January 2014
Wags and Tags
Celebrating the canine-human bond!

          This newsletter is brought to you by Arlington Dog Owners Group (A-DOG), a 501(c)(3) community organization promoting the rights and interests of responsible dog owners in Arlington, MA.  

If you're not already a member, we hope you'll want to join us!

A-DOG logos designed by Lisa Berasi for Arlington Dog Owners Group, all rights reserved
Meet an Arlington dog or "A-dog"!

Sasuke: bringing love to his family and training to become a therapy dog



Sasuke is a 5-1/2 year old shepherd mix, who joined our family in 2008 when he was 4 months old. He was not at all the dog we expected. When we picked him out from the lineup on petfinder, he was a she. Also, "she" was described as a shepherd/golden mix, so we assumed that our adult dog would weigh in at 50-70 lbs.


My daughter, Holly, and I met him in an empty parking lot in So. New Hampshire, along with a bunch of other happy new dog owners. Holly wanted to name our puppy Sakura (Japanese for cherry blossom). But when we looked at the paperwork, we saw the words "neutered male" clearly printed. Since cherry blossom wouldn't do for a boy, Holly came up with Sasuke (an anime warrior character) instead.


Our "large" dog topped out at 32 lbs. as an adult. He is playful and friendly, with both dogs and humans. We often walk him around the Arlington rez, where we meet up with other dog pals and their people. In February, we're enrolling him in therapy dog training by Dog B.O.N.E.S. at Pawwtopia. Hopefully by March he'll be certified and spreading joy to more people all around.



(Photo -- left to right: Holly, Bruce, Sue (author), and Sasuke in the middle)



Tis the Season to Renew Dog Licenses!
For many good reasons, including our A-DOG 2014 Dog Licensing Contest....

There are many good reasons for us to license our dogs in Arlington, as discussed in a previous Wags and Tags article, written by Arlington's Animal Control Officer, Amanda Kennedy, and reprinted on our website.  


For example, the more ID that he has, the better the chance that a lost dog will be returned quickly to his owner.


A very important reason, also noted in Amanda's article, is that Town resources for programs that benefit dog owners are best justified if the number of dogs living in Arlington can be accurately estimated.  This is impossible if there is not a high level of compliance with the dog licensing requirements.


For reasons such as these, A-DOG encourages its members to license their dogs.  The license is obtained through the Town Clerk's office.  


We will be announcing details of a gift drawing to encourage 2014 dog license registration.  To be eligible for the baseline gift drawing, all you need to do is register your dog anytime by the deadline specified in the announcement.  We will draw a tag number from all the 2014 tags that were registered with the Town by the deadline.  (If you've already licensed your dog for 2014, you're already entered!). You do not need to be an A-DOG member to win, but, if your tag # is drawn, you will get an even more valuable gift if you are also signed up as a current A-DOG full member.  Details of the contest will be described in our February Wags and Tags as well as on our website and Facebook page.


Read more about the importance of dog licensing in Arlington in a recent Arlington Advocate article.  The article includes comments by Amanda Kennedy and A-DOG's President, Sue Doctrow, and Vice President of Development, Susan Ruderman.  Be sure to respond to the Advocate's survey accompanying the article!


The illustration for this article was custom drawn by artist Shunsuke Yamaguchi.  Mr. Yamaguchi's fee was generously donated to A-DOG by Joan Black and her family.  


NEADS Fall 2013 Graduation
A-DOG Members Inspired by NEADS Mission to Provide Independence to the Disabled through Canine Assistance


by Laura and Amelia Gerson


It was a cold and gray November morning when we headed out to Leominster to volunteer at the semi-annual NEADS graduation day.  Here, the latest group of deaf or disabled adults and children, accompanied by their newly acquired assistance dogs, would officially graduate from training together and begin their lives together. Our job was to work at the NEADS "store," where we sold shirts, fleeces, jackets and numerous other items to benefit the non-profit organization.


NEADS, which stands for National Education for Assistance Dog Services, was established in 1976. Its mission is "to provide independence to people who are deaf or who have a disability through the use of canine assistance." (more information here) Sustained entirely through private funding and donations, NEADS provides assistance dogs to a wide variety of disabled adults and children, including those who are hard of hearing or deaf, wheelchair bound, combat vets, children on the autism spectrum or physically disabled, and many others. All assistance dogs receive extensive training through a variety of sources. Nearly all the puppies preparing to become assistance dogs are raised and trained for their first year in an innovative program run in conjunction with area minimum security prisons. Selected Inmates are matched with a puppy who lives with them in their cell while they train them in basic obedience and beginning assistance skills. In response to the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, NEADS established the Pawsitively Strong fund, providing free assistance dogs to bombing victims. Their first beneficiary was Jessica Kensky, who along with her husband, each lost a leg in the bombing. She was matched with Rescue earlier in the fall. Their story was featured in the Boston Globe on November 2, 2013.


Inside Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (or Monty Tech, as it is affectionately called), the chilly weather did not interfere with the festive atmosphere. The graduates and their dogs, with many family members, friends and supporters in tow, walked or wheeled through the hallways lined with various vendors, food, posters and exhibits before taking their seats on stage in the auditorium. Many dogs greeted each other with curiosity and enthusiasm - for some it was a reunion, having spent some of their training time together. Their handlers also got to see some of their fellow trainees, and the air was full of conversation, both human and canine.


Before each graduate was called up to be introduced to the audience and say a few words about their budding relationship with their dog, we were treated to a few reflections by Sharron Kahn Luttrell, author of the memoir "Weekends With Daisy" and a volunteer with NEADS for many years. In fact, she fostered Rescue on weekends for over a year before he was matched with Jessica Kensky.


It was truly moving to hear from the new graduates as they described their daily challenges, both physical and emotional, and the newfound joy in their canine companions as well as the pleasure in achieving goals they had only imagined before their dogs joined them. We hope to volunteer at many more graduations to come! For more information about NEADS, or to find out how you can volunteer, check the NEADS website.




The authors, Laura and Amelia Gerson, are A-DOG members/volunteers as well as NEADS volunteers.  NEADS is one of the worthy organizations profiled in A-DOG's recent guide for holiday and year-round giving.  A-DOG's screening and panel discussion, several years ago, of film Prison Pups, by Arlington filmmaker Alice Bouvrie, also focused on the work of NEADS.  





What Is Your Dog's New Year Resolution?

It's fun to share our 2014 goals with our doggies



Send your dog's New Year Resolution to us at arlingtondogowners@gmail.com.  We will publish it on our website and resolutions might be selected for publication in our February Newsletter.  Here is an example from one A-dog:


BELLA: 7 year old husky mix -- I RESOLVE to exercise more during off leash hours or at the Thorndike Dog Park in 2014.  Lately  I have been doggedly  focused on consuming books.  At home  I have earned the nickname of "The Reader" . When bored and without sufficient exercise, I tend to  create my own sense of  FUN. Over the last month I've devoured 4 books leaving very few pages for anyone else to enjoy. My latest "read" was "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man".  I think I need to get out more and leave the "reading" to others. (Bella shares her residence and taste in literature with Joan and Dana Black.) 


So, now, send us your dog's 2014 New Year Resolution.....where there's a tail, there's surely a tale!   



Second "Dog Park Etiquette" Workshop Coming Up!
Informative dog behavior event scheduled for February 5

Many of you attended our first Dog Park Etiquette workshop, held in October at the Robbins Library.  As promised, these free workshops will continue.  The next Dog Park Etiquette workshop will be held on February 5, at the Robbins Library Community Room, from 6:45 until 8:45 pm.  An excellent program is being planned by trainer Alana Meserve of ZenDog and Arlington's Animal Control Officer, Amanda Kennedy, who have supplied some introductory information:

A dog park can be either a valuable resource for the urban dog owner or a serious nuisance.  It boils down to etiquette.  If you understand dog park etiquette - and if other park users also understand and follow the same guidelines, dog parks are awesome. When etiquette is neglected, everyone suffers...  especially the dogs!  It is important to understand whether or not a dog park is a good option for your dog, or whether, instead, he needs a more controlled socialization environment.  It is also crucial to identify body language, which is the main way dogs communicate with you and one another.  For example, if your dog is tired or stressed, it is time to take him away from the dog park for a break.  Even happy dog park play can get out of hand.  The Dog Park Etiquette workshops are designed to teach us, as dog owners, to identify these physical cues and try to avoid unpleasant dog park experiences.  


An article on our website gives more details about topics to be covered.  


Whether or not you attended the first Dog Park Etiquette workshop, you will learn a lot at this one.  So, please join us!  



Friends of A-DOG
Thank-you to our supporting businesses, including....


Jen Burns, the owner and "Senior Canine Walkologist" for local business Blue Sky Dogs, says: "Blue Sky Dogs is all about providing specialized dog walking and pet sitting services for your dog.  We are proud to be located in Arlington and support A-DOG and the local community (canine and human).  We've recently launched a video series with Dr. Catherine Cole of the Arlington Animal Clinic covering topics from choosing a pet food to what to expect after your pup is spayed or neutered. As we expand the series, we want to answer more questions from dog owners like you.  We also plan to cover other local businesses and organizations that enrich and make living in Arlington so dog friendly.  Send in questions or suggestions to  info@BlueSkyDogsMA.com."


A Minute with the Vet: Spay and Neutering
A Minute with the Vet: Spay and Neutering
Blue Sky Dogs regularly donates gift certificates for the lucky winners of drawings held at our special events.  In addition, Blue Sky Dogs is a generous donor to our Friends of Thorndike OLRA fund, supporting our local fenced dog park. 
A-DOG is very grateful to Blue Sky Dogs and our other  Friends of A-DOG businesses for the valuable support that helps us help to keep Arlington dog-friendly! 


Help Wanted: Your Dog's Face Here?
Wags and Tags Welcomes Your Contributions!

A-DOG Members and supporters, Wags and Tags is YOUR monthly newsletter!  If you have suggestions for an article, including one you'd like to write, for a future issue, please contact us (arlingtondogowners@gmail.com) with "Newsletter" in the subject line.   
Maybe you'd like your dog to be one of our "
Arlington dogs, or A-dogs", like our November dog, Shinoo or our December dog, Blarney.  You don't have to live in Arlington, but can be a neighbor who enjoys Arlington's dog recreation benefits, or otherwise supports our mission.  You can also suggest a memorial tribute to a beloved canine family member you've lost.  
Or, maybe you're a Friend of A-DOG Business and want to describe how you help A-DOG and what you offer to our community of dog owners and dog-friendly people.  Your business, too, can be featured like our November Friend, Bette Yip's Picture Perfect Pets, our December Friend, Menotomy Beer, Wine and Spirits, or our January Friend, Blue Sky Dogs.  
Suggested article length for the newsletter is 500 words or fewer.  We will also need one photo, preferably a jpg or gif format, compressed to a size of less than 1 MB.  Depending on the topic, you might want to write a longer version for our website, with a link in the Wags and Tags article.
The Irish Setter on the computer photo is reprinted from a website called "iget2work".



Join us at our next  A-DOG Meeting!
January 28, 2014, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at RE/MAX Leading Edge, 319 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA.
AGENDA:  GOALS for 2014 
Please note the new location.  A new rental policy by the Town has made use of the Senior Center and Jefferson Cutter House, our previous meeting spots, no longer affordable. For us, it could cost over $1000 a year for our typical monthly meetings!  We are, therefore, seeking new space.  RE/MAX Leading Edge, thanks to agent Judy Weinberg, is generously donating meeting space for the January meeting.  The next meetings (February 25 and March 25) are scheduled for the Fox Library Community Room.  If your business or other organization is willing to donate space in Arlington for A-DOG's meetings, or to make space available at a modest nonprofit rate, please contact us at arlingtondogowners@gmail.com to discuss it further.  

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Arlington, MA 02474