January 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

The Dogs of Turks and Caicos

How Lexy found her way home to Arlington

by Debbie Richard

This is a story about potcakes. Although it may sound like the beginnings of a recipe, it's the start of a new life for one puppy.


A potcake is the name given to the dogs found on Turks and Caicos Island (TCI), British West Indies and Bahamas. The name has its origins in earlier island days when residents mixed together what was left over in pots from various meals of fish, rice, and vegetables, and fed it to the dogs. The name potcake came to mean these loveable dogs of mingled and untraceable heritage.


Our story takes place in the town of Providenciales, TCI. Providenciales is the most populated of the Caicos Islands with 23,000 people over 47 square miles. It is also home to a dog rescue charity called Potcake Place - an organization my husband Jim, son, and I stumbled across one rainy weekend in October 2013.


Jim and I had travelled to TCI over the years both before and after kids. The beaches are unsurpassed, the food is excellent, and there are direct, three-hour flights from Boston. For a fast getaway, we booked our flights for Columbus Day weekend.

The weather during the fall months in the Caribbean can be tricky since it is the start of the rainy season and our trip was no exception. The rain fell for half the weekend we were there. On a whim and boredom, we drove to the local shops to look for souvenirs at one of the modest strip malls. Tucked in among the tourist shops we discovered the dog rescue group Potcake Place.


This nonprofit group is entirely run by volunteers. There is no animal shelter on the island, and while their goal is to reduce the number of homeless potcakes on the island, it is an ongoing challenge working with the government and local community. For now, they continue to provide homes and veterinary care to the potcake pups found on the island.


Potcake Place facilitates adoptions of these puppies across the United States and Canada. If an adoption goes ahead, they help book the dog on the plane, and meet the families at the TCI airport with their new puppy. They also spend time finding volunteers (aka couriers) to transport the pup if the adoptees are not visiting the island.


I should stop here and tell you that I'm a cat person. Adopting a dog always sounded appealing in theory, however going out and doing it just wasn't a big item on my list. Until we saw these dogs and the need for them to find forever homes-we just knew this was meant to be.


When we returned from our weekend stay, I submitted an adoption application. My plan was to return to TCI in five weeks and meet the puppies available for adoption. At the time, Potcake Place had nearly 50 puppies in foster homes and they expected to have at least 3 litters available during my visit.


I arrived at Providenciales airport on a Friday afternoon and went straight to Potcake Place. The founder and director of Potcake Place, Jane Parker-Rauw, had already agreed to meet me to provide insight on the puppies in their care.

I spent nearly 5 hours with 16 puppies that day and chose a 9-week old female we named Lexy. Jane had the health certificates stamped and ready for my next day's travel. JetBlue allows for a carry-on pet provided the animal and carrier weigh less than 20 pounds and meet certain dimensions. A nine-week old puppy met the airline's criteria easily.


Meeting me at the airport, Jane had Lexy in a soft-sided pet carrier (which I supplied).  She hugged us both and looking at Lexy, told her, "Remember where you came from little potcake. Make us proud."  I held back tears and headed to the ticket counter to fly home.


There have been no known cases of rabies on TCI so there are no quarantine restrictions to bringing potcakes to the U.S. I had no issue going through customs in TCI and I was stopped only as a matter of routine at U.S. Customs in Boston. Lexy slept in her carry-on under the seat and the woman seated next to me was genuinely startled to see a puppy when we landed at Logan Airport.


Lexy turned one year old this past September. She has the potcake traits of a smooth coat and long face, and is on the smaller size at 33 pounds. She wears her heart in her eyes, right where you can see them with no hidden agenda - what you see is what you get. We are very lucky our little potcake has chosen us.









Debbie Richard lives in Arlington with her husband, 9 year old son, wonder cat Lulu, and Lexy. For more information about Potcake Place, please visit  their website or find them on Facebook.

Menotomy Rocks Park Free Library 
A handcrafted resource for Menotomy Rocks Park book-lovers

by MaryAnna Foskett

A local book group, established in 1996, who call themselves "The Rambling Readers", were charmed by the idea that they might join the "Little Free Library" movement and install one of the bookboxes at an accessible location in Arlington. The Little Free Library movement began in Wisconsin, inspired by Andrew Carnegie's support of public libraries and traveling "bookmobile" libraries popular at the beginning of the 20th century. There are now many thousands of "little free libraries" worldwide. 

One of the Rambling Readers convinced her newly-retired Wisconsin-born husband to build a free library from recycled wood. The rest of the RR's underwrote the effort and applied for and received permission from the Arlington Parks & Recreation Department to place the "library" in Menotomy Rocks Park. Voila! The "Menotomy Rocks Park Free Library" was installed on some very cold days in mid-November by builder Clif Fonstad and installer Pete Howard.


As it says on the plaque: "Take a book, if you want. Leave a book, if you can."



Photo:  Local hero Clif Fonstad at the installation of the MRP Free Library.


Why Should You LIcense Your Dog?
A message from Arlington's Animal Control Officer



by Amanda Kennedy, Arlington's Animal Control Officer 


Greetings and happy winter!  I wanted to take a moment to thank A DOG for the wonderful partnership in increasing awareness of the requirement to license a dog.*  
We increased dog licensing by more than 25% it 2014!  While this is great news there are still many dogs that don't have a fashionable Arlington tag. Please continue to get the word out about all the benefits of dog licensing, primarily the ability to return your dog to you should it become lost. The 2015 dog license period begins on January 1st so hopefully you have all gotten your new tags.  I look forward to the New Year with the wonderful Town of Arlington.




Incredibly, there are an estimated 8,000 dogs in the Town of Arlington. Fewer than 1,800 of them are licensed at this time.  For a community that has shown their devotion to their dogs this is surprising and we can do better!


Here are five reasons why that situation should change:


1. If your dog gets lost, a license tag on your dog's collar is the fastest way to find you when your dog is found. Even if your dog is microchipped, a license tag is immediately visible and doesn't require a scanning device to read it, like a microchip does. In addition often times people forget to update the microchip information to reflect moves and change of phone number.

2. Licensing lets people know that your canine companion has received required vaccinations that protect your dog from rabies.

3. The number of licensed dogs is an official count of the number of dogs in our community.  How can the Animal Control Department advocate for parks, off-leash areas and other positive resources when it seems we have less than 1,800 dogs. If we can show the 8,000 dogs living here think how much could be accomplished.

4. Your dog's license shows that you are a responsible dog caregiver. When you walk your dog or let your dog run in designated areas, people will notice the license on your dog's collar and know that you really care about your dog's welfare. Dogs without licenses carry a stigma of owner neglect.

5. It's the law. You can be fined $50. Good citizens that care about the community get their dogs licensed.


Don't worry there is no drivers education or road test required!




*A-DOG will repeat our successful Arlington Dog Licensing Contest for 2015!  Details in the February Wags and Tags!  Hint:  to be eligible for a prize, make sure your dog license is renewed by March 1, 2015.  (Which is already late, it is due January 1..... ;-)

Art by Shunsuke Yamaguchi, commissioned by A-DOG and donated by Joan and Dana Black.


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, January 27 (7:30-8:30 pm)  A-DOG MEETINGJefferson Cutter House Community Room, Arlington Center.  (This will be our first of four A-DOG meetings in 2015. Doors open at 7 pm and refreshments will be served.)


Thursday, January 29 (7 - 9 pm) Living with Coyotes, Community Safety Building (Arlington Police) Community Room. sponsored by Arlington Animal Control with speaker John Maguranis.  More info 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.  



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.


Winter social event -- details to be announced!


Future A-DOG Meetings:  Tuesdays, March 24, May 26 and October 27 (7:30 - 8:30 pm) Jefferson Cutter House Community Room, Arlington Center.  






Photo.  Instructor Amy Breton and her dog Meeko demonstrate bandaging techniques at our Pet First Aid/CPR workshop last November.  


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 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, last month, 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 (November, 2013), 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.

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 first A-DOG meeting  for 2015
A-DOG is planning four meetings in 2015. Come join us on Tuesday, January 27 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 March, 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.  

Stay Connected
Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter        
Arlington, MA 02474