Page 1

Volume 6•Issue 2

Summer 2015

The Mission Continues For Nick White Fit as a Fiddle Bath Time is Health Time

Walking in a Winter Wonderland Demystifying Spinal Injuries in Dogs Holiday Gift Guide Inside


“Hope” is seeking her forever


home through The Middleburg Humane Foundation (details on Page 46)

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contents Volume 6

Issue 2

The Mis si For Nic on Continues k White

Fit as a Fiddle Bath Tim Health e is Time

Summer 2015

departments 18

Walkin g in a W inter Wonder land Demys tifying Sp Injuries inal in Dog s Holida y Gift G uide In side

Weekend Getaway: History Hounds


Fitness & Training:

On the Cover…

The Zen of Dog Training: Doggie DNA

“Hope” is available for adoption through The Middleburg Humane Foundation (See Page 46 for details)




Rounding Up Rover: Calling All Pooches, Pups and Their Humans: Do You Want to be a Search Dog?

Ask A Neurovet:



with Dr. Lauren Talarico

Fit as A Fiddle! Keep Your Canine Athlete Strong With These Easy Tips


Ask Dr. Katy:


Stories Within The Bond:


Giving Back:






is home thro seeking her fore ver ugh The Humane Foundation Middleburg (details on Page


Photo by Carina Thornton, Fuzzypants Photography

Four Dog Training Techniques You Don’t Need to Obsess Over



Volume 6•Issue 2


features 9

Loving Care for a Bear of a Dog


Ares’ Story:


The Toughest Question:

A Tale of Rescue, Restoration & Renewal

Could More Have Been Done for my Pet?

with Dr. Katy Nelson

The Case of the Failed Home Remedies

special feature 14

The Mission Continues

SHAWN HAWES: Saving Lives with Social Media

Bath Time Is Health Time— and Fun Time—For Dogs!

46 Seeking A Forever Home Summer 2015 |


{ contributors }

contributors Kimberly Artley

Katy Nelson, DVM

Kimberly Artley is Founder of PackFit: Body + Mind for Human + Canine. PackFit is dedicated to helping humans + their faithful canine companions achieve stellar health + wellness through various integrated modalities. Creating our best version of self + becoming the leader our dogs need us to be.

Cathy C. Bennett Cathy C. Bennett enjoys writing about life with her two Goldendoodles and the world they continue to introduce her to. Author and Editor for The Chronicles of Life with Harley & Jax, The Doodle Daily and Doodle*Licious, Cathy writes because so many people ask her “what’s it like with two?”

Prince Lorenzo Borghese Prince Lorenzo Borghese is founder of Prince Lorenzo’s Royal Treatment, an organic-based grooming line formulated in Italy. He is honorary animal welfare Ambassador for the ASPCA and the American Humane Association. He is also President and co-founder of Animal Aid USA, a not-for-profit organization comprised of all non-paid volunteers that through their monthly adoption caravans save an average of 150 lives per month. For more information go to royalpetclub. com or

Bruce Coston, DVM Doctor Coston owns and operates Seven Bends Veterinary Hospital in Woodstock, Virginia. He is the author of two books: The Gift of Pets and Ask The Animals.

Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Dr. Erwin, a life-long Loudoun County native, owns a house call practice called Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services that focuses on offering in-home acupuncture, rehabilitation, pet hospice, and euthanasia for her clients. Dr. Erwin is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.

Laura S. Jones Laura Semonche Jones is an attorney and freelance writer and editor. She lives with her husband, two adored pit bull mixes and two tolerant cats in Charlottesville. Fallout Shelter, one of the stories in Breaking and Entering, her debut collection of short stories, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jones is also working on her first novel, and yes, there is a dog in it. More information and samples of her work are at

William Tyrrell, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Cardiology) Dr. Bill Tyrrell strives to fully educate clients about the cardiac disease found within their pets. Interactive communication is a very important part of his examination, consultation, and follow-up treatment. Dr. Tyrrell’s home life is filled with two daughters, three cats and one dog.

Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA CTP, CNWI Dog lover and professional trainer, Laurie knows the joy that dogs bring to our lives. Smart Dog University specializes in dog-friendly, positive training. From pups to dogs, Laurie makes training fun for both ends of the leash!


Dr. Katy Nelson is a veterinarian and the host of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8 - the show airs at 11am on Saturday mornings. An ardent advocate for pet rescue, Dr. Nelson works with numerous local and national rescue organizations to promote pet adoption. Dr. Nelson is known as “Dr. Pawz” on Washington DC’s All News Radio Station WTOP live on air every two weeks. You can also catch her on her online radio show called “Pawsitive Talk with Dr. Katy” on the all positive radio network HealthyLife. Net. Dr. Nelson is a Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVJ), accredited by the American Society of Veterinary Journalists (ASVJ). Catch her every Friday morning on News Channel 8’s “Let’s Talk Live,” and you can even find her reporting on animal health topics every week on WJLA ABC7 News. A prolific writer, you can follow her on The Pet Show’s blog the-pet-show/ and find back episodes of The Pet Show there, as well.

Carol Plescia Carol Plescia is the founder of Acadia Antlers. She lives in NJ with her family and their dog Dallas. Her business focus is on all natural moose antler dog chews and treats and insists that all her products are both sourced and made in USA.

Anne Stoneham, DVM, DACVECC Dr. Stoneham is an emergency and critical care specialist at VCA Veterinary Referral Associates in Gaithersburg, MD where she is Director of the Emergency Department. Dr. Stoneham completed her veterinary training at three different institutions: veterinary school at Cornell University in NY, internship at the Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Oregon, and residency at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Dr. Stoneham’s interests include emergency surgery, acute kidney failure, sepsis and hypoadrenocorticism among others.

Lauren R. Talarico, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology/Neurosurgery) Dr. Talarico is a board certified neurosurgeon at VCA SouthPaws in Fairfax, VA. She graduated with honors from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, completed an internship at the University of Georgia and neurosurgical residency at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. Dr. Talarico conducts research projects involving Chiari-like malformations through the pediatric neurosurgery team at Children’s National Hospital in DC. She has also been published in several veterinary journals and textbooks. Dr. Talarico specializes in brain and spinal surgery, reconstruction procedures and treatment of medical neurologic diseases.

Ginger Warder Ginger Warder, the author of Fido’s Virginia and Fido’s Florida, is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, specializing in luxury travel and travel with pets. Her current canine research assistants are her German Shepherd, Tipsy, and her Daschund, Max.

Anne Wills Anne Wills is the founder of Dogs Finding Dogs, K9 Search & Rescue for Missing Pets, a 501c3 Non-profit organization. In addition, Anne is a Professional Dog Trainer and Private Investigator, as well as the owner of Dogs Finding Drugs, K9 Narcotic & Firearms Detection. She is also an HLN and Fox News Consultant.

The Virginia–Maryland Dog

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Publisher/Editor in Chief Pamela Wahl Director of Operations Gene Wahl Art Director Kim Dow, Kalico Design Graphic Designers Jen Tyler, Jillian Winkler, Kalico Design Social Media Cami O’Connell Kristin Carlson Senior Editor Kimberly Holmes Photographer Carina Thornton, Fuzzypants Photography Copy Editor Matt Neufeld Advertising Director Pamela Wahl Production Coordinator Diane Weller Web Site Manager Jen Tyler, Kalico Design Business Manager Cathy Wahl Contributing Writers: Kimberly Artley Cathy Bennett Prince Lorenzo Borghese Bruce Coston, DVM Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Bonnie Lefbom, DVM, DACIM (Cardiology) Laurie Luck, KPA-CTP, CNWI Katy Nelson, DVM Carol Plescia Anne Stoneham, DVM, DACVECC Lauren Talarico, DVM, DACVIM Ginger Warder Anne Wills The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine 1 College Avenue Frederick, MD 21701 Tel: (301) 514-2804 Fax: (301) 694-9799

{ publishers note }

a note

from our publisher

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” – M.K. Clinton, Showstoppers This edition of The Virginia-Maryland Dog is dedicated to Janet Hitchen. We are honored to have had Janet’s work, both photography and writings, grace the many covers and pages of our Magazine. Janet was a well-known photographer. Her photos of people and animals were published locally and nationally. She was extremely passionate not only about her photography, but about the welfare of animals. Janet rescued many animals during her lifetime. I was fortunate enough to spend many hours with Janet at her home, as well as on photo shoots. I always looked forward to visiting her home to see what new fourlegged additions that she had so graciously and generously rescued. Some of my fondest memories of Janet were when we would sit in front of her computer reviewing photos from a cover shoot. The constant interruptions of her dogs leaping on our laps without notice or playing under our feet provided much laughter and fun. Janet will surely be missed by many including the staff of The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine. Pam Wahl Owner/Publisher

Photo by: Douglas Lees

{ department }

Janet Hitchen 1944 – March 24, 2015

Copyright 2015 No part of this publication may be reproduced without expressed written permission of the publisher. No part may be transmitted in any form by any means, including electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Publisher accepts no liability for solicited or unsolicited materials that are damaged or lost. Views expressed by editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

At Fuzzypants Pet Photography, I specialize in the balance of playfulness and poignancy to provide your family with soulful and honest images of your beloved pets. Please contact me today to discuss ideas for your

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{ feature }

Loving Care for a Bear of a Dog By Anne Stoneham DVM, DACVECC

Bear is a Great. Big. Dog. He weighs 172 pounds, dwarfing almost all of the people caring for him, since the majority of people who work in the critical care unit at VRA are fairly petite women. He is at least part mastiff, but no one knows if he’s pure-bred or if he’s got a bit of black lab mixed in there, because his owners adopted him when he was a few years old. He is, however, a pure sweetheart. Bear came to VCA Veterinary Referral Associates after he had emergency surgery at the Emergency Animal Hospital (EAH) at Ellicott City. There, he had been diagnosed with a perforated small intestine, and they had done surgery to repair the hole. The hole was caused by a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (like aspirin) that he was taking after having surgery to repair a knee injury only a few weeks earlier. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are very good pain medications but, as with all medications, they can have side effects. The most common negative side effects veterinarians see are intestinal ulceration (and perforations), kidney injury and liver disease. All NSAIDs have the potential to cause these effects, but I have found that I see side effects more frequently with aspirin and the NSAIDs known as “COX-2 inhibitors” (Previcox & Deramaxx).

“Bear” & Dr. Anne Stoneham. Photo courtesy of: VCA-VRA

After surgery, the doctors at the EAH had watched Bear’s blood protein levels plummet. This happens fairly commonly in animals that have what Bear did. Before the surgical repair, he had a septic (infected) abdomen: intestinal contents (bacteria, food, irritating digestive enzymes) were in his abdomen – a place that is supposed to be completely sterile. The result was massive inflammation and, unfortunately, repairing the hole doesn’t stop the inflammation in its tracks. The body needs time to clear out all the microscopic debris left behind and, only when it’s all gone will the inflammation subside. Massive inflammation, leads to leakage of high protein fluid into the abdomen and so, the protein that is supposed to stay in the blood ends up in the abdomen. The doctors at EAH knew Bear needed intensive medical care so they recommended that he come to VRA.

Summer 2015 |


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I saw him when he first arrived at the emergency room. He was chill (not temperature, just attitude) and seemed unfazed by the fact that he had just been through major surgery. Anyone who sat near him felt a huge paw land somewhere on their body as he physically tried to drag you closer to him so he could get some belly rubs. And believe me, he was no weakling. If he wanted you to pet him, you would probably end up petting him. We started routine supportive care (intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and medications to settle his stomach) and we gave him a transfusion of albumin (one of the main blood proteins) to improve his protein level.

I let Bear’s owner know that there might be a problem with Bear’s kidneys. We were still in the early stages of whatever was going on and we needed to monitor him very closely if we were going to stay ahead of it. We agreed that I would start giving him more intravenous fluids and I would start monitoring the amount of urine Bear was producing (a direct reflection of how well his kidneys were functioning). The critical care nurses placed a urinary catheter and within a few hours, we knew that Bear’s kidneys were in bad shape: he was producing only a trickle of urine. I realized we were going to have to be much more aggressive with Bear’s treatment.

It worked. By the next morning, Bear’s blood protein levels improved! But we started to see something worrisome: his kidney values had increased ever so slightly. It could be he just needed more fluids (he was losing a lot of fluid through his abdomen) but it could be that his kidneys had been damaged by all the inflammation in his system. The infection that Bear had in his abdomen could over-stimulate his immune system and an immune system gone haywire can cause a lot of damage. Frequently, it damages the kidneys, the lungs or the blood clotting system. The result is a syndrome called multiple organ dysfunction syndrome or MODS. The scary thing about MODS is that you don’t know how many and which organs are going to be damaged.

Bear’s owner and I talked again and he told me to do anything I could for his big goofy dog. So we did. Usually giving intravenous fluids is a necessity when treating damaged kidneys. But after running some additional tests, I knew that continuing intravenous fluids would only hurt Bear. So we turned off his intravenous fluids and started treating him with continuous infusions of medications to try to get his kidneys working again (Lasix and diltiazem). The first good news appeared right away. His urine production increased. Although this does not guarantee survival, it is far better than not urinating. The second bit of good news was in Bear himself – he never acted particularly sick. He remained his normal, relaxed self. He never failed to smack us with his big paws in a gentle reminder that a good scratch was in order. Over the next few days, he urinated plenty but his kidney values just kept climbing. At their highest, they were approximately three times the normal level. We were able to start intravenous fluids again within 24 hours and continued all of the other treatment, monitoring and supportive care. Four days after it started, all of our hard work and the owner’s prayers and wishes paid off. Bear’s kidney values started to return to normal and only a few days after that, Bear walked out the hospital’s front door. A happy, healthy dog and a happy (relieved) owner.

We were still in the early stages of whatever was going on and we needed to monitor him very closely if we were going to stay ahead of it.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog


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Ares’ Story: A Tale of Rescue, Restoration, and Renewal By Carol Plescia

As my business partners and myself started 2015, we thought about what we could do this year to make a difference. As the owner of Acadia Antlers, it is important to have our company reach out and help improve the welfare of dogs in shelters and rescues however we can. Acadia Antlers is a family-run business located in Ramsey, New Jersey. Our business started after a 2010 family vacation in Maine. By the summer of 2011, we were selling Acadia Antlers at a roadside stand outside of Bar Harbor, Maine, near Acadia National Park. When I heard about a dog named Ares, I had to stop and think. Ares, who is 2 ½, was found on the side of the street in Baltimore at the start of 2013, in bad shape, bleeding from the mouth and unable to close it. He was originally found by a good-hearted person who brought him to a group known as BARCS, or Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

{ feature }

Shelter. Ares had surgery and received medical care from the Essex Middle River Veterinary Center in Essex, Maryland. Ares was matched with his owner when a long time Acadia Antlers friend, who is very active in the rescue community, instantly recognized his potential and introduced him to his current owner. It was a perfect fit. Ares is energetic and athletic. He has a high drive and focuses on challenges and exercise. Acadia Antlers was recommended for Ares early, and the company and Ares have been inseparable ever since. Ares was fearless in trying new activities, and he was a perfect match for his new owner’s active lifestyle. Ares first tried dock diving at a Dock dogs Fun Jump, which is a great activity for all dogs. Ares loved it, and he completed his first competition in June 2014. Fun jumping is just that--- It’s just for fun. It does not go towards any club or national standings. It’s a good way for new people to try the sport and to get an idea of what it’s like to compete. I’ll let Ares compete as long as he enjoys it and wants to. He gets very excited when he competes and can’t wait to get on the dock. There is a new discipline in Dock dogs that they are introducing at Regional’s this year called Dueling Dogs. It’s like dog drag racing. Two dogs on the dock in separate lanes and it’s a run and jump off of the dock then swim to separate bumpers at the end of the pool. First one to get their bumper wins. We hope to compete in Dueling dogs this year at a regional event, states his owner. We just did our first National Event in Virginia Beach in April. Our next event is in West Virginia on Memorial Day weekend. We just signed up for the Codorus Blast in Hanover, Pa., that takes place June 19-21. And June 5-7, we will compete at the Celebrate Fairfax Festival. We plan to compete in the Iron Dog at each event. We are hoping to do well enough in 2015 to get an invite to the World Championships. Acadia Antlers has been watching Ares grow. Workers there have been amazed by his accomplishments, and they have wanted to share the magic of a small, mixed breed rescue with the rest of the world. From a scary and tragic start, Ares has risen to the top. He continues to open the eyes of people with his own special way of defying all the odds. His brindle coat and pointy ears make him different from most labs and water dogs that compete. A single jump by Ares, no matter how

“Ares”. Photo courtesy of: Carol Plescia

high, how far, or how fast, captures the attention of crowds. His competitive drive is continual. Coming in as the underdog, Ares is a strong example of never underestimating the power of rescue. Ares promotes the benefits of spaying and neutering. The dog is also a symbol of the goal to inspire the public to rescue and consider mixed breed adoption. Animal workers hope that Ares continues to educate the public about the wonders of mixed breeds, rescues and the champions that lie within each one of them. Ares’ message of hope for underdogs can reach many more dogs waiting for their forever homes. In the hopes of inspiring kindhearted acts, Acadia Antlers is donating their antlers and other products to various local rescues. With each of Ares successes in 2015. Acadia Antlers charity of choice since the organization has started has been The U.S. Military Working Dogs Overseas in Afghanistan and Kuwait.


Follow Ares’ 2015 Journey


to the Dock dogs World Championships at

Summer 2015 |


{ special feature }


NIck and Duke. Photo by Fuzzypants Photography.

The Virginia–Maryland Dog

{ special feature }

What do you do professionally after you’ve served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps, provided executive protection for world-renowned celebrities and then worked a U.S. Secret Service detail in Washington, D.C.?

By Cathy Bennett


CONTINUES For Nicholas White, the founder and owner of Off-Leash K9 Training, there was only one answer: become a professional dog trainer. In 2009, White decided to live his dream. With his love for animals and their owners, he opened an Off-Leash K9 Training facility in Northern Virginia. By the time The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine interviewed him in 2012, he was well on his way to success — with four locations. White recently spoke with the magazine via telephone hours before he boarded a plane to London. With numerous tasks to complete before he left, he remained amiable and comfortable, as if he were talking from a family room with an old family friend. White said much has occurred since he last spoke with the magazine three years ago. In 2012 ,The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine published an article about him and his new business. The magazine called him “A Man on a Mission.” What is White’s mission, and how much closer did he think he was to his mission than he is in 2015? Three years ago, White said he had hope that in ten years, he would still be training dogs, and he would have thirty to fifty locations for his business. Off-Leash K9 Training currently has fifty-three locations in the United States. Six more locations are under contract. White has also set two world records in off-leash commands: the longest-documented down from a distance with voice command only, and most offleash commands in five days or less (14 commands total). These world records were certified as official and can be found on YouTube.

White is attempting a third world record in June of 2015 for a previous celebrity client, actress Eve Torres. This will be the furthest- documented send-away of 300 yards. The objective is to have the dog wait, and, upon command, take off running and load up in the car, off-leash. White travels extensively now. He’s still training. However, he’s not training as often at the Woodbridge facility anymore. With seven trainers in Woodbridge and sixty to seventy at his other facilities, his trainers are holding down the fort, allowing him to offer private training in and out of the country. White is traveling to London for private off-leash training. He’s scheduled to be there for seventeen days. After London, he’s headed back to Hong Kong for more private training with a previous client. For the month of June, he plans to reside in Hollywood, Cal., working for three clients, all of whom are actresses. He’ll be handling five days per dog, with a day of rest in between. White has gathered an eclectic client list, including Oprah Winfrey, Poison lead singer Bret Michaels, Washington Wizards player John Wall, champion boxer Roy Jones, and DC-101 disc jockey Elliot, of Elliot in the Morning. White said this array of clients started with UFC light heavyweight world champion John “Bones” Jones. Jones’ dog BJ went through White’s boardand-train program. This is where owners “drop off your dog, and two weeks later you pick up a dog that is flawless outside, off-leash, with distractions,” White said.

Summer 2015 |


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Subsequently, through YouTube videos and private lessons, more celebrities requested his services. Several years ago, White wrote and published his first book, “Raising The Perfect Dog—Secrets of Law Enforcement K9 Trainers.” White said his motivation for writing the book was simply to share information about how to allow dogs to develop a high level of confidence, regardless of their age, size or breed. In his book, he recommends starting with a puppy as early as eight to ten weeks of age. There are chapters on confidence building drills, which he believes is the most important exercise for young puppies. He also shares tips on common concerns such as how to select your puppy, housebreaking effectively, and preventive measures towards aggression such as toys, people, food and other dogs. The book is a resource that provides several solutions to many of the most common problems dog owners face on a regular basis. He hopes to write a second book. He is not sure when that will occur. White said in focusing on an overall philosophy toward dog training, dog owners should remember that dogs are similar to people when the subject is training. He is adamant that all dogs are trainable and all dogs can learn. In the past five years, he’s never had a two-week board-and-train that could not learn a command. White has had every breed imaginable in his facility. He admits that some dogs learn faster and some learn more commands than others.

All dogs have different learning levels, and sometimes the distraction of other puppies prevents a dog from grasping the concept. All of his training programs are private—one-onone. White is an advocate against group training. White believes that when an instructor trains a group class, the instructor has a curriculum to follow. White believes that is an unfair training environment to the individual dog. All dogs have different learning levels, and sometimes the distraction of other puppies prevents a dog from grasping the concept.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

Off-Leash K9 Training offers a variety of training packages, including Basic Obedience; Advanced Obedience; In Home Training; Two Week Board and Train; Therapy Dog Development (AKC Certified Evaluators for Canine Good Citizen and Advanced Canine Good Citizen Certifications); Dog Aggression; and Nose Work Training. Off-Leash K9 was recently recognized as a Certified Service Dog Evaluator. White is especially proud of this accomplishment. Very few professional dog trainers in the Northern Virginia area are certified to evaluate service dogs. White is active in his field. He is on the board of directors for the Prince William County, VA, Humane Society. He helped establish the group’s Warrior Buddies Program, which pairs shelter dogs with returning veterans. He also donates his time to work with troubled dogs. High on White’s list of pet peeves is when he meets a pet owner who has been unsuccessful in securing a professional dog trainer to assist them with an aggressive dog. Too often dog trainers refuse to work with aggression issues, leaving the dog owner helpless and frustrated. If the owner is unable to locate a trainer willing to work with the dog, their only recourse is to either give the dog to a shelter or have the dog put down. These are the dogs who need the most help, and White feels that this is a resource that professional dog trainers should provide. White speaks proudly about the program that’s in place at his Woodbridge, VA facility. He has yet to turn down an opportunity to work with an aggressive dog. Off-Leash K9 recently launched it’s own brand of dog food, White was concerned about the many foods on the market that are overflowing with indigestible grains, cheap fillers, harsh chemicals and gross animal by-products. He wanted something different. He wanted a dinner full of ingredients that was good for a dog. His dog food’s first formula is simply 65 percent human-grade fruits and vegetables and 35 percent human-grade chicken. The dehydrated grain-free food instantly rehydrates with water and provides pets with all the nutrients they need. There is Chicken, Whole Egg, Chicken Liver, Sweet Potato, Apple, Green Beans, Brocco-

{ special feature }

NIck and Duke. Photo by Fuzzypants Photography.

li, Kelp, Flax meal, Blueberries, Bananas, Parsley, Celery, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach, Garlic, Ginger, and Coconut Oil. He wanted something simple and nutritious. The pet food is available now to consumers on his company’s website. White hopes to have the pet food on store shelves soon. White’s future goals include having an Off-Leash trainer in every state. Once that’s accomplished, he plans to start looking into international locations. White also enjoys establishing world records, and he would love to one day hold more world records in the history of dog training. Finally, White wishes to continue making dogs better by constantly offering more programs. He’s set his sights on adding agility and tracking programs in 2016. White said he is motivated by helping people. His love for animals is his way of doing that. He enjoys listening to motivational speakers such as Les Brown, and he’s an enormous fan of the actor Will Smith. Brown and Smith encourage him to be and do his best while helping others. Will Smith once said, “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, than you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.” White said he tries to live by this creed. He said that when he’s sitting on a plane, he has time to think and reflect. He’s from a small town in Ohio, and his present life sometime seems surreal. He’s thankful everyday, and he makes sure he asks himself, “Did I waste my time today? Was I able to make someone else’s life better?”

For more information about Nick White & Off-Leash K9 Training, visit, & visit him on facebook & YouTube.

Summer 2015 |


{ weekend getaway}

History Hounds

Take Your Best Friend to Visit Richmond During the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War By Ginger Warder The state capital of Virginia and former capital of the Confederacy features more than 80 historic Pictured Below: Hollywood Cemetery. Photography by Ginger Warder

attractions, many of them related to the Civil War (or as we Virginians call it, the War Between the States). Virginia has more civil war battlefields than any other state, and as the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond is at the epicenter of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Celebration that culminates this year. Special events and programs, battle re-enactments and museum exhibits will run through 2015, with a focus on interpreting the experiences and effects of this divisive struggle on the North, the South and the African-Americans who were finally freed. The fall of Richmond was the precursor to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and standing at Richmond National Battlefield, looking at the trestles crossing the James River, one can almost hear the rumbling of the train carrying Confederate President Jefferson Davis out of the devastated city. If you’re visiting the city to explore historic attractions, there’s no need to leave your four-legged friend at home: The Valentine offers several “History Hounds” tours throughout the year, where locals and visitors can bring their four-legged friends to explore historic neighborhoods and attractions. Take your pal to Belle Island (formerly home to a prisonerof-war camp) for a picnic or take a self-guided tour


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

of The Manchester Slave Trail to learn the story of the abomination of slave trade in the city. Situated on the James River, Hollywood Cemetery also welcomes four-legged guests and is the burial ground of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, 22 Confederate generals and thousands of Confederate soldiers.

Walking Tours. Photo Coutesy of The Valentine

Civil War Sallie During the first month of training for the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, a stranger brought the captain a pug-nosed, brindled bull terrier puppy. Named after a local beauty in West Chester, Sallie became the darling of the regiment and fought alongside her human friends at Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. When Abe Lincoln reviewed the Union troops in 1863, it’s said he raised his stovepipe hat to salute this canine soldier. Sallie was killed at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run in Stafford, Virginia on February 6th, 1865 and even though her regiment was under heavy fire, her friends stopped to bury her on the battlefield. Many years later, the survivors of the 11th PA Regiment dedicated a monument on the Gettysburg Battlefield: a bronze soldier atop a marble pedestal. But if you look closely at the front of the monument, you’ll see a small bronze dog at the soldier’s feet. Sallie still watches over her men as she did during all those battles and the men she befriended made sure that she, too, would be remembered for her love, loyalty, and sacrifice.

10 Free Pet Friendly Civil War Sites In Richmond Belle Isle and Brown’s Island Canal Walk canalwalk.shtml Chimborazo Medical Museum Cold Harbor Battlefiedl Fort Harrison

Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center Confederate War Memorial Chapel monumentsmemorials.aspx Hollywood Cemetery monumentsmemorials.aspx Virginia War Memorial monumentsmemorials.aspx

Glendale/Malvern Hill Battlefields *Note: Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome on the grounds of these sites, but only service dogs are allowed in indoor, museum exhibit areas. The park service does ask owners to keep dogs off battlefield earth works.


Summer 2015 |

We come to the location of your choice! 571-641-1044 |


{ fitness & training }

The Zen of Dog Training: Doggie DNA Humans and canines. Both are social beings, both are built for expression. Behavior is expression. Action and reaction are forms of expression. Movement is expression. Expression is a release of energy and can be made physically, emotionally and creatively. Everything that moves through and projects from people is a form of expression, inspired by instinct, spirit, thought and feeling. And because people and dogs are built for expression, they must be provided opportunities and outlets in order to do so or else they suffer. Providing dogs with opportunities to express who they are as a dog, breed and individual is not only an essential ingredient to their happiness and fulfillment as a valued family member, but also a key element in helping them reach and maintain a calm and balanced state of mind, which we want. What if Mozart was never able to express himself and share through his natural gift of music? If Maya Angelou was never able to express herself through her gift of word and inspiration? Or if Monet couldn’t express himself through color? They may not have died from it, but they would have lived with the frustration, stress,

resentment, anger and sadness from the inability to do so. What people are born with, what is literally a part of them, always wants to be expressed and will always find a way to shine through. Each person brings a special sauce to life. It’s something we were created to share in the only way we uniquely can. Dogs are no different.

By Kimberly Artley Editor’s note: Meeting and fulfilling a dog’s instinctual needs as a member of the canine species, as well as the crucial part that humans play in helping them achieve balance and overall health, were covered in the winter 2014 and spring 2015 editions of The Virginia Maryland Dog Magazine. This article looks at what dogs bring genetically as a breed.

Dogs have been bred over thousands of years to perform certain types of tasks and jobs. Some of the most common breed types are:

Summer 2015 |


{ fitness & training }


The word “terrier” is derived from the Latin word “terra”, meaning “earth”. Terriers were bred to hunt and dig up vermin and small critters, which is why many have such a strong desire to dig. Some Terrier breeds include the Wire Fox Terrier, Norfolk Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Border Terrier, Bull Terrier and Wheaten Terrier.


Sporting dogs were bred for stamina, hunting, flushing out and retrieving game. These dogs are naturally very alert, have high energy, are very active, and typically enjoy water and swimming. The Sporting group includes Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters and Pointers.


Hounds were bred for tracking, locating and chasing animals in the field. To “chase and find” is in their DNA. They perform this with intense focus, so off-leash activities should be secure and supervised. Some Hound breeds include the Beagle, Coonhound, Bassett Hound, Bloodhound and Pharaoh Hound.

Working Dogs

Working dogs were bred to do a variety of jobs, from farmhand work to service dog duties to military and police dog responsibilities. They are typically highlyfocused, intelligent and fearless, though their personalities range from mellow to intense. These dogs crave having a job to do, and don’t particularly do well living in the unemployment line. Working breeds include the Rottweiler, Portuguese Water Dog, Doberman Pinscher, Boxer, Malamute and Husky.

Herding Dogs

Herding dogs also make great farmhands and are considered the most intelligent of all the breed types. This high-energy group was bred for rounding up herds and flocks. They run, bark, nip at the heels and make strong eye contact with the animals they’re corralling. The Herding breeds include the Corgi, Border Collie, Briard, German Shepherd, Belgian Malinoisand Australian Shepherd.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

{ fitness & training }

Eventually, these breeds started catching each other’s eye and mixing and mingling with each other to create the wonderful mutt! It’s tough to be a dog living in the urban jungle. The typical lifestyle of the modern day American is wrought with have-tos and immediacy. Some people are so focused on earning and gain that their own self-care and time and energy investment in others becomes a chore. For some, this creates issues of resentment, impatience and frustration, or they simply delegate to someone else. It’s here that people miss out on the most valuable and special part of being a parent, guardian, caretaker, and companion. The building of trust and respect. The bond. Partnership. And one of the most beautiful illustrations of relationship in life. Many people tend to fall in love with the look of a dog. The aesthetics. They see a movie such as “101 Dalmatians” or “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” for example, fall in love with a certain breed of dog that films showcase, then run out to purchase their illusion of perfection; forgetting that movie dogs are highly-trained, and the result of someone’s invested time and energy. This can lead to more puppy mills and backyard breeding activities to meet the demand, which could result in unhealthy and behaviorallychallenged dogs. Some people buy into the pop culture fairytale with little regard to what that specific breed of dog will need for fulfillment, which usually ends up with a bored, frustrated, misbehaving dog. More often than not, it’s the dog that gets the blame and subsequently banished to the backyard for life, tossed into the shelter system, or bounced from home to home. These actions could be prevented if the human learns how to meet and fulfill the dog’s needs as a dog, as a breed, and makes the effort to raise the dog with love and in respect. When people fail to uphold their end of the bargain, neglecting their responsibility as a canine companion and caretaker, they set both themselves and their dogs up for failure. A dog’s health and quality of life is dependent upon the choices people make and on what they provide and do not provide, do and not do. When people do not provide, dogs suffer; possibly ending up in a highkill shelter, getting labeled or blamed, banished or

isolated--when the dogs’ behaviors were their way of expressing that their needs were not being met. It is the responsibility of people, as dog “parents”, guardians and companions, to provide their dogs with what they need to reach and maintain a healthy, balanced, joyful life. That’s the contract people enter into when they welcome them into their home and force them to live a life that is far from instinctual. While dogs may be “pets” to some people, they are still living, breathing, feeling, intelligent and sentient beings that have ingrained needs. Providing an outlet for dogs to express what comes so naturally to them will satisfy that craving and instinctual need within them.

Some people buy into the pop culture fairytale with little regard to what that specific breed of dog will need for fulfillment, which usually ends up with a bored, frustrated, misbehaving dog. If there’s a wonderful mixture of breeds in a dog, play around. Explore activities to see what their natural inclination is to perform and enjoy, such as: sheep herding, search and rescue exercises, agility classes, swimming, fetching items in the water, dock-diving, putting a backpack on dogs and allowing them to carry things such as water bottles, keys and wallets, trotting on a treadmill, playing fetch, running, biking, and hiking. Some other stimulating activities can be to leave treats under plastic cups spread around the house or yard (the dogs learn to find the treats and how to tip over the cups), or playing “hide and seek” with the dog’s favorite toy, treat or family member. There are several methods to play to a dog’s genetics and breed-specific needs. This is something a dog’s human companion should never fight or depress. When people learn to honor and respect dog as an animal of a different species, breed or mixture of breeds, and the unique individual they are, everyone wins. Trust and respect is established, and the extraordinary bond that only exists between human and canine prospers.

Summer 2015 |


{ training }

Four Dog Training Techniques You Don’t Need to Obsess Over By Laurie Luck, Dog trainers can sometimes focus too much on specific techniques and exercises, resulting in a KPA-CTP, CNWI complex list of “do’s and don’ts” that provide little meaningful improvement in your dog’s behavior. Working to teach a dog how to learn can result in huge behavior changes. Obsessing about who is the pack leader, on the other hand, is less productive. The following three commonly suggested dog training techniques, for instance, don’t translate very well to a well-behaved, well-adjusted dog. For people feeling overwhelmed by the different dog training techniques being suggested, consider eliminating them from the training process entirely.

Establishing Dominance and Pack Leader Status

Most of the pack leader terminology came from old research done on wolves. Some trainers took that information and ran with it, advocating that own-

ers dominate the dog, lest the dog try to assert his dominance over the family. More recently, however, L. David Mech writes, “Rather than viewing a wolf pack as a group of animals organized with a ‘top dog’ that fought its way to the top, or a male-female pair of such aggressive wolves, science has come to understand that most wolf packs are merely family groups formed exactly the same way as human families are formed.” So maybe we should be talking about dogs like family, instead of like wolf packs.

Bottom Line:

Give up working to dominate the dog to get him to listen. Treat him like the family member he is.

Eating First

There’s lots of weird advice out there and here’s one of the strangest pieces. Old fashioned trainers believe that if a person eats before his dog is allowed to eat, the dog learns that his owner is the boss of him. Some people go as far as spitting on the food before they put it on the floor (after they’ve eaten, naturally).

Bottom Line:

This is another technique that pet owners can safely leave behind. Feed the dog when it’s convenient, regardless of when the people’s mealtime occurs.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

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Going Through Doors Before The Dog.

Sometimes it’s easier if dogs go through the doorway before people pass through. For instance, I like my dogs to go through the door before me if I’m carrying groceries or something that takes up both hands. If they go through before me, I know where they are and I’m less likely to be knocked down from behind. I guess the same trainers that recommend owners eat first are also recommending that owners go through the door first, thinking that the dog will learn “his place”.


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Bottom Line:

Go through the door when it makes sense; there’s no need for the dog to follow through the doorway.

Make The Dog Do It

Enforcing compliance--making the dog do what’s been asked--is another old-fashioned piece of dog training advice. Dogs are smart and they do whatever works. If the dog isn’t doing something, there’s probably a pretty good reason. The dog may not know what is being asked, the dog might be distracted, confused, afraid, uncomfortable, or in pain. Instead of making a dog do something, owners should spend some time investigating those reasons--and then work to spruce up the training.

Bottom Line:

Teaching a dog is always a wiser choice than forcing. While these techniques may have been popular a decade ago, they weren’t accurate or helpful--then or now. Rather than spending time trying to implement these useless techniques, focus on teaching the dog and treating him like he’s family.


For more information: Laurie Luck, KPA-CTP, CNWI Smart Dog University 240.394.1112


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Summer 2015 |


{ rounding up rover }

Calling All Pooches, Pups and Their Humans: Do You Want to be a Search Dog? By Anne Wills Photo Courtesy Anne Wills

The role of a search-and-rescue (SAR) dog is one of the most important components in locating a missing child or pet. A human being’s abilities to see, hear and smell cannot compare to the keen senses of a SAR dog. A dog has a built-in talent to hunt and follow footsteps relentlessly until it has found its target. A dog can catch the slightest odor of the missing on the lightest of breezes and then zero in for a rescue. All of this work requires the fine tuning of a dog’s natural traits, as well as teaching his owner and handler how to read their dog and make decisions in the field to help get the dog to its target. A SAR dog and his handler are a team. There cannot be a successful team unless each player pulls their weight.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

Dogs Finding Dogs’ K9 SAR for Missing Pets is a non-profit charity that has reunited more than 4000 pets since its inception in 2008. With 18 search teams covering most of the East Coast, and pets going missing everyday, the SAR dogs are working constantly.


{ rounding up rover }

People can test this by throwing the dog’s favorite toy into a large grassy area and then seeing how long he will search for it.

This work can be physically demanding. Humans have to trust SAR dogs 100 percent, and follow them where they are leading the humans. This means that an occasional slide down a hill, a trip over a log, or a slip in the water may occur. Humans have their humility tested everyday. Finding that missing pet or person is the greatest reward: seeing the reunion. The work humans put into their dog has saved a life. And that’s why people work so long and hard: Compassion for people and pets and the desire to help. To train a team, people can expect to dedicate about a year and a half before being allowed to work alone on a case. The SAR dog must learn the game the way people need him to play it. And, yes, to the SAR dog it is a game. A simple reward of their favorite toy when finding the end of a scent trail is all that they work for. Some SAR dogs, like a hound breed, are not toy-motivated. The hunt itself is the reward. with a rejoice of large praise from his handler at the end. What makes a good SAR dog? A SAR dog needs to have a huge hunt drive. People can test this by throwing the dog’s favorite toy into a large grassy area and then seeing how long he will search for it. He may come back to the owner, as if to say “give me a hint,” but when urged to look again, he will continue until his toy is found. Most dogs without this quality usually will give up and get bored when the search gets tough. Another trait to look for is if the dog is happy to follow a scent. Test for this trait by having his favorite human walk slowly through grassy areas and hide behind a tree. Drop a few treats in the footsteps along the way. Then have another family member take the dog to the starting point and tell him to go find Daddy or Mommy. If the dog follows the trail,

his tail is wagging, and he is full of pep, there is a candidate for training.

A SAR dog must be friendly to people and animals. Good obedience is an absolute must. Search-and-rescue challenges the physical body of a dog, and it allows him to use his mind and solve problems. For trainers, it can be amazing to watch dogs analyze an area, stop, think about what he is sensing--and then zero in on his target. They become almost human-like during these procedures. For the dog who has shyness or is a little afraid, giving him a job to do helps tremendously with his confidence. Several of the Dogs Finding Dogs SAR dogs were very scared when they first started. By working and learning to trust by being out in the environment, these dogs learned to enjoy their job, they became very friendly and the scary big world no longer bothered them. Basically, any breed of dog could qualify to be a SAR dog. If owners feel like their dogs may have what it takes to be a life saver and they are willing to put the time into training, they should get in touch with a search-and-rescue organization. The biggest honor for a search dog is to save just one life.


For more information: Anne Wills Dogs Finding Dogs 410.908.6374

Summer 2015 |

{ 27

{ ask a neurovet }

Ask A Neurovet By Lauren R. Talarico, BS, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology/Neurosurgery) Photo Courtesy Dr. Lauren Talarico

Dr. Lauren Talarico

Dear Dr. T, I have a three year old male neutered mixed breed dog that often appears as though she is running in her sleep. I have done some online research and discovered that seizures can present this way. Can you tell me how to differentiate between seizures and dreams? –Sandy, Alexandria VA

Dear Sandy, Seizures and doggie dreams can be difficult to distinguish. Seizures typically occur during periods of rest or sleep when the brain is quiet. It is common for dogs to wake their owners up in the middle of the night during seizure activity. The characteristic features of a seizure include loss of consciousness, the body becomes stiff and rigid, paddling of one or all four limbs, foaming at the mouth followed by urination and defecation. One way to help determine if your dog is having a seizure versus dreaming is to try and wake her up. If she responds when her name is called and appears normal, that is more consistent with a doggie dream. If your dog’s episodes progress to include any of the above characteristics associated with seizure activity, you should seek veterinary attention immediately. If you have a smart phone or video camera, feel free to send me a video of your dog’s episodes.

Dear Dr. T, I have a five year old dachshund, Millie. For the past two weeks, she has been walking around with her head held low. She has difficulty reaching her food bowls and cannot seem to turn her neck in either direction. Occasionally Millie will yelp out when I pick her up and her neck muscles tremble. Can you explain to me what is happening with my sweet girl? –Bridget, Washington, DC!

Do you have questions for the Neurovet? You can follow Dr. Lauren Talarico on Twitter @neurovet3 or contact her through her blog at


The Virginia–Maryland Dog


{ ask a neurovet }

Dear Bridget and Millie, I must say I love dachshunds! Millie’s symptoms sound most consistent with a problem in her cervical spine or neck region. Given her age and breed, she is most likely suffering from intervertebral disc disease. In humans this is known as a “slipped” or “herniated” disc. The intervertebral disc is the cushion between each vertebrae in the spinal column. It is constructed just like a jelly donut. Occasionally in dachshunds and other breeds of dogs, the jelly part of this hypothetic donut can extrude from the center of the disc and compress the nerve roots or spinal cord that are located directly above it. When dogs herniated intervertebral discs in the neck, it can be an extremely painful condition. Dogs will stiffen up their neck to avoid pain when turning or attempting to lift it to eat and/or drink. Often dogs will also develop muscle tremors or fasciculations in the muscles around their neck due to the pain. I recommend that your dog be evaluated by your veterinarian or a veterinary neurologist as soon as possible. They will recommend further diagnostic testing to determine the exact underlying cause for Millie’s neurologic signs and treatment course.

Dear Dr. T, Sage is my three year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Ever since she was a puppy, Sage has compulsively scratched at her neck. She never seems to make contact when she scratches, however she does appear painful at times. Sage started out having a three to four minute scratching episode every few days. Recently, she has been scratching multiple times a day. She has been checked out several times by her regular veterinarian and Sage does not have an ear infection. Can you explain why Sage is scratching at her neck so much? –Tina, Richmond VA

When you turn on a garden hose, normally water flows out of the hose in an even, streamline fashion. If you put your finger over the hose, the water begins to spurt or jet out of the hole at a faster speed. This is exactly what occurs in animals affected by Chiari. Their foramen magnum, or the hole located at the back of the skull, is too small and the fluid around their brain and spinal cord spurts out of the skull and contuses or hits the spinal cord at a high speed. This leads to the formation of syringomyelia (or holes in the spinal cord). The syringomyelia is technically a secondary effect of this malformation, however it is the reason these dogs are painful and show clinical signs. The most common clinical signs in dogs affected with the Chiari-like malformation include abnormal pain/tactile sensations of the neck and flank. This is manifested by the characteristic scratching behavior without making contact with the skin (i.e. “phantom scratching”). This clinical sign is often confused with ear infections in dogs. Scoliosis of the spine, vocalizing when the neck is touched or approached, rubbing of the face and ears on the floor and furniture, intolerance to collars, lethargy, vestibular signs, and rarely seizures can also occur. Diagnosis of the Chiari-like malformation is made with an MRI +/- CT scan. Both medical and surgical treatment can be considered for this disease. The decision to move forward with surgery is based on the severity of the patient’s clinical signs and MRI findings. I recommend having Sage evaluated by a veterinary neurologist as soon as possible. Imaging with an MRI scan will most likely be recommended to evaluate the extent of Sage’s presumptive malformation.

Dear Tina and Sage, The progressive clinical signs Sage is currently showing are consistent with a disease known as the Chiari-like malformation (aka: COMS). By far, the most common breed with this disorder is the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, however a wide variety of small breed dogs can be affected such as Chihuahuas, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terriers, Lhasa Apso, Brussels Griffon, Maltese; Bishon Frise, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, and Pugs. Cats can also be affected with this malformation. I often use the following analogy when describing this malformation to my clients:

Summer 2015 |


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{ health }

Fit as a Fiddle!

Keep Your Canine Athlete Strong With These Easy Tips The Virginia-Maryland Dog Magazine, in the last issue, focused on the building blocks necessary to

By Krisi Erwin DVM, CVA, CCRT, help budding canine athletes grow. Now, as the weather warms up and people and their pets head CVPP outside, it’s beneficial to look at the adult athlete at peak performance—while preventing injuries. With any exercise program, dog owners should make sure to check with their veterinarian to make sure their pet is healthy enough to embark on on an exerscise program and that there are no red flags such as obesity, breathing issues or conformational problems to address. Pet owners can now focus on keeping their adult exercise partner fit as a fiddle with the following easy steps.

1 Warming-Up: A proper warm-up is vital to helping canine athletes focus and prepare the body for work. A good warmup can take only a few minutes, starting with a good all-over body rub to increase circulation and wake up the muscles. You can limber up the spine by performing cookie stretches or a few spins. Owners could ask for a few tricks or tasks to get the dogs thinking and moving.

Summer 2015 |


{ health }

2 Exercise:

3 Cooling Down:

A balanced exercise program includes the following:

This is just as important as an effective warm-up and will help alleviate cramping. Start with an all-over rub-down, followed by gentle stretching. For a good overview about how to massage and stretch a dog, utilize “Bodywork for Dogs” (Vaugan and Jones).

• Skills training, which helps teach pets whatever is required of them during exercise, such as agility obstacles or retrieving the fly ball. This works on the mind and body. • Strength training is targeted to help promote strong muscles and joints. This should be done about three days per week. For the novice athlete, strength training can include targeted exercises such as sitting to standing, laying to sitting, bone holding and walking over cavalettis. Exercise difficulty can be advanced by adding ball work, altering the terrain on which the dog is working, or adding retrieving exercises on land or water. • Endurance training helps to support cardiovascular health. This includes purposeful walking, jogging or swimming. For a conditioned athlete, about fifteen to twenty minutes of swimming or twenty to thirty minutes of purposeful walking is a good work-out.

4 Nutrition: For the canine athlete, fats and proteins are most important. According to Cornell University’s Joseph Wakshlag, canine athletes may need a diet ranging from 15 to 20 percent fat, depending on how much work the dog is doing. A good quality, meat-based protein source is also important. Any diet should have at least 25 percent protein. Pet owners should remember that each pet is an individual, so consult with veterinarians before making dietary changes, according to “Feeding your Canine Athlete,” a The New York Times article from August 19, 2014.

5 Supplements: Most athletes would benefit from supplements such as glucosamine-chondroitin sulfate and fish oil. These products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so dog owners should work with their veterinarian to choose one that is safe and effective for their dog. A solid conditioning program for canine athletes can be fun and beneficial. Additional resources to help get pet owners get started include: “Building the Canine Athlete: Strength, Stretch, Endurance, and Body Awareness Exercises” (Zink and McCauley), and the Debbie Gross Saunders’ DVDs at



The Virginia–Maryland Dog

For more information:


Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services P.O. Box 713 Hamilton, VA 20159 (571) 438-0339  

{ ask dr. katy }

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By Katy Nelson, DVM


Dr. Katy

Dear Dr. Katy:

Dear Dr. Katy:

Could you please reiterate the dangers of feeding table scraps and other types of “people” food to dogs? Many of my friends continue to feed table scraps to their dogs to include all sorts of foods that contain spices and such. One of my friends even takes her dog to the ice cream shop and buys him his own cup of ice cream.

A relative of mine recently treated their lawn with bagged fertilizer. A day or so later their dog was rushed to the emergency vet and sadly ended up passing away at the young age of two. The Vet wanted to conduct a necropsy, but the owner declined. After going over a list of questions with the owner, the Vet stated that the dog’s death was likely due to the fertilizer since the dog was known to chew and eat grass. Could you please explain the hazards of allowing dogs and any other animals for that matter to freely roam on newly fertilized lawn?

– Sandy P., Charlottesville, VA

Dear Sandy,

Our dogs and cats thrive on low carbohydrate diets based on high quality animal proteins. With their domesticated gastrointestinal tracts, it’s often best to keep them on a consistent protein source to avoid gastrointestinal upset. “People” foods can indeed be very harmful to pets. From ingredients like fruits, vegetables, nuts, chocolate and caffeine that may be toxic, to other ingredients like fried foods or very spicy foods which may lead to severe gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis - it’s much safer to avoid giving these foods to your pets entirely. So even though it may be tempting to give that bit of fat off your juicy steak, or to lick the bowl after your delicious snack, it’s certainly much healthier for your pets (and their waistlines) to keep them on their own specially designed, complete and balanced diets.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

– Stephen G., Richmond, VA

Dear Stephen,

I’m so sorry to hear about the pup. Most fertilizers contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They may also contain copper, iron, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese and molybdenum some of which may be toxic in large concentrations. Additionally, fertilizers may also contain herbicides, fungicides and pesticides which increase the risk of poisoning. While small ingestions may only result in gastrointestinal upset, larger ingestions can result in severe poisoning from the iron, nitrogen and other chemicals. Large ingestions of meal-based fertilizers may also form a solid ball in the stomach resulting in a bowel obstruction or pancreatitis. When you treat your lawn, always use environmentally friendly, non-toxic fertilizers for the safety of your pets and your kids. And do not allow kids or pets to play on the treated grass until after a rain or sprinkler has washed the majority of the product from the leaves. If your pet has been exposed to a fertilizer, and is experiencing any symptoms such as drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal posture, muddy gums or difficulty breathing, go see your veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Dear Dr. Katy: I am the proud owner of a 12 year old rescued senior dog. I would like to be proactive in doing everything in my power to ensure that he remains healthy during his remaining years. Can you tell me what types of tests, vaccinations, and other extra care that I may provide to him? – Kelli M., Silver Spring, MD.


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Congratulations on rescuing a senior pup, Kelli, and thank you for being such a dedicated pet parent! Each dog has different needs, depending on breed, previous medical conditions, and lifestyle. My best advice in your situation is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to sit down and have a thorough conversation about this. Keeping your dog’s weight down, his teeth clean, and up to date on his preventives are a great start. There are definitely a few extra steps that you and your vet can discuss, including regular check ups, blood work, certain supplements, and a healthy diet can all potentially help to add some healthy years to your precious pup’s life! Best of luck and great question!

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FOR DOGS Summer 2015 |





{ stories within the bond }

The Case of the Failed Home Remedies By Bruce Coston, “I can’t imagine what could be wrong with Sasha, Doctor. She’s been coughing some and just DVM hasn’t had any energy. Her appetite is off and she hasn’t passed any . . . uh . . . waste for a day or so. I gave her some sliced onions in mineral oil and she still hasn’t passed any . . . she hasn’t had a movement yet.” I could tell this conversation was taking its toll on Mrs. Calvin, whose cheeks were noticeably reddening. A prim and proper spinster whose life revolved around Sasha and a variety of other pets, Mrs. Calvin had called me on an emergency basis late one evening. “She should be getting better. Castor oil hasn’t done anything for her yet, either.” Mrs. Calvin was familiar to me. She dearly loved her many dogs and cats, but I had met only a few of them, for she had a deep and abiding distrust of doctors - hers or those of her pets. Instead of placing her pets’ medical care in the hands of a trained veterinarian, she chose to treat them herself relying on the help of such able people as her hairdresser or the postman and following the advice of her nephew’s oldest daughter, now in her forties, who had once worked as an attendant for a vet while she was in high school. One of her most trusted caregivers was a lay animal doctor who was thoroughly steeped in the traditional folk remedies that have distilled from the generations like corn mash and moonshine. As recently as the early 1990’s when this story occurred, animal healers were surprisingly plentiful in the back

country of Virginia. Though great folks, they have no formal training in modern medicine and employ methods which mix old wives’ tales, hackneyed snake oils, and mid-century pseudoscience. These treatments are rarely effective, often border on the inhumane, and would be laughable if not for the fact that they are so readily adopted by a few of the more unsophisticated local farmers and pet owners. The result of her commitment to self-medicating was that, when I did finally see one of Mrs. Calvin’s pets, it was usually because these medieval techniques had failed and she wanted to give her companions one last chance, however hopeless it might be. One chance in a thousand were the best odds one of her pets had when it was finally presented to me. Usually they were too sick to save and her faith in modern medicine was further eroded, her doubts confirmed. I hoped this case would be the exception. It was not. As soon as Sasha walked in behind Mrs. Calvin, I could tell that she was very ill. It was an effort for her to climb the few steps to the front porch of the office. Her stomach was distended, her eyes dull. She showed little interest in her surroundings. Her attention was almost wholly devoted to chewing at her skin, an activity which so occupied her that she had harvested almost every last hair from her shoulders to her tail. Her head was equally bald and reddened with crusty, thick ears. Her breath came in heaving bursts. My foreboding was deepened by Mrs. Calvin’s preoccupation with the inane and inconsequential details which she was sure I needed desperately to know. “She hasn’t improved even with baking soda baths. I’m glad she’s finally here. I know you’ll be able to cure her,” she said, but her hopeless eyes and the frantic way she searched my face told a different story.


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I had to concentrate carefully to isolate in my stethoscope the sound of the heart and lungs from Mrs. Calvin’s incessant chatter. A heart murmur was present, and every so often the regular rhythm was interrupted by a long pause. The lungs were harsh and crackled like cellophane with each breath which were sporadically punctuated with frequent quiet, moist coughs. Sasha’s pot-bellied abdomen ricocheted with waves of fluid when I palpated it carefully with both hands. The slightest pressing on the tummy worsened her respiratory efforts. The findings on physical examination were narrowing the likely diagnoses. Severe heart and lung disease was apparent; but I would need to collect more information from chest X-rays and blood work before I could narrow the cause. Sasha’s raging skin disease was my other concern. With a scalpel blade I collected several deep skin scrapings from her reddened, hairless and itchy lesions to rule out mange mites. Since they are very difficult to find, I scraped the surface of the skin until there was blood oozing from the collection site. I then spread the scrapings out on a slide for microscopic examination. Mrs. Calvin was now apologetic ­— even repentant. “Doctor, I did rub some cloves of garlic and bacon grease on her skin. You don’t think that hurt her, do you?” As I focused the microscope on the slide, I was surprised to see literally hundreds of small, seething worms wiggling and writhing amid the cells and debris from the skin. Along with these invaders I could see the pudgy shapes of sarcoptes mange mites with their suction-cupped legs waving at me at one hundred times magnification. My response was initially bewilderment. I recognized the mites immediately and knew that with appropriate therapy they could be readily treated; but the identity of the worms at first blush evaded me. I had never seen the like on skin scrapes. But a little thought quickly made sense of both the skin disease and the unusual parasites. The worms were the larval forms of heartworm parasites. The adult heartworms grow to be a foot or more long and reside in the right side of the heart and the major arteries in the lungs. In these locations, they eventually cause congestive heart failure and severe respiratory disease. It is a disease which, if untreated, will inevitably result in a cruel


{ stories within the bond }

“Doctor, I did rub some cloves of garlic and bacon grease on her skin. You don’t think that hurt her, do you?”

death. They were the culprits causing Sasha’s heart and lung problems. They were also producing hoards of larval worms, called microfilariae, which circulated in the bloodstream throughout the body affecting the liver, kidneys, and other organs as the body’s immune system reacts to their presence. These microfilariae were the worms that were visible in the small amount of blood present in the skin scrapings. I had never imagined that a diagnosis of heartworm disease would be made on a skin scrape. I showed Mrs. Calvin the larval worms in the microscope. She was horrified to see their squirming and writhing. I formulated a treatment strategy for Sasha and began collecting blood and urine samples for laboratory testing. I also took chest X-rays to evaluate the degree of lung and heart disease present. Most cases of heartworm disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed before the severe consequences of the disease have set in. The treatment is risky for the dog and costly, but after successful treatment most dogs do very well and live a full life. Unfortunately for Sasha, it was too late. While we waited for the results of the blood work to come back, she passed away. I haven’t seen Mrs. Calvin for several years. Maybe she has had no health problems in her brood during the time since Sasha’s passing and so hasn’t needed my services. But I doubt it. It’s more likely that she lost confidence in my abilities. She no doubt believes that it was the skin scrapings, the blood drawing and the X-rays that killed her poor Sasha. Why, only the most incompetent of veterinarians would lose a patient who had been in such fine shape. Never before had extracts of ginseng, a diet of venison liver and cultured buttermilk failed to bring around a dog that was doing a mite poorly.

Summer 2015 |


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The Gift of Pets is a featured title on the 2012 LA TIMES Summer Reading List and in the 2013 Virginia Festival of the Book. Available from all major book retailers, Amazon. com and in ebook format for both Kindle and Nook. Get a signed copy from Dr. Coston’s website.



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{ giving back }

SHAWN HAWES Saving Lives with Social Media There is a theory that there are only six degrees of separation between any two people, meaning that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than six links. It seems hard to believe considering how vast the world is.

By Laura Jones Pictured Above: Shawn & “Gizzymoto”. Photo by: Billy Slingerland


But through dogged determination, constant work and a deep love of dogs, Shawn Hawes has taken this theory and made it a reality for animals in need. Using her computer, Hawes has created a web of friends and acquaintances who in turn use their connections to help find foster and forever families for homeless animals. Sometimes it may take more than six links in the chain, but Hawes has successfully helped many animals over the years by calling on every last one of her contacts and urging them to do the same.

rescues – which led to her ultimately founding her own - when Pete and Leo came into her life 11 years ago. Though she didn’t know it when she got them, Pete and Leo, two Bull Terrier puppies that Hawes got when she and her longtime partner Billy moved into their home, were puppy mill puppies. Through her efforts to meet their needs and learn about what they went through and how to help others like them, Hawes began volunteering with Bull Terrier rescues. She along with several friends Co-Founded Bull Terrier Rescue of Virginia (BTRVA) in 2010.

Hawes, 42, has been rescuing animals informally since she was a small child. “I have always taken in animals ever since I was little. We had dogs, and I also nursed baby squirrels and released them back into the wild.” She began working with organized

During her volunteer work, Hawes soon saw a need for an organization that would help the mutts – the dogs who had some Bull Terrier or similar breed in them, but wouldn’t pass any DNA test. So she formed Terabithia Animal Advocacy Group in 2014 so she

The Virginia–Maryland Dog


{ { giving back }

If you want to follow the work of Shawn Hawes and her newest rescue group, Terabithia Animal Advocacy Group, go to where the mission is clearly explained:

“Helping homeless animals through social media is more than a catch phrase or tag line to us. It’s actually our core philosophy. Through social media we keep up on what animals are in the greatest immediate needs. Then using our contacts in that area and others we broadcast out the message. We also contact individuals and groups close to that area for their assistance.”

could help mixed breed dogs, cats and other animals like Gracie. Gracie was rejected by a rescue Hawes had been working with because she was not a pure bred. But Gracie tugged at Hawes’ heartstrings – and Gracie was pregnant. Working independently and using her own network of friends and acquaintances, Hawes found a foster home for Gracie. She then worked her Facebook account so hard marketing the puppies, there was probably smoke coming from her computer. She ultimately found homes for them and adopted Gracie herself. The experience gave her the confidence to start Terabithia Animal Advocacy Group ( With seemingly boundless energy, Hawes has created Facebook pages for several of her successful placements. There is Puppet, an adorable threelegged Bull Terrier. And Bob, one of Gracie’s pups who needed legal help after getting into a pickle that was blown way out of proportion. (Bob is back at home and free of legal worries thanks to Hawes’ efforts and those of several volunteer lawyers from the LEXUS Project). Finally, Gizzymoto, Hawes’ first foster failure has his own page, too. All of these dogs use their pages (with help from Hawes) to spread the word about dogs in need all over the country and world. Hawes now shares her home with her five dogs, the original puppies Pete, Leo and Gracie, as well as two foster failures: Gizzymoto (“my soulmate and my partner’s soulmate”) and Frazier, a beloved Corgi and Bull Terrier mix. “I do find dogs homes other than mine,” Hawes says with a laugh. She has inspired the next generation, too. A friend’s daughter doesn’t have tea parties or play with dolls. No, she plays dog rescue! And other friends have started their own rescues.

workers support her rescue work as do her family and friends. And to Hawes, that is where her success lies – in creating and nurturing this network of likeminded and lifesaving folks. They in turn nurture her. “I have a wonderful group of people who support me.”

Pictured Left: Shawn & “Frazier”. Photo by: Billing Slingerland Pictured Right: Shawn & “Gracie”. Photo by Jacqueline Leeker

Social media allows Hawes to get maximum exposure for pets in need. It also shows how connected the world really is and how one energetic and friendly person can make a big difference. In the end, Hawes does what she does for the love of dogs and people. “I wish the joy the dogs have brought me to everyone.”

Hawes lives in Lovettsville, Va and works for CVCA – Cardiac Care for Pets as a bookkeeper. “I have a fantastic job with a fantastic organization.” Her co-

Summer 2015 |


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The Toughest Question: Could More Have Been Done for My Pet? This is the story of two Dobermans, both five years old, who came to their family veterinarians for wellness care in October, 2014. Both

William Tyrrell, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Cardiology)

dogs had a new heart murmur, an abnormal sound in the heart, and an arrhythmia, which is a condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm. The first Doberman, Brutus, was referred to the board-certified veterinary cardiologists of CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets for possible dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle common to Dobermans and other large breed dogs. The family of the second Doberman, Sinbad, was told a mobile sonographer could come to the practice and perform the same echocardiogram, or an ultrasound of the heart, as CVCA. The cost would be similar but the owner would not have to travel outside of their neighborhood with Sinbad. Neither dog had symptoms of heart disease at the time.

Brutus Brutus and his family came to see CVCA a few days after the visit with their veterinarian. The cardiologist identified heart sounds which indicated an arrhythmia called ventricular premature contractions (VPCs). An echocardiogram and EKG were recommended. Blood work performed by Brutus’ veterinarian was completely normal. The echocardiogram revealed that Brutus did have early dilated cardiomyopathy and a weakened main pumping chamber of the heart. The cardiologist spoke at length with Brutus’ family regarding the disease, the prognosis, a complete medical plan, and a follow-up plan. Brutus was started on a carefully managed plan with multiple oral medications. Signs to watch for, potential medication side effects, and other concerns were discussed with the family. A 24-hour EKG, or Holter monitor, and follow-up lab work was recommended to determine complete control of Brutus’ potentially life threatening ventricular arrhythmia.


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{ feature }

Sinbad Sinbad received an echocardiogram by a mobile sonographer within a few days after his wellness visit to his primary veterinarian. His diagnosis was the same: early dilated cardiomyopathy. The mobile sonographer noted that arrhythmias were present during the echocardiogram and further diagnostics should be performed. The cardiologist who remotely interpreted Sinbad’s echocardiogram made similar recommendations as well. Sinbad was started on one medication and a re-check echocardiogram was recommended in six months. The owners were never counseled as to the potential severity of his dilated cardiomyopathy and potential severity of Sinbad’s arrhythmia.

The benefits of in-person evaluation by

A Tragic Turn

Lesson Learned

Sinbad arrived three months later, in January, 2015, to one of CVCA’s 24 hour care emergency facilities after having collapsed in the yard. It was reported that he had some minor coughing over the previous few days. His heart rate was high and his breathing labored. An EKG showed an aggressive arrhythmia called ventricular tachycardia. Sadly, Sinbad suffered cardiac arrest within 30 minutes of arriving to the hospital. The CVCA cardiologist met with the family and discussed what had transpired. The owners asked if anything could have been done differently to help Sinbad to have avoided this tragic situation. They were now aware of the severity of his initial disease diagnosis and did not know he had been diagnosed with an arrhythmia previously.

Heart disease can remain undetected in pets until the very late stages. The benefits of in-person evaluation by a board- certified cardiologist include a complete cardiac physical, review and interpretation of medical history and prior testing, and correct technique and interpretation of the echocardiogram.

An Ideal Outcome Brutus returned to his veterinarian for a follow-up EKG two weeks later. The ventricular arrhythmias appeared improved. When a follow-up Holter monitor showed that he had some persistent abnormal heart beats, another medication was added to his treatment regimen.

a board-certified cardiologist include a complete cardiac physical, review and interpretation of medical history and prior testing, and correct technique and interpretation of the echocardiogram.

Clients are present during the echocardiogram to help them fully understand the disease process and treatment. Although a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment are paramount in importance, client education regarding the disease process is also of equal benefit in ensuring long term survival of cardiac patients. CVCA doctors are committed to the triad of care in working with the primary care veterinarian, our cardiology group and the client to help provide the best outcome for all pets with heart disease.


Brutus returned to CVCA earlier in March, 2015, for a re-check. His heart appeared to be stable. The owners were very pleased with his quality of life and were grateful to their veterinarian for the prompt referral to CVCA. Brutus’ family was counseled again on symptoms to monitor for in regard to congestive heart failure and what to look for in these cases. They knew of CVCA’s 24/7 availability for phone consultations after hours should problems arise during non-business hours. Brutus continues to do well and hopefully will continue on this stable path with the continued guidance of CVCA and his primary care vet.



CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets has provided veterinary cardiology since 1987. The company’s board- certified veterinary cardiologists see more than 13,000 patients per year. For more information:; Facebook: /CVCAVETS.

Summer 2015 |


{ grooming }

Bath Time Is Health Time—and Fun Time —For Dogs! Regular Bathing Can Eliminate Dry Skin, Odors, Scratching ask me, “How often should I bathe my dog?” By Prince Lorenzo —andBorghese Dogs People Canoften Learn to Like it!

My answer is always the same: “Simply bathe your dog whenever he or she is dirty, or whenever your dog is emitting an unpleasant odor. If your dog is constantly scratching or if anyone in your household is allergic to dogs, then wash your dog more frequently.” Scratching often means that the skin is dry or irritated. This can usually be alleviated by a bath with the proper shampoo. With regards to allergies, non-allergic dogs don’t exist. It’s the dander (dead skin cells that become airborne), not the fur, that causes the allergic reactions in humans. To make your dog less allergic, make sure your dog’s skin is properly moisturized and hydrated. This can be accomplished by bathing your dog frequently with a deeply moisturizing shampoo. There was a time when veterinarians would tell their clients to only bathe their dog when it was absolutely necessary, and no more than once every other

month. Those times have changed, since many pet grooming products are now specifically made for a dog’s sensitive skin and are properly pH balanced. A decade ago, these shampoos were hard to find. Essentially, they were human shampoos which were slightly altered by adding a lavender fragrance, for example. However, the harsh surfactants and acidic pH levels remained the same, which often leads to dry, itchy and irritated skin. What manufactures failed to realize was that a dog’s skin is thinner, more delicate and has a different pH level than that of human skin. Because of these important factors, a dog shampoo should be better than human shampoo to be most effective. And remember to never use a human shampoo on your dog, no matter how expensive and luxurious it is. Human shampoos are made for human skin--not dog skin. As many dogs don’t enjoy bath time, a good recommendation is to give them a reward before and after bath time so they recognize that bathing has positive attributes. When Bell was alive, my Black Labrador, she used to dislike baths. So I did give her a treat before bathing her. Once she was clean, I would give her another treat, and then take her outside and throw a tennis ball for 30 minutes until she was completely exhausted and ready for a nap. Going forward, she recognized that bath time lead to treats and games--and I never had any issues bathing her again. Her constant scratching disappeared, she shed less--healthy skin can reduce shedding by up to 30 percent--and she didn’t smell like a dog. And neither did my house. That marked a win-win situation for both of us—and for any family and friends who were invited over.


The Virginia–Maryland Dog

{ seeking a forever home }

Seeking A

Forever Home


Hope is a young 35 pound English Bulldog. She was severely neglected and abandoned in a kennel overnight at a county shelter the last week of January in the freezing weather. She weighed 13 pounds, severely ill with wounds, upper respiratory, and covered in urine and feces. Fast forward to the present and Hope is the happiest little girl, always so happy to see everyone! You would never know she is special needs by her personality. Unfortunately this precious girl has a congenital defect that makes her completely unaware when she needs to use the bathroom. She has no nerve sensation to tell her when she needs to urinate or defecate so she needs to wear diapers indoors or be confined to an area that is easy to clean. She doesn’t mind her diapers and wears them like a champ, in fact she’s quite adorable in them! She gets along great with other dogs and could easily live with dog savvy cats. Her love and personality far outweigh her little defect, she just needs someone to open their heart to her. Because of her specials needs she will need a family where someone is home most or all of the day. Any potential adopters should research having an incontinent dog or diaper dog so that they are fully aware of the extra medical care that they require etc. Talking to Bulldog specific rescues is always a good resource.

Photo by Carina Thornton, Fuzzypants Photography

Breed/Mix: English Bulldog Male/Female: Spayed Female Approximate Weight: 35 lbs Approximate Age: 1 year Activeness: Medium-low Good w/Other Dogs: Yes Good w/Children: Yes Housebroken: No Medical Issues: Urine/urinalysis will need to be monitored approx. every 3 mths. Feeding Issues: None

Special Needs: Urine & Stool Incontinent Vaccinations: Current on Distemper, Rabies, & Bordetella, dewormed, heartworm negative, & flea & tick free Microchipped: Yes Fun Facts: Hope is always happy and loves everyone she meets. She has the best snore and makes really cute snorts and snurfles.

Middleburg Humane Foundation MIddleburg Humane Foundation 540-364-3272


The Middleburg Humane Foundation (MHF) operates a private, non-profit, four acre farm shelter located in Marshall, Virginia. It is MHF’s goal to provide a safe haven for abused, neglected, and “at risk” animals, both large and small. MHF specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that come to their shelter from a vast variety of abusive situations. After much needed nurturing and medical care, animals are placed available for adoption. MHF depends solely on donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations, as well as funds raised at various events throughout the year. MHF also operates a Grooming Salon at their shelter in Marshall in addition to a Thrift Shop in the town of Middleburg.

The Virginia–Maryland Dog

Summer is the perfect time to get moving. And whether your furry family member is recovering from injury or illness, or just needs to shed a few pounds, Veterinary Surgical Centers Rehabilitation is here to help. We work with you, the pet owner, to create a program that is custom-tailored to your pet’s specific needs to ensure the road to recovery and optimum health (and weight!) is as smooth as possible. Our experienced rehabilitation practitioners specialize in:

• Pain management

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• Conditioning & weight management

• Hydrotherapy

• Laser therapy

• Therapeutic massage, stretching & more!

Don’t wait. Let’s start improving your pet’s health and quality of life today. Call us at 703-242-6000 or speak with your veterinarian about a referral.

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The Virginia Maryland Dog Summer 2015  

The Virginia-Maryland Dog is provided as a quarterly print magazine, as well as an extensively designed website www.thevirginia-marylanddog....

The Virginia Maryland Dog Summer 2015  

The Virginia-Maryland Dog is provided as a quarterly print magazine, as well as an extensively designed website www.thevirginia-marylanddog....