Page 1

Volume 8•Issue 1

Spring 2017

Unsung Heroes Step in to Help Unsung K9 Heroes Brightness in a Darkening World Evaluating your Pet’s Heart Health Prior to Anesthesia



“Bartie” is seeking a forever home. He is available for adoption through the Washington Area Animal Adoption Group (WAAAG). (details on Page 46)

The Middleburg Humane Foundation believes that all animals, both large and small, have the right to safe and sanitary living conditions, protection from abuse and neglect, and to live their lives in an environment free from pain and fear. The Middleburg Humane Foundation (MHF) operates a private, nonprofit farm shelter in Marshall, Virginia. MHF specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that come from a variety of abusive situations. After medical attention and care, animals are made available for adoption. We focus on the hardest jobs, from large animal rescue involving horses and cows to animal seizures, chained dog assistance, to rehabilitation throughout the state of Virginia and into West Virginia. Our adoption area serves a 50-mile radius from our location which includes Maryland and parts of Washington, D.C. As a privately-funded organization, MHF relies on donations and fundraising events held throughout the year for both operational costs, as well as facility improvements. Currently, MHF is raising money for the final 30% of our new, state-of-the-art facility on 23 acres just two miles west of our present location.


contents Volume 8

Issue 1

Spring 2017

departments 8

Pet Travel:



On the Cover…

Evaluating Your Pet’s Heart Health Prior to Anesthesia

“Bartie” is seeking a forever home. He is available through Washington Area Animal Adoption Group (WAAAG). See Page 46 for Details.




Legally Speaking:

Spring Break

Leave It–The Perfect Solution to a Distracted Dog

With Michael Gordon, Esquire


The Pet Lady:


Ask A Neurovet:


Photo by: Chris Weber, Chris Weber Studios

features 20

 New Look, A New Brand, A A New Design for a Local Humane Society


Brightness in a Darkening World


Resources & Rescues


K9 Training Days

With Dana Humphrey

With Dr. Lauren Talarico

Ask Dr. Katy: With Dr. Katy Nelson

46 Seeking A Forever Home

special feature 14

Unsung Heroes Step in to Help Unsung K9 Heroes

Spring 2017 |


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contributors Linda Baker

Katy Nelson, DVM

After owning a tradeshow management company in Northern Virginia for 25 years, Linda Baker sold her business and headed to the Shenandoah Valley. She and her husband Ron, a Vietnam veteran, formed Ruff Ranch Sanctuary to combine their two biggest passions—dog rescue and helping veterans.

Stephanie Clarke As a writer and editor who resides in Clermont, Florida, with over twelve years of experience within the writing and editing industry, Stephanie has had the opportunity to contribute to a multitude of online blogs and publications. Originally a writer within the field of mental health stemming from her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she has expanded to various subjects of interest over the years. Stephanie also provides ghostwriting and editing to other authors who require her services.

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.

Neal Peckens, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Cardiology) 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.

Michael I. Gordon, Esquire Michael I. Gordon, Esq. is a partner at Wright, Constable Skeen in its Estate & Trusts Practice Group. Michael resides in Pikesville, Maryland with wife Sandra, 4-year old tabby Gabby and the baby of the family, Ozzie, a 3-year old, miniature Schnauzer. Michael can be reached at or 410.659.1306.

Dana Humphrey Dana Humphrey AKA “The Pet Lady” travels from Coast to Coast to pet trade shows and consumer events such as Superzoo, Global Pet Expo, Intergroom, Pet News Now, NAVC, Total Pet Expo, Super Pet Expo and “mutts” more, to scout out the hottest, hippest and most unique pet products on the planet! Bringing you tips and tricks from the top vets, groomers, and trainers on how to safely travel and live happy with your pet! From Fox, ABC, NBC and other media outlets “The Pet Lady” will be in a city near you soon, showing off the latest and greatest tech pet gadgets, cozy comforts and fab gift idea’s for man’s (and woman’s) best friend!

Dr. Peckens earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and subsequently graduated with honors from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed a rotating emergency/specialty medicine internship with a regional referral hospital. He then practiced as an emergency clinician at the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Associates at The LifeCentre of Leesburg, Virginia prior to joining and completing his residency with CVCA.

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.

Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA CTP 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!


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

Improving the health & comfort of pets with neurologic disease. If your pet has been diagnosed with a neurologic disease, our team of 9 board certified veterinary neurologists are just a phone call and short drive away. Please contact your primary care veterinarian for a referral to one of our 4 convenient locations. • Same-day appointments available • Onsite MRI available at all locations

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{ department }

Owner/Publisher Pamela Wahl Editor in Chief Matt Neufeld Director of Operations Pamela Wahl Art Director Kim Dow, Kalico Design Graphic Designer Leigh Caulfield, Kalico Design Social Media Cami O’Connell Kristin Carlson

{ publishers note }

a note

from our publisher

“Our pets lead us from patience to love and then to loss…but it is a journey worth taking” – Unknown This edition of The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog is dedicated to our very first cover dog­—“Freckles.” Freckles brought great joy to the life of her owner­—Maureen Hanley of Fox Chase Farm located in Middleburg, VA, as well as the Fox Chase Farm staff, and everyone of whom had the honor to meet her.

Senior Editor Kimberly Holmes Photographer Chris Weber Chris Weber Studios Virginia is for Dog Lovers!

Copy Editor Josh Warren Advertising Director Pamela Wahl Production Coordinator Diane Weller Contributing Writers: Linda Baker Stephanie Clarke Caroline Cole Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP Michael Gordon, Esquire Suzanne Hladun Dana Humphrey Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA-CTP Katy Nelson, DVM Neal Peckens, DVM, ACVIM (Cardiology) Lauren Talarico, DVM, DACVIM Ginger Warder Fall 2010

Volume 1

Issue 1



of Fox Chase Farm

NEW Techniques in Veterinary Rehabilitation

No More Grapes!

Blue-Green Algae deadly poison or miracle cure?

Weekend Getaways

from the Dog-Eat-Dog World

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington, DC Dog Magazine 200 West Main Street Middletown, MD 21769 Tel: (301) 514-2804 Fax: (301) 694-9799 ©2017 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.

“Freckles” November 2002 to January 2, 2017 Cover photo by Janet Hitchen. Additional photos courtesy of Maureen Hanley.


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downtown rts Bar in Ferg’s Spo omes four-legged elc St. Pete w deck the party n o s guest


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ pet travel } Dogs playi ng at Fort DeSoto’s p rivate dog beach

SPRING BREAK Our four-legged family members love getting their paws in the sand as much as we do, and by March, all of us are tired of the cold and gray winter skies. Although I’m from Virginia and still spend much of the year there, I’ve owned a house in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida for many years. St. Pete has become a world-class arts destination, and its miles of white sand beaches and top-ranked parks are a favorite for vacationers from all over the world.

Play Fort DeSoto Park is Fido’s version of a theme park for pups and one of my favorite places to take my dogs. Named the best beach in the U.S. in 2005 on the annual list by Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Fort DeSoto has miles of bike trails, fishing piers, kayaking adventures, and one of the best off-leash dog parks and private dog beaches in the state. Bay area Fidos agree with Dr. Beach, and they love the humorous fire hydrants and lush palm trees in the Paw Playground. There are separate fenced areas for small dogs and large dogs, carpeted with lush, green grass that’s perfect for a good game of fetch with your human. Fido water fountains and shower facilities are great for cleaning off the sand and saltwater after a swim and a romp on Fido’s private “dog beach”. Stations with disposable plastic bags for clean-up are strategically placed around the park, so you don’t have to worry about packing anything but toys for your pooch.

By Ginger Warder

Downtown St. Petersburg features two waterfront parks, Straub Park and Vinoy Park, the location of many of the city’s annual festivals and special events, and Beach Drive, which runs parallel to Straub Park, offers several pet-friendly outdoor cafés with cuisine from classic French and Italian to fresh seafood and British pub fare. The Museum of Fine Arts is located on Beach Drive as well, and at its far end, the renowned Salvador Dali Museum sits next to the Mahaffey Performing Arts Center, although you’ll need to leave your pal at the hotel while enjoying these cultural pursuits.

Eat Almost every restaurant on the beach and in downtown St. Pete offers alfresco pet friendly dining. Catch a game and enjoy the best wings in town at Ferg’s Sports Bar across from Tropicana Field, home of the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays. Ferg’s welcomes wellbehaved pooches on its party deck and regularly hosts

Spring 2017 |


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benefits for local animal rescue groups. Or enjoy the waterfront view and contemporary French fare at Cassis on Beach Drive, a favorite of local pet lovers.

Stay Located on St. Pete Beach, the historic Don Cesar Beach Resort offers old-world elegance and casual luxury for you and your four-legged friends. You and your pooch can live like royalty at this historic resort, and with the Loews Loves Pet program, your pooch will be welcomed with treats, toys, and his own bowls and bed, as well as canine room service. The Don’s spa has a Pampered Pet division, offering “Head to Paw” canine and feline massages, grooming and pet-sitting in your room. Known to its many repeat guests as just “the Don”, the Mediterranean pink and white architectural confection with Moorish towers and turrets opened in the late 1920’s, hosting the rich, the famous and the infamous of that era. F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda were often on the property, along with celebrities like Lou Gehrig, Clarence Darrow, and gangster Al Capone.


If you combined a children’s summer camp, a theme park, a water park, a beautiful beach, and a luxury hotel full of adult amenities including a salon, spa, tennis courts, and top-notch dining, you have just described the Tradewinds Island Grand. Add to that, a Four Paws Welcome for your best friend, including a pet welcome amenity, a special dog walk path marked with paw prints, an off-leash Pet Play Zone, a Doggie Accessory Center, and gourmet canine cuisine, and you have the perfect Florida beach destination for the whole family. The creative canine room service menu includes Mutt Meat Loaf, Fido’s Fajitas, and an appetizing Doggie Pu Pu Platter, and the concierge staff has an extensive list of local parks, groomers, veterinarians, and pet stores, and can arrange for a pet-sitter or dog walker if you need a night off the leash yourself.


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Evaluating Your Pet’s Heart Health Prior to Anesthesia By Neal Peckens DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Cardiology) Photo courtesy of CVCA


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Pets may need general anesthesia for any number of reasons. Planned dental procedures, elective surgeries, or emergency situations can all result in the need for anesthesia. The rates of anesthetic deaths in pets, while still relatively low, are higher than they are in human medicine. The best standard of care for our pets is to ensure that we are aware of and define any health factors that may increase their risk with anesthesia. This way we can provide informed recommendations and anesthetic plans tailored to the needs and concerns of each individual patient. If underlying heart disease is present, dogs and cats may be more likely to have serious and potentially fatal anesthetic complications. If potential signs of heart disease such as a heart murmur, abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia), or extra heart sounds are present on physical exam, then your pet may need further evaluation in order to ensure that he or she may safely undergo anesthesia. In dogs, several different kinds of diagnostic tools may be used to further investigate cardiac health in preparation for anesthesia.

Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart)

The gold standard for assessing heart disease in dogs and cats is an echocardiogram performed by a board certified cardiologist such as those of CVCA. It is a non-invasive, highly sensitive and specific test that provides precise measurement of the heart size and function. In patients with possible heart disease, cardiac evaluation prior to anesthesia is critical. If potential signs of heart disease are present, your pet should be evaluated by a board certified cardiologist. This not only allows the doctor to ensure the safest possible anesthetic protocol for our patients, but also allows us to provide long term treatment recommendations in our continued effort to provide our pets longer and healthier lives.

Thoracic radiology (chest x-rays)

X-rays of the chest can show the overall shape and size of the heart, as well as whether or not there is fluid in the lungs. X-rays are limited in the amount of information they can give the doctor, and factors such as positioning of the pet can affect the accuracy of the x-ray reading as well.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An ECG is needed for any patient for whom an abnormal heart rhythm is heard. An ECG checks for problems with electrical activity of the heart.


NT-proBNP is a substance in the blood that can be measured to indicate potential heart problems. This test is most useful to determine whether a problem is related to the heart or respiratory system. It may help pick up on some forms of heart disease that may otherwise go undetected, but does not necessarily rule out the presence of heart disease.

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

Spring 2017 |


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By Stephanie Clarke Photos courtesy of the Unsung K9 Hero Project

Brunswick, MD Officer Brandon Smith & K9 Trax

Unsung Heroes Step in to Help Unsung K9 Heroes


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Left: Officer Sheena Yohe & K9 Blair; Right: Dfc. Charles Zang, Dfc Jeremy Kretsinger & K9 Jaeger

Two Maryland animal activists create non-profit to raise money for local law enforcement K9 officers. On a hot day in 2014, a police officer entered a building to respond to a call. His K9 companion remained in the car with the air conditioner running. Unfortunately, the car stalled, and the poor dog was left in the heat. While the officer did everything he could when he returned, the K9 officer died. In most cases, this isn’t a concern—the police cruisers are equipped with car alarms that would have alerted the officer. However, the police department in this case didn’t have the funds for these alarms. Spring 2017 |


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Left: Officer Sheena Yohe, K9 Blair, & K9 Blair Donor Mark A. Boggs; Right: K9 Blair as a Puppy

When Connie Graf, the director of the Frederick County Humane Society heard this story, her heart ached for the poor dog and his human companion. She wondered if the Frederick, Md., Police Department’s K9 units had the funding they needed. She contacted the department and learned that they didn’t have car alarms for their K9 officers, so she offered to donate funds to pay for them. That’s when she learned that it wasn’t just car alarms the K9 unit was missing. Some of the dogs had torn harnesses, and while the basic necessities were being met, many of the things the officers really wanted simply weren’t available because there was no money. When police department budgets have to be cut, Connie learned, the K9 team is often the first to feel the effects. Once she learned the extent of the K9 unit’s needs, Connie knew she needed to do something more than just make a one-time donation. She set out to do something that would help the K9 units receive the funds needed to purchase additional equipment and maintain the tools they had.


She discussed this need with Pam Wahl, the founder and publisher of this publication, The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog Magazine, while talking with her about running an ad for the Frederick County Humane Society. The two talked about how much they loved animals, and Connie mentioned the K9 officer who had died. She told Pam about her idea of starting a program to help pay for the car alarms and other needs. Pam loved that idea, and the two came up with the idea of the Unsung K9 Hero Project. Because the program was going to be created as part of the Frederick County Humane Society, Connie took the idea to the organization’s board of directors. The board members approved the idea, and the Unsung K9 Hero Project was officially created under their oversight. The program is the first non-profit organization in the Frederick, Md. area to specifically support K9 units. Once the program was officially created, Connie and Pam began contacting the Frederick-area police and sheriff’s departments. They provided the officers with information about the project and asked what they could do for the K9 units who served and protected

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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the region. What neither of the women expected was the initial surprise and even a touch of confusion that the Unsung K9 Hero Project was met with. The officers were amazed that they had gone so far as to create a non-profit simply to help their K9 units.

“When we started the project, we received a list of items that the different departments needed,” Connie said. “I am happy to say that we have purchased everything on the list as well as two K9’s!” These items included training tools, a kennel, a safe to store various training items, and even covered the cost of one dog’s surgery.

“It took many calls and visits to get a list of needs and wants for each department,” Connie said. “It was humbling.” The officers were not used to receiving support from the community. These meetings were moving revelations for both sides. The officers realized that the citizens they protected truly did respect, honor, appreciate, and support them, while Pam and Connie saw how self-reliant these officers were. They and their K9 partners were dedicated to protecting the people of Frederick County, Md., but they had never considered that the people might want to help provide for their needs.

Connie is quick to point out that the Unsung K9 Hero Project has been a success because it’s a true partnership. “I don’t think that it is the Frederick County Humane Society or the magazine that makes this work. I believe it is the two of us working together that helps us accomplish what we do,” she said. By combining the resources of a publication aimed at dog lovers and an organization dedicated to helping animals, the Unsung K9 Hero Project is able to spread the word about the unique needs of K9 units.


Today, the Unsung K9 Hero Project has done more than just help with new harnesses and getting funding to soon cover the car alarms. The Project has helped the Frederick Police Department adopt their first bloodhound K9 officer, Blair, and provided bite suits, vests, and many other items to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department and the Thurmont, Md., Police Department. The Project was also able to help the Brunswick, Md., Police Department add a Labrador Retriever K9 officer to their team.

“It took many calls and visits to get a list of needs and wants for each department,” Connie said. “It was humbling.”

Left: Corporal Jeff Eyler, Dfc Jeremy Kretsinger & K9 Jaeger; Right: K9 Blair


Left: Frederick County Sheriff’s Department Officer & K9; Right: Officer Brian Payne & K9 Maaska

Several other people have volunteered their time and talents in getting the project off the ground. The board of directors of the Frederick County Humane Society gave the project a home and has provided resources. Kalico Design provided a logo and helped come up with the name. Other people have donated time, money, and other resources to help provide the law enforcement units with the tools they need. Connie offered special praise to Mark Boggs, of Boggs Environmental Consultants, Inc., in Middletown, Md., and to Officer Brian Payne, the two men who were responsible for the Frederick Police Department being able to adopt K9 Blair. Mark donated the funds to purchase the bloodhound, the department’s first K9 officer of that breed. “He really helped out [the] program,” Connie said. “In my opinion, he really made a statement, showing the public that an individual can make a huge difference in our community.”

Blair will allow the city of Frederick to offer additional services in fighting crime and in finding those who are lost. Breeds like the bloodhound are incredible assets in search and rescue operations. Thanks to Blair, the Frederick Police Department will be able to quickly find lost children or those with dementia who have wandered from their homes. However, while the Unsung K9 Hero Project has grown since it began two years ago, in many ways it’s still a two-woman show. Connie and Pam donate many hours running the project, including working with donors, coordinating with the various police and sheriff’s departments, and handling all of the day-today business that a non-profit requires. “We are both willing to work hard for this,” Connie added. “We both love and respect these animals, and we both respect each other. We work well together!”


Boggs was allowed to select the name for the new K9 officer, and he chose Blair in honor of his younger brother, who was studying law enforcement at Glenville State University at the time of his tragic and unexpected death.

“In my opinion, he really made a statement, showing the public that an individual can make a huge difference in our community.”


Payne works full-time for the Frederick Police Department and has seen first-hand the needs that these K9 officers have. He’s also had the privilege of watching Blair grow and become closer to his handler, Officer Sheena Yohe. The two have formed a strong bond and have become one of the department’s greatest assets.

Today, the project has a number of new sponsors. Legal and General America, Boggs Environmental Consultants, Inc., Dempsey’s Grill in Middletown, Gene and Cathy Wahl, and Brownie Troop #81516 have provided the Unsung K9 Hero Project with generous donations. Thanks to these donors and many others, the law enforcement agencies that use dogs in Frederick County have been able to purchase more equipment to expand their capabilities.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

Despite providing the departments with everything on their initial wish list, though, Connie and Pam aren’t done. They have long-term goals for the Unsung K9 Hero Project that includes continuing to support the K9 units in Frederick County. They also want to help the program grow by pairing more officers with K9s. Doing so will provide law enforcement with more options and resources. A K9 officer can run faster than a person, allowing them to catch criminals who are fleeing. Often, all an officer has to do is say he’s going to release his K9, and the suspect surrenders. The presence of a K9 can deter criminals, allowing officers to make arrests more easily and without putting lives in danger. The K9 units are vital to the area because often they’re the only way officers know that someone has drugs on them. By identifying these individuals and getting them the help they need, K9 units are actually able to prevent people from overdosing and dying. They can change a person’s life for the better, and that is a goal that Connie and Pam believe is worth fighting for. Those who want to help the Unsung K9 Hero Project can visit the organization’s website at www. The police and sheriff’s departments still have a long list of items that their K9 officers and trainers would love to have. Individuals can make a cash donation to the project, or they can purchase a needed item and donate it. The website includes a list of everything the departments currently need. Donations are tax deductible, and 100 percent of all donations go directly to helping the K9 officers. “I am really proud of this program! The two K9 officers we purchased are special to us. They will save lives, and we will be able to share in that joy!” Connie said. “These amazing animals live to serve us. They ask little and give so much! We want to ensure their needs are met and give back to our officers who do so much for us!”

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By Caroline Cole & Suzanne Hladun


, k o o L w e N A , d n a r B w A Ne n g i s e D w e AN l a c o L a r fo ! y t e i c o S e Human The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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The Humane Society of Frederick County, Md., gets suggested graphic design ideas from creative local college students Frederick Community College graphic design students took home the top prize at the annual “MockUp: Student Design Challenge” in October, 2016, for the second year in a row—by designing new branding items such as a logo, brochure, business cards and website for the Frederick County, Md., Humane Society. The competition was sponsored by AIGA Blue Ridge, a professional design association, and was hosted by Shepherd University on October 31, 2016. The five-member FCC team, consisting of Rob Blumenauer, Diego Camargo, Suzanne Earl, Carolyn Sangi and Devin Schlicting, beat out six other competitors that included multiple teams from Hagerstown Community College and Shepherd University, as well as a team from Frostburg State University. During the competition, students had to work collaboratively to create design solutions for a non-profit client. This year’s client was The Frederick County Humane Society, a private, 501(C)(3) organization that advocates for animal welfare in the community and provides affordable services, resources and programs to help responsible pet owners keep their pets healthy, happy and in life-long homes. Through private donations, the Humane Society provides such services as an emergency pet food bank, well care assistance, emergency medical assistance, low-cost spay and neuter services, and assistance for seniors in the community to help care for their animals.  The organization has also created targeted programs to support local military families with pets and police departments working to acquire and care for K9 officers. The student teams had one week to create a new brand identity for the Humane Society, which included a new logo, brochure, business cards, website, mobile communications, and various fundraising ideas. “This is a significant accomplishment for our students especially considering how talented all the teams are each year,” said Lisa Sheirer, FCC program manager and associate professor of graphics and photography who is also the chairman of the MockUp event. “It’s an energetic competition that gives students first-hand experience of what it’s like to work with a real client and create a brand. It was inspiring to see our students take their design passion and what they’ve learned in our classrooms to rise up to the challenge and succeed.”

FCC Team Winners Photo courtesy of FCC

After the week was over, the groups gathered together and each team leader presented their team’s designs to a panel of judges comprised of graphic design professionals and members of the Humane Society’s leadership group. Judges choose FCC as the winner for creating the most workable design. FCC teams have participated in the competition since it began in 2011, and this is the third time they have won the competition. FCC offers an associate degree in digital media design, with a graphics track and a certificate in computer graphics. The students who participated on FCC’s winning team are advanced students in the Digital Media Design program.

Spring 2017 |


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Brightness... By Krisi Erwin, DVM, CVA, CCRT, CVPP


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

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Blindness in dogs can be caused by various problems. Some causes are rather

sudden, like sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) or acute glaucoma. Other causes can be more gradual, such as diabetic cataracts or

changes secondary to dry eye. Regardless of the cause, there are many actions that pet owners can take to help their dogs learn how to navigate and thrive in a darkened world. Â

Many pet owners may feel panicked or concerned about their pet’s quality of

life in the face of blindness. However, dogs can rely quite well with their other senses, such as scent and hearing. To adapt to changes in vision dogs can be amazingly resilient. a Darkening World How to Cope with Blindness and Vision Changes in Dogs

Spring 2017 |


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Consult the Experts

Training can help any dog build confidence and adapt to new situations. Blind and low-vision dogs are no different. Working on verbal cues, even for basic obedience commands, can help dogs to learn to navigate the world more easily and can help to strengthen the trust between pet owners and dogs. There are resources available for training, such as: “Living with Blind Dogs,” and its companion DVD, “New Skills for Blind Dogs,” by Caroline Levin, a registered nurse. These resources can be found at the website If pet owners prefer one-on-one help, consider reaching out to a local trainer experienced with blind and low-vision dogs.

Changes on the Home Front

As a general rule, pet owners do not want to change their home environment, especially the layout of furniture, while a dog is adjusting to changes in his or her vision, as this can increase confusion and anxiety. However, pet owners can take several steps to make their home safer. While a dog is adjusting, pet owners should consider gating the dog into a smaller area of the home, with slowly increasing access to the rest of the house. Stairs can be especially dangerous, so make sure to gate them off as well. Area rugs or yoga mats placed strategically around the house can help to improve traction, create a pathway around, and also designate key areas such as food and water bowls. If a dog still has some vision, consider using night lights or tap lights closer to floor level to help increase visibility. Focusing on navigating or training can be exhausting for blind and low-vision dogs, so pet owners should be sure to provide quiet areas, such as a crate, to rest.

Everyone Needs Assistance Once in Awhile

There are several assistive products that can be helpful for families working with blind and low-vision dogs. Pet owners should consider training their dogs to use a ramp, if needed, for getting into and out of the car. Pet owners should try to find a wide ramp with good traction that is sturdy enough to not bounce. A trainer can be helpful in this area. A Help ‘em Up Harness, available at, is recommended for helping large dogs into and out of the car, or up and down stairs. Halos are also available to help protect blind dogs from damaging their eyes and faces as they navigate—check for these at

Stay in the Game

Play is important for everyone — pet owners and dogs. Pet owners should not let changes in the vision of their dogs prevent playing with their pets. Toys such as balls with bells or bright flashing lights can keep a dog playing despite reduced vision. Tricks training can be fun for pet owners and dogs. Nancy Liebhauser, of Mica Dog Training, has worked with her low-vision golden retriever, Clover. There is a video available in this area at

Pamper your Pooch

Low-vision and blind dogs can develop increased tension in their necks and shoulders, and changes in the flexibility of their hips and shoulders. This seems to be due to changes in body carriage and gait in an attempt to compensate for low vision. Learning massage and stretching techniques from a certified therapeutic massage therapist or a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner and therapist can help pet owners address problem areas that pets may experience. Another resource is “Bodywork for Dogs,” a DVD by Lynn Vaughan and Deborah Jones.


For more information: Wholistic Paws Veterinary Services, 517-438-0339,,


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

German-enGineered Led coLLars


{ training }

By Laurie Luck, M.A., KPA-CTP Photos courtesy of Laurie Luck

Leave It: The Perfect Solution to a Distracted Dog


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ training }

Imagine this scenario: A woman is struggling to open a child-resistant cap from a big bottle of Tylenol. Suddenly the lid pops off and the bottle shoots through the air, spilling Tylenol all over the floor. The dog comes running, eager to gobble up the “treats” as quickly as possible, not knowing these treats can kill him. If she taught her dog “leave it,” she simply says those words to her dog and resumes picking up the Tylenol off the floor, as her dog sits and watches. Every dog owner owes it to her dog (and to her wallet) to teach this behavior. It’s a convenient behavior, as well as a life-saving one. The solution to the problem of a distracted dog is teaching “leave it.”

What is Leave It?

Leave it is a useful, easy to teach behavior that can be used whenever a dog is getting too close to something she can’t have or something that might distract her. When instructed, the dog disengages from the distraction (squirrel, another dog, cheeseburger, deer poop, etc.) and gives her owner full attention.

Why teach Leave It?

Leave it comes in handy if someone drops pills or anything dangerous on the floor. It’s invaluable if someone breaks a glass or spills something the dog shouldn’t have. It, of course, is helpful when a dog needs to ignore another dog (or other distraction) and focus on her owner. The owner isn’t reliant on a leash and collar to keep her dog from getting something forbidden, expensive, or dangerous in it’s mouth.

How to teach Leave It?

Teaching Leave It is fairly simple, although it has several steps. Diligent dog owners can teach this skill relatively quickly, however, providing each step is taught completely before moving to the next step.

Spring 2017 |


{ training }

Step 4 Step 1 Establishing the Behavior Increasing Difficulty The owner places a treat in her hand, making a fist around it, and presents that fist to the dog at nose level, saying nothing. The dog will sniff, lick, paw, gnaw, push, and mug the hand, trying to get the treat out. At some point, the dog will pull his nose off of the hand, even for 1/8 of a second. The instant that happens, the owner CLICKs and opens her hand to let the dog have the treat.

Goal: The dog doesn’t touch her hand at all when she puts it at nose level in front of his face.

Step 2 Adding Eye Contact When the dog is good at leaving the treat alone, the next step is to add eye contact into the behavior. Instead of clicking when the dog pulls his nose away from her hand, she’ll click and treat when her dog looks up toward her.

Goal: The dog leaves the hand alone and is looking at her owner to earn the goodie.

Step 3 Naming the Behavior When the owner is ready to bet $100 that her dog will leave her fist alone and look at her, she is ready to name the behavior. To do this, the owner says “leave it,” then presents her fist to the dog. Because the dog is really good at this, she shouldn’t move forward at all. The owner will click and treat when the dog leaves the treat alone and looks at her. If the dog does move forward and touches her hand, the owner will do nothing.


Goal: After hearing “leave it,” the dog leaves the hand alone and looks at her owner.

For More Information: Laurie Luck, KPA-CTP Smart Dog University 240.394.1112


The owner will say “leave it,” and present the treat in a slightly open hand. When the dog leaves the treat alone, the owner will click and treat! If the dog touches the owner’s hand or tries to get the treat, she will simply close her hand, being sure not to pull her hand away from the dog.  The owner will continue to open her hand a little more each time so that eventually her hand is open wide with the treat in the middle of her. The owner will continue to systematically increase the difficulty by putting the treat on her knee, on the chair, and eventually onto the floor.

Goal: The dog is as good at leaving the open hand as she was leaving the closed hand.

Step 5 Real Life Training When her dog is reliably leaving the treat alone on the floor, she will begin to drop the treat on the floor. She says “leave it,” and then drops the treat on the floor. She’ll have the dog on a leash in case the dog rushes in to get the treat. Dropping the treat on the other side of her (away from the dog) is the easiest way to start this step.

Step 6 Introducing New Items Using the cue “leave it,” the owner will begin to pair the behavior with other objects. She can say “leave it,” when working with a low-value dog toy. Every time the dog looks at her and leaves the object alone, the dog earns a click and a treat. Taking the time to teach a dog to leave things alone and look at her owner isn’t only useful, it can save the dog’s life if he’s ready to eat something poisonous or something that will make him sick. It’s also a helpful behavior to help make leisurely walks more fun and relaxing for both the dog and the owner.

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

Explore Virginia with your favorite four-legged travel companion!


Local people. Local pets. Our FFOCAS is on homeless pets in Frederick County

YOU ARE  INVITED  !!!!!!                              Sunday,  May  21,  2017

                                                             The  ANIMAL  RESCUE  FUND  (ARF)  invites  you  to  our  8th.  Annual  


12 Noon to 4 PM Fox Hall Farm, Delaplane, VA Rain or Shine The

Bring the kids and your leashed dog and join other animal lovers for an afternoon of fun, food & entertainment!

*Reservations preferred.

“Help us help animals in need.” The ‘Dog & Cat Fest’ will include Live Music, a delicious BBQ lunch, wine, beer, soft drinks, dog walks, dog costume contest, face painting, raffles, silent auction AND much more! Adoptable Dogs and Cats. All this for $100 per Adult, ($80 is tax deductible) Kids and leashed Dogs are FREE !!! Please let us know if you are able to attend ARF is a 501(c)(3) all volunteer Rescue Organization. hEps://    



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1/30/15 1:18 PM

{ legally speaking }

Legally Speaking Timely and Useful Information for Pet Parents

By Michael Gordon, Esq.

Alaska Takes Lead in Recognizing Pets As More Than Property Recognizing that many families treat pets as family members, Alaska has amended its divorce rules to consider the wellbeing of pets understanding that many people love them as much as their friends and family. The Alaska statute not only recognizes pets as “children” in divorce actions but also in domestic violence protective orders.

A bill, which would recognize this status and provide similar relief, has been filed in the current session of the Maryland Legislature. It will be interesting to learn the result and to watch as other states now consider similar legislation. Now that there is precedent, you can see this cause being picked up rapidly.

Under the new rules, unlike other property, the Alaskan courts will now be concerned with the pets’ wellbeing requiring the courts to consider custody, including joint custody, support and maintenance, including the costs of their shelter if a pet should be seized for cruelty or neglect. The Animal Legal Defense Fund refers to the new legislation as “ground breaking and unique.” A Michigan State University law professor in the area of animal law was quoted as saying “for the first time, a state has specifically said that a companion animal has visibility in a divorce proceeding beyond that of property.” Under the new rule, the court may award custody on the basis of what is best for the pet, not the owner.


More on Michael Gordon: Michael Gordon is a partner at Wright, Constable & Skeen in its Estates & Trusts Practice Group. He is actively involved in animal welfare matters, and is a published writer on planning for the future care of pets and other matters related to your pets and the law.

Spring 2017 |


{ feature }

Layla & Connor

By Linda Baker Photos courtesy of Chris Weber Studios




A simple local rescue tale highlights the importance of using resources to find a lost pet


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ feature }

Little Layla, a tiny Chihuahua, recently moved with her family from Georgia to West Virginia. She wasn’t familiar with her new surroundings and while exploring, she became lost. Layla ended up in a shelter about thirty miles from her new home. Left to right: Debbie Gretz & Layla; Connor & Layla

Layla’s family was devastated. They searched for Layla for months. Layla’s best friend is a young boy with autism. He was heartsick without her. Meanwhile, the shelter in West Virginia contacted Ruff Ranch Sanctuary — a private, non-profit facility in Middletown, Va., that rescues animals to prevent them from being put to sleep — to take Layla in and give her a foster home. Layla’s new foster mom didn’t know Layla’s real, given name, and so she called her Lulu.    “Lulu is an adorable little pup. When we took her in, it was obvious that she had been loved and cared for. We posted her on Petfinder, hoping to find her a forever home,” said Debbie Gretz, volunteer at Ruff Ranch Sanctuary.    Petfinder is an online, searchable database of animals who need homes, according to the organization’s website. According to Petfinder, the organization is also a directory of nearly 14,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Organizations maintain their own home pages and available-pet databases. According to Petfinder: “The mission of Petfinder is to use internet technology and the resources it can generate to 1. Increase public awareness of the availability of high-quality adoptable pets; 2. Increase the overall effectiveness of pet adoption programs across North America to the extent that the euthanasia of adoptable pets is eliminated; 3. Elevate the status of pets to that of family member.” Petfinder is updated daily.  

Layla’s family saw the posting from Ruff Ranch Sanctuary on Facebook and got in touch with the facility. Layla came running when her foster mom called her Layla!   “Rescues can be a great resource for helping to reunite lost pets,” said Linda Baker, Ruff Ranch Sanctuary. “Most people know to check their shelters, but Layla’s mom went the extra mile to search Petfinder and contact rescues. We also had a microchip placed in Layla so that if she is ever lost again, she will immediately be returned to her proper home!”   Layla and her family were reunited right before Christmas. Layla immediately ran to her best friend, covered him in kisses, and her tail never stopped wagging.


For more information: Ruff Ranch Sanctuary (a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization) 239.980.0940 P.O. Box 605, Middletown, VA, 22645 Petfinder |

Spring 2017 |


{ the pet lady }

By Dana Humphrey

On the Road Again This Spring! Travel Tips to Help you Stay Safe & Have Fun While Traveling with your Pet

Officials estimate that about 65 percent of American households own a pet, and about 78 percent of those households travel every year with their pets, so, considering these statistics, those travelling pet families could stand to benefit from some pet travel tips. Safety, of course, is the main priority for pets while heading out on the road again this spring!


For more information about Dana Humphrey, also known as the Pet Lady:; @petladyworld;; on Facebook, DanaHumphreyThePetLady; on Instagram: @danakhumphrey.


First, travelers need to remember that restraining their pets in a car is a priority! Pets roaming freely in a car are at a great risk to be injured. Animals are generally unable to brace themselves during swerves and turns, which in turn can cause them to be thrown against dashboards, windows or floors. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that pets moving around in cars is the third-worst distraction to drivers. Pets should be confined at all times. A Car-GO pop-up shelter, from Sturdi Products, can fit in the back seat of most cars, and the device has seatbelt loops for security. There is no assembly required—drivers can simply remove the item from its case, shake it, and the device pops open. This can be convenient and safe shelter for pets while travelling. For more information, check the website

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

Everyone knows that dogs love to stick their heads out of car windows and feel the breezes through their fur---but drivers should actually prevent this action. Dogs can easily get hit by debris flying around outside of the car. Proper identification tags, up-to-date vaccinations and a stocked first-aid kit for pets should always be packed

Kickstart Your Kibble!®

when travelling with pets. Consider microchipping your pet for an extra layer of protection. For an ID tag, Twigo Tags is an inexpensive option that’s great for travel. This tag can be instantly personalized with the proper emergency contact information, phone numbers and addresses of your travel destination. Simply write, boil and wear! For more information: Always stock up on water before every journey, especially if you are going a long distance. Staying hydrated is important. Fresh water will also help dogs that are prone to getting an upset stomach while traveling. A SturdiBox is a perfect water bowl to bring along on an adventure. Waterproof and built to last, the SturdiBox folds flat and snaps closed, which makes it convenient for packing. For more information: www.sturdiproducts. com/pages/sturdiboxes. For long road trips, be sure to give yourself and your pet a rest stop every two or three hours. This gives pets the opportunity to stretch, burn off some energy and use the bathroom. And, of course: never leave a pet alone in a car to avoid the risk of theft, heat injuries or hyperthermia. There are scores of news stories every year about dogs dying after being left along in over-heated cars. Before flying with pets, make sure they are in good health. Flying is stressful, and a sick or elderly pet’s health can be compromised with air travel. If your pet is small enough to go under the seat, make sure to choose a safe and comfortable option for them. The Pet Trek from A Pet with Paws is not only fashionable and eco-friendly, but it’s ideal for air travel. The four-spinner wheel foldable trolley-cart makes whizzing through the airport a breeze. The pet carrier is removable, so once you are ready to board the plane, simply raise the carrier off the handles, fold up the Pet Trek and you’re good to go! For more information: Spring 2017 |


{ ask a neurovet }

Ask A Neurovet Dr. Lauren Talarico

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

Dear Dr. T, My 2 year old Golden Retriever loves to swim and has been swimming a lot this winter given our warm weather. He always gets ear infections, but this time it seems more than just an ear infection. Specifically he developed a head tilt to the right and he occasionally stumbles when he walks. My vet said he has a problem with the balance part of his brain. Can you explain what may be going on? —Rebecca, Alexandria VA

Dear Rebecca,

It sounds that your dog has a problem with his vestibular system. This is synonymous with vertigo in people. In a young, otherwise healthy dog with a history of recurrent ear infections, your dog likely suffers from peripheral vestibular disease, meaning that it is originating outside the brain itself. The most common cause of peripheral vestibular disease in dogs is inner ear infections. The nerves that control balance (vestibular nerve) and the facial muscles (facial nerve) run through the inner ear. Infections of the inner ear can irritate these nerves and lead to disorientation, balance deficits, head tilt and facial asymmetry. With proper treatment of the inner ear infection, your pup’s vestibular signs should resolve within several weeks.

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-Washington DC Dog


{ ask a neurovet }

Dear Dr. T,

Dear Sean and Bart,

My dog Oscar is a 3 year old dachshund. Recently he started trembling in his neck and holding his head down low. I am concerned he is having seizures. These trembling episodes last several hours and sometimes he yelps out as if he is in pain. If these episodes sound like seizures to you, what medication do you recommend? —Suzanne, Great Falls VA

Dear Suzanne and Oscar,

The episodes you are describing do not sound like seizures, rather episodes of neck pain. Dachshunds are predisposed to herniated or slipped discs in their necks and/or backs. When the intervertebral disc herniates or slips out of its normal position between the vertebrae, it can push or compress the nerves and spinal cord directly above it. This can be a very painful condition for dogs, especially when intervertebral discs herniate in the neck. Many of these dogs will experience muscle fasciculations that can resemble seizure activity. Animals that have seizures tend to lose consciousness during the seizure event, while dogs with neck pain will often yelp out and hold their neck down very low especially when eating. I recommend that your dog be evaluated by a veterinary neurologist as soon as possible. They can discuss further diagnostic testing and treatment options.

It sounds like Bart is experiencing a nerve root signature sign. This occurs when the primary problem is at the level of the nerve roots that exit the spinal cord in the neck. Possible causes for a nerve root signature sign in an older Greyhound can include a herniated disc or a cancerous process such as a nerve sheath tumor or other tumor involving the spinal cord itself, vertebrae or both. All of these conditions can be painful and cause Bart to want to hold up his leg (nerve root signature sign). The muscle atrophy you are noticing on this side can either be a consequence of the nerves and nerve roots being compressed and/or diseased (neurogenic muscle atrophy), secondary to him not bearing weight on this limb (disuse atrophy) or a combination of both. An MRI of Bart’s neck region would help make a diagnosis and formulate the best treatment plan for Bart.

Dear Dr. T, Bart, my 13 year old retired Greyhound has been holding up his right front limb for about 7-8 weeks. The muscles have become very atrophied on this side and he has difficulty moving his neck. He does appear painful at night and has difficulty getting comfortable. Bart was examined by a surgeon. I was told his problem was neurologic in origin. Can you please help me understand what may be going on with my beloved dog? —Sean Bethesda, MD

Spring 2017 |


{ feature }

Pete Genovese & “Foxy�

K9 Training Days

Maryland based organization uses innovative By Stephanie Clarke techniques to train police K9 (dog) officers.

Photos courtesy of L5 Tactical Training Group


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

When Pete Genovese started his career as a police officer, he had two goals: to do drug work and to work with a K9 (dog) partner. For several years, he worked in the drug division. Then he put in to transfer to the K9 unit, and he was approved. Within five years, he had completed both of his goals. “People don’t realize how much the dog affects your life until you have the animal,” he said. Pete was originally drawn to dogs because he always felt there was just something about them that he found fascinating. The second reason was that he just never could figure out how to get a dog to sit! He finally got tired of never knowing the answer to that, and so he started hanging out with dog trainers. He picked up many of their tricks and secrets, and before long, he and his K9 partner were working together like a well-oiled machine.

Madison’s stretcher Pack Portable Emergency Pet Stretcher

At first, Pete just wanted to learn how to better work with his animal companion, but as he learned more and more, he started to find himself loving it. People began asking him to help train their dogs, and before long, he found himself a K9 trainer. Today, he is the chief trainer at L5 Tactical Training Group, a firearms training company based in Frederick, Md., that he joined several years ago. Pete started the K9 training program at L5. In most cases, he still trains every K9 officer himself, although he does occasionally call in help when the company has several dogs to train. “I love that it’s always different,” he said about training. “Each dog presents something new. Even when it’s the same task, each dog will do it a little bit differently. That keeps my brain going, and I think it’s healthy for me. I love it.” L5 works a bit differently than other training facilities, which is something Pete set out to intentionally accomplish. In most cases, the police department would purchase a dog untrained. They would then have to find and pay for a training program for the dog and the officer. The officer would actually spend up to six weeks away from work training with the dog. In some cases, these dogs need fifteen to eighteen hours of attention and training. With L5, that’s not the case. Instead, Pete trains the dog for the department according to nationally recognized standards. Once he’s finished training the dog, the officer who will be paired with the K9 comes in for about a week. The officer learns all he or she needs to know to work beside a K9 officer, but the department doesn’t lose the manpower for six weeks. Very few other places actually offer fully trained K9 dogs to departments. By doing so, L5 saves the department money and time.

The Madison's Stretcher pack is a convenient pack that unfolds to an easy-to-carry emergency stretcher for animals. Made of sturdy Duck Canvas or water repellent 1000d Cordura. Holds animals up to 185 pounds. Unfolds quickly to a 58"x 32" stretcher. Great for use on the trail, home and car. Hand Made in Virginia.

Currently, L5 trains dogs mostly for odor tracking. Departments are in need of drug dogs and with assistance in finding missing persons. Pete focuses his training with the dogs on how to sniff out illegal substances or to track down people. “When I first get the dogs, they only know how to bite and hold. That’s it,” he said. “Some don’t even know that.” When the dogs leave, though, Pete has trained them to do area and building searches, do tracking, and much more. They learn to sit or scratch at a door when they smell drugs. K9 officers can also be taught to sit in a passive alert position if they smell a bomb. Dogs can’t be trained to find drugs and explosives. “We never cross train dogs to find both,” he said. “The handler wouldn’t know if the dog was alerting on a bomb or on drugs, which could put both the handler and the dog in danger.” However, his K9s can be taught to patrol. This gives them a dual purpose and expands their usefulness to the department.

Spring 2017 |


madison's stretcher pack


{ feature }

Pete Genovese & “Foxy”

Pete does joke that training dogs is actually much easier than training humans. “It’s hard to have the handler maintain what I’ve taught them,” he stated. “Handlers are harder to train to be consistent. Each one has his or her own theories about training dogs. But no one trainer knows it all, and everything evolves over time. If you’re open-minded, you can learn from other trainers. You have to be willing to listen and be open to new ideas. If you’re willing to do that, you’ll be an outstanding trainer.” He continues to say that a lot of knowledge in the training world simply doesn’t get shared. Trainers tend to protect information, and some do become more about making money than training a dog to be the best K9 officer it can be. Pete is determined to never release a dog from his care until it’s at its peak performance. That’s why he likes training them first. He can take the time to make certain the dog can perform as it should. Often, he works with a dog for twenty weeks or more before he’s ready to let it join a police department. “It all comes back to quality and passion,” he said. “The quality of the training is absolutely vital.” Ideally, Pete trains dogs that are between 10-monthsold and 2-years-old. He also prefers to work with smaller dogs. They tend to be able to work in the field for longer periods of time are more nimble, and they can get into the squad cars more easily. Some agencies do prefer to purchase a dog and provide their


own in-house training, and that’s certainly an option, too. While L5 currently doesn’t offer any type of training assistance to the public, that’s an area Pete would like to eventually expand into. There are many people who want to own highly obedient dogs that can guard their homes. Many simply aren’t aware of how much time it takes or don’t understand how important consistency is. That can be frustrating for the owner and for the dog.


“Patience and consistency are the most important part of a K9’s training,” Pete said. “All dogs learn at different levels. Some are smarter. Some have more drive. You have to have patience to train a dog to its full capability. You’ve got to work with what the dog has in order to truly meet its potential.”

The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

For more information about the L5 Tactical Training Group:

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? ?

{ ask dr. katy }


? ? ? ? ?

??? ?


With Katy Nelson, DVM

Dr. Katy

Dear Dr. Katy: When I arrive home from work each evening my newly adopted dog urinates out of excitement. Can you provide ideas as to what I can do to eliminate this behavior? —Gail H., Smithsburg, MD

Dear Gail,

Well, one great thing about this is you know just how much your pup misses you, right?! It’s definitely a pain, though, and something you need to get under control. Many dogs will outgrow this as they get a little older, but there are things you can do to reduce this behavior over time. First and foremost, you should try and reduce the excitement level upon entering the home. Avoid emotional greetings, and never reprimand your pup for doing

this (it’ll only make things worse). Stay calm upon entering the home, even ignoring your pet if necessary, and immediately take your pup out without any fanfare. Teach alternative behaviors for your pet to default to when they become excited like sit, stay or down, and only reward calm and relaxed behaviors. If all of this isn’t working over a period of a few weeks/months? Call a certified trainer and have them come to your home to observe your behavior, and that of your pup’s, to help solve the situation once and for all!

Dear Dr. Katy: I have a very sticky situation. An elderly neighbor of whom I have taken under my wing was diagnosed with MRSA after returning from a rehabilitation facility following surgery. He absolutely loves the daily visits that I make to him with my dog Saylor. In fact I think that he enjoys Saylor’s visits more than mine. Often times he

Do you have questions for Dr. Katy?


You can follow her on Twitter @drkatynelson, on Facebook or send her an e-mail at


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

{ ask dr. katy }

asks that Saylor be allowed to stay and visit while I run errands and such. I am personally very careful to wash my hands after each visit. However, I am worried about the potential of Saylor contacting MRSA. I would appreciate your thoughts. —Kelly R., Newport News, VA

I am considering pet insurance for my four-year-old dog. I have conducted my own research on the subject. I have read both positive and negative reviews. Therefore, I am trying to figure out if it is worth the money. In your professional opinion, do you feel as though pet insurance is a wise purchase? —Kevin S., Westminster, MD

Dear Kevin,











Spring 2017 |



As a practicing veterinarian for 16 years, I have seen the life-saving difference that pet insurance can make many times. Almost every pet owner will encounter a surprise illness at some point in their pet’s life, with bills running from $2,000 up to $10,000, depending on the situation. That’s a lot of money for any pet owner, and having to pay it up front and out of pocket can be life-altering for many families. Having a pet insurance policy in place can help to defray those costs by reimbursing you up to 80-90% of those costs. Policies do not have to be cost prohibitive, there are plans for every budget ranging from $13 to $45 per month, depending on age, breed, pre-existing conditions and options within the plans. My advice to pet owners? Get it. It could mean the difference between being able to choose to save your pets’ life in an emergency situation or facing the worst, most heart-wrenching choice of economic euthanasia.


This is indeed a very difficult situation. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that “dogs and other pets living in close contact with human MRSA carriers can become colonized with MRSA. Failure to detect and treat these colonized pets can result in MRSA colonization or infection in humans. Therefore, the risk of pets being the source of unexplained carriage or relapse of infection in humans should be recognized.” All that being said, I’m not 100% sure of how you should handle this situation, but I would encourage you to discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of culturing Saylor’s nares (inside of his nose) and his perineum (area near his anus) to see if he may be carrying this bacteria. If he is, he could be a source of infection not only to other folks in your family, but a source of re-infection to your elderly, immune-compromised neighbor. I would also advise discussing this with your neighbor’s caretakers (doctors, home health nurses, etc) as there are so many studies showing the mental and physical benefits of therapy animals, and abruptly ending his visits with the much-loved Saylor could be devastating to your already fragile friend. As you said, a “sticky situation,” indeed, but one that you should involve your veterinarian and your neighbors’ caretakers in before any decisions are made.


Dear Kelly,

Dear Dr. Katy:


{ seeking a forever home }

Seeking A

Forever Home


Defined by the rescue­—Washington Area Animal Adoption Group (WAAAG) as AMAZING! They just can’t seem to understand why Bartie is still awaiting his forever home. At nine years young, this boy is the life of the party and makes everyone’s business his own! What else should you do with a Jimmy Durante nose but to put it to good use. He can find a mouse in the house, a varmint in the yard or a cookie in any pocket. If you’ve got a project, Bartie would happily love to help or maybe just lie nearby and squeak his tennis ball. He gets the ultimate participation award for any activity and he’s the first one in the pool in the summer. Every car ride is a new adventure for Bartie and he is the perfect ride-a-long companion! Everyday will bring giggles or a smile with Bartie around. Those deep brown eyes will draw you in and that nose is perfect for planting a kiss on. But this little 20-pound bundle of energy can settle down and be a great napping partner. Who could ask for a more perfect life companion?


Jack Russell Terrier



Approximate Weight:

20 lbs.

Approximate Age:

9 Years of Age

Activeness:  Very Active

Photo by: Chris Weber, Chris Weber Studios

Good w/Other Dogs:

Yes, with small dogs and an introduction

Good w/Children:

Older, considerate children



Medical Issues:


Feeding Issues:


Special Needs:


Vaccinations: Up-to-date Microchipped:  Yes Fun Facts: Please see above introduction

Washington Area Animal Adoption Group (WAAAG): Washington Area Animal Adoption Group (WAAAG) is a veteran founded, all-volunteer animal rescue nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Delaplane, VA. WAAAG is dedicated to improving the lives of our furry friends. The WAAAG concept of offering a healing “timeout” for often abused, neglected and abandoned shelter animals is unique and well thought out. Dedicated to improving the lives of our furry friends, WAAAG takes in dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters and those that somehow find their way to WAAAG. In addition to vet care, animals receive lots of unconditional love, rest & relaxation to help them recover from whatever they may have been through. Most of the WAAAG dogs stay in climate-controlled cabins where they have their own rooms and access to their own covered porch, kennel run and play yard. Peace and tranquility help the dogs heal emotionally and prepare them for their forever home. In addition, WAAAG also offers a foster program for dogs and cats. WAAAG is located next to the John Marshall home on the Oak Hill estate next to Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane, VA. WAAAG dogs enjoy peaceful walks down scenic walkways, through grassy fields and along meandering creeks next to large, stately trees. To learn more about WAAAG and their mission, visit their website at:


The Virginia-Maryland-Washington DC Dog

your pet

is our priority At Veterinary Surgical Centers, we are committed to providing world-class surgery, physical rehabilitation, and pain management for pets and families facing injury, illness, and more. We work to ease the stress and fears of surgery and treatment by putting you and your furry family member at the center of all we do. Our board-certified surgeons and certified rehabilitation practitioners specialize in: • Orthopedic surgery

• Plastic & reconstructive surgery

• Soft tissue procedures

• Physical rehabilitation & pain management

• Minimally invasive surgery

• Conditioning & weight loss

Let’s work together to restore your pet’s health and quality of life. Contact us today for more information or to request an appointment.

Vienna (703) 242-6000 / Leesburg (703) 771-2100 / Winchester (540) 450-0177 /

The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Spring 2017  
The Virginia Maryland Washington DC Dog Spring 2017