November, 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 A-DOG!

A-DOG logos designed by Lisa Berasi for Arlington Dog Owners Group, all rights reserved
Songs for a Cause
Singer-Songwriter Showcase Benefits NEADS Service Dogs


The concert at St. John's on October 25 benefited NEADS, which trains dogs for the deaf and disabled and kids with special needs. Two NEADS Weekend Puppy Raisers brought dogs to the concert for a presentation and Q&A beforehand and at intermission. It was a great chance to see these canine heroes and find out more about the difference they make in peoples' lives.


Lori Diamond and Charlotte Pierce of St. John's Coffeehouse produced the concert; Lori's daughter is in line to get a dog to assist her with daily routines; Lori and her partner Fred Abatelli play again at St. John's on March 14, 2015.


The following performers donated their time to the cause:


Chris & Meredith Thompson - Powerful performers using flute, guitar, percussion and vocal harmony to celebrate common experience through song!


Stuart Ferguson  - Ellis Paul says: "Stuart Ferguson writes songs that capture your imagination, and sings them in a voice that is addictive to the ears."


Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli - A gentle but passionate exploration of Folk, Soul, Blues, Jazz and Pop with a spiritual sensibility.


Chris Nauman Drawing inspiration from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger, among many others, Nauman channels his mid Western sensibilities into a spirited blend of folk rock.


Michael Gray of American Beauties Masterfully blending thoughtful singer/songwriter composition with an Americana-styled sensibility.



This article and photographs contributed by Charlotte Pierce.  




For further information about NEADS and how you can help, click here.  And, please read the wonderful story by Ellen, an A-DOG member, about how much her service dog Ricky means to her.  For future updates on St. John's Coffeehouse concerts, check the St. John's website or the Coffeehouse Facebook Page.  The next one, Nov 8, features Stefilia's Little Stones, whose music is kid-friendly.

Should Arlington Adopt the Community Preservation Act?
Two A-DOG Members' Views on Question 5: Vote on Nov 4!



Last spring, Arlington Town Meeting voted to put the Community Preservation Act (CPA) before the voters.  On Election Day, you will be able to vote on whether Arlington should adopt this program.  Other Massachusetts communities have used the CPA to help fund certain recreational and other resources (Randolph's CPA-funded dog park is shown above).  We have invited two A-DOG members to contribute letters representing their opinions for and against, respectively, this proposal.  The letters represent the views of their authors, not an official position by A-DOG.  (We conducted a drawing to determine the order of printing.)  We urge our readers to consider both views, following up with the authors if you have questions, to help you make an informed decision on Question 5.  




For a Yes Vote on Question 5:


by Pam Hallett




As many A-DOG members know, Arlington will have its own ballot question in the election next Tuesday, Nov. 4 - Question 5, Adoption of the Community Preservation Act (CPA).  For information on CPA Question 5, see this link


Many Arlington elected officials, town boards and organizations, and individuals support Question 5.  These include Sen. Ken Donnelly and Reps. Dave Rogers and Sean Garballey, 3 Selectmen, 6 out of 7 School Committee members, the Redevelopment Board, Robbins Library Board of Trustees and 10 other town boards, and the Arlington League of Women Voters and 10 other town organizations, all listed at this link


Already adopted by 155 cities and towns in the state, CPA is a program that allows communities to establish a dedicated fund for outdoor recreational facilities, historic preservation, and affordable housing.  If approved, the average household would see a new CPA surcharge line item on their yearly tax bill in the amount of approximately $86. Low-income households and low- and moderate-income households owned and occupied by individuals aged 60 or more are completely exempt from the surcharge.  We can calculate our surcharge at this link.  


The state will partially match the local funds raised - last year it was 52%.  The state match comes from recording fees at the registry of deeds.  Arlington has contributed those recording fees since the law started in 2001, but has never gotten any of that back.  If Arlington had had CPA last year, it would have gotten about $500,000 from the state.    

CPA could fund new dog parks and improve many of our existing parks.  CPA-supported dog parks are in process in Agawam (adopted CPA in 2001) and already established in Randolph (adopted CPA in 2005).  For a list of CPA towns, see this link


For a list of CPA projects around the state, see this link.  


Those who urge a No vote say CPA will jeopardize our big projects coming in the near future.  That is just not going to happen.  The small CPA surcharge is not going to sway votes either way, especially when voters have seen what CPA has done in town that the town could not afford before - with state money that we never got before.  In fact, CPA can fund projects already in the town's long-term capital plan, meaning that the town can use more of its regular budget for core services.


I believe it is time for Arlington to join our neighbors who have CPA - Belmont, Lexington, Cambridge, Somerville and Waltham - who benefit from state matching funds for great quality of life projects, money that Arlington has never seen.  Let's vote YES on 5 and claim our fair share of state funds and get more projects built to make our community even more vibrant and livable.


I hope that A-DOG members will vote YES on Question 5, adoption of the Community Preservation Act.




For a No Vote on Question 5


by Michael Ruderman

I'm opposed to the Community Preservation Act (CPA) for several reasons.



The idea of the CPA was born in the 1990s, when a white-hot real estate market looked like it was going to devour every last piece of open land, demolish historic homes for mega-mansions, and drive up the cost of housing beyond what longtime residents could pay. 


These aren't Arlington's problems. We have parks and play spaces throughout the town and we maintain them. More than 1200 historic structures, public and private, are protected by demolition-delay bylaws. We make our historic public buildings last. We're modernizing an 88-year-old Central Fire Station.


I wish we could do more; everyone does. Another dog park in the Heights or the western end of town would be nice. But in a budget, everything, even the assistance we already extend to low-income residents for their housing costs, competes with everything else. And if the Mugar swamp land in East Arlington were for sale (which it isn't), would that be the best use of our tax dollars?


In the last ten years, local taxes have gone up an average of 4.9% every year; compounded, that's 61% in ten years. Water and sewer charges have doubled in the same period. 


And, we have no plan on the budget table yet for how we can afford the most expensive challenges in a generation: a new Arlington High School, our share of a new Minuteman High School, and a town-wide budget deficit that hits $14,000,000 by the year 2020.


Proponents say maybe we can use some of the new CPA taxes for some of what we're already spending, and put the savings away for general town purposes. This makes the CPA a back-door tax override without the usual scrutiny of town finances, top to bottom, that an override campaign usually triggers. For a small state match (somewhere down around 20%), it's just not worth accelerating our tax growth.


If we vote for the CPA on November 4, we will, in one day, be committing to increase our taxes by $8,000,000 over the next five years, to be spent on projects no one has definitively qualified, by a committee that hasn't yet been named or identified, that will operate on their own whims outside of the budget process for everything else we do in Arlington.


Within our town government, the Finance Committee opposes the CPA, and so does our Treasurer, and our chairman of the Capital Planning Committee, and our chairman of the School Committee. Like them, I'm voting NO on ballot question 5 and I urge you to vote NO.





The authors' contact information:  Michael Ruderman (, 781-929-7841) and Pam Hallett (


Another Reminder!  Pet First Aid and CPR Basics Workshop
A-DOG workshop taught by veterinary emergency expert Amy Breton

We're repeating this notice, first published last month, to make sure that everybody is aware of this wonderful, free opportunity to learn First Aid for your pets.  Hope to see you there!



Pet First Aid and CPR Basics Workshop

Cost: Free.  Optional donations to dog-related charities will be accepted.

Taught by Amy Breton, CVT, VTS (ECC) of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners

1:00 to 4:00 pm

Saturday November 15

Community Room, Arlington Police Department, 112 Mystic Street, Arlington, MA


Preventative care through your primary veterinarian is the best tool for identifying potential ailments, but accidents and acute illness can pop up at any time! This fully interactive session is designed to teach you--the pet  owner--the basics behind the most common pet emergencies.  Awareness of hazards and recognition of distress signals in your  pet can be critical in stabilizing an emergency.


In this workshop, you will learn the following:


*Find a pulse and count a heartbeat

*Check the gums and identify signs of emergency

*Perform hands-on CPR

*Bandage a wound

*Respond to choking

*Set up a first aid kit


The instructor will be demonstrating techniques on her own pet dog.  Please leave your pet dog at home.


About the instructor:



Amy Breton, CVT, VTS (ECC) is a veterinary technician who is board-certified in emergency critical care.  She has been teaching classes throughout the state for 8 years and at one time was an instructor for MEMA who went around to local fire departments and police stations to teach them how to handle pet emergencies.  She has also taught classes at Logan International airport for their first responders in case there was a pet emergency there.  



Event is being organized by A-DOG board member Mary McCartney.  Our thanks to Amanda Kennedy, Arlington Animal Control Officer, for helping with arrangements particularly the APD Community Room venue.


A-DOG Annual Meeting for 2014
A-DOG continues to work for responsible dog owners!

A-DOG Board Members Anita (l) and Joan (r) at our last Wine Tasting event.

Each year, during the fourth quarter, A-DOG holds an Annual Meeting.  Every two years the A-DOG Board elects a new Board and slate of Officers.  All A-DOG members are welcome at these meetings and we encourage any member with an interest in playing a leadership role in A-DOG to become nominated for the new Board.  Our 2014 Annual Meeting, our seventh, was held on October 28

The Board of Directors voted in at that meeting included the following continuing members: Joan Black, Susan Doctrow, Ellen Duranceau, Andrew Fischer, Deborah Goldsmith, Amy Goldstein, Mary McCartney, Ann Smith, Roslyn Smith, and Judy Weinberg.  In addition, we are thrilled to welcome two newly-elected Board members, Anita Pliner and David White.  The following Officers were also elected or re-elected:  President (Sue Doctrow), Vice Presidents (Joan Black and Ann Smith), Clerk (Judy Weinberg) and Treasurer (Anita Pliner). 

A-DOG leadership recognizes with gratitude the outgoing 2012-2014 Board members, each of whom has served A-DOG for two or more years: Wes Beal, Molly Flueckiger, Hank Haddad, Christine Hagg, Meghan Henning, Susan Ruderman, and Robin Varghese. These are only examples of their contributions to A-DOG:  Wes, a Town Meeting Member, initiated A-DOG work with the town to modernize the leash laws to conform to new state standards. Molly, also a Town Meeting Member, has led important advocacy activities, especially for users of the Thorndike OLRA.  Hank, with his wife Lynda Gutowski, initiated and produced our original A-DOG Newsletter, paving the way for Wags and Tags.  Christine designed our very popular Town Day children's game "Guess the Dog Breed" and also made a beautiful map of the off-leash recreation areas for display at Town Day and on our website.   Meghan, as a former Town Meeting member who recently moved to another state for an exciting new job, stepped up to lead Town Meeting efforts for off-leash evening hours and was a strong advocate for off-leash morning hours, especially at McClennen Park. Susan has been with A-DOG since the beginning, as a catalyst for our 2008 founding, bringing the initial Board of Directors together.  Robin served as our Treasurer for several years, and has helped lead advocacy efforts for off-leash morning hours, especially at Robbins Farm Park. Thank-you to all of you for making A-DOG the organization for education, advocacy, and fun that it is today!

At the Annual Meeting, we reflected on successful events and initiatives since our Oct, 2013 Annual Meeting, including:

(1) Launch of this Wags and Tags Newsletter; (2) Advocacy to ensure continued success of Arlington's off-leash morning recreation and the Thorndike Off-Leash Recreational Area (OLRA), as well as to promote continued availability of town meeting space to volunteer community groups; (3) A-DOG's enthusiastic participation in the Patriot's Day Parade and Town Day, our two annual traditions; (4) Therapy Dog Panel by Dog B.O.N.E.S. volunteers, which inspired several A-DOG members to. with their dogs, become new therapy dog teams; (5) A second "Dog Park Etiquette" workshop; (6) Arlington Dog Licensing Contest to help our Animal Control Officer promote license renewals;  (7) (upcoming) Canine First Aid/CPR workshop; (8) Another successful annual membership drive, leading to an uptick in members and membership dues, thanks to our new 2-year membership option....and more!  

We also reflected on potential future plans, including how to better formalize volunteer involvement to encourage potential A-DOG volunteers to get involved in helping to make our community events even more successful and fun.  Ideas for more events and intiatives are always welcome, especially by volunteers who would like to "run with it"!

The Annual Meeting is our last formal meeting of 2014 (not counting events such as the First Aid workshop).  In 2015, there will be four scheduled membership meetings, in January, March, May and October (Annual Meeting, 2015).  In addition, we will schedule a smaller meeting in August for those who wish to work on Town Day.  Details will be published in Wags and Tags but save the dates (fourth Tuesday evening of the month, 7:30 p.m.).

PAWS to Mark Your Calendar!
Save the date for coming events



THOUGH MAY IS OUR OFFICIAL MEMBERSHIP MONTH, we still need you, if you haven't already, to join the A-DOG Pack. "NEW" OR "RENEW" IT IS EASY TO DO.  Sign up today here.


Tuesday, Nov. 4  ELECTION DAY!  A-DOG does not endorse candidates for election, but we do advocate on issues and promote voter awareness.  We urge our members to get out and VOTE on Tuesday!  Town of Arlington election information is here.  There is one Arlington-specific ballot question, on the Community Preservation Act, and letters from residents expressing both sides of the issue are offered above.


Saturday, Nov 8 (Registration beginning at 7:30 am; conference ends at 5 pm).  Massachusetts Trails Conference.  Information, including registration, at this link.  From Michele Biscoe, who represents trail users with dogs on the Massachusetts Trails Advisory Board, the organizer of this conference: "This year Vera Wilkinson (The Cooperative Dog) and Richard Windish (Green Mountain Club) are among the presenters. (Richard Windish has a series of videos about hiking with dogs. " 


Saturday, Nov 8 (4:30 to 7 pm). CAPA-MA Coalition's Statewide Meet and Greet.  Fundraising event for a "No Kill" Massachusetts Law.  Margarita's Mexican Restaurant, 725 Cochituate Rd, Framingham, MA.  $29 per ticket, purchased here.  

Saturday, Nov. 15 (1-4 pm) Canine First-Aid/CPR class sponsored by A-DOG, taught by Amy Breton, CVT, VTS (ECC) of Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners.  Free admission!  At the Arlington Community Safety Building (Arlington police station, Mystic Ave) Community Room.  See further details in the article above.   





Photo shows A-DOG members enjoying our Wine and Whine Tasting event sponsored by our Friend of A-DOG Menotomy Beer, Wine and Spirits in Arlington.  We hope to see you at the next one!

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 ( with "Newsletter" in the subject line.   
Maybe you'd like your dog to be one of our "
Arlington dogs, or A-dogs", like Molly (June), Remy (July), and Tammy (this month). 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 special Rainbow Bridge memorial tribute to a beloved canine family member you've lost, like the moving tributes to Isabel in March, Raleigh in May, and Strummer (last month).  
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 Bette Yip's Picture Perfect Pets (November), BlueSkyDogs (January), GoPlay! (February), or Your Wonderful Dog (June).
Suggested article length for the newsletter is 500 words or fewer but this is only a guideline.  We will also need at least 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".



Our next  A-DOG meetings
A-DOG's monthly meetings are scheduled for the 4th Tuesday evenings of the month. Our Oct meeting was our Annual Meeting, the last for 2014.  A-DOG meetings will resume in January, 2015 and will be announced in the December Wags and Tags.  But, we anticipate that the first meeting will be January 27 at 7:30 pm, with other meetings on the fourth Tuesday of March, May, August (small meeting focused on Town Day) and October.  Contact us (email below) to learn more!

Our activities and special events will continue all year -- Wags and Tags, our website, and our Facebook pages will give you updates!


A-DOG 2014 Membership Drive Is Still On!
A-DOG's membership year runs from April 1 through March 31, so some full memberships are up for renewal.  If your membership has expired, you should have received a reminder letter and there is 2014 Membership Drive information on our website.  As an A-DOG Full Member, you are entitled to discounts and benefits from our Friends of A-DOG businesses.  And, your dues and donations to A-DOG are tax deductible, to the full extent allowed by law.  
A-DOG members, Business Friends of A-DOG and other subscribers receive Wags and Tags each month.  If this issue was forwarded to you and you'd like to subscribe to Wags and Tags without joining A-DOG, click here or click the green sign-up button on the front page of our website.  

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Arlington, MA 02474