December 2015
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!

Wags and Tags editorial team: Joan Black, Jen Burns, Sue Doctrow, Ellen Leigh, Judy Weinberg; 
A-DOG logos designed by Lisa Berasi for Arlington Dog Owners Group, all rights reserved

In this issue: 
On some computers, you might have to click twice to reach the article. We've found, too that this links do not work on all devices.
Fostering Really Does Save Lives
Last Hope Rescue stories...

Available for adoption NOW - info below!

by Christian Scannell 

FosterRebaBeing a foster parent to a homeless dog is one of the most rewarding things that a dog lover can do. There is a great saying by Pablo Casals that can also be applied to a dog's perspective: " To the whole world you might be just one person, but to one person you might just be the whole world.
 Fostering begins the day we decide to save a dog from a shelter and introduce him into our home. While we would like to envision a homecoming full of cuddles and kisses, for many foster dogs this is the beginning of a journey full of emotional and physical healing, of learning to trust and learning to become a trustworthy companion. The main goal of a foster home is to provide a safe and loving environment with food, human and canine socialization, and adequate exercise. One of the biggest rewards we have as foster parents is watching a scared, confused dog blossom into a confident, trusting family member. Foster homes provide these dogs with an opportunity to learn how to live in a home environment, to understand that the next meal will come every day, and that warmth and love are unconditional and frequent. Many dogs need assistance with the basics such as housetraining, crate training, human interactions, as well as appropriately greeting and respecting their fellow dogs. 
The most common feedback that we receive as fosters is "I do not know how you do it, I could never let them go." While letting go is no easy task, and is certainly accompanied by many tears, we face this day with the bravest face possible knowing that our once scared foster dog now is ready to start his forever journey. What makes this possible you may ask? The reality is that it is possible because we recognize the journey that we set out on, that this one dog's life was saved because of us and with our help, he can one day have a life and a family of his own. Being able to love these dogs enough to let them go is one of the most selfless and greatest gifts that we can give them. We may send a piece of our heart off with each foster, we may feel that our hearts are breaking as they walk away, but it is then that we remember the next set of scared eyes peeking out behind the shelter bars, yearning to be in a warm and loving home. So, we find a way to glue our broken heart back together and we bring home another foster dog, keeping the promise through which this journey began. 
 Fosters are the key to the success of animal rescue. By opening your hearts and your homes, countless lives can be saved and given a much deserved second chance at the good life. It is easy to believe that someone else will step up, or that we do not have enough time or space to take on another responsibility, but we each need to be that someone. The love that you will receive in return far surpasses any other return on investment that you will encounter. 
To apply to foster or find out more about other volunteer opportunities you can find us online, on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram (@lasthopek9).  

by Janice Zazinski
Recently, I participated in a volunteer orientation for Last Hope K9 Rescue (LHK9), a foster-based rescue program in Massachusetts. The orientation was held at the Robbins Library in Arlington on November 8, 2015. Since its founding in 2012, this 100% volunteer-run organization has found homes for more than 2,500 dogs. The meeting was run by longtime volunteer Kathi, and I learned a great deal about the work this group -- funded solely by donations -- does for dogs for whom this could be their "last hope." 
Last Hope K9 rescues primarily from Arkansas, working with an organization in that area. While some organizations can't or don't rescue dogs with health issues or certain breeds that may be hard to place, LHK9 takes them all. Without a physical shelter, LHK9 relies on foster homes for their dogs ...the more fosters, the more dogs they can bring up from the South and get adopted. All they ask of foster families is that they provide the dog food and love ... most other needs are taken care of by Last Hope (they even have a volunteer with a stash of dog crates, toys, and other supplies). Worried about the level of commitment with fostering? (I was.) Turns out the average length of a foster placement is three weeks. 
Like other volunteer organizations, there is always a need for more people to help. Kathi noted that you can volunteer as little or as much as you like! Besides being a foster family for a dog, other volunteer options are: 
* A variety of roles working at their weekly small events and monthly large events -- who wouldn't want to hang out in the "puppy pen?" 
* Transporting dogs * Fundraising big and small (perhaps organize a LHK9 yard sale or have the kids run a LHK9 lemonade stand) 
* Working with their Youth Volunteers 
* Social media assistance 
* Advocacy -- lobbying and petitioning for pro-rescue laws 
* Processing applications 
* Doing home visits to assess potential adopters 
* Checking references 
* And there is always a need for people with graphic design skills, photographers, lawyers (to advise on advocacy), database management, accountants ... let them know what skills you have and chances are they can use them. 
LHK9 is online and has a very active Facebook page where you can find out about upcoming volunteer orientations, see dogs for adoption and get a sense of the work they do. I'm looking forward to fostering in the not-too-distant future, and of course will share our experience with you in Wags 'n Tags.

Christian Scannell is a foster parent and coordinator for Last Hope. Janice Zazinski is a member of the A-DOG board and a Certified Small Animal Massage Therapist. Her business, Beloved Companion Animal Massage & Bodywork, serves Arlington & environs.

AND, as of this printing, lovely Reba is available for adoption. Here is her bio:
Info: female mountain curr/pitbull mix, age 2 yrs, weight 80 lbs. Located in MA. Good with dogs (medium or larger), not cats, good with kids, crate trained and housebroken. 

"Hi, my name is Reba! I am a 2 year-old Mountain Curr/Pitbull mix from Arkansas. I have been with my foster family for almost 1 year. My foster parents always tell me that I am perfect and they cannot believe I have not been adopted yet! As much as I love my foster home, I am ready for a furever family to call my own. I am an active girl and am the perfect dog to accompany you wherever you would like to go! I even stayed at a hotel over the holidays and I was told I was perfectly behaved! I said hi to everyone I saw- as I normally do- and waited for them to pet me! I love walks, hikes, running around with toys, and playing with my doggy friends. I've been told that I do not know how big I am, so if my furever home will be shared with other dogs, they have to be medium-sized or larger. I LOVE cuddling almost as much as I love adventures. Lying close to my humans is my favorite thing to do in the house because I am a big lap dog. Not to brag, but I have excellent house manners and know when it is time to play and when it is time to relax. I am housebroken, crate trained, and know my basic obedience (i.e., sit, stay, down, place, & I'm working on heel). To apply please go to the Last Hope website and and fill out an application!"

Happy Tails on the Whipple Hill Trails
Happy Tails Trails with Daisy!

by Janice Zazinski

WhippleHillWhipple Hill is a conservation area located in the southeastern corner of Lexington with about 4 miles of trails. Whipple Hill is also the highest point in Lexington. Trails wind through northern hardwoods and white pines and ledge outcrops and take you along Whipple Brook and Locke Pond. 

One of the great things about doing massage at Arlington Town Day is hearing how people spend time with their dogs. In September I found out about Whipple Hill, where dogs can be off-leash at all times if under voice control and within sight. 

Our rescue pup, Daisy, is too anxious to enjoy the Thorndike dog park, so finding an off-leash, secluded place to take her is like finding gold. Daisy and I head to Whipple Hill most weekends, and have seen other people and dogs only a handful of times. I've come to feel it's our own wooded oasis. 

There are various entrance points to Whipple Hill and Winchester Drive has a small parking lot. Posted here are the Town's bylaws regarding off-leash recreation, as well as a warning about ticks -- I found a couple on Daisy afterwards. Some of the other entrances abut "private ways," so park a block or two away. 

Whipple Hill is a peaceful place ... nothing but trees, rocks, and solitude, though occasionally you can hear traffic nearby to remind you that you're not quite in the backcountry. The trails tend to be narrow, rocky, not well marked, and some are very steep -- I've had to scramble up and down boulders which are in the middle of some paths (see the photos for what the trails look like). Sturdy walking shoes or light hikers are a must to deal with the uneven terrain. 

Lexington has posted a somewhat useful map on its website... "somewhat" because there are many smaller trails that are not on the map, and we've gotten turned around a few times. I highly recommend bringing a compass so you can orient yourself to your entrance point, until you're familiar with the area. 

 I've only been there in the autumn but was told that Whipple Hill is great in the winter for snowshoeing and that the pond fills up for doggie swimming in the spring, but that bug spray is a must in spring and summer. 

 Like most conservation land, Whipple Hill asks us to "pack out" trash. It's essential that your dog has a solid recall, as we've come across one or two people (and dogs) who don't like unknown dogs approaching. I had clipped on Daisy's blinkie light as an afterthought but was glad I did ... made it easy to keep an eye on her as she dashed around wondering why I couldn't keep up! 

I hope you enjoy Whipple Hill as much as we do ... if you see a foxy little dog with a blinkie in the woods, that's our Daisy, and I shouldn't be too far behind.

  Janice is a member of the A-DOG board and a Certified Small Animal Massage Therapist. Her business, Beloved Companion Animal Massage & Bodywork, serves Arlington & environs.
Ask a Dog Trainer 
How to bond with your new puppy

by Gordon Fontaine with introduction by A-DOG's Jen Burns 
ZenEver wonder how to prepare your puppy for success? We asked Gordon Fontaine of Zen Dog Training to share his thoughts on the subject:  

You want your puppy to bond with you and your family. Bonding is especially important with new puppies, shy dogs, or if you have children. 

The socialization period is the easiest time to teach your puppy to bond with you and become comfortable with your home and lifestyle. The socialization period of your puppies' development is between the 8th and 13th week. 

Bonding happens naturally, the Zen Dog trainer dedicates time (and lots' of treats) to ensure bonding happens quickly and with ALL members of the family including, children, elderly parents, friends, and extended family. 

HAND FEEDING Raising a dog to be loving and confident with people is easy. 

A young puppy is dependent on their mother for nurturing, protection, and food. When you bring your puppy home he will be confused and try to mouth, bite, and suck on fingers, hands, hair...anything he can get his little mouth on. 

By hand-feeding your puppy you help him bond with you and associate you as his new family. Teaching your dog to eat from your hands will also help reduce unwanted play biting and nipping. Imagine daily play sessions where your puppy learns to gently take food from your hands instead of trying to chew your clothes, carpet, or the couch. 

At Zen Dog Training, we recommend you take some of your puppy's daily food aside and use for training. When you proactively substitute the food bowl with eating from your fingers and hands your dog will learn to expect good things from people! 

Young children should be included but supervised, adults can even toss treats or place them at the feet of toddlers or baby carriages to create positive associations with those too young to participate. 

You should still feed your puppy from the food bowl. However, taking one meal a day and dedicating that food to training and socialization games will foster the kind of trust that is essential in having a confident "Zen Dog." 

For more information on bonding with your puppy and other Zen Dog Training games and solutions, please visit our website.
Gordon Fontaine is the owner of Zen Dog Training. Jen Burns is an A-DOG board member and the owner of BlueSky Dogs. This article was reprinted from the ZenDog website with permission. (Photo shows A-DOG member Audrey Sallese bonding with her family's new addition, 11 wk old yellow lab Gio.)
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - For Giving!  
Katie's Corner, from our Animal Control Officer

by Katie Kozikowski
Arlington Animal Control Officer

KatieGivingIt's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - For Giving! Tis the Give! Having trouble finding something for your family to do or celebrate together during the holiday season? Why not donate or volunteer at your local animal shelter!

 So many animals are surrendered to shelters this time of year because, "my visiting family is allergic", "I'm moving", "she doesn't get along with our new puppy" and so many more reasons, I can't even list them all. With the number of animal surrenders rising, more supplies and more volunteers are needed to care for them while they spend their time in shelters waiting for their forever families. Things as simple as towels, blankets, toilet paper rolls and newspaper can make such a huge difference in caring for these animals and can make such an impact on the quality of life they have during their stay. Imagine the lonely dog in the kennel getting to go for just one more walk that day or the cat in her cage giving one more head-butt before taking a snooze in her cat bed, you can be there to make difference in an animal's life and help make their life even just a little happier that day. 

As some of you may have heard, "Sweet Pea Friends of Rutland Animal Shelter" in Paxton, MA recently had a tragic fire occur where they lost everything, their building, all of their supplies, in addition to almost all of the cats and all but 5 dogs that perished in the fire. As a non-profit Animal Shelter, they rely solely on donations - they receive no form of funds from the state, the town or county, only donations from adoptions, surrenders and generous donors. So, my advice, if you are thinking of doing something good for someone else this holiday season, please considers making a donation or volunteering any amount of time to this shelter. 

Sweet Pea Animal Shelter's Wish list has included items such as: Canned cat/kitten food; Fans; Cat Toys; Wet Vac; Large Poop Scoop; Volunteer 1 hr a week; Bleach; Large kitty play gates; and more....see their website for the current list

Sweet Pea Animal Shelter is also accepting donations that can be made via PayPal and donations in the form of gift cards. Or mail a check at Sweet Pea Animal Shelter, 1090 Pleasant St, Paxton, MA 01612. Please visit their website for more information and have a Pawsitively amazing Holiday season!

A big round of applause f or our first winner of Arlington's Leash it and Ticket program!!! Helen (photo above) and her beloved pooch, Sammy (photo below), are residents here in Arlington and are the recipients of Leash it and Ticket's November prize of a $20 Whole Foods gift card!! Helen received her blue raffle ticket while walking Sammy on leash at the Reservoir after off leash hours had finished. I am very grateful for Helen walking Sammy on leash, not only because it is the town bylaw, but because she sets an excellent example for other dog owners as well! Walking your dog on leash is the safest way to keep him or her from running in to traffic, approaching another dog that may aggress towards them or from running off and getting lost! Keep up the good work Helen!! And for all of you out there still hoping to win December's prize, also keep up the good work because the next winner will receive a gift card for to Lakota cookies!!! What an excellent Holiday treat!


Katie's articles are featured on a regular basis with information, alerts and concerns in "Katie's Corner". Photo of Katie and Winnie is from a recent "Meet and Greet" with Katie and Arlington dogs and dog owners during off-leash morning hours at Menotomy Rocks Park. 
"Two Front Paws Up" for Pawsome People and Awesome Dogs!
Congratulations to.....

pawsomebrianPAWS IN REVIEW: "Somerville Author Melissa McCrue-McGrath Considers The City Dog" (introduction by Brian Davis, President of somdog, the Somerville Dog Owners Group): " Melissa has been a part of the dog community in Somerville and surrounding areas for many years. I was so excited when she wrote 'Considerations for the City Dog' to bring her insights and experiences to life! If you haven't had the opportunity to meet Melissa at a book signing, training, or at a somdog event, then I must tell you, her positivity is infectious. Her love for animals and dedication to helping folks succeed with their dogs is admirable. We love having her as our resident trainer at somdog and encourage you to buy her book!"

Local Hero: About James R. Stewart (introduction by Joan Black)    
Following the tragic and devastating fire at Sweetpea Animal Shelter in Paxton, MA, James "Jamie" R. Stewart, Licensed Electrician and Fire Alarm Technician made an offer offer to donate/discount a fire alarm system installation for any shelter in Massachusetts. He also will also be available to advise and answer questions concerning fire safety and prevention as related to electrical systems via email.  He states that there are physical changes which can be made to prevent the loss of life that Sweetpea experienced. Shelters will provide the parts and Jamie will donate or discount his time and expertise. Jamie lives in Hopkinton and is dad to five rescued dogs. He is active in their training and supports organizations that promote responsible dog ownership and foster pitbull awareness.  Fire prevention and safety can be the "gift of life." Read more about Jamie, a "local" hero.  A-DOG salutes him with the "Two Front Paws Up PAWSOME AWARD!"

There is also a GOFUNDME campaign for the "Road to Recovery" for Sweetpea Shelter organized by director Melanie Kenedek, shelter manager. 

Photos: (upper) Brian Davis with his Harleigh; (lower) Sweet Pea shelter after the fire.

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

"NEW" or "RENEW", IT IS EASY TO DO...Sign up today  here .  

Mark your calendar for these great EVENTS. Please consider attending or volunteering for the events sponsored or co-sponsored by A-DOG (*). Contact us if you're interested in volunteering at any of these events...we need you!

  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 7 to 8 pm. Jefferson Cutter House, 611 Mass Ave, Arlington Center.  First A-DOG meeting of 2016! Refreshments will be served and agenda will include planning our calendar events for the coming year. 
  • Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 7-9:30 pm, Save the date and "Unleash" Your Inner Artist!  ArtLounge, 1346 Mass Ave, Arlington is holding a Paint Your Pet fundraiser for A-DOG. Come and paint a customized picture of your pet! Come and paint a customized picture of your pet!  Here's how it works.  You email a digital picture of your pet and Art Lounge's amazing artists will sketch it onto a 16x20 canvas which will be ready to paint when you arrive.  Registration here  (go to the February 24 calendar date on the site) and space is limited.  A percentage of your registration fee will be donated to A-DOG.  We'll also have some local artisans like Emily Maynewoods of Arlington selling jewelry.  Artlounge Arlington offers small plates and desserts for sale as well as beer and wine to round out the perfect evening.  Come have some fun and "unleash" your inner artist. Hope you can make it!

Stay tuned for future issues with details about: Volunteer Clean-Up Day at Thorndike OLRA (March); Walks of Nature, Part 2, Great Meadows (April), both sponsored by Arlington Recreation K9 Recreation program.

Send us calendar items for possible inclusion in this section in future Wags and Tags issues!  

Photos show (upper) proud artists after a Paint Your Pet event at Artlounge to benefit GREY2K USA Worldwide, last fall; (lower) A-DOG member Eileen O'Shea's Molly photographed with Santa Paws recently at the Thorndike dog park.

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

contributionsA-DOG Members and supporters, Wags and Tags is YOUR monthly newsletter!  I
f you have suggestions for an article, including one you'd like to write, for a future issue, please email 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, Remy. Tammy, potcake Lexi and others. Or, write an article about Happy Tails Trails, describing your favorite place to enjoy nature with your dog, like this month's article about Whipple Hill. 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 Strummer, Cita. Jasper and Annabel. 
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, BlueSky Dogs, GoPlay!, Menotomy Beer Wine and Spirits,Your Wonderful Dog and Maida Pharmacy & Compounding Center.
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 no greater than 1 MB.  (Please send the photo as a separate file, not imported into a Word document.) Depending on the topic, you might want to write a longer version for our website, with a link in the Wags and Tags article.

Articles on any other topic of potential interest to dog owners are welcome.  So are more volunteer editors and writers. Please send us your story proposals!  Wags and Tags editorial team:  Joan Black, Jen Burns, Sue Doctrow, Ellen Leigh and Judy Weinberg

Pssst...We are well aware that  our members are not likely to have issues with spelling or grammar that's a little "ruff", but don't worry....our editorial team will edit your story, as needed.
The Irish Setter on the computer photo is reprinted from a website called "iget2work". The "Bad spelling...image was posted on Facebook by Grammarly.  

Our first  A-DOG meeting  for 2016
A-DOG held four meetings in 2015 and the 2016 schedule will be announced in Wags and Tags. The first one will be Tuesday, January 26 at 7 pm. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Community Room of the Jefferson Cutter House, 611 Mass Ave (at Mystic, in Arlington Center).  The Community Room is accessible via the rear entrance at the municipal parking lot. Refreshments are served. New members show up every time so please join us!


A-DOG Membership!
A-DOG's membership year runs from April 1 through March 31, so some full memberships are up for renewal each spring.  If your membership has expired, you should receive a reminder letter in early 2016 during our  Membership Drive.  T hough, if you join now for the first time, your annual full membership will still be good through March, 2017.  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.  
Shop for A-DOG!  

Please support businesses that support responsible dog owners in Arlington by patronizing our Friends of A-DOG Businesses.  Welcome to the newest Friends of A-DOG, Northender Italian Kitchen, Whole Foods and ArtLounge! Also, when you buy from Amazon, please start at the Amazon Smile website and choose "A-Dog The Arlington Dog Owners Group, Inc" as your preferred nonprofit group.  Amazon will make a donation to A-DOG and your purchase will not cost any more!

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.