February 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 and Sue Doctrow 
A-DOG logos designed by Lisa Berasi for Arlington Dog Owners Group, all rights reserved

Arlington Dog Licensing Contest 2015

Arlington Dog Owners - if your dog is licensed by Feb 28 you're eligible to win!


If your dog is already registered for a 2015 Arlington Dog License by the February 28 deadline, you're entered in our contest!  If you have two dogs registered, you're entered twice!  


We are repeating the contest we ran last year.  Our Animal Control Officer, Amanda Kennedy, reported in last month's Wags and Tags, license numbers last year were higher than in many recent years.  We hope that our contest, to encourage dog licensing, played a part.  (This information is reprinted on our website.)


As our Animal Control Officer discussed in her article last month, there are many good reasons to license your dog.  For example, the more ID that he has, the better the chance that a lost dog will be returned quickly to his owner.  


In addition, the Town bylaws (as amended in 2009) call for costly late fees, in addition to the $50 fine for having an unlicensed dog.  The rules for off-leash recreation, including at the Thorndike fenced dog park, require that a dog be licensed. (If the dog and her owner do not live in Arlington, the dog should be registered in her own community.)

A very important reason, also noted in the 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 as described here.  To make this more fun, we are holding a contest!  To be eligible for the gift drawing, all you need to do is register your dog anytime by February 28, 2015.  We will draw tag numbers from all the 2015 tags that were registered with the Town by the deadline.  (If you've already gotten your 2015 Arlington Dog License, you're already entered!).  After the deadline, we will select two numbers and award two prizes, donated by Friends of A-DOG Businesses:  A certificate for a free grooming from Robins Nest Pet Salon and a Comfy Arlington Dog Housewarming Package (this package consists of a "Dog-Gone Smart Bed" dog bed donated by Arlington's Unleashed by Petco and a custom made A-DOG pottery dog bowl by local artist Melody Wolf Thomas, donated by A-DOG member Ann Smith).



Everyone, whether you're an A-DOG member or not, is eligible for the first gift.  But, the second gift, the Housewarming Package, will be awarded to the first A-DOG Member that we select from the dog license list!  To double your chances join A-DOG if you're not already a member!









The "license and registration" cartoon is by Shunsuke Yamaguchi and the artist's fee was donated to A-DOG by Joan and Dana Black.




Winter Wellness, or....
surviving the snow!

by Janice Zazinski

As I was lurching over icy sidewalks the other day, I was reminded that winter weather puts considerable physical strain on our furry friends. And while my young dog Daisy has been gleefully jumping into every available snow bank, this unaccustomed movement is causing muscle soreness in her hips, gluteals, and inner thighs. For an arthritic dog or one with chronic knee or hip issues, snowy streets and slippery sidewalks can cause extremely painful problems.

Whether it's your dog's behavior or her physical health, wellness starts with understanding what is a normal baseline for your beloved companion. Dogs are adept at hiding signs of pain, so physical changes may be subtle, often starting with how they normally walk - their gait.

I suggest to my massage clients that they tune into their dog's gait: does he rise from a laying or sitting position smoothly and easily? Or is an effort to push up from the hind legs? Get down to a level where you can see between your dog's legs from front to back and watch her walk and trot towards and away from you. Do this "gait check" periodically, perhaps when you do a weekly nail trim or brush your dog (I bring Daisy to me, toss a treat about 10 feet away and then call her back, watching her from both directions).

When observing your dog's gait, signs of muscle soreness and stiffness from unaccustomed exertion or movement might manifest as one leg swinging further out than the other or your dog moving with short, stiff steps. For instance, my lower back is always an area of concern since I've injured it often, so I'm consciously taking short, careful steps when walking on slick surfaces. When I do this, I also find myself tensing from the shoulders to the hips. Similarly, a dog with muscle soreness will likely exhibit signs of protecting herself - she might hesitate going up or down stairs, take smaller steps, or not tear around at the dog park. 

For elder dogs, as with elder people, winter packs an extra wallop. While appropriate exercise supports joint health in arthritic dogs, take special care that your elder doesn't slide around outside, which can injure tendons, ligaments, and muscles, causing considerable pain. Canine booties, if you can get your dog used to wearing them, are an option, as is walking your pal on soft, packed snow, not icy areas.

Massage is a holistic, noninvasive way to support muscular and joint health in your canine companions, so I'm offering a Valentine's Day special to A-DOG members: 20% off your dog's massage when you book by the end of March. Mention "IHEARTA-DOG" for your discount!


 Certified Small Animal Massage Therapist Janice Zazinski helps people have healthy and relaxed companion animals. She massages in client's homes by appointment. Her company, Beloved Companion Animal Massage, serves Arlington and environs. Visit the Beloved Companion website for more information.



Arlington Firefighters Save Dog From The Frigid Waters Of The Mystic River
Our AFD heroes to the rescue again!



Bravo to Arlington Fire Department firefighters, Chris Gibbons and Joseph Andrade, who recently rescued a dog, Lucy, from the freezing cold Mystic River!


The following is a news release (Feb 3, 2015) reprinted, with photos, from the Massachusetts State Police website.  


At about 4:35 p.m. today, the State Police Barracks in Medford received a report of a dog which had broken through the ice on the Mystic River in Arlington near the Mystic Valley Parkway and Medford Street.  Information collected in the investigation by Trooper Paul Schipelliti indicates that a woman and her two daughters were walking along the Mystic River with their dog "Lucy" when the dog spotted swans in the middle of the river, broke away, and ran out onto the ice.  The ice then gave way, causing Lucy to enter the frigid waters of the river and unable to get herself out.


Members of the Arlington Fire Department arrived on scene.  Firefighters Chris Gibbons and Joseph Andrade donned "warm suits" and headed out onto the ice.  Firefighter Gibbons made contact with the dog about 30 feet from shore and struggled to retrieve her, ultimately breaking through the ice as well.  With assistance from Firefighter Andrade, the two were able to bring the dog to safety.  After a checkup by Arlington EMS, the black Labrador pup was happily reunited with her owner.






Highlights of our "January" A-DOG Meeting
Looking forward to a great 2015 for Arlington dogs and their families!

Our January A-DOG meeting was postponed because of snow to February 3, just in time for a second major snowstorm!  Still, some of us braved the wintry night to make our way to A-DOG's first of four meeting for 2015.  Here are some highlights:

  • Report on events since October A-DOG meeting:  A-DOG First Aid/CPR workshop (discussed in recent Wags and Tags) and "Living with Coyotes" sponsored by Arlington Animal Control (an article is planned for March).
  • Final plan for the 2015 LICENSING CONTEST, including rules and prizes.
  • A-DOG CALENDAR 2015 (by Joan Black), a planning document with scheduled meetings, annual events and responsibilities. It included a menu of possible programs for the year.
  • *WAGS & TAGS" newsletter planning document (editors Joan Black and Sue Doctrow) and expansion of editorial team.  New content search will include:  Judy Weinberg on more Arlington dog stories; Anita Pliner on "funny A-dog videos"
  • Membership Drive, 2015 - updated letters to existing members and mailings for new dog owners will be prepared by membership team. Volunteers needed to help!
  • Volunteer Menu:  Work in progress (will report in March) - for distribution to A-DOG volunteers to inform them of volunteer opportunities.  Anyone want to be a "Volunteer Coordinator"?
  • Several books of interest to dog owners (selected by Ellen Duranceau, who is organizing this donation) will be donated by A-DOG to the Robbins Library.  Details in a future Wags and Tags!
  • A new shipment of A-DOG Brochures has come in!  A big thank-you to Lisa Berasi for editing/updating our brochure files.  Plans to expand the list of sites displaying them were discussed.  Would you like to volunteer to "sponsor" a site?
  • Collaborations with our neighbors, the Somerville Dog Owners Group  - Joan Black has been discussing this with Brian Davis, somdog President.  A "Winter Warmer" is under consideration.  Also, somdog invites A-DOG to participate in their annual Spring Fling in May! 


      The weather outside was frightful but A-DOG's meeting was so delightful. We enjoyed refreshments and productive conversations despite the mountains of snow and freezing temperatures. We shared many exciting ideas and we hope you will bring your input to our next meeting, on MARCH 24. Come join us! 




Photo, contributed by A-DOG member Ellen Leigh, shows her dog Ricky thrilled to be "swimming" his way through this fun, powdery white stuff!  As Ellen remarked, this joy "gives us perspective (and comic relief ;-)".  
Why Not Build a Snowdog?
Menotomy Rocks Park fans' project for a winter day

If you visit Menotomy Rocks Park before the thaw, you might be able to see this Snowdog, created by Jessie Brown, assisted by David Rosenthal.  The photo (contributed by Monica Bernstein) shows Jessie with Quinn, Ruby and their puggle friend.   
PAWS to Mark Your Calendar!
Save the date for coming events



THOUGH APRIL 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.  



February 6.  Deadline to apply for the Town's new position K-9 Activity Director!  From Arlington Recreation Director Joe Connelly:"The main purpose of the position is to create year-round programming for dogs and their owners, my goal is a minimum of one program per month. ....my hope is that it will catch on and eventually turn into something greater."  More details here.  (We're repeating this announcement in case the deadline is extended.)



February 15.  Deadline for artists to apply for a public temporary art exhibit, Art Rocks Spy Pond, to be held in May, 2015. Sponsored by Arlington Recreation and Arlington Public Art.  Contact arlpublicart@gmail.com for more details.


February 22, (9:30 am - 2:30 pm, light breakfast at 9 am)  Massachusetts Animal Coalition "All About Dogs" Meeting: Dogs Gone Crazy.  Tufts Veterinary Hospital, Grafton MA.  More information and registration here.  This was postponed from the earlier Feb 8 date.



Tuesday, March 24 (7:30-8:30 pm)  A-DOG MEETINGJefferson Cutter House Community Room, Arlington Center.  (This will be our second of four A-DOG meetings in 2015. Doors open at 7 pm and refreshments will be served.  Rescheduled due to storm on Jan 27.)




Winter social event with the Somerville Dog Owners Group-- details to be announced!


Future A-DOG Meetings:  Tuesdays, May 26 and October 27 (7:30 - 8:30 pm) Jefferson Cutter House Community Room, Arlington Center.  






Photo.  Another view of Jessie and some Menotomy Rocks doggies with the Snowdog.  (photo by Monica Bernstein)

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 Molly, Remy. Tammy, last month's potcake Lexi and others. 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, Raleigh, Strummer and Cita.  
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! or Your Wonderful Dog.
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.  (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 and Sue Doctrow

The Irish Setter on the computer photo is reprinted from a website called "iget2work".



Our second A-DOG meeting  for 2015
A-DOG is having four meetings in 2015. Come join us on Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30-8:30 pm 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.  Doors open at 7 and refreshments will be served.  

Future meetings will be in May and October (Annual Meeting) on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the same time and location.  In addition, there will be an August planning session for Town Day.  
Read the recent article about A-DOG and dog-friendly Arlington at the Mass Realty website!


A-DOG 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 Membership Drive information on our website.  If you join now, your annual full membership will be good through March, 2016.  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.