December 2016
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, Janice Zazinski 
Articles in Wags and Tags represent the opinions of the author(s) not necessarily those of A-DOG or the editorial team.
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 these links do not work on all devices.
Celebrating 40 Years with NEADS/World Class Service Dogs

A-DOG's Ellen and Ricky report from NEADS graduation

By Ellen Leigh
NEADSThis year marked the 40 th  anniversary of NEADS , the service dog organization that provides canine assistance for Deaf and Disabled Americans.  A pioneer in the industry when they began in 1976, NEADS first trained dogs for people with hearing impairments, later adding a program for individuals with physical disabilities.  They have continued to expand their reputation for quality and innovation, today offering 10 different programs ranging from children on the autism spectrum to canines for veterans with PTSD.   NEADS now includes the greatest variety of service dog programs in the country, and is fully accredited by Assistance Dogs International.

NEADS Nation comes together every fall and spring to honor its most recent graduating service dog teams, as well as recognize the many staff, volunteers, benefactors, and supporters that contribute to their success.  As they held their 72nd  graduation ceremony in November, they took time to reflect on their early years, on their growth, and to look toward the future.  Over 1700 client pairs of life changing independence, companionship, empowerment, and connection have been formed!   At this graduation, client alumni with multiple service dogs over the years movingly shared the impact these dogs have had on their lives.  The current graduates and family members spoke of the ways their partners were trained to meet their individual needs and how they are already making things better for them.   Olivia Johnston won the 2016 Ambassador Girl Scout Gold Award Project by making special gift baskets for all the graduating teams  She also created an educational pamphlet on "Caring for Your Dog:  The Importance of Proper Health and Hygiene", and made many festive dog bandanas with funds donated to NEADS.  The poignant talks, Olivia's charitable good work, and the graduating dogs barking/singing to provide musical accompaniment to a performance by the Nashoba Valley Chorale all led to a meaningful, uplifting day!                                                  
The training of these dogs p rimarily takes place at correctional facilities through their Prison PUP Partnership in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.   Profession al trainers from NEADS provide training and supervision to carefully selected prisoners, who are the Inmate Handlers.  They do the difficult, tedious, and often stressful work of training the pups to become World Class Service Dogs.  The dogs are with their Inmate Handlers 24/7 during the week, learning commands for their important work ahead.   They also need to get out to the community for socialization during their training, a process that takes 18-24 months.  Weekend Puppy Raisers are volunteers that make a year-long commitment to take the pups where they go on the weekends (grocery store, theaters, shopping malls, restaurants) to learn these essential skills of adapting to different situations and practicing what they are learning.  Would you like to become a Weekend Puppy Raiser?  For additional details about this or other programs, visit the  NEADS website.  Check here to learn more about upcoming events.


Ellen Leigh is a member of the A-DOG board and the Wags and Tags editorial team. Ricky is the first canine member of the board and both are very involved in ensuring A-DOG's success!

Photos (by Ellen Leigh): from top (1) "Grads, Including Oliver, black lab on far left, weekend puppy raised by A-DOG member, Sue Sheffler", (2) "Here is Girl Scout Olivia Johnston (with model, Ricky) featuring the gift baskets she created for the graduates, educational info, & bandanas she made to support NEADS.  In background is Neads alum & graduation guest speaker, Larry Brennan & Service Dog, Apple"; (3) "Officer and a Gentleman", Canine for a Combat Vet (spring 2016 grad, patiently returning as an audience member); (4) Amazing NEADS client alum & guest speaker, Tina Reid & her super-duper, alert & eager hearing dog, Franklin!; (5) at right, NEADS graduates about 50 service dog teams per year. Here is one lucky team from 2014! (Ellen and Ricky).
Paws in Review 
A Review of Two Books by Susannah Charleson: "Scent of the Missing" and "The Possibility Dogs"  

by Georgette Defriesse

ScentI recently re-read two books I loved by Susannah Charleson. The first was "Scent of the Missing: Love & Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog."  When Charleson saw a photo from the Oklahoma City bombing of an exhausted search dog and his handler, she knew she wanted to become involved in canine search-and-rescue (SAR). A licensed flight instructor, she had flown on aerial search missions. She was also a dog-lover with a house full of rescued Pomeranians. 

"Scent" is about the nitty gritty of real-life canine SAR and the amazing commitment of time and money these volunteer teams make. Chapters alternate between years Charleson spent as a field assistant and two years she raised and trained her own SAR dog, a golden retriever named Puzzle. Training starts with a long apprenticeship as field assistant, the person who follows dog and handler team on searches, taking notes and communicating with base as needed, so the handler can concentrate on his or her dog. In the course of that work, Charleson learned to recognize different teams' various search styles,  differences in how individual dogs work, the range of subtle signals the dogs give that the handler must interpret, etc. Once she had that foundation, she was ready to train a dog of her own. Even as a puppy, Puzzle immediately showed talent as a SAR dog, but at home, she was more of a challenge. Charleson writes about her training successes and frustrations. Throughout the book a Greek chorus of Pomeranians offers comic relief.

You will come away from this book with a good sense of what SAR entails. There are incredible physical and psychological demands even during training sessions (held several times a week in all weather, rain, snow, 105 degrees or 0 degrees). To be certified, both human and canine halves of the team need to pass a series of challenging tests.

Charleson's respect for the missing is such that she sometimes does not tell the reader the outcome of a search. She points out that often handlers themselves never find out.  She is careful not to use others' misfortunes for entertainment--neither as fodder for morbid curiosity, nor as feel-good happy-ending stories. Both times I read this book, I couldn't put it down until I reached the end. I highly recommend it.

"The Possibility Dogs" was written several years after "Scent of the Missing." It is  result of a chance meeting in a restaurant one icy day, where Charleson fell into conversation with a former firefighter and learned that his guide dog was a psychiatric dog. He had rescued Haska from a shelter then had her trained to help him through PTSD episodes. Charleson was intrigued because she herself was dealing with PTSD resulting from one of her searches.

This book's narrative is not as linear as her previous book. You'll read about her work via the internet rescuing dogs; the morning she's getting ready to dash off to a meeting and a knock on the door reveals a neighbor-allergic to dogs-who dumps a starving stray puppy into her arms; the many people with psych and other kinds of assistance dogs whom she interviews; and there's the account of how she learns how to evaluate pound dogs for service aptitude, then teaches herself how to train dogs for different kinds of service tasks.

She delves into problems people with "invisible" needs sometimes encounter when trying to take their service dogs into public places. She discusses qualities that dogs need to be candidates for training as service dogs.  She documents how she broke down steps to train Jake (the formerly starving puppy) to intervene in compulsive behavior.

I felt the book bogged down with details about training, but that's a reflection of my disinterest in painstaking training required to shape complex behaviors. It is, in fact, the strength of the book that it goes into that detail, because the reader comes away with a very clear idea of  hard work involved in training psych dogs.

"Possibility Dogs" is full of unlikely outcomes, such as Ollie the deaf and blind elderly terrier who calms an overtired screaming child in an airport; Caro, the black rottie mix whose gentleness with children was recognized by her adopter who thought "it seemed a shame to let those gifts go to waste;" Jake the starving puppy who was so ill he almost died, turning out to be such a happy, trusting goofball of a dog; and  so many others. This is another book I enthusiastically recommend, with its truths, share of sadness, and abundance of bright hope for both pound dogs and  those  whom the dogs can help.  When I was about halfway through Possibility Dogs, I looked up Susannah Charleson's Facebook page. to see whether she had another book.  I was saddened to read that Puzzle had died unexpectedly in July. 

Georgette deFriesse is an A-DOG member who lives in western Mass with her pack of three rescued dogs.  She is an avid photographer and loves exploring the woods and its mysteries.

First Aid & CPR Class 
Highlights from our November, 2016 event


by Mary McCartney

CPR2016Back by popular demand! Amy Newfield, CVT, VTS (ECC), National Technician Training Manager of BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Waltham MA, returned to Arlington to once again present her Canine First Aid and CPR overview. Over 35 attendees braved the rain and the cold to attend this event. Amy discussed issues that can come up in a dog park. She showed up a PowerPoint presentation and discussed a wide range of topics, such as how to read canine body language.  

She also discussed the dangers of choke and pinch collars, which can cause serious injuries to off-leash dogs, including choking and puncture wounds, when off-leash dogs wrestle with other off-leash dogs. Amy strongly recommended removing pinch collars and choke collars whenever your dog is off-leash. 

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! Awareness of hazards and recognition of distress signals in your pet can be critical in stabilizing an emergency. Amy demonstrated the following as part of the workshop on her adorable and extremely patient pet dog Meeko:

  • 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  


Attendees donated $120 to Frankie's Friends, a non-profit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other life-threatening conditions. BluePearl is a proud sponsor of Frankie's Friends.  


ADOG would like to thank: 

  • Amy Newfield and fabulous demo dog Meeko for donating their time BluePearl Veterinary Partners for providing first aid gift packs for attendees. 
  • Arlington Animal Control Officer Katie Kozikowski for co-sponsoring the event
  • Arlington Senior Center, Town of Arlington, for providing space for the event.

Mary McCartney is an A-DOG board member and organized this successful event, with fellow volunteers. Photos show (1) instructor Amy with her demo dog, Meeko and (2) event poster designed by A-DOG board member Jen Burns.
ACO Katie's Corner with this Month's Pawsitive Award Winner
An Arlington Animal Control and A-DOG collaboration

by Katie Kozikowski and Joan Black

DecKatiePawsitive Award: We Have a WINNER!
Well, actually there are two winners. Sadie and Harry were observed being walked on leash by their owner, Nanette in the wooded area at Menotomy Rocks Park. They were awarded "Leash it and Ticket" prizes. Sadie and Harry are now patiently awaiting their gluten & wheat free, made with natural ingredients treats donated by Sit, Stay, Beg Cookie Company, business friend of Arlington Dog Owners Group.  In addition Nanette will also receive a complimentary year's A-DOG Membership with full benefits. Thank you, Nanette, Sadie and Harry for following Arlington's bylaws and setting good examples. Remember respect "on leash" guidelines and follow the regulations. You may next to enjoy a "Leash It and Ticket" prize. :)


Just a friendly reminder to please be sure to know your town bylaws before letting your dog off leash. There have been numerous signs put up at the Arlington Reservoir (and other locations) reminding park goers of the hours for off leash dogs, but unfortunately they keep taken down by unknown persons.
The town bylaws are still in place even if there is not a sign and are easily found on the town web page here or you can call Animal Control with any questions: 781-645-8014.
The holidays are among us and no one wants to spend $75 on a preventable ticket!!
Instead of using $75 to go towards and off leash ticket, consider making a donation to your local animal shelter to help a homeless pet!
See the Animal Rescue League of Boston's wish list for a list of items they are looking for if you'd like to leave something other than a monetary donation to help care for their current residents.
Another way to help is to adopt an animal in need of a home, be sure to bring the whole family to decide together instead of surprising someone with an animal they may not bond with. 
Happy birthday to the Arlington Police Department's K-9 Dasty! 

The APD, on its Facebook Page, announced that Dasty, the brave and dedicated APD K-9, turned 12 years old. A-DOG wants to wish Dasty a very happy birthday and to thank him and his handler and partner, Officer Mike Hogan, for all you do for our town!

ACO Katie's Corner presents updates from Arlington Animal Control Officer (ACO) Katie Kozikowski.   Photos, from top, (1) ACO Katie; (2) Pawsitive winners Sadie and Harry; (3) Drawing, by Arlington artist and dog owner Shunsuke Yamaguchi, of a gentle leash law enforcement encounter in an unnamed local park ;-).
Collaborating with Katie on this column is Joan Black, A-DOG board member/officer and member of the Wags and Tags editorial team.
Around the Doggone Web - December 2016
Holiday Hijinx & Hidden Hazards

by Janice Zazinski

  • Many foods and plants can be hazardous to our furry friends, so the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is an essential number to have in your speed dial. Call 888-426-4435 if you think your pet has ingested poison; a credit card charge may apply.

  • Mistletoe, holly, and lilies spread holiday cheer but can be toxic to our furry friends. Modern Dog magazine has a list of other plants to watch out for.

  • Instead of going stir-crazy in the winter, try working on a few fun training games each day using whatever positive reinforcement works for your dog (food, a toy). Links here and here.

  • Or take a training class, perhaps with our business Friend of A-DOG, The Pet Republic -- schedule online.

  • The Association of Pet Dog Trainers has winter safety and winter training tips. All the more reason to teach your dog to "leave it" (when confronted with a tempting puddle of antifreeze) and a solid "come when called" to stay away from bodies of water with thin ice.

Janice Zazinski is an A-DOG board member and member of the Wags and Tags editorial team. She is the owner of Beloved Companion Animal Massage

PAWS to Mark Your Calendar!
Save the dates for coming events
DecCalendarWe hope you didn't miss our First Aid and CPR Class, co-sponsored with Arlington Animal Control or our A-DOG table at the Pop-Up Holiday Fair at Common Ground in Arlington. If you're not a member, be sure to join A-DOG to find out about our special events!

"NEW or RENEW: We still Need YOU to join the A-DOG pack!" It is NEVER too late.  
...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 (shown in  GREEN

Contact us if you're interested in volunteering at any of these events...we need you!

  • December 20 and future (see dates)
      Rufus & Thelma Reading Dogs at FOX Library (175 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington) with "bark to school" from 3:30-4:30 for all ages & reading levels. Sign up for 15 minute reading sessions. Please get tickets at circulation desk starting at 3 pm day of event. Happy tails are waiting to listen to your tales.  Rufus & Thelma will be ready to read on the following dates. Mark your calendars. Dec 6 & 20,  Jan 3, 17 & 31, Feb 14 & 28, Mar 14, & 28, Apr 11 &  25, May 9 & 23. Jun 6 & 20 
  • January 24 - First A-DOG meeting of 2017; January 24 (6:30-8:30 pm; visiting and refreshments at 6:30 with meeting beginning at 7). Location is the community room (downstairs) at the Jefferson Cutter House (home of Dalin Museum in Arlington Center); enter at lower level in back; you may park in the municipal lot, but don't forget that Arlington now requires parking payment til 8 pm. Future A-DOG meetings, March 28, May 23, August 22 and October 24 (Annual Meeting).
  • Save the Date: February Date TBA "The Return of A-DOG Paint Your Pet Night" FUNdraiser at ART LOUNGE Details to follow  
Photo shows volunteers and A-DOG board members (l to r) Ricky, Anita Pliner, Joan Black and Wendy Hori at our very successful table at the Common Ground craft fair, Dec 4. Send us calendar items for possible inclusion in this section in future Wags and Tags issues!  

OM Cookies, New Friend of A-DOG
Locally made and delicious, featured at our holiday fair table

by Marci Cemenska

OMcookiesOM Cookies specializes in making stamped shortbread cookies with unique flavors and designs. They are artisan cookies that are made in small batches with love and attention. While produced with minimal ingredients, the process produces a truly unique cookie that appeals to all five senses. Huzzah!
These cookies are best suited to group gatherings (parties, events, meetings) and business distribution. Each order involves choosing a flavor and a design (which can be customized), thus allowing the customer to create a truly unique cookie that makes a statement.

Note from A-DOG:
Welcome to A-DOG member Marci Cemenska and OM Cookies as our newest Friend of A-DOG. OM Cookies are baked locally and were featured at A-DOG's Arf-fair table during Common Ground's Pop Up Fair.  Everyone tasting them remarked, "Oh, My!"  Thank you to Marci for donating dog stamped cookies for the fair. They were a popular treat for human companions.
 Marci Cemenska is the owner and CCO (Chief Cookie Officer) of OM Cookies. She is a certified Whole Health Educator (WHE) and committed Vendanta student.  Check website to learn more about Om Cookies, Marci, WHE philosophy and the path of Vendante.

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

DecContributeStoryA-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. 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 or feline family member you've lost, like the recent tribute to Duke.
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 Menotomy Beer Wine and Spirits,Maida Pharmacy & Compounding Center and Lakota Bakery.
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, Judy Weinberg and Janice Zazinski.

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 can polish 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.  

A-DOG Meetings in 2017
A-DOG holds five meetings per year, in January, March, May, August and October. 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 have received a reminder letter in early 2016 during our  Membership Drive.  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.  

(If you are not a full member, please sign up and pay your dues at the link above for joining A-DOG. If you are unsure if your membership is still active, or need another membership card as proof, you can email us to check into it.)

Also, when you buy from Amazon, please start at the Amazon Smile website which should get you directly to our donation link. If not, be sure to 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.