July, 2018
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 (managing editor), Jen Burns, Sue Doctrow, Ellen Leigh, Judy Weinberg. Contact our managing editor if you'd like to submit an article. (Guidelines: 500 words or fewer, with 1 or 2 photos of 1 mb or smaller.)

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
  • Robbins Library Table: Come Visit this Month
  • The Robbins Farm Dog Comes Home
  • Fido Fest 2018 and Dog Pageant Coming Soon!
  • Scout's First Year: A Birthday Tribute
Robbins Library Table: Come Visit this Month
The A-DOG Robbins Library table "Dog Days of Summer" is ready for you to visit! It will be available throughout the month of July so please be sure to stop by. It is packed with information about A-DOG, including our programs and Friends of A-DOG sponsors. It's an opportunity to pick up a postcard reminding you about Fido Fest on August 18 and how to submit your dog videos! Also, there are brochures about dog recreation guidelines in Arlington, tick prevention and other useful educational information. The table also displays several books about dogs of interest to children and adults. We hand-selected these books from the Robbins Library catalog and they are available for you to check out with your library card. For Education, Fun, and Community!

Our Robbins Library display table is organized by Ellen Leigh, A-DOG board member & Ricky (shown in photo) library liason and "Dog About Town". A-DOG board members Joan Black (shown with ears) and Sue Doctrow met to set up the table this year.

The Robbins Farm Dog Comes Home: Friends of Robbins Farm Park History Project Becomes a Reality
by Sue Doctrow

For approximately 6 years, the Friends of Robbins Farm Park (FORFP) has worked with town officials to install a permanent public art installation to celebrate the legacy of Nathan Robbins, whose generosity led to the creation of Robbins Farm Park (RFP), a beloved public space in Arlington that features 11 acres of green-space, breathtaking views of the Boston skyline, a popular playground with its iconic 50-foot slides (recently restored, thanks to a $25,000 contribution raised by FORFP), newly renovated playing fields as part of a Town/Community Preservation Act funded capital project, and the Robbins Farm Garden , a cooperative community vegetable garden with an educational mission. The FORFP, a nonprofit community all-volunteer organization founded in 1999, has long worked to promote beautification and restoration of RFP, as well as to sponsor free community events such as concerts, plays and films. 

RFP was created in 1942 when Nathan Robbins sold his farm, in his family for over 200 years, to the town to create a park. Even before creation of the park, the farm had been an informal gathering spot, especially for neighborhood children. In 2012, the FORFP invited Bill Armstrong, a local businessman who grew up in Arlington in the 1930s, to share his childhood memories of Robbins Farm. He confirmed other oral histories that had described visiting the farm, particularly how children enjoyed sitting on the old dog statue that stood in front of the Robbins mansion. 

Mysteriously, the statue disappeared in the 1940s. Mr. Armstrong suggested that the FORFP either find the old statue, or have a replacement made for installation at the park, as a tribute to Nathan Robbins. This led to the FORFP's History Project, and the art installation that was finally completed on a sunny morning, July 11, 2018, with the delivery and installation of the Robbins Farm Dog statue. (The dog statue is a reproduction of a statue at the Houston Historical Society, called "The Sentinel" by Thomas Hoppin, and reminiscent of the original Robbins dog. This was created for the project by Houston sculptor Lori Betz.)
Thus, the art installation envisioned by FORFP is now in place. It includes not only the Robbins dog statue as its focal point, but also reclaimed granite benches and flush pavers set at the corners of an architectural palimpsest, marking the footprint of the Robbins mansion.

FORFP board president Tony Vogel, who is also an A-DOG member, has come to our A-DOG meetings to let us know how the project has been going over the years. When Tony told me that the statue was to be installed, I was excited to bring my black lab Becker to welcome the Robbins dog home.

I am proud that A-DOG donated $500 to this wonderful project. While the project is now complete, the FORFP used much of its resources, thousands of dollars, to fund it. FORFP receives no town funding and is entirely dependent on volunteer donations, including membership dues. Please consider joining FORFP and/or donating in appreciation for this beautiful addition to RFP that, truly, celebrates the canine–human bond over centuries. Also, your donation will help FORFP continue to care for this beloved park of ours. Donate to or join FORFP here . (Also contact FORFP to ask about their commemorative T-shirts with the dog statue in exchange for a History Project donation.)

In addition to voting to donate to this project, the A-DOG board voted to make this donation in memory of longtime Arlington resident and volunteer, 44 year Town Meeting Member and FORFP treasurer, Roly Chaput, who passed away early in 2016. One reason we wanted to dedicate our donation to Roly is that he was an eloquent and outspoken supporter of our efforts to make off-leash recreation legal in Arlington, including at RFP. As a steward of the park, a Town Meeting member, and a dedicated volunteer in so many aspects of life in Arlington, Roly's support surely made a difference in the ultimate success of these efforts. In addition, Roly was involved from the beginning in the History Project and so many of us wish he could have been there to welcome this unique tribute to a very special place.
Sue Doctrow is an A-DOG board member and member of the Wags and Tags editorial team. She is also a member of the Robbins Farm Garden and proud to support FORFP. Parts of this article were adapted, with permission, from a story by Elaine Backman of FORFP. The author thanks Elaine as well as Tony Vogel for sharing information about the History Project and, especially, along with all of FORFP, for the project itself! Photos (from upper to lower): plaque describing the art installation, by Tony Vogel; children on Robbins dog, circa 1937, provided by Elaine Backman; installation in progress, by Tony Vogel; the newly installed Robbins Farm dog with (l to r) FORFP's Tony Vogel, Elaine Backman and Mike Smith, with my own Arlington-dog Becker, casting an admiring glance toward the Robbins Farm dog.
Read much more about the history of Robbins Farm Park in " Robbins Farm Park, Arlington, Massachusetts. A Local History From the Revolutionary War to the Present" by Oakes Plimpton. Read more about the installation in the Arlington Advocate .
Fido Fest & Dog Pageant Coming Soon on Aug 18: Submit Your Pet Videos
Yes, we did remind you last month but will continue to remind you so that the event will be a well-attended again AND will include videos of your dogs!

Fido Fest (August 18, 7–9 pm) is Greater Boston’s only video festival that celebrates loveable dogs and their loyal humans. Fido Fest 2017, its debut, was a huge success!

All are welcome to submit homemade videos of your hard working, funny, and quirky dogs. It’s easy to do at this link . On August 18, join us as we watch your blockbuster videos outside on the big screen while munching on popcorn and enjoying a night under the stars. Before the Film Festival, your pups will have the opportunity to strut their stuff at the Fido Fest Dog Pageant! Gain fame, win prizes, and let the world know that your pooch is the Top Dog. 

A-DOG, ACMi, Jen Burns/Blue Sky Dogs , and Judy Weinberg at Leading Edge Real Estate are sponsoring Fido Fest. It’s a free event and there are no tickets, so it’s first come first served for outdoor "seating" on the grass.  

How to become part of Fido Fest:

  • Send in your homemade dog videos. It’s easy to do at this link.
  • Bring your dog to the Fido Fest Dog Pageant. Categories are cutest wiggle, best costumes, & more.
  • Come enjoy a night under the stars with a movie and popcorn, generously donated by Arlington's own Capitol Theatre.

We look forward to seeing you and your pup this summer.

The Fido Fest committee is: Jen Burns (Blue Sky Dogs and A-DOG), Judy Weinberg, (Leading Edge Real Estate and A-DOG); Ellen Leigh (A-DOG), Kathleen Whalen (A-DOG), Anita Pliner (A-DOG). Jonathan Barbato (ACMi), and Dillin Evren (amazing ACMi intern). 
Scout's First Year: A Birthday Tribute
by Ellen Leigh

Sharron Kahn Luttrell, author of “ Weekends with Daisy” (the warm, witty, and wise book about her experience as a weekend puppy raiser of a NEADS service dog in training), now has her very own puppy! Scout, a beautiful, energetic Golden Retriever, turned one this past January. Sharron sent this adorable video, shown above, capturing the fun and sweetness of Scout’s first year.

You, too can record the wonder of life with your pooch and share it with us at A-DOG.
We can feature the video in the newsletter, and it can also be shown on the big screen at our upcoming Second Annual Dog Video Festival, Fido Fest! It's happening soon (Saturday, August 18th), but there is still time to start filming now.
Keep those videos coming! They can be of birthdays, holidays, athletic events, or just celebrating sweet glimpses of your beloved canine any day of the year. PLEASE NOTE VIDEOS must be under 2 minutes long and the YouTube link can be submitted at this link.

Remember you can label your video as “unlisted” & just submit link if you don’t want your pup video public on your YouTube account. Not sure how to load a video on YouTube? There are instructions here and at the links in the previous article. Looking forward to welcoming your videos! 

Ellen Leigh is an A-DOG board member and member of the Wags and Tags editorial team.
A-DOG Meetings in 2018-2019
A-DOG holds five meetings per year, in January, March, May, July 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, typically with a potluck soup and salad meal, are served, generally beginning at 6 pm with the meeting from 7 to 8:30 pm. New members show up every time so please join us! Our next meeting is July 24, 2018. New this year: Meeting in July instead of August; we will plan the Town Day booth in August in a smaller group and anybody interested in Town Day is welcome to come (same time and place, but probably simpler refreshments).

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 expired, you should have received a reminder letter 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. If you are not an A-DOG member, join here .

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.  
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