The girls had a blast—along with about 100 other dogs—during the Old Town Alexandria pool’s Big Dog Day Swim last weekend, Sept. 19. Special thanks to Your Dog’s Best Friends doggie daycare for sponsoring the event. My apologies that Sundae spent most of the event begging from your treat table!
Protect Alexandria’s dog parks! The Alexandria Parks and Recreation Commission is considering a proposal to remove the designation of three unfenced dog exercise areas. There will be a public hearing on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:00 pm at the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave. to receive public comment on the proposal.
The dog exercise areas under consideration for elimination are:
- Ft. Williams Parkway at Dearborn Rd
- Southeast corner of Braddock Road and Commonwealth Ave.
- W. Timberbranch Parkway and Parkway Terrace
The Commission is also seeking comments regarding the status of other designated unfenced dog exercise areas.
The proposal means getting rid of the areas, not fencing them in. It is important for dog owners to participate in the hearing and protect these exercise areas, or demand that the city replace them with fenced or alternate areas. The suburbs inside the Beltway are densely populated, and dog exercise areas are frequently the only place condo-, apartment- or townhouse-dwelling dog owners can play off-leash with their pups.
The community’s voice DOES matter. Back in 2011, Arlington County instituted a rule banning children from the Shirlington dog park. After significant protest from park users and media attention, Arlington backed off and rescinded the rule.
Find out about all of Alexandria’s dog parks, animal legislation and licensing here.
The fun is over at most outdoor pools for people this summer, but not for dogs! Letting my dogs swim in a pool is one of the only reasons I look forward to the end of summer (pro football is another).
This Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority opens all five of their water parks for Dog Day swims!
The five water parks are:
Great Waves Waterpark, Alexandria
Ocean Dunes Waterpark, Arlington
Atlantis Waterpark, Centreville
Pirates Cove at Pohick Bay, Lorton
Volcano Island Waterpark, Sterling
The cost is $5 per dog, and there must be an adult human handler for each dog.
Another dog swim on Saturday, out in Leesburg, is Ida Lee Park’s Aquatic Center. It is also from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, with a two dog limit and age restriction on human handlers of 16 years or older.
The Handi-Ramp company asked me to review one of their products, Puppy Treads. They are vinyl rectangular-shaped stickers with a textured surface that you apply to indoor surfaces such as hardwood or tile steps or floors to help keep your dog, and you, from slipping.
I totally wish they’d been about a year earlier.
Within a week after moving into our new house with oak hardwood stairs, Chatham had slipped and slid down the steps a half dozen times. The morning she refused to come downstairs, standing at the top step whining, it broke my heart.
I went out that day and bought six seasonal rubber-backed rugs adorned with smiley-faced snowmen, cut them in half, and applied them to the stairs with double-sided tape. The headless Frostys were both obnoxiously ugly and slightly disturbing. I’m not sorry I don’t have a picture to prove it. We lived with those for four months, until we paid about $1,000 we didn’t really have to spare to have a runner professionally installed.
The Puppy Treads would have been the perfect temporary solution.
I say temporary because Puppy Treads are very functional, but not particularly fashionable. Yes, they’re a clear vinyl so they don’t stick out like a sore (snow) thumb. But neither are they invisible. They’d look fine in a mudroom, foyer, or basement or garage steps. But they didn’t really blend well with the dressy living room.
Puppy Treads are, however, effective, simple to use, and well priced. They are $7.99 each, or $69.95 for a pack of 10. Most other stair tread products are made of carpet material, and run anywhere from $60 to $120 for just four pieces.
To apply them, all you do is peel the backing paper off and smooth the tread down into place. At first they had almost an opaque appearance, and you could see foot and paw prints, but after a day or so the print impressions were gone.
I used the Puppy Treads on the landing, where the dogs come tearing down the steps and make a sharp turn to the living room. Without something there to give them traction, they slide into the wall. The Treads worked. The dogs didn’t slip, and the Treads never shifted out of place.
Even better, when I removed the Treads, they came up easily and didn’t damage or leave a sticky residue on the wood floors at all. I’d even venture to say there was enough “stick” left that if you applied them, then decided to move them somewhere else, you probably could at least once.
They also were simple to clean. I vacuumed over them, Swiffered the dog hair off, and wiped mud up with just a wet sponge.
My one other caveat is that you can only use Puppy Treads on a flat, indoor surface, according to the instructions. Last week, I visited a friend with metal stairs from her patio to her lawn, and Chatham slipped. A version for outdoor use would be great.
If you want to try Puppy Treads, Handi-Ramp is offering a 10% discount if you use the code BLOG2015.
Two Dog Tales received the Puppy Treads product at no cost, but was not otherwise compensated for this review.
The best pet-friendly outdoor dining neighborhood in the whole greater DC area is hosting an all-afternoon celebration of pets this Saturday, Aug. 22. Wags n’ Whiskers is from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Village at Shirlington in Arlington, Va.
This year more than 60 vendors will be on hand with pet products and services, rescue groups and more. There will also be $5 pet photos, live music and children’s activities such as face painting, balloon art and strolling entertainment.
Nearly all of the restaurants in the village are dog-friendly, and many even have bowls of fresh water out for your pup while you dine al fresco. You can also check out the new Shirlington Animal Hospital that went into the former dental office space, near the Dogma Bakery & Boutique on the lower level.
Here are some pics from past W&W events.
Here is another cool piece of art spotted at Alexandria’s Torpedo Factory (the building is not dog-friendly, though). This is a custom mosaic by artist Roslyn Zinner of her sister’s Labrador. Zinner also does mosaic pet bowls.
Arlington’s Lubber Run Park is a hidden gem just minutes from the city, that you can enjoy with your dog every month of the year. The park runs along Lubber Run Creek through the Arlington Forest neighborhood, from George Mason Drive to Route 50.
For the hot summer months, the park has picnic shelters, a playground, restroom facilities and plenty of shaded paved paths. Best of all, on most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays you can attend evening dance, music or theater performances at the outdoor Amphitheater.
Chatham, Sundae and I have gone to two concerts this year, the Pops for Pets Arlington Philharmonic concert benefit for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, and an event featuring Hawaiian music and dance. You can sit on the benches surrounding the stage, or set up a blanket on the hillside behind—all are dog-friendly with clear views of the action. It was perfect for Sundae’s short attention span; the concerts only last about an hour and half.
You can also let your dog take a dip in the stream, but unlike the off-leash dog parks at Shirlington and Glen Carlyn, dogs must stay leashed. Just be careful and remember that storm water runoff feeds into all Arlington streams, there could be elevated bacteria levels and dangerous litter including broken glass and sharp metal.
Amphitheater performances are free and open to the public, and are presented by Arlington Cultural Affairs. There are parking lots at the north end at the community center and at the Amphitheater near the park’s center, plus free parking in the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Lubber Run Park is at 200 North Columbus St., Arlington, VA, 22203.