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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 26, 2015 at 11:30 am 364 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

Geriatric is relative to the pet

It’s a common misconception that one “human” year is equivalent to seven “pet” years. In reality, bigger dogs age much faster than cats and smaller dogs, and the ratio is actually higher in the younger years, and decreases as the pet ages (for example: cats “grow up” faster than dogs in the first 1-2 years, but then age more slowly).

Age is not a disease (however, many diseases happen more commonly in older pets)

A thorough history and physical exam every six months is recommended after 6-9 years of age, depending on the species, age, and breed. Preventive care is important for the early detection of problems and often leads to earlier intervention and improved quality and quantity of life. Physical exams and geriatric blood work can aide in the screening of most of the more common age-related diseases such as heart, liver, thyroid and kidney disease. Cancer also develops more commonly in older pets, but not all cancers are created equal. Early detection can sometimes give a better prognosis depending on the type, location and nature of the cancer.

One of the most common age-related diseases, arthritis, can develop secondary to previous disease or from general wear and tear on the joints. The symptoms of arthritis can vary from a bit of slowness/stiffness upon rising, all the way to being unable to walk without assistance. In cats, it can manifest with urinary accidents, decreased grooming and reduced social interaction. Interventions include: physical therapy, acupuncture, glucosamine, fish oils and other supplements, as well as anti-inflammatory and pain modulating medications.

Making some easy environmental modifications can go a long way in easing your pet’s ability to get around comfortably (i.e. adding area rugs on slippery floors, or a ramp to the bed); and maintaining a healthy weight and routine exercise are some of the most important, not to mention cost-effective, options to address your old friend’s quality of life.

Cognitive problems are also more frequent in aging animals: nighttime waking, restlessness/inability to get settled down, increased vocalization, increased daytime sleeping, and elimination accidents are all frequently seen. These can be quite distressing as they can affect the quality of life of both the pet and owner. It is important to identify and address any underlying disease that may mimic cognitive problems such as liver, kidney or metabolic disease, pain/arthritis, and cancer. If indicated there are several medications and supplements that may be helpful with these behaviors, including: SAMe, casein, and melatonin.

Check out these senior pet checklists to see if your pet may be exhibiting some of the common aging-related ailments. You can then use these as guidelines to discuss any possible concerns with your veterinarian and together work to keep your pet healthy and happy for as long as possible.

Sometimes, we need to let go

Quality of life is of utmost concern in our aging pets and must be considered when making treatment decisions. As much as we would like our pets to live forever… they don’t. Hospice care and humane euthanasia are options owners have in the face of their pet’s declining health. There comes a time in most of our pets lives when pursuing treatment is not the right decision (for your pet, you/your family, or the disease) and difficult end of life decisions must be made.

Be sure to have an open dialogue with your veterinarian about your aging pet’s quality of life and make sure you’re all on the same page with the management, treatment goals and quality of life of your elderly companion.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 26, 2015 at 5:00 am 355 0

Social Sports of Arlington is proud to announce that its leagues are now powered by the folks behind United Social Sports. This partnership  means more sports, more events, and more friends to make for all SSA players!

SSA & USS has a ton of awesome leagues to share with the Arlington community, including two brand new Tuesday and Saturday Kickball leagues!

Players will need to act fast to get in on the action though as some permits were just issued but have games starting soon! Capacity for for select leagues has already been reached… don’t miss your chance to get a little more social this Spring!

Below is a list of Arlington area leagues. For a full listing visit www.UnitedSocialSports.com

Arlington Kickball: Full Lineup

Arlington Flag Football:Full Lineup

  • Sundays @ Kenmore – New League!

Softball:  Full Lineup

Soccer:Full Lineup

Volleyball – Sand: Full Lineup

Volleyball – Indoor: Full Lineup

Arlington Bocce:Full Lineup

Arlington Cornhole:Full Lineup

Arlington Skeeball:  Full Lineup

Dodgeball: Full Lineup

  • Thursdays @ Crystal City Gateway Sport & Health

SSA & USS cater to a growing population in Arlington who love to stay active and have a focus on having fun and being social while staying active.

Registration closes for most Spring Team Sports on Tuesday, March 31st (or when leagues fill out) and for Spring Bar Sports on Tuesday, April 7th.

by ARLnow.com — March 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm 924 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Rudy, a labradoodle transplant from Portland who ditched the “hipster lifestyle” to move to, according to one metric, the seventh-most hipster city in America.

Here’s what owner Noah had to say:

This here is Rudy. He’s a labradoodle from outside of Portland who decided that the west-coast “hipster lifestyle” wasn’t exactly for him (although he has been know to curl up in a flannel to read Hemingway every so often).

Named in part for the classic 1993 motivational football movie, Rudy is a natural athlete. He can be found at the Clarendon Dog Park running laps, or swimming in Four Mile Run, or just chasing bunnies in the yard. After a long day, however, Rudy is always down for a cuddle (so long as he gets three-quarters of the bed).

In the case that any eligible bachelorette pups are reading this, Rudy can be easily wooed with empty water bottles and salmon jerky. And while he is a mama’s boy, he definitely knows how to let loose and have fun.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email office@arlnow.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm 1,051 0

Ask Adam Real Living header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. The tax value that Arlington has for our new house is higher than what we bought it for. We are new to the area and have no idea how to challenge this. Can you please help me get started? 

A. As I’m sure you realize, the tax-assessed value is a major factor in the calculation of your county real estate taxes. If you are successful getting them to lower the value then it has the potential to save you money on taxes for years to come. Because of this savings, a home with a lower tax assessed value should be more valuable to future buyers.

The first step is to contact the Department of Real Estate Assessment appraiser that covered your neighborhood: 703-228-3920. He or she will provide an informal description of how they came to your home’s value. After that conversation, you can submit a formal appeal application.

Your appeal needs to include one of the following:

  1. Proof of a discrepancy used in the county’s evaluation of your home’s value (i.e. they think you have four bedrooms, but you only have three).
  2. You can prove that, during the period of their analysis, similar homes sold for less money than the assessed value. Your real estate agent should be able to help you compile this data.
  3. You can prove that the estimated market value of your home is valid but it was not appraised in a manner equitable with similar properties during the analysis period. I would love to hear an example from anyone who has had luck with this one.

For additional information, I recommend visiting the webpage dedicated to real estate assessment appeals for Arlington county.

Please send future Ask Adam questions to adam@rlathome.com.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 23, 2015 at 6:00 pm 1,735 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Cowork Cafe, a new coworking concept in Boccato in ClarendonA Monday in Boccato Gelato & Espresso in Clarendon looks vastly different now than it did two months ago, thanks to a new Arlington startup called Cowork Cafe.

Founded by David James and Ramzy Azar, Cowork Cafe is a partnership between the two entrepreneurs and Boccato (2719 Wilson Blvd) owner Christian Velasco in which James and Azar rent out Boccato’s lounge for 9 hours on weekdays, and offer it to members for $200 a month. Those members get souped up WiFi, $50 in food and beverage credits, soundproofed phone booths and, soon, personal lockers for storage.

From 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Velasco puts stanchions through Boccato’s lounge separating a dozen or so tables — including bars that function as standing desks — for Cowork Cafe members, and keeping a small handful for walk-in Boccato customers. During the cafe’s busiest times in the evenings and on weekends, the stanchions are removed and it’s a full-fledged coffee and gelato shop once more.

“I totally understand the challenges of a food establishment; it’s dependent on volume,” Azar told ARLnow.com over coffee at the cafe. His parents own restaurants, he said, which is party of why old friend James asked him to cofound the venture. “As soon as I understood what coworking was about, it seems like a great way to contribute to the establishment.”

James came up with the idea after years of working at home as an independent software developer left him feeling “a little isolated.” He ventured to coffee shops with his laptop, but those started to become too crowded, too noisy and too distracted. Walking by Boccato’s empty lounge space on a weekday spawned the idea.

Cowork Cafe co-founders Ramzy Azar and David JamesNow, Cowork Cafe has 20 paying members, and two other restaurant businesses have reached out to become the home of the next Cowork Cafe.

“It’s something that could be a lot bigger than here,” James said. “We’re excited about the ability to scale quickly. Restaurants already have space, and we can just plug in and go. That means we can try out a place with low risk.”

Of course, some might raise their eyebrows at the idea of charging $200 a month to work in a space that was previously free, but James said the advantages to membership and the price hit a sweet spot for teleworkers and self-employed professionals.

“Most of the people that work here don’t need to go to a place to work,” James said. “But people can see the benefit of being around a community. If you haven’t worked form home a lot, it’s probably hard to understand.”

The 20 members are a hodgepodge of writers, developers, self-employed professionals and teleworkers, James said. Some have routines and come in most of every weekday. Others float in and out and use it more like a regular coffee shop. With the $50 in food credit, any member can go to the counter and get a coffee or empanada without taking out their wallet; Azar called it a country club-like system.

“Self-employed folks come to these spaces anyway,” he said. “It’s not an office. It has a rustic feel and a great sense of community.”

“A place like this encourages abstract thinking,” James added.

James and Azar didn’t just show up and launch the cafe on Feb. 2 — they put in some key infrastructure, like four soundproofed phone booths for phone calls and video conferencing. James said they installed about 50 plugs and business-class WiFi. They also didn’t quite know what to expect — they put a sign on the retail storefront on Wilson Blvd, held a few open houses and hoped for the best.

The expansion plans are underway sooner than either expected, but James and Azar aren’t saying yet where or when the next Cowork Cafe will be.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm 783 0

Berry&Berry2

This is a biweekly sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

The Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA) was enacted in September 2000 and designed to provide relief to federal civilian employees who were placed in the wrong federal retirement system for at least three years of service after Dec. 31, 1986.

Typically, FERCCA errors arise when a federal employee experiences a break in service, especially during the mid-1980s when the Federal Employees Retirement Systems (FERS) plan was created. In some cases, FERCCA has provided federal employees and annuitants placed in the wrong federal retirement system with the opportunity to choose between FERS and the offset provisions contained within the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS).

In order to determine if you are in the correct federal retirement plan, you need to know the type of appointment you have and your work history. Federal retirement rules governing retirement plan placement are complex and contain many exceptions that are hard to follow. If you find that you fit in any of the situations described below, you could be in the wrong federal retirement system. However, keep in mind that there are exceptions to the general rules.

If you currently have CSRS coverage, then you may be in the wrong plan if:

  • You worked for the federal government before 1984, but not on a permanent basis;
  • You left federal employment for more than a year at any time after 1983;
  • You have a temporary appointment limited to a year or less, a term appointment, or an emergency indefinite appointment;
  • You have no federal civilian employment before 1984; or
  • You do not have a career or career conditional appointment and you work on an intermittent basis (see the work schedule block on your SF-50).

If you currently have CSRS Offset coverage, then you may be in the wrong plan if:

  • You have a temporary appointment limited to a year or less, a term appointment, or an emergency indefinite appointment;
  • You have no federal civilian employment before 1984;
  • You do not have a career or career conditional appointment and you work on an intermittent basis (see the work schedule block on your SF-50); or
  • You did not work for the federal government for a total of five years before 1987 (not including your military service). Exception: If you worked under CSRS, left the federal government, and your agency placed you in CSRS Offset upon your return, your CSRS Offset coverage is probably correct if you had five years of federal government service when you left.

If you currently have FERS coverage, then you may be in the wrong plan if:

  • You have a temporary appointment limited to a year or less;
  • You do not have a career or career conditional appointment and you work on an intermittent basis; or
  • You have worked for the federal government for at least five years before 1987 (not including military service) unless you elected to transfer to FERS during a FERS Open Season or after a break in service.

FERCCA can also provide 1) reimbursement for certain out-of-pocket expenses paid as a result of a coverage error (e.g., attorney’s fees, costs, etc.); 2) an ability to benefit from certain changes in the rules about how some federal service is credited toward retirement; and 3) make-up contributions to the federal employee’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and receipt of lost earnings on those contributions, among other provisions. (more…)

WWBG: Beers I’m Loving

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm 635 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.

Every once in a while I just want to share some of the great stuff that I’m drinking these days. There is so much great beer out there — here are just a few.

Dogfish Head AprihopDogfish Head Brewery Aprihop (7 percent ABV)

Aprihop is an IPA brewed with apricot juice, but it sure tastes like a fruity amber. That’s quite a compliment, actually. If Dogfish made this a big piney or even a grapefruit IPA with apricot, the delicate apricot would be lost. Instead, the hop bitterness accentuates the tart apricot flavor and is pleasantly balanced by a slight malty sweetness. In fact, it looks like an amber, too. Whatever you call it, it’s a delicious seasonal beer that won’t be around for long. Also, check out the great Paul Bunyan look alike on the label.

Ballast Point Indra KunindraBallast Point Indra Kunindra, Curry Export Stout (7 percent ABV)

Ballast Point is a venerable West Coast brewery that regularly puts out quality hoppy beers that usually range from lagers to bright, fruity IPAs. But once in a while, they dabble in the dark arts of stouts and porters — their Victory at Sea Vanilla Porter is a hard one to beat. This stout is thinner than a dry Irish stout, but no worse for it. The first impression even when pouring it, is that Ballast Point means business with their addition of madras curry and cumin. That vivid array of aroma is all over the flavor, too. Only in the finish is the delicious spice balanced by the bittering of the dark malts. This one is made in limited quantities in collaboration with award-winning home brewer, Alex Tweet — get some while you can!

Ballast Point Tongue BucklerBallast Point Tongue Buckler, Imperial Red Ale (10 percent ABV)

I wish that I’d had this beer a month ago when I wrote about ambers — its description won’t come as a surprise to any of you who read it. What sets it apart, though, is the booziness that comes through. The aroma is an enticing black tea and biscuit — balancing the hops with the malt that should be somewhat forward in a good red or amber. The flavor is quite complex until the alcohol kicks in. It goes from sweet to herbal from the hops to nearly astringent from the high alcohol. This is a strong ale — it borders on spirits — that’s definitely a mouth tingling experience. Like the Indra above, it’s only around for a limited time.

DuClaw and Cigar City Impey Barbicane's Moon Gun Session Amber AleDuClaw Brewing Co. (Baltimore)  and Cigar City Brewing (Tampa)
Impey Barbicane’s Moon Gun Session Amber Ale (5 percent ABV)

OK. This beer wins for my favorite name — to say, to write, to think about — but also for being the one beer that I wish that I had a sixer of. DuClaw is known for their flavorful beers — their Sweet Baby Jesus peanut butter porter is a favorite. Cigar City has its own enormous following — I can easily name their Jai Alai IPA as one of my favorite go-to IPAs. Together they’ve taken the often yawn-inducing session beer category and rocked it! Another amber that I could have happily included a month ago, this beer astonishes with its complexity. The aroma is primarily of floral hops with just a hint of the malt of an amber. The flavor is pretty true to a regular amber, but the hop bomb that this is blasts your palate! My favorite aspect of this beer came as it warmed — the bitter bite becomes more fruity like white grapefruit juice. Enjoy more than one without feeling overwhelmed! (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm 476 0

Rental Report header

Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

Sometimes an unavoidable life event happens that damages credit such as divorce, illness, or unemployment. Does it mean you are doomed for the dark basement apartment you found on a bulletin board with a landlord who can only be reached by pager?

Not necessarily. The key is communication. Plan ahead and know your rights before you start your search, and you can still find a great place to live.

Start the dialogue early, so there are no surprises after going through the application process. Since you will not have the good credit on hand to show, other items such as landlord references, employment history, and proof of ability to pay are essential. Sometimes landlords will accept co-signers for challenged credit, and sometimes they will not. Just make sure your co-signer has good credit and enough income where they can cover not only their own expenses but your rent as well. Otherwise, they are not likely to be approved.

You should also understand your rights as a renter under Virginia law. You cannot be required to pay more than two months’ rent for a security deposit. Also, if you do have the ability to pre-pay some of your rent, the landlord is required to keep the pre-paid rent in an escrow account, and only distribute the amounts as it becomes due. People with poor credit are not directly protected under Fair Housing laws, but landlords should be up-front with their screening requirements, so you know ahead of time whether or not to pursue a particular place.

It is also a good idea to think of the situation through the eyes of the landlord. What would make you feel comfortable? Someone with no credit and a lot of cash may make a landlord uneasy, and they have an obligation to make sure their tenant is not involved in anything illegal. More information is always better. You are entering into a financial contract with this person, and all parties need to be happy.

Lastly, know where to look. Private landlords are often more likely to work with renters with challenged credit. Managed apartment buildings may not have as much flexibility with screening requirements. Enlisting an agent is also beneficial as they may know who is willing to work with you.

If you have challenged credit, you should go into the search with the understanding not everyone will be able to work with you. Be prepared up front, communicate, and make your case, and you can still come away with a great new home.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to info@urbanigloo.com.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — March 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm 1,513 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Mr. Waffles, who his owners say would sound and look “just like Matthew McConaughey” if he were human.

Here’s what owner Grace wrote on behalf of her deliciously named pup:

Howdy! My name is Waffles, and I’m a Southern gentleman from rural South Carolina. After being rescued by Homeward Trails, I was immediately adopted by two lovely ladies (what can I say — with these doe eyes and sparkling smile, I can easily melt even the coldest of hearts). I’m a 4-year-old miniature lab mix, and I enjoy the simple things in life — good company and good eats! I also am just a tad fancy — I have a penchant for wearing bow ties, and I’m usually sporting some trendy ensemble from Barks Brothers.

When I’m extremely happy or content, I like to snort like a pig! My joyful attitude always brightens others’ days. I am a favorite in my apartment building, and I can usually be found carrying one of my many felt squeaky toys in the building’s dog park. My hobbies are: sleeping on the couch, ignoring my cat brother Pancake, dancing to Nat King Cole (a fellow soulful crooner), and receiving Wylie Wagg treats! My owners always say that if I was human, I would probably sound/look just like Matthew McConaughey.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email office@arlnow.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

Ask Adam: Buy or Rent?

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm 1,539 0

Ask Adam Real Living header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. My wife and I dream about purchasing a home in Arlington. Unfortunately, the prices are above our reach. So we put a plan in place to save for a hefty down payment after five years of savings. We pay about $1500 in rent for an apartment. I noticed condos in South Arlington going around $200,000-215,000, which would equal about $1,700 mortgage including a $400 condo fee.

Is it wiser to buy or continue renting? What should I consider beside the mortgage? My thinking strays me to think a condo would be a wise investment given that rent and mortgage payments are about the same and we could build equity with maybe 2-3 percent growth over five years. Also we live in highly populated area/city and five minutes from Washington, D.C. So I’m also thinking about renting instead of selling the condo.

A. I think that 2-3 percent growth over 5 years is very conservative, but that could be a whole other article in itself. I will go ahead and use your projection for our analysis.

I’m assuming that your down payment is 3.5 percent and let’s use a purchase price of $200,000.

  • Estimated principal and interest payment based on a 3.5% interest rate = $867
  • Estimated annual property taxes = $2432 ($202/monthly) *
  • Estimated monthly condo fee = $354*
  • Estimated PMI = $136
  • Total monthly = $1,559

* Based on sample property currently for sale, for $199,000

This is $59 per month higher than the current rent you are paying of $1500.

If the home appreciates by 3 percent over the next five years to $206,000, that is an increase of $6,000. You’ll also pay down about $20,247 towards your loan balance. Deduct the $60 premium you are paying each month above your current rent, which will cost you $3600 during those five years. The net gain over renting is $22,647.

You’ll want to compare that gain to a scenario where you invest your $7,000 down-payment elsewhere. If your $7,000 can make more being invested elsewhere then you may want to consider a different direction if this is purely a financial decision.

Please note that this is a very simple analysis. There are much more intricate applications you can use online that will take into account maintenance costs, inflations, tax savings, etc.

I like your idea of holding on to the condo as a rental once you are ready to move out. If you can afford to do that, I think it will make a nice addition to your investment portfolio. The longer you have the mortgage, the more rapid your payoff of the loan balance will become.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Local Woof: Out of the Blue

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — March 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm 390 0

Local Woof logo

Editor’s Note: The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.

When it comes to aggression, trainers often hear the same thing.

“Rover bit me out of the blue,” or “Fluffy growled at my son and never gave any other indications he was uncomfortable.”

Both of these situations are highly unlikely since dogs very rarely do things without prior warning signs.

More likely, the dog has been telling you that he or she is uncomfortable. Because we do not speak the same language, we were unable to interpret what they were saying.

Lacking a rich verbal language, dogs rely on body language to communicate. This means that in order to “hear” what they are saying, we need to be watching very closely. We need to be listening with our eyes.

Learning any new language can be challenging. But just like with any new language, the more you practice, the more fluent you become. Phrases that were once hard to hear become easier and easier to interpret. The more time you spend watching your dog and studying dog body language, the better you will become at interpreting how your dog is feeling or what they are trying to tell you.

In those out of the blue incidents, what is often happening is that the dog is giving subtle signs that they are uncomfortable. These signs are either misread or missed altogether. After hours, days or weeks of giving off stress signs that are ignored, the dog finally escalates and growls or snaps. Some commonly missed subtle indicators of stress are yawning, lip licking and eye rolling. These can be easy to miss.

Learning to interpret how your dog is feeling can help avoid those “out of the blue” incidents that are not really out of the blue. They can also help inform a management and training plan to make your dog more comfortable. Not sure what your dog is trying to say? Ask your trainer or register for a seminar on dog body language. The information can be eye opening.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 16, 2015 at 12:15 pm 1,695 0

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

ValueCrates founder Adam GenestAdam Genest had wanted to be an entrepreneur his whole life after hearing about the successful businesses his grandfather and father started.

A previous venture, and e-commerce platform, failed. Genest belonged to an entrepreneurship group and was looking for the next big idea when a friend suggested an idea he saw in Arizona, about renting crates out to movers. Genest thought about his own moving experience to an apartment in Rosslyn, and knew right away the idea had legs.

He bought 10 crates and a dolly and launched a website. ValueCrates was born.

The idea is as simple as can be: for $19.99, someone moving can rent 10 plastic crates and a dolly. You can rent 25 crates for $29.99, 35 crates for $34.99, 50 crates for $49.99 and 75 crates for $79.99. The crates can be held for a month and are delivered and picked up for no extra charge by Genest himself.

Genest started with just the 10 crates and dolly when he launched in October 2014, and he said he’s been sold out since the first weekend.

“I knew the business made such good sense that I had to try it,” he said. “I’ve turned down over 1,000 crate orders because I’ve been sold out. This was achieving a level of success I hadn’t achieved before.”

Genest didn’t launch ValueCrates with a startup blueprint: build a value proposition, create a minimum viable product, beta test it and always build to scale. Instead, he launched as soon as he could and was glad to do things inefficiently early on. Many business advisors might pull their hair out hearing how many customers Genest has turned away; Genest said he’s been focused on keeping the customer’s he’s had happy.

“I meet every one of our customers,” he said. “I get to talk to them and see how we’re helping them. I ask them questions about the business, and they feel, and I know, that they’re not just numbers.”

Each crate is 23.5-by-15.7-by-12.4 inches and can hold a maximum of 80 pounds. Genest offers one size crate and one size dolly, keeping his costs and options simple, and keeping prices low. When he’s asked customers what they think of the price, some have said he should raise it.

“They say ‘I feel like it’s unfair to you,’” he said.

A two-bedroom ValueCrates pacakgeDespite the low prices, ValueCrates is profitable and completely bootstrapped, Genest says. It’s still run out of his apartment, which would be more of a problem for he and his wife if the crates weren’t consistently sold out. Despite Genest’s satisfaction with building a company without regards to scale or efficiency, it’s a situation that cannot last.

Now the successful entrepreneur is in the market for storage space and is in talks with manufacturers in China. He’s been buying crates and dollies from Home Depot to this point, not a practical solution considering he eventually has eyes on servicing multiple cities. He says that’s still a ways away.

“My ultimate goal is to get D.C. right,” he said.

Genest is still telling too many customers for his liking that he has no crates available — “turning down orders sucks,” he said frankly — so he’s looking for $200,000 in investment to scale faster.

ValueCrates has strayed from the traditional startup blueprint, but Genest thinks there are lessons he’s learned that can translate to any business.

“I learned it’s OK not to be scalable and profit-focused right away,” he said. “I would have made mistakes, would have rushed it … the only reason I’m successful is because of the mistakes I’ve made in the past.”

by Ethan Rothstein — March 12, 2015 at 2:15 pm 347 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a new column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

In our last column we discussed canine vaccines & lifestyles. This week we’ll give the cats their turn and with a brief run-down of feline vaccines and lifestyles:

Rabies  an incurable and nearly always fatal viral disease of mammals, Rabies is transmitted through saliva and targets the central nervous system. Because it is spread from animals to people, the public health implications have led to a legal requirement for vaccination of all cats and dogs in nearly every state.

FVRCP – Feline herpes/calicivirus/panleukopenia – This combination vaccine is considered “core” by the American Animal Hospital Association and is highly recommend for all cats:

  • FVR – Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis: an upper respiratory disease caused by feline herpes virus type 1. This, very common cause of respiratory disease in kittens and young cats, can result in chronic, even life-long, infections that may intermittently recur. It can also cause painful corneal (eye) erosions. It easily spreads by respiratory droplets.
  • C – Calicivirus: another highly contagious viral infection that can cause ulcers on the eyes and in the mouth, upper respiratory symptoms, and even occasionally severe joint pain. This virus is particularly resistant to disinfectants so can be persistent in the environment.
  • P – Panleukopenia is a highly contagious and severe infection of the gastrointestinal tract. Similar to the parvovirus in dogs, it is easily transmitted through feces and contact with infected animals or contaminated items. If a cat is infected while pregnant it can cause neurologic abnormalities in her kittens.

Feline Chlamydiosis: this bacterial disease causes conjunctivitis and upper respiratory symptoms. It is very contagious in young kittens, especially those in multi-cat environments (shelters, catteries, etc…) and can rarely be transmitted to humans by direct contact.

Feline Leukemia Virus: (FeLV) is a highly contagious virus transmitted via bodily fluids, and can cause wasting syndromes and cancer which ultimately lead to death. Cats that spend times outdoors are at highest risk because of the potential for contact with infected cats. Kittens are most susceptible.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: (FIV) is similar to HIV in humans, this virus leads to a deficient immune system and predisposes to secondary infections.  It is spread most commonly through bite wounds, so cats that spend time outdoors are at highest risk. Healthy cats living with an FIV-infected cat are at little risk so long as there is not inter-cat aggression/fighting. There is a vaccine against FIV, but concerns with its efficacy and ability to cause false positive test results, it is very infrequently recommended.

Most veterinarians aim to customize vaccine protocols based on each cat’s geographical location, age and sex, and individual lifestyle. Which class does your kitty fall into?

  • “outdoor enthusiast” — spends a lot of time outdoors where he/she has frequent contact with other cats; lives in a multiple-cat household with frequent new additions/fosters; or contact with feral cat community
  • “outdoor socialite” — spends some time outdoors; three or less cats in the house; occasional contact with unknown cats
  • “indoor socialite” — multi-cat household; mostly indoors/confined outdoors, but has frequent contact with other cats (i.e. boarding/showing/mealtimes/litter boxes)
  • “indoor elitist” — 1-2 cat household; occasionally escapes outdoors and may have contact with unknown cats
  • “indoor window watcher” — strictly indoor; no contact with other cats (or only one other cat); no desire to escape outdoors

By taking all these factors into consideration, your veterinarian can work with you to develop the best individualized vaccine protocol for your cat.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

by ARLnow.com — March 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm 1,235 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Dewey, a rescue dog who gets his love of reading from his librarian owner.

Here’s what mom Jessica had to say about her academic animal:

Hi, I’m Dewey! My parents adopted me in September from Homeward Trails. The main antagonist of my storyline, the vet, says I’m about 9 months old. My mom was finishing getting her degree in library sciences from the University of Maryland at the time, so they named me Dewey (after the decimal system, naturally).

I told them to “call me Ishmael,” but whatever.

I’m just your run-of-the-paper-mill canine. My folks think I’ve got some Australian Shepherd in me, with a bit of mystery mixed in. I love the classics — visits from granny, belly rubs from mom, hopping on pop, and chewing on socks (that one’s still pretty novel to me). Mom and dad put me in day care, where I get to play with my best friends. The other guys aren’t much for reading, but they sure are a bunch of characters.

My favorite books include “Green Eggs and Ham,” “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” You don’t have to be a Sherlock to figure this out, but since I’m still a young adult, I’m ALWAYS hungry. I can’t wait for it to be warm again so that I can stretch out on the grass with a one of my good reads, good snacks and a good scratch!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email office@arlnow.com with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet.

Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks. Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Arlington and Northern Virginia.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm 1,755 0

Ask Adam Real Living header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. When a house is for sale and has a finished attic that didn’t apply for a permit from the county, how should you proceed with the sale?

A. It sounds like you are the purchaser. What I don’t know is how far along you are with the transaction. If you have not written an offer yet, then you will have to evaluate whether you want to purchase a house with major modifications that do not have permits.

It’s risky from the standpoint that Arlington County could require this work to be permitted at a later date. You may also want to consider the possibility of safety risks considering that the work was never reviewed by a third party.

During your value analysis you should not include the attic space as living area. You may also want to deduct some value due to the risks mentioned above.

If this is something you discovered during the home inspection and you have a full home inspection contingency in place, you have three primary options.

  1. You can move forward with the home in its current condition,
  2. You can cancel the contract and request a refund of your earnest money deposit,
  3. Or, you can request that the sellers apply for and complete permitting prior to closing.

You are going to have a tough time with option number three especially if you are planning to settle within the next month.

If you no longer have a home inspection contingency in place, then I don’t think the standard NVAR contract provides you with any leverage in this situation. I would recommend consulting an attorney to explore your options.

Please send your questions to adam@rlathome.com.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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