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novadog Winter 2014





Support Our Troops— Dogs with military parents need temporary homes during deployments

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Also Inside: The Scoop on Hiring a Dog Walker Should You Make Your Own Dog Food? Digital Edition Sponsored by: Becky’s Pet Care Inc.


A NOVADog Group Hike at Lake Fairfax


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contents winter 2014

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


14 M  ission: Possible

Support Our Troops—Dogs with military parents need temporary homes during deployments By Christine Stoddard



 he Scoop on T Hiring a Dog Walker

NOVADog Magazine breaks down the ins and outs of dog-walking services By Taylor Ham






News, information, and products




Heart Murmurs in Dogs and Cats


Homemade Dog Food: Is It For You?

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


A glimpse into the life of Northern Virginia dogs




Adoption success stories

Read Jonas’ Wags to Riches adoption success story on page 28. www.novadogmagazine.com


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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


PUBLISHER Angela Meyers | ahazuda@yahoo.com MANAGING EDITOR Claiborne Linvill | claiborne@novadogmagazine.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Janelle Welch | janelle@2houndsproductions.com CONTRIBUTORS Carol Brooks, Taylor Ham, Pennye Jones-Napier, Neil Knolle, Alexandra Mason, Elissa Matulis Myers, Christine Stoddard ADVERTISING For rates and information, please contact: Gennifer Kelling: (p) 703.780.4400 (f) 853.753.0064 advertising@novadogmagazine.com DISTRIBUTION MediaPoint 9022-A Telegraph Road Lorton, VA 22079 info@mediapointusa.com

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.

For more info visit dpncc.com


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 © 2013 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 www.novadogmagazine.com/subscribe 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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Visit us on the Web at www.novadogmagazine.com or scan the QR Code.

Winner: 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 Award of Distinction

PUBLISHER’S NOTE This issue marks NOVADog Magazine’s five-year anniversary. A lot has happened in those five years, both in our area and with our dogs’ lives. We’ve seen dog parks open, charities organize to help local pets, and retail stores and services open all around the DC Metro to serve the growing number of dog-lovers. Pet parents have become more educated and conscientious about our dogs and how we care for them, encouraging new products and services to form to meet those needs. Our magazine has been honored to be a part of this community of dog-lovers and those who serve them, and to watch this amazing group of people grow, organize and come together. We had a great time out with some of this community at our latest NOVADog Hike. As part of the “Hit the Trail” research (p. 26), NOVADog fans joined hike leaders Carol and Neil to scope out the trails at Lake Fairfax. Even on an overcast day, it was fun to spend time

together and to hear what our fans look for in a day outside with their dogs. I also appreciated the leash tips Neil offered at the beginning of the hike: keep your dog on the left, remind him of leash manners by occasionally stopping and performing a command, and pull to the right side of a trail when a biker or faster hiker passes. It was a good reminder to use these with Maggie on future adventures. This issue is a personal anniversary as well—one year since I took over as publisher. From the first four years on the team to the last year leading it, I have been constantly grateful for the fantastic people who work on this publication and support it. Writers, photographers, advertisers, partners, and all staff—you’ve been a pleasure to work with, and the reason NOVADog is even more amazing issue after issue. Thank you for the past five years, and here’s to many more years together supporting the DC Metro and the wonderful dog-lovers who live here.

five! we’re

Angela Hazuda Meyers ahazuda@yahoo.com

connect with us facebook.com/novadog twitter.com/2_hounds flickr.com/photos/novadog novadogmagazine.com/blog

Visit us on the Web at www.novadogmagazine.com or scan the QR code above.




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

Keeping Little Ones Safe This spring, many families will be taking road trips with their dogs. The PupSaver is a safety product designed to protect small dogs up to 30 lbs. In case of a sudden stop, the PupSaver provides impact protection. The unique lightweight design allows your pet to ride in comfort while giving them the protection they deserve. Veterinarian-endorsed, it comes in a variety of designs, like Houndstooth, plaid, and leopard print, and fits in every vehicle. See how easy it is to install by watching a short video on the website.

Fitness for Fido Whistle, a wireless device that attaches to your dog’s collar, measures activity and tracks how much walking, playing, or resting your pet does. The app also communicates how far your dog has progressed toward reaching fitness goals and lets you share information with others such as your vet. FIND  it: www.whistle.com

FIND  it: www.pupsaver.com

Shedding a lot? Not hungry? Dry skin?

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4 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

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Doggie Winter Skin Savers Exposure to winter’s elements can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s winter walks, here are a few tips from the ASPCA: n Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls and salt crystals that can dry on the skin. n After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads.  n Limit baths. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin.   n Dressing your pet in a sweater or coat will help to retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry.  n Booties help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible. n Massaging petroleum jelly into paw pads helps to protect from salt and chemical agents.   Remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet! Source: www.aspca.org

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This blissful balm will alleviate the discomfort of dry, itchy skin with creamy Shea Butter and soothing coconut oil. The smooth balm also provides fast relief for eczema, hot spots and insect bites with good stuff like mango seed butter, hemp seed oil and peppermint oil. Don’t worry, if your dog licks it off. it’s perfectly safe to ingest.

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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

Heart Murmurs in Dogs and Cats Cardiology exams provide peace of mind for this common but serious health issue. What is a heart murmur? A heart murmur is an abnormal noise in your pet’s heart that is heard with a stethoscope. The noise is a swishing sound in the midst of the normal lub-dub of the heartbeat. Understandably, pet parents become concerned when they hear that their pets may have heart disease. The primary care veterinarian will typically refer the patient to a cardiologist upon suspicion of heart disease for a few reasons. As with people, pets with cardiac disease show greatly improved quality of life and longevity when treated early on by both a primary care veterinarian and a cardiologist. Additionally, most veterinarians convey to families the risk of performing procedures that require sedation or anesthesia on patients who have cardiac abnormalities.

Importance of Accurate Diagnosis Most heart murmurs indicate underlying cardiac disease. There are many types of heart disease in pets. Some are acquired (occurring later in life), and some are congenital (present at birth). Although pets don’t typically have

6 Northern Virginia Dog

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coronary artery disease like people do, they can have many other types of heart disease. Examples of these include conditions such as arrhythmias; abnormalities in the heart valves, chambers or vessels; or changes in the ability of the heart muscle to serve adequately as a pump. Tragically, many pets seem fine until they develop severe heart disease and end up in a crisis situation. Finding a heart murmur gives you an opportunity to determine the exact problem and allows you to take action early in the course of the disease. Too often, pets end up in heart failure and the emergency room when early diagnosis and treatment could have resulted in longer, healthier lives. A cardiology evaluation when the abnormal sounds are first heard provides the best care and possible outcome for your pet.

How do we find out what’s wrong? The gold standard to assess heart disease is an evaluation and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) performed by a veterinary cardiologist or resident. Veterinary cardiologists have

As with people, pets with cardiac disease show greatly improved quality of life and longevity when treated early on by both a primary care veterinarian and a cardiologist. four years of training beyond veterinary college and have passed a series of exams to become board-certified. Having an echocardiogram performed and interpreted by a board-certified cardiologist or resident allows for a noninvasive, immediate means of diagnosing your pet’s condition by an expert who can determine the best treatment. Once the condition is properly diagnosed, treatment can begin.

How is heart disease treated? The vast majority of veterinary cardiac patients are treated on an outpatient basis with medication. Most pets tolerate this remarkably well with minimal to no side effects. Cardiologists utilize medications as well as nutritional support in their treatment of heart disease. Treatment plans are individually tailored to the pet with the goal of enhancing the pet’s quality of life and longevity. With a team of doctors and a loving family, most pets live healthy, happy lives, even with heart disease. ND Chesapeake Veterinary Cardiology Associates (CVCA) is an established leader in veterinary cardiology, with locations in Maryland and Virginia. Our veterinary cardiologists specialize in evaluation and treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy, heart murmurs, pericardial effusion, and arterial thromboembolism. Visit www.cvcavets.com for more information. www.novadogmagazine.com



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

Homemade Dog Food: Is It For You? By Penn y e J on es- N a p ier

The recent news about recalls of chicken prepared in China for dog-food products has me more interested in making healthy food at home. Plus, I’ve read that raw diets can be really beneficial. I want to make sure the food I give my dogs is nutritional, but I don’t want to set myself up for lots of extra cooking or spending tons of money. How can I get started making homemade dog food? QUESTION

Up until World War II, peoANSWER ple and their dogs shared much of the same diet, with dogs usually eating table scraps left after the family’s meal. In the 1950s, dry dog food became prevalent in grocery and feed stores, advertised for its convenience. For food-supply processors, this opened up a whole new market for items that were not salable in the human food-supply chain but could be rendered into dry, processed dog food. The subsequent increase in processed foods and the advice to “never change your dog’s diet” has affected our canine companions’ health dramatically. We have seen an increase in chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, arthritis and certain cancers due, in part, to a lack of variety and fresh food in the diet. To counter these health problems, many dog owners want to try making homemade dog food, but it’s important to know how to prepare and cook for your dog’s best health. Many veterinarians challenge feeding a raw diet, mainly because in the past, people thought feeding a raw or homemade diet meant giving their dogs chicken backs and carcasses as their total meal, which led to other health issues because the diets were not balanced. Preparing your own homemade diet requires planning and a commitment to provide variety and the right balance to make the diet well-rounded and nutritious. This variety is critical to help your animals thrive on a raw diet. Nutritionists recommend a ratio in the range of 65:35 to 80:20 of Protein:Fruits/Vegetables/Herbs, depending on the breed, age and activity level of your canine companion. For many people feeding a homemade diet to their dogs, preparation of larger

8 Northern Virginia Dog

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batches is easier, and the food can then be portioned and either refrigerated or frozen for upcoming meals. The feeding portions typically will be allocated on the weight of your dog, with a guideline of feeding 1.5 to 2 percent of their body weight per day. As an example, a 50lb dog would need approximately 1lb of food a day depending on his activity level. A growing puppy or an extremely active dog could require double that in order to provide enough calories for their metabolism, and lazy, couch-potato dogs may need to eat less. There are several good books on the market today with recipes to make at home. We recommend the following books written by vets and nutritionists with great information on well care and feeding homemade diets: • Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats: Simple Homemade Food, by Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker, DVM • Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, by Richard H. Pitcairn and Susan Hubble Pitcairn • See Spot Live Longer, by Steve Brown and Beth Taylor If you are not up to fully preparing the meals from scratch, there are ways to still provide living, whole foods with an easy prep time in the kitchen by utilizing some of the great local and national raw diets available at your local, independent pet store. As an example, we frequently will take a storebought (also available online) 2lb, 5lb or 10lb roll of raw meat with ground bone and organ meats included, and re-hydrate it with a dehydrated raw diet mix, like those made by The Honest Kitchen, Sojo’s, or Dr. Harvey’s,

using a ratio of 70 Protein to 30 Fruits/Veggies. Additional ingredients can include fresh eggs, tripe, botanicals, and fish oil (or whole fish) to provide other nutrients and probiotics. Once the rolls thaw overnight, preparing these combinations takes no more than 10 minutes, and most of that is re-hydrating the mixture and letting it sit. The final meal can be refrigerated for several days. There are a number of local raw diets available in our area that have rolls or cartons that can be mixed into a “homemade” recipe, including Answers Pet Food (Pennsylvania), K9 Kraving (Baltimore) and Dogs Gone Wild (Baltimore). Primal and Bravo also produce meat rolls that are perfect for using in these mixtures. One thing is for sure, adding homemade or commercial raw diets into your dog’s repertoire even a few times a week will lend itself to a more vibrant, healthier animal. ND Pennye Jones-Napier is co-founder of The Big Bad Woof, with stores in Washington, DC, Hyattsville, MD, and online. The Big Bad Woof provides access to organic, holistic and premium raw diets, and a wide range of alternatives including holistic supplements for companion animals. More info at www.thebigbadwoof.com.

Wonder Dog Patties courtesy of Wayne Dickson, Haps Farm, Rappahannock County, VA Wayne makes a large batch of these patties at one time and freezes them in 1lb packages. He invented them to provide an alternate (every two or three days) meal that would include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, eggs and supplements. You’ll need a food processor to make easy work of this. MAKES ABOUT 16 LBS.

MEAT: Use a mix of ground beef, turkey, chicken, deer, livers, hearts, etc. (no pork) to equal about 10 lbs. Trim all visible fat and skin. Use very lean hamburger. (Tip: buy meats on sale and keep them in the freezer. Around the holidays, buy extra whole turkeys on sale and cut them up.). Ask your butcher to grind or grind in your food processor.

FRESH VEGETABLES: Mix or match any of the following based on what’s on hand or in season, to make 8-10 cups: Broccoli (including all stems and nothing peeled), green beans, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potato, beets, peas, zucchini, celery, squash (no onions, white potatoes, corn or tomatoes). Everything should be coarsely ground in a food processor. Use fresh, raw vegetables whenever possible, but frozen can also be used.

following to equal about 5 cups: Apples, blueberries, pumpkin, pears, or cranberries. Soft fruits such as bananas or peaches do not work well. All fruit should be raw and coarsely ground in the food processor.

GRAINS: 6 cups cooked brown rice (not white, but red or black are good too) plus 2 cups rolled oats. You can also substitute similar amounts of cooked quinoa, barley, groats or bulgur. Add up to 1 cup bran or wheat germ, and 1/3 cup sesame seeds or flax seeds.

eggs and shells to the cheese or fruits and vegetables as you are grinding them.

HERBS / GARLIC: Use 1 whole head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves and ground along with the vegetables. Also add fresh parsley or cilantro, 1 bunch, stems and all, coarsely ground.

SUPPLEMENTS: ½ cup brewer’s yeast

DAIRY: Add 1 cup powdered dairy milk or goat’s milk. Add 4-6 oz. coarsely ground hard cheese such as Swiss or cheddar. Alternately, add 1-2 cups cottage cheese or 1-2 cups yogurt. (Full-fat dairy products are recommended for most dogs, but substitute low- or no-fat if your dog has weight issues). EGGS: Add 6 large eggs, shell and all, ground in food processor. Tip: It’s easier to add the

DIRECTIONS: Mix all thoroughly together in a very large tub, bowl, or plastic bucket.

The mixture should be moist but not overly wet or too mushy or sticky. If needed, add in more oatmeal. Weigh out into appropriate size for one meal for your dog. Freeze each section. When ready to use, defrost but do not cook. Serve raw.

FRESH FRUIT: Mix or match any of the




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

A Very Personal Approach to Dog Sitting By El i s sa M a t u lis M y er s


tart with a personable, enthusiastic former elementary school teacher with a passion for animals. Add a dog-loving husband with a talent for designing business systems and developing computer software. The result is the wonderfully successful Fetching Life, a pet-sitting, dog-walking business owned and operated by Kim Varghese. Kim and her husband met at the University of Virginia, where she earned her degree in elementary education, and then embarked on a career as a first- and second-grade teacher. With a warm and winning personality, she quickly bonded with her students, and in fact maintains relationships with a few of them on Facebook. But when her new husband’s job brought them to the Arlington area, she wanted to try something new. Kim started to study photography, and began walking dogs to bring in a little cash. While she was working in the business for others, she found herself saying, “If it were my company, I would do this or that.” So in 2011, she put words into actions and incorporated Fetching Life, and the business took off. “Our aim is to remain a part of our community,” says Varghese. “I don’t want to become a corporate monolith. We take the personal responsibility of being entrusted with someone’s pet very seriously. “When we are hired by clients, they trust us to come into their homes when they aren’t there. They are counting on us to maintain routines for their pets. There is so much to know about individual client preferences.

For example, we had a Caine Corso named Jasper who we would sometimes hand feed because he liked to skip breakfast. Additionally, we need to know where the towels are kept so that we can dry the dog if it’s raining or snowing on our walk. We offer to put the towels in the washer and turn it on. We need to know if your Kim Varghese plays with her pups Lucy dogs wear jackets when and Beans. it’s cold or raining out. We want to know where you keep your batteries in case the smoke alarm starts beeping because the battery died. We take care of things to make sure the pet and the client are comfortable and safe,” she says. “We ask if our clients would like to get an email or text at the end of the walk so that they know it’s been done, and we often take quick

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10 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

5 Minutes with Kim... Advice for anyone working with dogs? “Find and take a Pet Tech first aid and CPR class for pets. If you are working around animals, you need to know what to do in an emergency.” Advice to others thinking about a dog walking business? “Good shoes! And, join the Northern Virginia Professional Pet Sitters Association. We are a great group of business people – small and large companies, new companies and those that are long established. When I found this network I didn’t feel alone anymore. I had a great group of friends who were experiencing many of the challenges I was experiencing and that I could call on for help or advice.” Training tricks? Before you can train or handle a dog, you have to learn to observe and assess what dogs are feeling. When I see a dog with a whale eye or with hackles up, I know I have to win his confidence before we can do anything. I have found that small treats are the best way to bring a dog around. And one treat that seems especially irresistible is Grandma Lucy’s Salmon treats. Scariest experience? “One of our regular dogs made a ‘jail break.’ No one had noticed a break in the fencing in his yard, and while our sitter was there he scampered through it and was gone. We quickly mobilized a flotilla of dog walkers to look for him while I notified authorities, and within 20 minutes we found him and brought him home safe and sound. I personally repaired the fence to be sure it wouldn’t happen again.” Dog of her own? When my husband and I first married we adopted Hagrid, a 120-pound Great Dane, named for the gentle giant in Harry Potter. He’s the one featured in our marketing. We had ten great years with him before we lost him. And now we have two adorable little mutts, Lucy and Beans.

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Funniest experience? “I love a good sale, and one day I found a glorious down comforter at a price I could afford. Our Great Dane Hagrid always met us that front door when we came home, but one day shortly after we spread the comforter on our bed we came home and he was nowhere to be found. I walked up to my room and found him sitting in the middle of a massive cloud of feathers. I should have been mad but it was just too funny.” Favorite Dog Book? “It’s a photography book called If Only You Knew How Much I Smell You: True Portraits of Dogs, by Valerie Shaff and Roy Blount Jr.”

pictures of the dogs during our visits and share them with our clients. Our clients invite us to become great friends. I enjoy getting to know them and becoming a part of their families.” What the client experiences is a highly personal service delivered from the heart, but keeping track of all of that detailed information on almost 100 clients is more brain than heart. “We are building our own software system to manage our client base, and we have a detailed 10-page packet that helps us learn more about each client and his or her dog.” As the business has grown, Varghese has hired others to do the dog walking, but she personally walks all the dogs the first time to assess the client needs and make sure she can make a good match between pet and walker. The company is licensed, bonded, and insured, and Kim uses a GPS system to monitor where the dogs and their walkers are and how far they walk each time. At the end of each walk, the walker texts Kim and the manager, and together they forward the message to clients. ND Elissa Myers is a writer in Northern Virginia. She lives in Springfield with her tireless black Lab Indi and writes a daily column for the on-line Examiner. www.novadogmagazine.com


NOVADog asks, “What do you love about older dogs?”

Getting Social With


Barks heard round the water dish Jolynne F. Nowadays, he does his ferocious bark right from my bed. Sees no need to get up and bark through the window anymore.

Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/novadog.

Sara R. I miss and loved my two senior dogs so much! We lost both of them in Feb. 2013. I love senior dogs because they need that extra love and care! My cocker spaniel, Pepper, had so many issues, but in the midst of them all, he wanted to be right with me where I was or went! I would have to wake him when I would move around in the house so he could follow me. I loved their companionship and they both needed me to give them that extra attention. I would much rather rescue an older dog that is house trained than a pup that needs to learn.

Marissa N. Senior dogs are the best - they love you unconditionally and cherish every moment of every day they get to spend with you, and know they are making your life better just by being there. My senior dog Homer just passed away about 4 weeks ago at 12 years old. He was loving, caring and the best dog ever up until his last days.

Heidi B. Their personality matches mine... Lazy.   I have two 15 yr old toy poodles.

Rhonda C. I love that he knows how to act like a little charmer to get a treat. He always knows when it’s me at the door and only comes to the door for me. For anyone else, he stays in his bed. I love how he sits by my feet when I get home because he has missed me all day and must be touching. I love it how he is not an early riser—he likes to sleep until at least 8am so no early weekend wakings for us. He’s the perfect dog for me! He’s the absolute best dog in the entire world and if I could pick any dog, I would pick him. My best buddy. 

Join the pack. Stay informed.


! e v i f we’re


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| Winter 2014

Brandy D. We rescued my sweet Maltese thanks to Friends of Homeless animals. FOHA took her from county the animal shelter after she was deemed unadoptable due to her age (our vet says she is at least 8 and maybe older) and the poor condition of her teeth. Now she is toothless but that doesn’t stop her from loving every day. She has learned plenty of new tricks (including sit, stay, shake, and play dead). She was no problem to house train, loves to play fetch, and she always comes to love on me when I am sad or upset. My friends complain about their puppies destroying their house and I can’t help feeling smug—older dogs are the way to go! Barbara O. My senior was Tyson, a lover and the best dog. He always knew when I needed a special hug, rarely did he come up on the couch, but when he did it was to cuddle with me. He wouldn’t care if I was on the computer, he would just plop down on my lap. You my think he was a small dog, no Tyson was a boxer husky mix.  When he wanted to go to bed he would just get up, start walking to the bedroom, but before he went down the hall he would stop and look at me, like he was saying night-night.  It will be a 2 years at the end of the month that he went to the bridge and I still miss him. I know he is at the bridge, still avoiding baths and rain drops as much as possible, running with all the others and his brother Chester, being his great loving self.

NOVADog asks, “What would your dog wish for, if she/he could sit on Santa’s lap?” Gerylee B. An indoor swimming pool that can be used all day, every day, all year long. June P. My dog would say “please, just once...leave the fridge door open.” Kayla K. Smiley Riley would wish that every homeless pet would have a loving forever home for Christmas. Lisa N. Boomer would like an endless amount of snow to play in. Kelly Ann T. Artie would wish that I never had to work and we could go on adventures every day. Tami G. Sadie would wish for unlimited cookies, unlimited hugs and no cats in the house. Tracy S. Endless stuffed toys and a king size bed all to himself! Katherine P. My foster, Misha, says, “I have been a very good boy, and my only wish is for a Forever Home of my very own.” Doris S. My pups Rex and Sammie would like there to be no abused or homeless animals. Nanc C. My dog Ping Pong wishes to have all of the squeaky balls in the world and my dog Dillinger wants all of Ping’s toys.

Jackson owned by

Kelly R.

Ellie owned by

Rachel D.

Nittany owned by

Melissa G.



Support Our Troops— Dogs with military parents need temporary homes during deployments By Christine Stoddard

14 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014



few clicks on YouTube, and you can find hundreds of thousands of soldier-and-dog reunion videos—a patriotic tear-jerking trope that any doglover, military or non-military, can understand. The service member, still decked out in uniform, weary but smiling, crouches down in the lawn or parking lot to hug a furry friend whose enthusiasm unleashes itself in a wash of sloppy kisses, a wagging tail, and shameless nuzzling. At long last, together again. With all the military personnel living in Northern Virginia, this very scene has played out countless of times in our region. It is the sort of outpouring of emotion that follows long-term separation and sacrifice. Whether they are assigned to the Pentagon or Fort Belvoir, live in Vienna or Franconia, service members often face uncertainty—and that includes the fate of their beloved pets when they receive orders to mobilize. Knowing their pets are safe and happy is an important way that troops can feel supported. Not all service members have the luxury of calling upon family or close friends to care for their pets during their absences. With standard deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan now running 12 months, boarding and pet-sitting won’t cut it either. Even Maryland’s Fort Meade Family Pet Care Center, the nation’s first pet boarding facility on a military base, does not keep pets for longer than six months. To complicate matters, service members rarely know their exact return dates in advance. Often, with nowhere else to turn but the animal shelter, service members must put their dogs up for adoption before deploying. Finding a safe place for their pets is just

one of the numerous difficult arrangements service members must make before deployment. Others may include updating their will and testament, budgeting for their family’s needs, and coordinating communication with everyone they’ll miss—not to mention preparing for the mission itself. The long to-do list coupled with the short notice should make it no surprise that, according to the American Psychological

like Dogs on Deployment, Military Pets FOSTER Project, and Operation Noble Foster.

The Foster Experience A recent foster volunteer, Stephanie Gernert, 34, cared for Staff Sergeant Anna Dampare’s two dogs, Duchess and Cupid, over the course of four months in 2012. Gernert and Dampare connected through the 501(c)(3) nonprofit and online network

“Life does not stand still for families and local communities when our brave men and women are deployed, but we can make their time apart more bearable by recognizing their sacrifice and fulfilling our commitments to them.” —Mark Pryor Association, military families require more mental health resources than non-military families. That amount of logistical wrangling can be stressful. Aren’t dogs supposed to calm your nerves instead of adding to your list of woes? That’s where the generosity of strangers comes in. Volunteers throughout the country are opening their homes to board service members’ dogs during their deployments so that the soldiers can return to happy, healthy pets. Some of these strangers emerge from the digital worlds of Craigslist and neighborhood listservs, while others are affiliated with local and national non-profit organizations,

Dogs on Deployment. “It was a fabulous experience,” says Gernert, “And I would do it again if I could.” Featured on “The Queen Latifah Show” in September 2013, Dogs on Deployment helps match service members with volunteer caregivers. Anyone may register as a boarder through the website, answering a questionnaire that describes their interest in animals, as well as their home life and any pets they may already have. Husband and wife team Shawn and Alisa Johnson, who serve in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, founded Dogs on Deployment in 2011 when Alisa was ordered to move to Quantico for six www.novadogmagazine.com


Setting Up a Temporary Home

Gernert’s dog Tyler (left) made fast friends with temporary foster Duchess.

months of training. The couple’s family took in their dog, JD, but they realized that not all service members would find themselves in such a fortunate position. Sometimes, even if a service member has friends or family who would be willing to board their dogs, these loved ones lack the lifestyle or homes appropriate for the animals. When Gernert took in Duchess and Cupid, she was an unemployed homeowner and current pet parent. She had the time, space, and knowledge necessary for the commitment. Active on the Dogs on Deployment Facebook page throughout the deployment, Gernert posted this note several weeks into her fostering experience: “[Duchess and Cupid] have learned cats are friends, get along with my dog, and we regularly go to my boyfriend’s house and he has another dog. I’m honestly going to feel like my house is empty when they leave...I’ve adjusted to three cats, three dogs, and a snake.” Prior to the deployment, Gernert and Dampare coordinated a drop-off date and details like having new tags made for the dogs so they stated Gernert’s home address. That way, in case Duchess and Cupid were lost and someone found them, the Good Samaritan would not take the dogs to an empty house. At first, Gernert explains, Duchess and Cupid were confused by their new home and the new human in their lives. “They thought [their owner] was on vacation and they looked like they were asking, ‘Why isn’t she here?’ for the first week or so. I wasn’t up at 6 a.m. every day like their owner, but they adjusted and it was fantastic.”

16 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

If you are interested in boarding pets for a deployed service member, or if you are facing deployment soon, there are some important factors to consider when turning over a dog to a temporary owner. First, prospective boarders should have homes appropriate to housing pets. The best prepared fosters have a clean, pet-proofed house free of other animals that may be antagonistic toward dogs—or end up as a canine’s dinner. Depending on the dog, having small children in the house may or may not be a problem. Additionally, owning vs. renting a house could be an issue. Tenants may not be allowed to keep dogs in their rental or may have to pay a fee for the privilege. In the former case, the hopeful boarder should not foster the dog because the dog might end up homeless if the landlord discovers it. If it is a matter of paying a fee, the service member and boarder must discuss who is financially responsible. While some fosters are able and willing to pay that fee, others are not, and it will be up to the owners to pay it if they wish to leave their dogs there. Another important factor for service members and volunteer boarders to consider is location: How far away does the caregiver live from the service member’s home? Among all the other pre-deployment

duties, the service member must transport the dog to the caregiver’s house and eventually pick up the dog several months later. In Gernert’s case, Dampare drove the dogs from her house in Virginia Beach directly to Gernert’s house in Springfield. Service members should also consider the boarder’s neighborhood. A single-family home in Ashburn, for instance, might be more conducive to long-term dog-sitting than a high rise studio in Bailey’s Crossroads. Once the service member and boarder have decided to parent together, the two parties should draft a written pet care agreement. The American Humane Association’s online resource to fostering military pets recommends the following: “The agreement should cover important issues such as what will happen to the pet if the temporary caregiver can no longer care for him, who is liable for any damage done by the pet, what will happen if the owner is unable to reclaim the pet, and what happens if the pet is injured or dies while in the temporary home.” Service members should take a few important steps to ensure their dogs are ready for a new, temporary home. The American Humane Association recommends that all dogs be spayed or neutered before their owners are deployed to prevent breeding. Additionally, Dogs on Deployment’s website recommends updating the pet’s vaccinations, microchipping and registering the pet, choosing a veterinarian close to the boarder’s house, scheduling an annual exam, and getting pet insurance.

Keeping in Touch

Organizations such as Dogs on Deployment connect military dog owners in need using social media tools like Facebook to find appropriate foster situations.

Once the service member has been deployed, volunteer boarders can take a few steps to help the dogs and their parents stay close. Gernert suggests using social media and other online technology to include the service member in the dog’s life. Gernert would send Dampare regular photo texts while she was in the U.S. Once she went overseas, Gernert would post pictures to her Facebook wall and send picture cards from CardStore.com. Some boarders will even make entire websites about the dog for the service member to browse during off time to help boost morale. Boosting the dog’s morale while its owner is away also matters. While the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists is not yet certain if dogs get depressed the same way humans experience depression,

any dog owner will tell you that dogs can and do get anxious. Just as military spouses, parents and children experience emotional trials when their loved ones are deployed, dogs feel the absence, too. Sometimes this means the dog will act out, especially if not properly supervised by the boarder. “One of the most Dampare’s dog Cupid relaxes at home. common complaints of pet parents is that their dogs are disruptive or destructive when left alone,” read a page on the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals’ website. “Their dogs might urinate, defecate, bark, howl, chew, dig or try to escape. Although these problems often indicate that a dog needs to be taught polite house manners, they can also be symptoms of distress.” While nothing can keep a dog from missing its owner, the boarder can work to distract it. “I would take Duchess and Cupid with my dog to my friend’s house,” says Gernert. “And then the three dogs will play with my friend’s dogs and they would have a lot of fun.” Eventually the deployment will end and the service member will return home a changed person. Unfortunately, the return home can be more stressful than anticipated, so volunteers should be on the look-out for ways to help even after the deployment ends. “Reintegration as a family after military deployment is not always easy, nor is it something that happens naturally,” writes Mark C. Pisano of Fort Bragg, NC, for a report for the National Association of School Psychologists. This rings true for the relationship between members of the service and their dogs. Sometimes a service member comes back and realizes that he or she does not have the interest or means to continue caring for a pet. Active-duty service members and veterans alike may face medical hardships and even homelessness. More than likely, however, service members want their dogs back—and desperately so. Maybe they’ll even make a reunion video and post it to YouTube, joining the ranks of a story that never gets old—the story of the bond between man and his best friend. And while not captured on film, the service member will be forever grateful for the love and caring a volunteer provided to give that dog a warm home. And that volunteer will always have memories of a foster dog and the work they did, together, to help support our troops. For more information on Dogs on Deployment, visit www. dogsondeployment.org. ND Christine Stoddard is a native Arlingtonian, writer, animal lover, and the editor of QuailBellMagazine.com. You can reach her at cstoddard@ quailbell.com.

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Scoop on hiring a dog walker

NOVADog Magazine breaks down the Ins and Outs of Dog-Walking Services By Taylor Ham

Heading out the door to work every morning leaves many of us full of guilt and concerns about leaving our dogs home—all alone—for the entire day. For most of us, dogfriendly work places and telecommuting are the ideal, but not the reality. Fortunately, the Northern Virginia area has plenty of petfriendly businesses dedicated to making sure you never have to choose between your career and your furry family member. 18 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

Regular mid-day walks can truly improve your dog’s life. “Some dogs spend over 10 hours without any human interaction while their owners are at work and then another six to seven hours while the owners are sleeping, which doesn’t leave time for a lot of mental or physical stimulation,” says Kim Varghese, founder of Arlington-based dog walking and pet sitting company Fetching Life. Many other pet professionals and owners agree that hiring a dog walker can help break the monotony, provide opportunities for socialization and allow your dog get the exercise he or she needs to say healthy and happy while you’re away during the day.

True Pet Professionals Dog-walking companies range in size from a few neighborhood dog walkers to hundreds of employees covering a wide geographic area, each of whom have been carefully screened, selected and trained to ensure quality service and safety. While some dog walkers are employees of a company, others businesses coordinate a team of individuals who work as independent contractors. Styles of communication vary as well, from fully automated online scheduling systems to personal calls or texts with your dedicated pet professional. Professional dog-walking services are fully bonded and insured and protect their reputation and their clients’ safety through careful hiring and training practices. While some only require a background check and a love of dogs, others require employees to have previous professional

Many dog-walking companies offer pet sitting as well as walking services, and provide more options than just a stroll around the block. experience and undergo comprehensive first aid and emergency-management training. Many dog-walking companies offer pet sitting as well as walking services, and provide more options than just a stroll around the block. Offerings like group outings to dog parks, on-leash running, obedience training and specialized services for puppies, geriatric, or highly active dogs allow you to customize services to meet your needs. While they may differ in services offered, every dog walker has in common a passion for pets.

find a

dog walker

p. 21



Dog Training & Behavior Modification

Beth Greenberg, co-owner of All Friends Pet Care in Herndon, believes this quality is of utmost importance. “We bring on people who desire to do this job because they truly love animals, and not because they are just looking for a paycheck,” she says.

More than Just a Walk

703-574-3383 n Puppy

and Dog Manners Class—at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington

n Dog

Park Play—learn what good dog park play looks like and how to avoid the drama

n Nose

Knows—teach your dog how to use his nose to hunt

n Treibball—play this fun game while

learning off-leash control and focus We also offer private, in-home training for dogs of all ages and needs To register for classes visit the KissAble Canine website:


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

Serving the Washington, DC Metro area

20 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

Regular walks benefit all dogs, regardless of age, size, temperament or energy level. “The walk is a critical canine activity that establishes leadership roles, provides much-needed exercise, and stimulates our dogs’ senses and minds,” says Isabel Alvarez, owner of The Wag Pack. “There is nothing like a dog walk to cure behavioral issues, ease anxiety and prevent health problems,” she says. This is true even if your dog has access to a backyard during the day. “A backyard is simply an oversized crate,” Alvarez believes. “Allowing your dog to get out and sniff different areas and see different sites is important,” agrees Greenberg, who warns that boredom can lead to destructive behavior in some dogs. If you have a new puppy, hiring a dog walker is a good way to get started on the right foot. DogOn Fitness offers leash training for puppies during their first eight months. Alexandria Pet Care has no minimum age for its clients, but generally cares for puppies 12 weeks and older, starting with socialization and playtime visits before transitioning to short walks. “Later on, when dog owners begin concerted efforts of obedience training, we stay in close daily and weekly communication to reinforce the training lessons of the week,” says owner Elizabeth Legere. Behavior modification and reinforcement is important for older dogs as well, who may not have learned proper leash manners. If you and your dog are still trying to master the walk, a regular dog walker is a great way to enhance your efforts.

Not Just for Social Dogs A walking service is also the perfect solution for dogs who are not cut out for the daycare scene, or who are timid. “Working with a professional dog walker allows pets to stay in the environment they know best, and prevents them from experiencing the stress of new environments and unknown animals,” explains Becky O’Neil, founder of Becky’s Pet Care. O’Neil fondly remembers one of her toughest cases: a sweet but painfully shy rescue pup named Karma who would bark and hide from her. After speaking softly and leaving treats after each visit, O’Neil gained Karma’s trust

enough to go for a walk. “Karma was a client for over 10 years and will always hold a special place in my heart,” she says. Even antisocial dogs can be matched with the right walker. Sara Quattlebaum of Dog Paws ‘n Cat Claws Pet Care was able to take precautions to safely walk an aggressive dog deemed dangerous by Arlington County. Her team worked with the client, sitters, and client’s neighbors to educate them on dog body language and training techniques to minimize risk to all who were involved in caring for this dog.

How to Choose a Dog Walker Ready to find a dog walker? This person will be entering your house, caring for your beloved dog, and becoming a teammate in your family schedule. It’s important to choose wisely. We asked some experienced pet professionals to share the top criteria owners should look for when selecting a dog walker. Here are three they all agreed on:

Reliability and Responsibility. All Friends Pet Care does thorough screening and background checks on every employee, and encourages clients to use webcams, security systems or other measures to give themselves peace of mind that walkers and sitters are performing as requested. Once services start, clients can email, call, or text their pet sitter to check in on their pets, adjust their requested service, or ask any questions. The Wag Pack ensures that each client has a back-up pet walker or sitter in place in case the primary person cannot make it, and keeps two sets of keys in case of a lockout or emergency.

Training. Employee training varies by company. At Alexandria Pet Care, all employees are required to go through two weeks of comprehensive onboarding training. “We work hard in our new employee training, ongoing training and all-staff meetings so that we are 100 percent prepared for every situation,” says Legere. At Becky’s Pet Care, new hire trainings include working through scenarios that may happen in the field, practicing on-the-spot problem solving and shadowing a more senior pet care professional. At DogOn Fitness, owner Carol Brooks stresses that her employees know how to manage a wide variety of dog temperaments and personalities. Communication. Varghese says dog owners should expect their dog walker to learn about their dog’s preferences and communicate

Find a Dog Walking Service Provider Years in Business

CPR/First Aid Trained

Multipet Charge?

10 Years

All of Northern Virginia, Parts of Loudoun, Prince Williams Counties

15 Years

Always There Pet Care: 703.241.2287, ATPC01@aol.com Website: www.alwaystherepetcare.com

Annandale, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, McLean, Oakton, Vienna

19 Years

Amanda’s Pet Care: petcare@amandaspetcare.com Website: www.amandaspetcare.com


Becky’s Pet Care: 703.822.0933, service@beckyspetcare.com Website: www.beckyspetcare.com

Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William Counties, Alexandria, Falls Church

15 Years

Dog On Fitness: 703.627.4462, info@dogonfitness.com Website: www.dogonfitness.com

N. Arlington, Annandale, Ashburn, Centreville, Fairfax, McLean, Reston, Oakton, Vienna

10 Years

Dog Paws ‘n Cat Claws: 703.931.5057, info@dpncc.com Website: www.dpncc.com

Arlington and NW Washington, DC

14 Years

Fetching Life: 703.957.9050, team@fetchinglife.com Website: www.fetchinglife.com

Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, McLean, Springfield, NW Washington DC

5 Years

Fur-Get Me Not: 703.933.1935, rsvp@furgetmenot.com Website: www.furgetmenot.com

Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Falls Church, McLean, Washington DC

13 Years

Mary’s Critter Care: 571.276.0287, maryscrittercare@verizon.net

Annandale, Springfield, Kings Park, Western Falls Church, Western Alexandria

12 Years

One of a Kind K9: 703.662.5782, PetVisits@1ofakindk9.com Website: www.1ofakindk9.com

Aldie, Ashburn, Beacon Hill, Brambleton, Cascades, Herndon, Lansdowne, Leesburg, Purcellville, Sterling, South Riding

Run Around Hound: 703.651.2951, petsitters@therunaroundhound.com Website: www.therunaroundhound.com

Ashburn, Brambleton, Leesburg, Sterling

The Wag Pack: 703.537.0527, info@thewagpack.com Website: www.thewagpack.com

Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax Counties

Walking the Dogs, LLC: 703.473.9768, Felicia@walkingdogsva.com Website: www.walkingdogsva.com

Burke, Fairfax, Fairfax Station, Lorton, Springfield

Company Contact Information

Areas Served

Alexandria Pet Care: 703.548.1516, info@alexandriapetcare.com Website: www.alexandriapetcare.com

Alexandria City to Mount Vernon

All Friends Pet Care: 703.716.PETS (7387), info@allfriendspetcare.com Website: www.allfriendspetcare.com

openly. “It can be unnerving to owners to have a new person involved in a pet’s life, and great communication can make that easier,” she says. That communication starts at the very first consultation meeting. Michele Fisher and Angie Boggs, co-owners of Always There Pet Care in Falls Church, stress the importance of this meeting as a chance to gauge your dog’s reaction to his or her potential walker and

Group outings Other Services offered? Offered Pet sitting

Pet Sitting, Overnight stays

Pet Sitting

Pet Sitting (all pets)

Pet Sitting, Overnights, Taxi Pet Sitting, Boarding, Grooming, Taxi

Pet Sitting, Cat visits, Hiking, Taxi Pet Sitting, Overnights, Taxi, Daycare


Pet Sitting, Training

2 Years

3 Years

6 Years

5 Years

observe how the person interacts with you and your pet. This is the time to discuss any special needs or ask any questions you may have about the service. Regular, continuing communication is also important. The dog walkers at Dog Paws ‘n Cat Claws Pet Care leave a note after every walk telling pet parents about the dog’s experience that day. There are several quality dog-walking

Pet Sitting, Bed & Biscuit, Kitty Condos (Falls Church)

Pet Sitting (all pets), Overnights Pet Sitting, Overnights, Bed & Biscuit Pet Sitting (all pets), Puppy Training, House Visits

services available in the area. Do your research, hire a dog-walker, and leave for work each day comforted that your pet is happy and healthy while you are away. ND Taylor Ham is a freelance writer from Ithaca, NY. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband Stephen and two dogs, Samson and TJ. www.novadogmagazine.com



D og -fri en d l y s p a c e s i n No rth e rn V i rg i n i a a n d b e y o n d

“Just one?” Luna decides which treat she would like to sink her teeth into.

Super Pet Expo: A First-Hand Experience An Interview with Beagle and Bargains Blogger Jessica Shipman By A l e xa n d ra Ma s o n


essica Shipman describes herself as “a bargain-hunting food lover.” She’s also the first-time pet parent of a rescued, twoyear-old Beagle mix named Luna. Jessica took time out from her blog, BeaglesAndBargains.com, to share her thoughts and recommendations from attending the Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, VA. NOVADOG: Why did you decide to attend the Super Pet Expo the first time? SHIPMAN: I adopted Luna a few months before and had just begun blogging on Beagles and Bargains. This got me really interested in all of the unique pet products that are out there. I heard radio commercials for the Super Pet Expo and saw other pet bloggers posting about it, so I knew it would be a great way to learn more about the pet industry. I attended with plans for blogging, but I was really there as a first-time pet parent ready to soak in tons of knowledge about pets. NOVADOG: Did anything about that first experience surprise you? SHIPMAN: While the whole event was a bit overwhelming at first, there were actually two things that really surprised me: First, I was surprised by how Luna reacted to the environment. There

22 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

was just so much to see Blogger Jessica and do that it can be hard Shipman and her dog Luna to decide what to do next! For Luna, an Expo firsttimer, it was a lot to take in. Once the hugs and treats began, though, she was very happy. My best advice for those attending the first time is to take it slow at the beginning. This is important for both you and your dog. There will be plenty of time to see and do it all, so just enjoy, get comfortable and make the most of the experience. The second thing I was surprised by was the attitude of the other attendants. Everyone was so cheery and helpful. The other dogs were the same way. There were big dogs, little dogs, skinny dogs, and maybe even a few chubby dogs, and they all were happy to be there and excited to meet each other. I loved that! It kind of made me wish that getting to know someone was as easy as sniffing their butt... almost. NOVADOG: What’s different about attending a pet expo for shopping, as opposed to shopping online?

SHIPMAN: I’m a software engineer, so I won’t lie—I love shopping online! But it only really works well if you know exactly what you want. There is a lot to say about holding an actual product in your hand and even trying it on (your dog) before committing to purchasing it. The Super Pet Expo is a wonderful way to fall in love with a new pet product and to support that business directly. There is so much out there on the Internet that it is sometimes hard to process it all. A pet expo gathers all sorts of awesome pet products and allows you to see them in one place. NOVADOG: What was Luna’s favorite part about the expo? SHIPMAN: This one is easy. Treats and people! Don’t tell your pets, but nearly every booth has delicious snacks for them. Luna is also a huge people dog. She would make the worst guard dog because she would just wiggle with excitement at any burglars. If you have a pet that’s the same, they will love the Super Pet Expo. They’ll be the center of attention all day long. ND


The Super Pet Expo takes place March 21-23, 2014, at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA.

CANINE CALENDAR JANUARY January 1-31 Lend a Paw Donation Drive at Dogtopia locations. All month long, Dogtopia is partnering with local rescue organizations in Northern VA to collect key items for dogs in need. Collection boxes are located in each store’s lobby. For more information about the partner organizations and a list of items needed, contact your local Dogtopia or visit www. dogdaycare.com/dogtopiacares.

January 25 & 26 Jan. 25 (noon) & Jan. 26 (2PM): Centreville Dance Academy’s Winter Showcase 2014. Watch dancers debut their performances, with proceeds benefiting A Forever Home Rescue Foundation (www.aforeverhome.org). Tickets are $14 adults, $10 kids 8 and under. Purchase at the door or at Centreville Dance Academy. Performance takes place at the Richard J. Ernst Community Cultural Center (NVCC Annandale Campus), 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA. For more information, visit www.centrevilledance.com or call 703-815-3125.

January 26 Friday, 4 pm – 9 pm Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm Tickets are available online via www.superpetexpo.com/ tickets.html or at the door. Use coupon code NOVADOG and get $3 off each ticket purchased online through the last day of the show. One Day Adult (12+) - $13.00 One Day Child (4-11) - $8.00 Weekend Pass (Adult) - $20.00 Weekend Pass (Child) - $10.00 In addition to shopping with 150+ local and national exhibitors, the three-day event features Marvelous Mutts Dock Diving fueled by EVO, a presentation on natural petcare tips from celebrity pet stylist Jorge Bendersky, performances from “world’s smartest dog” Jesse the Jack, the always popular Best Dressed Pet Competition, and many more amazing entertainment options.

Jesse the Jack

Jorge Bendersky

Marvelous Mutts

7:30PM film, doors open at 6:30PM: Premiere of “The Lucky Ones,” a film produced in cooperation with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. The documentary follows the long journey many homeless animals must take to find their forever homes, and the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers who find these dogs homes. Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA. Tickets $10 (all box office proceeds benefit Lucky Dog Animal Rescue), available at www.arlingtondrafthouse. com. Learn more about the film at www. theluckyonesfilm.com.

FEBRUARY February 5 6-9PM: Sugar & Champagne Affair. The Washington Humane Society’s annual dessert and champagne reception honors local crusaders against animal cruelty: Washington Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement Officers, Animal Care & Control Officers, and Humane Educators. This celebration of all things sweet showcases the DC area’s most talented pastry chefs. Enjoy delectable confections complemented by some of the world’s finest sparkling wines. The VIP Chefs’ Tasting Room presents an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region. Tickets $90-$150. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center,1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC. More info at www.sugarandchampagne.org.

February 14 8PM – Midnight: Have a Heart Hop benefiting Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. Take a beginner dance lesson at 8:30 p.m., then enjoy a live band, candlelight desserts, bar, silent auction, kissing booth, dance demos, floating kissing ball and other surprises. $20 ticket ($5 toward silent auction items) benefits Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and The Honor Flight Network for WWII Vets. Hilton Washington Dulles Hotel, 13869 Park Center Road, Herndon, VA. For more information, email suec@luckydoganimalrescue.org.

MARCH March 1 10:30AM (Fun Dog Show), 12:302:30PM: Parade. Come early to Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to be a part of the Fun Dog Show. Prizes will be given for the most Irish dogs. Stay for marching bands, classic cars, dancers, pipers and local celebrities. The Fun Dog Show will take place in Market Square, Old Town Alexandria. More info at www.ballyshaners.org.

March 8 7-11PM: A Forever Home Rescue Foundation’s Third Annual Casino Night and Silent Auction. Enjoy a silent auction, raffles, casino games, prizes, hors d’ouevres and drinks to support animal rescue. Tickets $75/each or $125/two. Piedmont Club – Haymarket, 14675 Piedmont Vista Dr., Haymarket, VA. More info at www.aforeverhome.org.

March 5 New Volunteer Orientation for Fairfax Pets on Wheels (held first Wednesday of every month). Learn how you and your friendly pet can brighten lives by visiting residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Fairfax County Government Center - Pennino Building, 12011 Government Center Pkwy, Room 709, Fairfax, VA. More info at www. fpow.org.

March 21-23 Fri: 4-9PM, Sat: 10AM-7PM, Sun: 10AM-5PM 14th Annual Super Pet Expo. Learn about products, play with pets, shop over 150 local and national exhibitors, adopt a new friend, meet animals and have a fantastic day with your family and furry friends at the Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly, VA. Use promo code NOVADOG for $3 off of tickets at www. superpetexpo.com/tickets.html. More info at www.superpetexpo.com/chantilly. html.

Continued on page 25




A gl i m ps e i n to the l i fe of No rth e rn V i rg i n i a d o g s

THE SCENE is brought to you by A DOG’S DAY OUT. Cage-free daycare, boarding, grooming and more. Five great locations in Northern Virginia. Visit www.adogsdayout.com. Winners receive a NOVADog Magazine limited-edition T-shirt and a gift certificate from A Dog’s Day Out.

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| Winter 2014



Products and services directory

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March 21-23, 2014 Dulles Expo Center

APRIL Tuesdays & Thursdays, April to October 5PM—Doggie Happy Hours at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria. Dogs enjoy complimentary dog treats while humans dine at Jackson 20’s bar. 480 King St, Alexandria, VA. www.monaco-alexandria. com/alexandria-hotel/doggie-happy-hour.

April 5 10AM – 6PM: The Capitol Pet Expo—Bring your pets for live entertainment, hundreds of vendors, free services, adoptions, book signings, prizes, education events and more. Free admission. For more info visit www.capitolpetexpo.com.

April 5 Preview 7PM, Auction 8PM: HART’s 24th Annual Art & Silent Auction. Shop for amazing art and enjoy an evening of fun, including hor d’oeuvers and cash bar. Hilton Washington Dulles Airport, 13869 Park Center Road, Herndon, VA. Proceeds support Homeless Animals Rescue Team (HART). More info at www.hart90.org.

April 24 6:30 – 8:30PM—Low-cost Rabies Clinic at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. Cost: $10. Please bring proof of a prior rabies shot (a rabies certificate, not a tag) to get a three-year rabies shot. Without it, your pet will receive a one-year shot. More info www.awla.org or call 703.931.9241. ND

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For more events check out our Canine Calendar online at: www.novadogmagazine.com



HIT THE TRAIL Local walks to enjoy

NOVADog Preview Hikers tried out the trail and helped the authors review it.

Lake Fairfax Park 3-mile Tour de Park by Carol Brooks and Neil Knolle


ith colder temperatures and shorter days, winter can be an exercise challenge for busy dog owners. One option to keep you both happy is to put aside a few hours each week to explore a local trail. While summer’s foliage and sounds bring the world closer in, winter’s naked landscape and quiet provide a more expansive view and make topographical features easier to see. The trails at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston are an excellent winter hiking choice for human and canine hikers of all levels. With much of the park’s popular features, like the Water Mine and campground, closed for the winter, you’ll find a more peaceful experience for you and your dog. With over 300 acres of undeveloped land laced with trails, woods, and streams, it’s easy to see why even fifty years ago, city-dwellers flocked to

NOVADog Publisher Angela Meyers, her son Grant and Maggie-dog.

26 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

enjoy this remote park in the country when it was then privately owned. Throughout its history, the park’s land passed through many owners and acreage changes. Pedestrian surveys located three Native American sites that indicate habitation 3,000-6,000 years ago. Few signs of development, farming, or building structures have been found, so it’s likely the landscape reflects the terrain of pre-development Fairfax County. In more recent history, the original 292-acre private park (which included the lake for which it is named) was sold to the Fairfax County Park Authority in 1966, around the same time the plan for Reston was conceived. The park authority later purchased an additional 129 acres, and the land around the park grew into the town of Reston. Thanks to careful planning and management, you and your dog can still experience the sense of remoteness and appreciate the rural landscape of bygone days. Dogs love new experiences and this park destination benefits dogs and people alike. Trail hiking enlists underused muscles, and over time builds fitness and increases the capacity to prevent injury. At Lake Fairfax Park, you and your dog will find fallen trees to jump over, streams to splash through, and stumps to jump up on: a natural agility course. A good place to start is the moderately challenging 3-mile trail loop described below. It follows parts of the “Rails to River Trail” and winds through woodlands and past every recreational feature of the park, including the 18-acre lake. Our hike starts in the parking lot closest to the Water Mine sign. From here, walk downhill past the restrooms and other park administration build-

The Garcia Family and friends enjoyed the chance to hike with other readers and try out a new trail.

As NOVADog fan Jamie Scheff and happy pup Cody show, all of the hikers said they would recommend this trail to others.

ings. Turn left on the park road and walk downhill away from the lake. Follow the park road toward a T-intersection and stop sign. Go left at the stop sign and follow the gravel road past the restrooms and picnic shelter on the right. Continue toward the woods.

Leaders Carol and Neil giving pre-hike direction.

After-walk water for the thirsty hikers.

You will come to a “Service Vehicles Only” sign. At the sign, go right onto the trail and walk uphill to the open cricket fields. Bear left and stay on the narrow bike trail across the field and toward the woods. Follow the trail downhill into the woods, bearing right as the trail splits. Continue on this trail to a stream crossing. Cross the stream (dogs will get wet) and proceed uphill. Go straight on this trail going past an intersection of two other trails, and continue to the athletic fields (about .5 miles from the stream crossing). Note: during the 1920’s, this open land was used as a commercial airstrip. Stay on this trail as it passes along the end of the athletic fields and skirts a housing development. Continue into the woods on this trail to another stream crossing. Turn right at the stream crossing—do not cross the stream. Follow this trail until it ends in the campground. Cross a metal bridge onto a gravel road. Go right on the gravel road, following it uphill through the campground,

and return to the athletic fields. Bear left here and continue on the gravel road past the skate park. After passing the skate park, cross the asphalt road and go onto the gravel road beyond the gate. Stay on this road, passing another gate, and go downhill to the lake. Cross the dam and return to your starting point.

Getting There Lake Fairfax Park is located at 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston, VA 20170. For more information and directions, visit their official website: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/lakefairfax/ Many thanks to hiker David DePalma for sharing his photos. ND

Did you hike it? Please stop by our Facebook page to leave some of your own feedback, www.facebook.com/novadog.


Park Hours: Park and trails are open from dawn to dusk. Office Hours: Daily 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. What To Bring: Wear sturdy waterproof shoes—the trail is muddy in areas. Bring water for you and your dog, poop bags, layered clothing, and blankets and towels for after-hike clean-up. Hike Distance: 3 miles Time: 60 minutes or more Fido Friendly Features: Off-street parking, fun dog-safe trails, water access, wide trails, numerous trash cans Use: Hikers, runners, bikers, on-leash dogs Best Time to Go: Anytime—Weekdays are less crowded. Rated: 2 paws (moderate)

1 paw = easy; 5 = expert

About Your Guides 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. Neil Knolle is a trainer for DogOn Fitness. He provides Family Integration Training (FIT) to help households live in harmony with their dogs. Headquartered in Reston, DogOn Fitness services Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD. Visit them on the Web at www.dogonfitness.com.


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WAGS TO RICHES Adoption success stories


age 1, is loved by Barona and Francis in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Adopted from: The Washington

Humane Society in September 2013.

How did he get his name? Jonas was the name that his previous owner had given him. It means “a gift from God.” I really liked it and decided to keep it. You picked him because... I lost my son, my only child, to cancer in

Help us LICK LONELINESS You and your cat, dog or rabbit are needed to join other Fairfax Pets on Wheels, Inc. volunteers who make a difference in the community by visiting residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Visit: www.fpow.org or Call: 703-324-5406


Favorite treat or snack: Jonas loves Charlee Bears. When he wants a


Benefiting the Washington Humane Society

FEBRUARY 5, 2014 Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center

Tickets on sale November1! www.sugarandchampagne.org 28 Northern Virginia Dog

| Winter 2014

September 2013. Five days after his funeral, I found myself at the Washington Humane Society, but I really wasn’t sure why. I had a feeling that I was there for a reason, so I went inside. I was greeted by a smiling staff member who asked if I wanted a cat or dog. I told her I wanted a Shih Tzu or Yorkie puppy. As she pulled up a picture on the computer she said, “We have a 9-month-old, Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix that came in last night.” As she turned the computer monitor for me to see him, my heart nearly burst! I fought back tears because I knew when I saw him that he was the reason I was there. I provided the necessary paperwork and left. I had mixed feelings: Should I be adopting at this time? Am I only doing this because of my recent loss? An overwhelming feeling of comfort came over me as I drove home. All I could think about was Jonas. When I received the call saying that my application was approved, I was so happy that I cried. Jonas has bought me so much joy. I have my moments when I think about my son, but Jonas is always there to take the pain away. I believe in my heart that Jonas is definitely a gift from God.

treat, he will snatch something off of the coffee table and run with it. He knows that I am not going to chase him. When I offer him a treat, he comes running and drops it on the floor.

Favorite activity together: Our favorite activity together is throwing the

ball. When Jonas is ready to play ball, he digs in his toy box—we see toys flying across the floor! Then he finds it! The blue ball! He will slowly slip up onto the sofa beside me, usually when I am watching a movie, and drop the ball in my lap. If I try to ignore him, he will roll the ball around in my lap until he gets my attention. He always wins. I put my movie on hold and play ball until he tires out!

You love him because... Jonas came into my life at the right time, when I needed comforting. While the words of comfort from family and friends helped to ease the pain of my loss, it wasn’t until I held Jonas for the first time and he laid his little head on my neck that I felt real comfort. He already knows what it is to accept love and to give love. He is full of personality and energy. If he sees me sitting quietly, he will jump up and lay his head on my leg and look up at me with his little teddy bear face, as if to say, “Mommy, are you okay?” When he does that he always melts my heart and brings a smile to my face. I didn’t rescue Jonas...he rescued me. He brings meaning to my favorite quote, by Anatole France: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ND The Washington Humane Society operates D.C.’s animal adoption center and offers an array of dynamic programs and services, providing comfort and care to over 43,000 animals each year. To adopt an animal or to offer your support, please visit them at www.washhumane.org.

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NOVADog Magazine Winter 2014  

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

NOVADog Magazine Winter 2014  

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

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