 calendar poster featuring dogs from THE SCENE. Come see us and our partner companies in The NOVADog Safe & Healthy Pet Pavilion (booth 2210) on January 16th and 17th at the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo. For more info visit www. nbcwashington.com.



HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy

C&O Canal Towpath: Billy Goat Trail By Caro l B r o o k s , c o - o w n e r, D o g O n F i t n e s s If you’re looking for a challenging hike, and you

Angler’s Inn (10801 MacArthur Blvd Potomac,

and your dog are reasonably fit, look no further

MD 20854). Weekdays are least crowded and

than the Billy Goat Trail Section B—a robust

you might even find you’re the only one hiking,

2.5 mile round-trip hike that includes 1 mile

as Polly and I did on a recent weekday.

on the C&O Canal Towpath. My mixed Hound

Our hike starts in the lower parking lot near

Polly-Bunches and I happened onto this trail by

the canal. Check the bulletin board at the left

accident, thinking it was the tamer Billy Goat

rear of the lower parking area for a detailed

Trail Section C, but decided to take our chances

map, or view the map online at www.nps.gov/

and explore it. We weren’t disappointed.

choh. Cross over the footbridge to the left of the

This hike is mentally and physically

bulletin board to the C&O Canal Towpath, turn-

challenging for dogs and humans, requiring

ing left. Walk along the towpath for about 500

common-sense, good eyesight, rock navigat-

feet and look to your right for the “Billy Goat

ing, leaping, and balancing. You’ll be rewarded

Trail Section B West End” sign that indicates

with interesting Potomac River views, including

the start of the trail. Turn at the sign, following

Offut Island—a 10-acre natural habitat for

the well-marked blue-blazed trail into the woods

rare plant species. If you start on the Billy

and toward the Potomac River.

Goat Trail portion of this hike and change your

The trail crosses flood plain forest, so

mind, you can opt out and stay on the easy-to-

don’t be surprised by occasional mud or pud-

follow C&O Canal Towpath that parallels the

dles after heavy rain or snow. The start of the

Billy Goat Trail.

trail can be significantly sloppy. About 200

Though you’ll work up a sweat on your hike,

feet into the trail, you’ll reach the Potomac

Follow the easily visible blue blazes on trees and boulders.

bundle up—the wind off the Potomac River is

River. You’ll skirt the Potomac on the right

Getting There

frigid in winter, and you’ll be glad for the extra

and the Marsden Tract campground on the left

From Virginia take 495 over the Potomac to the

layers. Wear sturdy water-proof hiking shoes. I

for most of the Billy Goat Trail portion of the

first exit in Maryland and bear left on the Clara

strongly recommend a harness for leashing your

outing. The river transitions from calm cur-

Barton Parkway. Continue west on Clara Barton

dog instead of a collar. Some areas of the trail

rents at the beginning to a crescendo of power

until it ends. Go left on MacArthur Boulevard.

are tricky and if you trip or slip, a harness is a

at the most difficult point in the trail. As you

Old Angler’s Inn is 1 mile on the right, and the

safer option for your dog. Also a must, bring a

move on, you and your dog will be challenged

C&O Canal parking lots are on the left. ND

towel or blanket for your dog—it’s a messy trail.

to puzzle through much more along this 1.6 mile stretch: a large pond, several rocky cliffs,

Suggested Hike

a stream, a gully, and downed trees. However,

You can safely navigate the C&O Canal Towpath

your biggest challenge is choosing the correct

any day of the year, but save the Billy Goat

trail. My advice: Always follow the easily vis-

Trail Section B for a clear day when snow, ice,

ible blue blazes on trees and boulders. When

or rain aren’t slipping hazards. The hike is 2.6

in doubt, look ahead for a blue blaze. Gener-

miles, with over half on challenging trails.

ally, if you take the trail closest to the river,

Park in the lot directly across from Old

you’ll stay on the intended path. Another note, on the last leg of the trail, you will come

About Your Guide Carol Brooks is co-owner of DogOn Fitness, LLC. She specializes in high-energy dogs, providing them with working walks, running, adventure hikes, socialization, and training reinforcement. Located in Reston, DogOn Fitness has served the Northern Virginia area since 2003. Visit them on the Web at www. dogonfitness.com. GOT A HIKE you’d like to see profiled? Send suggestions to cabrooks@dogonfitness.com

24 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

to a small stream crossing. The only way to get to the other side is to cross it, so don’t waste time looking for an alternative. The stream crossing is your last challenge as the trail winds back to the left toward the C&O Canal Towpath, ending with a final left turn uphill.

IMPORTANT: The C&O Canal is a National Historical Park. Park regulations require your dog to be on a leash at all times. TRAIL SPECIFICS:

Distance: 2.5 miles Time: 60 minutes or more Location: C&O Canal at Old Angler’s Inn, MacArthur Blvd, Potomac, MD Fido-Friendly Features: Off-street parking, uncrowded trails (off-season) Use: hikers, bikers (C&O Canal Towpath only), on-leash dogs, runners Best time to go: Weekends, Weekday any time. Rated: 5 paws (challenging)

At the towpath, go left and enjoy an easy and scenic 1 mile stroll along the C&O Canal, passing the Marsden Tract on your left, to the second footbridge across to the parking lot and your car.

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert


E v e n t s y o u w o n ’ t w a n t t o miss

JANUARY January 14 6:00 PM—Puppy Primer–3 weeks at Op Barks in Herndon. Geared toward pups 2 to 6 months, we capitalize on this most important stage of your puppy’s development by focusing heavily on socialization, confidence building, and developing responsiveness. Three 45-minute semi-private classes. Cost is $55. More info: erin@opbarks.com or 888.672.2757. 6:45 PM—Adult Manners–7 week class at Op Barks in Herndon. Fun foundation manners for dogs 6 months and older. Curriculum includes: sit, down, stay, coming when called, name game/attention, leave it/take it, and loose leash walking. Seven 1-hour semi-private classes (Week 1 is people only-no dogs). Cost $195. More info: erin@opbarks. com or 888.672.2757.

January 16 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

January 16-17 NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at the Walter E. Washington Convention

Center, free admission both days. Get the latest health and fitness information from hundreds of exhibitors and stop by to see us at the NOVADog Safe and Healthy Pet Pavillion. More info: www. nbcwashington.com/brchannel/ health-expo-2010.htm 8:00 AM-5:00 PM—The Complete Poodle Dog Grooming Seminar. Poodle grooming demonstrations including Continental/English Saddle, Scissor Puppy/German, Show Puppy Trim, Pet Trims. Paws on King, 1003 King St., Alexandria, VA. Registration $125 per day, or $300 both days. More info: 571.229.6898 or valleygroomer@hotmail.com.

January 18 6:30 PM-8:30 PM—Baby-Ready Pets two-hour workshop at the Arlington animal shelter to help expectant families prepare their home and their pets for the arrival of a new baby. Endorsed by the ASPCA. Participants receive handouts and a CD of baby sounds to help desensitize their pets. Human only class, leave your pets at home. Free, donations are welcome. Reservations required, space is limited. Contact Jennifer Newman at jnewman@awla.org, or 703.931.9241 x213.

January 19 7:00 PM–8:00 PM—Pet loss support group. Ashburn Psychological Services, Ashburn, VA. Info: 571.278.9162.

January 23 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

WAG’N Enterprises, 795 Center St Ste 5B, Herndon, VA. 703.787.WAGN or www.wagn4u.com.

FEBRUARY February 1

9th Annual Sugar and Champagne Affair benefiting the Washington Humane Society. Guests and their dogs will be greeted with champagne and delicious desserts.The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC, 1150 22nd Street, NW Washington, DC 20037. To purchase tickets visit washhumane.org. Tickets start at $90. More info: ssevere@washhumane. org or 202.683.1822.

6:30 PM-8:30 PM—Baby-Ready Pets two-hour workshop at the Arlington animal shelter to help expectant families prepare their home and their pets for the arrival of a new baby. Endorsed by the ASPCA. Participants receive handouts and a CD of baby sounds to help desensitize their pets. Human only class, leave your pets at home. Free, donations are welcome. Reservations required, space is limited. Contact Jennifer Newman at jnewman@awla.org, or 703.931.9241 x213.

January 30

February 4

January 27

12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00. 12:00 PM-4:00 PM—Pet First Aid & Care—This powerful 4 hour class provides you with the necessary skills and information to prepare you for the unfortunate event of a medical emergency involving your pet. Cost $85. More info:

7:15-8PM—FREE Puppy playdates for dogs less than 1 year of age. Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington, VA. www.furgetmenot.com.

February 6 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00. continued on page 27

Saturdays @ 7 a.m. on WAMU 88.5 After you walk the dog. A new show about animal science, pet behavior, and wildlife conservation.

wamu.org animalhouse3.indd 1

9/21/09 3:47 PM




P r o d u cts and Services directory

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26 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

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Licensed • Bonded • Insured



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Advertise in the Spring issue of Northern Virginia Dog Magazine and put your company in front of regional dog lovers. A highly targeted publication, it reaches over 19,000 local readers. If you have a dog-related business, Northern Virginia Dog Magazine readers will want to know about it.

For rates and more information contact: Angela Meyers p: 703.887.8387 e: ahazuda@yahoo.com.

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February 11 6:00 PM—Puppy Primer–3 weeks at Op Barks in Herndon. Geared toward pups 2 to 6 months, we capitalize on this most important stage of your puppy’s development by focusing heavily on socialization, confidence building, and developing responsiveness. Three 45-minute semi-private classes. Cost is $55. More info: erin@opbarks.com.

February 13 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

February 16 7:00–8:00 PM—Pet loss support group. Ashburn Psychological Services, Ashburn, VA. Info: 571.278.9162.

February 20 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

February 21 9:00 AM—Canine Good Citizen Test. The AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Program is designed to recognize dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. This rapidly growing nationally recognized program stresses responsible dog ownership for owners, and basic training and good manners for dogs. Pre-registration online is recommended, cost is $20. Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr, Arlington, VA. www. furgetmenot.com.

Fully licensed, bonded, and insured. Call 703-980-7006 to schedule a consultation today.

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March 19-21


1:00 PM—Canine Good Citizen Class and Testing at Dog Paws University/ Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Register at 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com.

Serving Northern VA since 2006. We provide midday dog walks, vacation sits, overnight stays, in-home dog boarding and pet taxi services.

February 27 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

MARCH March 4 7:15-8:00 PM—FREE Puppy playdates for dogs less than 1 year of age. Fur-Get Me Not, 4140 S. Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington, VA. www.furgetmenot.com.

March 6 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

March 6 and 7 American Human Basic Animal Emergency Services Training. Be prepared to help vulnerable animals when disaster strikes with this essential two-day training. Learn the skills to respond to, care for and shelter animals during times of disaster. Cost: $125. You can make a difference to animals that are left behind when disaster strikes. Classes held at Arlington Fire/EMS Training Academy 2800 S. Taylor St Arlington, VA 22206. Hosted by WAG’N Enterprises. More info: Shelby Davis Training Coordinator–Animal Emergency Services 303.925.9461 or shelbyd@americanhumane.org.

March 13 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com Saturdays, beginning Jan 9th through March 27th at 12:00.

Super Pet Expo. The premier shopping event. Everything for every pet owner. Dulles Expo Center 4368 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA 20153. Leashed pets welcome. Adult tickets $13, kids 12 and under $6. More info: www.superpetexpo.com.

March 20 12:00 PM—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com.

March 27 12:00—FREE Puppy Playtime for pups 3 to 5 months of age at Dog Paws University/Rudy’s Friends Dog Training. Dates and times are subject to change so please make a reservation: 703.931.5057, www.DPnCC.com.

March 27 12:00 PM-4:00 PM—Pet First Aid & Care 4 hour class provides you with the skills to prepare for the event of a medical emergency involving your pet. Cost $85. More info: WAG’N Enterprises, 795 Center St Ste 5B, Herndon, VA. 703.787.WAGN or www.wagn4u.com. ND

Directory of Advertisers A City Dog...................................... 26 www.acitydog.com All Friends Pet Care ........................ C2 www.allfriendspetcare.com Bark ’N Bubbles......................... .... C2 www.barknbubblesdogwash.com Becky’s Pet Care ............................. 3 www.877doggywalk.com Blue Ribbon Acres .......................... 27 www.blueribbondog.com Canine Carousel ............................. 26 www.caninecarousel.com Canine Caterers .............................. C3 www.caninecaterers.com Cascades Photography..................... 22 www.cascadesphoto.com Cooperative Paws, LLC .................... 26 www.cooperativepaws.com Critter Fixer Mobile Vet.................... 26 www.critterfixerinva.com Diamond Pet Service ....................... 27 www.diamondpetservice.com DogOn Fitness, LLC ........................ 26 www.dogonfitness.com Dogtopia ........................................ 2 www.dogdaycare.com Doody Calls .................................... 26 www.doodycalls.com Do-Rite Disposable Dog Diaper......... 26 www.Do-Rites.com Fetch Pet Care ............................... 27 www.fetchpetcare.com Frying Pan Farm Park ...................... 11 703.437.9101 Fur-Get Me Not .............................. 7 www.furgetmenot.com KSR Pet Care ................................. 26 www.ksrpetcare.com Lee Anderson Photography .............. 20 www.photolee.com Liberty Hill Pet Resort ..................... 2 www.lhpaws.com

Loyalty Pet Care Services................. 26 www.loyaltypet.com Mid-Atlantic Agility Showcase .......... 21 www.MidA-AgilityShowcase.com Northern Virginia Professional Pet Sitters Network ......................... 26 www.novapetsitters.com Olde Towne School For Dogs ............ 6 www.otsfd.com Old Town Dog Behavior ................... 5 www.oldtowndogs.com Paws on King ................................. 26 www.pawsonking.com Pet Nursing/ePicture Pet Sitting ....... 26 www.PetNurses.com Precious Companion Pet Sitting ....... 26 www.preciouscompanion.com Red Dog Spa & Boutique.............. ... 4 www.reddogspa.com Rudy’s Friends Dog Training, Inc. ..... 11 www.rudysfriendsdogtraining.com Sunset Pet Services, Inc.................. 3 www.sunsetpetservices.com The Dog Eaze Inn ........................... 4 www.dogeazeinn.com The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine ........................ 7 www.hopecenter.com Wag ’N Enterprises ........................ C4 www.wagn4u.com WAMU: The Animal House............... 25 www.wamu.org Westie Rescue ................................ 26 www.helpwesties.org World of Woofs ............................... 15 www.worldofwoofs.com Your Dog Smiles ............................. 20 www.yourdogsmiles.com

Make our advertisers smile Tell them you saw their ad in NOVADog Magazine!

Submit your event to: janelle@2houndsproductions.com www.novadogmagazine.com


WAGS TO RICHES A d o p ti o n s u c c e s s s t o r i e s

Annie and Angel: Adopted together into their forever home A do p te d f r o m : Arlington Animal Shelter, June 2009

How did they get their names? They were rescued from West Virginia, so we are unsure how they got their names. We only knew that they were inseparable. Annie is deaf; Angel is blind in one eye, and they had to be adopted together. Little Angel is definitely Annie’s guide!

Annie & Angel

are both four years old and loved by Theresa and Pete Cizmar of Alexandria, VA.

Yo u p i c k e d t h e m b e c a u s e . . . We were eating at an outdoor restaurant and they walked by with “adopt me” on their backs. They gave us a look as we watched them walk away. We knew we had to give them a home. We already had three dogs, but lots of land and no children, so we knew they would be happy.

Fa v o ri t e t r e a t o r s n a c k : They both love string cheese. I think they really love being just loved and stroked. We feel affection was missing from their lives and are trying to fix that.

Fa v o ri t e ac t i v i t y t o g e t h e r : My favorite activity with Annie is hugging her face; her eyes smile and she actually hugs me. Angel is addicted to any tennis ball. She’s so small that the ball won’t fit in her mouth, so she pulls little threads free and swings it and “throws” it to herself and all the other dogs!

Fa v o ri t e t o y : Annie is not very into toys, but Angel and the tennis ball are incredible. Definitely a YouTube sensation. How many dogs can toss a ball to themselves?!

Yo u l o v e t h e m b e c a u s e . . . When she (Annie) came to my home for the first time, I opened the gate to the back, she stepped in looked around and took off in a full gallop running figure eights—pure joy. They sit in our bay window and watch for us when we leave. They are finally “home” after a long journey. We just love them. ND

Since 1944, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington has been committed to the humane treatment of animals and to the promotion of animal welfare. The League provides temporary care and refuge for homeless and suffering animals; places animals in loving, responsible homes; provides animal control services to Arlington County; educates the public; and provides a wide variety of community services. Visit them on the internet at www.awla.org

28 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2010

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NOVADog Winter 2010  

The Ultimate Guide to Canine-Inspired Living in the DC Metro Area

NOVADog Winter 2010  

The Ultimate Guide to Canine-Inspired Living in the DC Metro Area

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