Library assistant Thinh Vu said he was preparing the building for closing, which was just a few minutes away, when he heard a commotion coming from the book store area. At first, he thought it might be a service dog, but he quickly saw that the six pound chihuahua was simply running loose.
“I thought, great, this is last thing I need during closing time,” Vu said. “I have a dog, I love dogs. It was cute, but it shouldn’t be in the library.”
Typically, dogs and other pets aren’t allowed at the library unless they are service animals or part of the “Paws-to-Read” program. When librarians tried to find the owner by making an announcement about the loose dog and nobody came forward, they realized this dog likely was not intentionally brought in. They noticed it didn’t have a collar and figured it was a stray that somehow found its way into the building.
That’s actually partially the case. The dog — named Bella — and her owners had been visiting Arlington resident Melanie Domres last weekend. While the humans were out for a bit, Bella used the dog door on Melanie’s home to get into the backyard, managed to squeeze under the fence of Melanie’s home near Quincy Park, and squeezed under a neighbor’s fence. Bella then apparently took off on a jaunt through the neighborhood, though it’s unclear exactly how she wound up in the middle of the library.
“Bella’s eight-year-old owner was in tears,” Domres said. “We were worried because she doesn’t live in an area with busy streets, so she may have panicked. The worst feeling, even worse than losing your own dog, is losing someone else’s dog.”
While Domres and her guests scoured the neighborhood, library staff tried picking up the pooch, but she was frightened and continued to run around the auditorium area. Bella then headed for the children’s section, where one of the librarians succeeding in picking her up and calming her down.
“Perhaps she was a dog whisperer, because the dog was very content in her arms,” Vu said.
The dog was then kept in the lobby area until an animal welfare worker arrived. Librarian Kate Oberg says Bella looked awfully lonely all by herself, so Oberg decided to read her some dog themed books like “Harry the Dirty Dog.”
“She looked like she needed entertainment so I went and grabbed a couple of books, but she wasn’t even paying attention,” Oberg said. “She didn’t bark, was very well behaved and very cute.”
An animal welfare worker arrived on the scene quickly to claim the dog. After searching for more than an hour, Domres and her guests called Arlington County Animal Control and they said they had Bella. The six-year-old pooch was soon reunited with her owners, safe and sound.
“Judging by the pictures, Bella did not seem to be distressed at all,” said Domres. “I think she actually had fun on her adventure. Her owners definitely got a kick out of her ending up in the library.”
Domres said Bella and her owners will definitely be back to the neighborhood for future visits. However, the yard has been better secured to accommodate such a small dog. Domres said her dogs are larger, and she didn’t anticipate Bella’s ability to shimmy through tight spaces.
“Now we examined her escape route,” she said. “A small animal like that is a whole different ball of wax.”
In a thank you note to library staff, Domres wrote: “Perhaps she [Bella] felt the reading choices in my home were not sufficient to her tastes, or perhaps she recognized a friendly and safe place when she saw one. So please accept her owners’ and my thanks for taking her in and making sure she found her way to animal control, where we picked her up after giving them a call.”
Library staff is just happy Bella was safely reunited with her family, without even causing any damage to the library.
“I’m just glad it had a happy ending,” said Vu. “Luckily, they were able to find the owner.”
Photos courtesy Arlington Public Library
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Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.