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by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm 747 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.

Following up on our previous article about intestinal parasites, we thought a brief summary of diarrhea in general would be warranted.

What IS diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the abnormal (often rapid) movement of ingesta through the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in increased frequency or volume of stools with decreased form. Diarrhea can be the result of small intestinal disease/inflammation, large intestinal disease/inflammation or a combination of the two.

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What are the most common causes of diarrhea?

There are far too many causes to cover in our limited space, but the most common include intestinal parasites, dietary indiscretion and rapid diet change.  Viral infections, bacterial infections, and toxin ingestion are also relatively frequent causes.  Most often, whatever the initial trigger, the diarrhea is perpetuated by an imbalance in the normal bacterial population in the gut — the “bad guys” — i.e. Clostridium, etc. — take over the “good guys” — i.e. Lactobacillus, etc.  These bacteria then secrete toxins that can perpetuate the diarrhea.

Chronic diarrhea is defined as diarrhea lasting longer than three weeks.  The potential causes for chronic diarrhea include the above causes, but also may warrant further investigation into the possibility of a food allergy/sensitivity, or of an underlying condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatic insufficiency or other system or metabolic disease.

A fecal sample is typically the first diagnostic test ordered, as this screens for intestinal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, Giardia, and Coccidia.  Additional tests such as blood work, x-rays, or even fecal pathogen testing or cultures (to look for Salmonella, and other bacterial and viral infections) may be recommended based on the symptoms. In some cases biopsies of the small and or large intestine may be indicated to diagnose certain inflammatory conditions or cancer.

What can you do at home?

There are several things that you can do at home that may help improve an uncomplicated case of loose stools.  A bland diet is one of the mainstays of treatment.  We typically recommend a 50/50 mixture of boiled boneless/skinless chicken breast and white rice, divided into several smaller meals throughout the day.  If your pet has a possible allergy to chicken, you can discuss with your veterinarian alternatives to chicken.

We are often asked if Pepto-Bismol or similar products can be administered at home.  These products are strongly NOT recommended, as they often contain salicylate, an aspirin derivative which can be toxic to dogs and cats and may even exacerbate the GI upset. Imodium (loperamide) can be used safely in some breeds, but please consult with your veterinarian first as certain breeds are predisposed to inherited genetic metabolic defects in which this drug can cause severe neurologic problems.

What treatment will the veterinarian prescribe?

Well, that depends on the clinical symptoms and diagnostic results of fecal and other testing. We often treat with antibiotics, bland diet and probiotics – but may also need to reach for prescription diets (e.g. hypoallergenic diets, low fat diets, highly digestible diets), anti-inflammatories such as steroids, deworming medications and vitamin B-12 injections to name a few therapeutic options. When diarrhea is secondary to an underlying metabolic or systemic disease – that underlying disease needs to be addressed. We tailor our treatments to the individual pet and make sure we are assessing response and making changes to treatment in a timely manner.

When should you be concerned?

We recommend calling your veterinarian after two consecutive episodes of diarrhea, or right away if the diarrhea is grossly bloody or black/tarry or is accompanied by other clinical signs such as decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, or pain.

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 — July 29, 2015 at 2:45 pm 622 0

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The following weekly column is written and sponsored by Virginia Hospital Center, a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals for the third year in a row.

Your prana and your chakras may be OK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t profit from a little yoga in your life. Yoga is a great exercise that offers a host of health benefits. You can practice it year-round, rain or shine, with no more equipment necessary than a yoga mat.

Here are the top 10 ways yoga may help improve your health and fitness:

  1. Flexibility: Yoga poses stretch your muscles. You’ll move better, reduce stiffness and feel less tired.
  2. Strength: Poses such as downward dog and plank build upper-body strength, while standing poses strengthen your lower body, spine and abs.
  3. Posture: Yoga improves core strength, which helps perfect posture. You’ll sit and stand taller.
  4. Pain relief: Studies show yoga can ease back pain, as well as pain associated with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other chronic conditions.
  5. Joint health: Yoga is gentle on joints but still provides a great workout. It helps prevent degenerative arthritis by taking your joints through the full range of motion.
  6. Spine health: Yoga protects your spine and keeps spinal discs supple.
  7. Bone health: Weight-bearing poses strengthen bones and help ward off osteoporosis.
  8. Heart health: Yoga helps to regulate heart rhythm and lower cholesterol and blood sugar, promoting healthier cardiovascular function.
  9. Immunity: Yoga helps fight infection and boost immunity.
  10. Stress relief: Yoga lowers your resting heart rate, decreases blood pressure and increases blood flow to help you feel more relaxed.

As part of its Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle program, Virginia Hospital Center offers a range of yoga classes suitable for all levels. Bring your own yoga mat and join in the fun.

Hatha Yoga rejuvenates your body and mind with strengthening postures, total body stretching, breathing exercises and deep relaxation. Gentle Yoga, a more accessible style of yoga, helps restore flexibility, regain strength and ease tension. Prenatal Yoga lets you practice yoga poses and focused breathing exercises to cultivate calm and confidence for labor and childbirth. You’ll need your doctor’s approval to attend.

Learn more and register online, or call the Virginia Hospital Center’s Health Promotion department at 703-558-6740 with any questions.

Namaste.

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

by Heather Mongilio — July 29, 2015 at 12:30 pm 1,321 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Huckleberry, a 6-month-old puppy.

Huckleberry is new to Arlington and loves playing with his stuffed toy alligator. Here’s what Huck’s parents had to say about him:

Huckleberry is a 6-month-old Vizsla puppy who became Arlington’s cutest new resident in March, when his owners Diane & Hank adopted him from Pittsburgh!

Huckleberry, or Huck for short, is a playful and energetic puppy who loves sniffing anything he can get his nose on! He can be shy at first, but once he gets comfortable with his surroundings, he loves romping around with other puppies and playing with his favorite toy – a green, stuffed alligator. Huck also enjoys chasing his brother – a 2-year-old Tabby cat named Maize – in circles around the apartment. Luckily for Maize, Huck is still too small to jump up and reach him on the furniture!

Though Huck is still a puppy, he has already learned several commands such as “sit” and “kisses.” When Huck isn’t out and about in Arlington, he likes to cuddle up inside with his favorite bone and fall asleep in bed…under the covers!

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] 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 — July 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm 736 0

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: My wife and I recently discovered a home that we love, but are concerned about the state of disrepair because it is being sold as-is. What do you suggest for ball-parking repairs before finalizing our offer?

A: Regardless of the type of home you are buying–new construction, remodeled or as-is–there are typically minor repairs, at minimum, that will be flagged by a home inspector. When buying an “as-is” home, regardless of the condition, the buyer is not entitled to a home inspection or to any fixes or credits from the seller.

There are several reasons a seller would list the home in this category, but the most common is the need for repairs to the property that can be costly.

If you’re interested in buying a home as-is, or even a fixer-upper, it’s a good idea to get an estimate for the costs of the repairs before making an offer. Here’s what I recommend.

  1. Find a contractor. Before you start your home search, look into hiring a contractor or homebuilder. Talking to three or four professionals will help you get a better understanding of the average costs associated with certain projects before you begin the house hunt.
  2. Bring him/her to a showing. Once you’ve found a home you like, ask a contractor to join you at a showing. If they can’t be there, take photos and notes so you can provide the contractor or builder with additional details on needed updates.
  3. Check for a sound structure. The roof and the foundation are two primary structural elements to pay close attention to, as fixing them can be costly. However, identifying if both are in sound condition can be difficult if the property is being sold as is. Keep an eye out for cracks in the foundation both inside and outside of the home, and look and smell for any signs of water leaking into the home. Water damage on the ceiling, damp walls and floors and the smell of mold could be a bad sign.
  4. Budget for unknown repairs. As anyone who has made home renovations can attest, additional repairs are often uncovered once the updates begin. Make sure to add some room in your budget for these unknowns.
  5. Select your finishes. Are you trying to save on costs by selecting generic or sale finishes? Or are you looking for the perfect aesthetic regardless of the price? Swing by your local hardware store to get a better idea of the tile, flooring, wall covering and other finishes available. Your price range for these updates could vary greatly based on what you select.

I’m hoping some readers can share any additional advice they have in comments section below.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

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 — July 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm 432 0

Berry&Berry2

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

On July 21, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a new anti-discrimination bill. The bill, referred to as the Federal Employee Antidiscrimination Act of 2015, H.R. 1557, enhances existing discrimination laws. The protections proposed by the bill largely focus on federal agency and supervisor accountability involving discrimination of federal employees in the workplace.

If the bill becomes law, it would require that each federal agency restructure its operations so that the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) program head reports directly to the agency head. Federal agencies would also be required to post notices on their agency’s website of any adverse findings of discrimination made against the agency for at least one year.

In addition, the new law would require an agency to notify the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding whether it has taken disciplinary action against an employee found to have engaged in discrimination or retaliation. The new law would further require that the EEOC refer any federal employees who are found guilty of committing discrimination or retaliation to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for disciplinary action.

A finding of discrimination against a supervisor does not often result in disciplinary action against the supervisor. Therefore, these new reporting and disclosure requirements would likely motivate agencies to take more disciplinary action against supervisors.

Lastly, the new law would prohibit non-disclosure agreements that prevent a federal employee from disclosing wrongdoing involving whistleblower matters to Congress, an Inspector General, or the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. Federal agencies typically insist on these types of non-disclosure clauses in their settlement agreements with federal employees. However, the new law would certainly end this practice.

Since the Act passed in the House 403-0, there is a strong likelihood that it will pass in the Senate and become law. It was received in the Senate on July 22, 2015, and has been referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

We represent employees in federal employment matters nationwide, as well as private and public sector employees in employment matters in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. If you need assistance with an employment law issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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

by Heather Mongilio — July 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm 833 0

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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, plus other local technology happenings. 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.

A million people around the world have been able to play pen and paper games on a virtual tabletop thanks in part to an Arlington man.

Richard Zayas co-founded Roll20.net, a site that provides a virtual platform to play pen and paper games, like Dungeons and Dragons, with his college roommates Nolan Jones and Riley Dutton.

Roll20 Screenshot (Courtesy of Roll20)The three friends used to play Dungeons and Dragons together in college, but stopped once they graduated and moved to different parts of the country. After talking about how they wish they could all play together, Dutton created a prototype of a virtual tabletop.

What started out as a way for the three founders to play Dungeons and Dragons together after college turned into a successful business. Roll20 reached 1 million users in July, according to Jones.

“We didn’t start thinking we’d run a small software company,” Zayas said.

After creating the prototype, the three launched a Kickstarter with the goal of getting $5,000 to create Roll20. The Kickstarter raised $39,000.

“So to raise that kind of money in that short of time was a shock,” Zayas said.

Roll20 is not a video game, instead it provides the virtual tabletop for players to build their own games on. It is functionally similar to a video chatroom. Players are required to provide their own content — including tokens for characters — and create their own game boards. Alternatively, some game board and pieces can be purchased from a marketplace.

“At the basic level, the interface is just a virtual table,” Zayas said.

Richard Zayas (Courtesy of Roll20)The site can be used for any type of pen and paper game, not just Dungeons and Dragons, Zayas said. Roll20 users can create or enter a game. The “game master” creates the game using his or her own content, such as character tokens. Users can also buy tokens and other assets from the Roll20 marketplace.

“If you like video games or ‘Game of Thrones,’ Dungeons and Dragons was the original game of the fantasy genre,” Zayas said. “And if you want to play it online, you can play it on Roll20 for free.”

The site is free to use, but it also offers a subscription service that comes with advanced like dynamic lighting, which gives the game a more realistic feel, Zayas said.

The subscription service is the site’s current revenue stream, though Jones, Zayas and Dutton may consider advertising on the site, Zayas said. So far, enough people are subscribing to the premium content to keep the site profitable.

“The model is definitely sustainable,” Zayas said.

Users from around the world are using Roll20 to host games. About 15 percent of users come from outside the U.S., Zayas said.

“People just find us,” he said. “It’s like wildfire.”

The idea of being able to play a game with people all over the world is reflected in the company’s set up. The three founders each live in different areas of the U.S.: Dutton in Kansas City, Kansas, Jones in Las Vegas and Zayas in Arlington. The founders only see each other once a year, Zayas said, and each has his own role in the company. Zayas is responsible for accounts and finances, while Jones does public relations and Dutton is the main developer.

“He [Dutton] would be the brains. I guess Nolan would be the mouth,” Zayas said. “I deal with all the finance, accounts, that sort of stuff.”

While the company is successful and growing, it has only gotten to where it is today through hard work, long hours and tough lessons learned.

“It is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Zayas said. “Easily.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm 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). This column is written by Dominion owner Arash Tafakor.

When a consumer asks for a suggestion on a wine, I consider a lot of things before making the right suggestion, such as price, customer’s taste, occasion and food pairing. With the summer heat here for now and BBQs in full force, I’ve been suggesting Zinfandels. Most of the time the consumer says, “No, no, no, I don’t want sweet or a white zinfandel.” I have to quickly point out I’m talking about a red zinfandels, which are fruit-forward, medium-bodied, delicious red wines. Zinfandel happens to be California’s oldest grape, and, although not originally from California, its roots have been traced to be from Croatia or Italy’s Puglia region depending on whom you ask.

Zinfandel is also the same grape as the Italian red wine called Primitivo. The word primitivo in Italian means “early one.” The red wine and its grapes are called primitivo because of its early ripening nature. Classic Primitivos from Italy tend to have a darker color with rich and concentrated black fruit notes, which is different from California Zinfandels that tend to have bright, juicy, red fruit flavor notes. This difference in style is directly correlated with the difference in climate. Northern California, like most Zinfandel growing regions, has cooler temperatures, and Puglia (Southern Italy) has much warmer temperatures. Both styles are easy drinking red wines with great fruit that offer an alternative to your everyday Cabernet Sauvignon. California Zinfandels are more often than not are termed “Old Vine.” Grape vines usually produce grapes for about 120 years. Production decreases and grape clusters get smaller as the vines age. Winemakers claim, as vines get older, the grapes yielded are of better quality and more concentrated flavor.

Here are a few of my Favorite Zinfandels:

Brazin wine (Courtesy of Arash Tafakor)

Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Lodi, California

Easily one of our favorite and best selling Zinfandels we carry. At 15 percent a.b.v, Brazin is big and bold with dark fruit flavors and hints of vanilla and cinnamon on the long finish. Brazin’s big bold flavor is intense but is balanced out with it’s acidity and smooth tannins making Brazin great with slow roasted pork, grilled sausages and baby back ribs.

Ridge Three Valleys (Courtesy of Arash Tafakor)

Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel 2012 Sonoma, California

Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel is a blend of Zinfandel grapes from all over Sonoma County as well as Petite Sirah, Carignane, Mataro, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache. These additional grapes provide character to the wine making it lighter and less jammy than the more stereotypical California Zinfandel. This doesn’t mean this wine doesn’t burst with flavor. Hints of blueberry, plum and cherry make this wine a steal and enjoyable for years to come.

Gnarly Head (Courtesy of Arash Tafakor)Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 Lodi, California

You can find Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin almost anywhere, but that Is not going to stop us from carrying it. Frankly for less than 10 dollars this wine is a home run. The newly released 2013 vintage has received some great press as well. Smooth and full bodied with tasty flavors of dark fruit, Gnarly Head zin is a great companion for a summer BBQ.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 23, 2015 at 2:45 pm 407 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.

Once you’ve settled in to your home, job and life in Arlington you may be itching for something more. Civic and philanthropic work is just what you need to connect to others in your community with similar interests. While this area has plenty of organizations on the national level, we’ve highlighted a few local organizations in the Arlington area that may pique your interest.

Arts – If you have a passion for the arts, you can take a look at Arlington Arts, which helps serve as a liaison between the art community and the county of Arlington. Or if you are looking to connect directly with the artists in the community, check out Arlington Artists Alliance, which has events and classes for folks in the area.

Human Services – While Arlington is one of the more affluent communities in the country; we still have thousands of people in need every day. If you are looking to get involved in helping the less fortunate in the area you could look in to one of these organizations.

Political – No matter which side of the aisle you fall, there is likely a group in Arlington where you can meet up with folks of similar political opinions.

Pets – Of course, we can’t forget our furry friends and family members. You can help out at the SPCA of Northern Virginia or Animal Welfare League of Arlington. These organizations can almost always use help with adoptions, facility care, donations, fundraising and of course animal fostering. Just be sure to check with your landlord before fostering any pets, no matter how small.

Neighborhood Associations – If speaking up about sidewalk maintenance, new community facilities, park beautification or roadwork is your thing, you may want to look in to joining a neighborhood association. Renters are still able to help out, as most of these are different than homeowners associations, and as long as you are a resident of the area who wants to help, they will welcome your assistance. Check out this comprehensive list for those associations around Arlington.

Of course this is only a sampling of organizations in Arlington. Being so close to D.C., Arlington is a passionate and involved community with a host of causes waiting for eager volunteers. Here is a list of more organizations within the community in case we didn’t list one for you. Bottom line, volunteering will help you connect with other likeminded people, and give you something to do outside work to feed your soul. So get out, and get involved.

Have a rental-related question you’d like Rental Report to answer? Email it to [email protected].

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 — July 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm 796 0

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The following weekly column is written and sponsored by Virginia Hospital Center, a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network and one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals for the third year in a row.

Summer’s a great time for a dip in the pool, but have you ever thought about how the water can help you recover from a lower-body injury? Aquatic physical therapy is an effective technique to relieve pain and help you heal faster. Doctors now prescribe this innovative therapy for many of their patients.

Performed in a specially-equipped pool, aquatic physical therapy uses the water’s resistance to enhance joint movement, reduce stiffness and improve muscle tone. Initial rehabilitation involves light resistance, progressively increasing as muscles strengthen. The technique benefits highly tuned athletes and weekend warriors alike, and is used to treat conditions such as stress fractures, ankle sprains, and knee and foot ligament injuries. “For runners who develop stress fractures and want to stay in shape, aquatic therapy can help reduce muscle pain and swelling,” says Clay Wellborn, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Virginia Hospital Center.

Buoyancy reduces body weight on painful tissues, joints and bones. As a result, you regain strength and range of motion without the pain associated with full weight bearing. Aquatic rehabilitation can improve function, endurance, conditioning, coordination, body mechanics and flexibility. A consistently warm water temperature also helps the body heal.

Another benefit: you can begin aquatic therapy within days of your injury. This helps you stay in shape while your injury heals and promotes a more rapid recovery.

“With aquatic therapy, you’ll progress faster because you can perform more rigorous exercise with less weight bearing on the joints and less pain,” says Lauren Shaub, PT, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist with special training in aquatic therapy. “If you have a stress fracture or ACL repair, you can’t run on land for several months, but you can begin running in the pool within a couple of days. When you transition to land, you’ll run more smoothly and efficiently.”

Virginia Hospital Center’s Aquatic Rehabilitation Center is staffed by specially trained physical therapists, it features a HydroWorx® pool with an underwater treadmill and camera to monitor progress and aid in gait analysis. The Aquatic Rehabilitation Center is located at the Hospital’s Carlin Springs campus at 601 South Carlin Springs Road in Arlington.

The Aquatic Rehabilitation Center was made possible by a legacy gift from the late Georgiana (Gigi) Gordon, an Arlington resident for more than 50 years (Cornerstone article, page 6).

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 — July 22, 2015 at 1:00 pm 955 0

This week’s Arlington Pet of the Week is Teddy, a terrier who is unmistakably Scottish.

Teddy just moved to Arlington as is now busy getting his sniff on around town. Here’s what Teddy’s owner had to say about him last month:

I’m moving to Arlington from D.C. and I’m bringing my Scottish terrier puppy Teddy to Potomac Towers along with me.

Teddy Weinstein is a 4.5 month old wheaten Scottie. Like most good Scotsmen, Teddy manages to be sweet, loyal, feisty and stubborn all at the same time.

Teddy loves nothing more than to meet new people and new dogs. He will roughouse with any dog, no matter how much of a size disadvantage he has. He will also never pass on any opportunity to sniff something even if it means turning what should be a 15 minute walk into a 45 minute walk.

Teddy is looking forward to investigating everything Arlington has to offer.

Want your pet to be considered for the Arlington Pet of the Week? Email [email protected] 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 — July 21, 2015 at 3:10 pm 731 0

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A  column is written by Will Wiard, Arlington-based real estate broker, voted one of Washington’s Best Realtors of 2015 by Washingtonian. Please submit your questions via email.

Q: I’ve heard of people buying and selling parking spots in the Arlington and D.C. areas. Is this common? Don’t most homes come with parking?

A: Yes, it is pretty common in the area, but it’s more likely to see a spot on the market in D.C. than in Virginia. Most people acquire a parking space when it’s deeded to them as part of a condo purchase. I’ve often heard of homeowners selling the parking space if the property originally came with more than one spot. Currently, there are about 10 parking spaces listed on the regional multiple listing service, called MRIS, starting at $10,000 going up to $100,000. Whether buying or selling, a licensed real estate professional can assist you throughout the process.

Many condos do come with parking, but it could be owned, assigned, rented or first-come, first-serve. When buying a condo that includes parking, it’s important to find out the details before closing.

If the space is deeded (you own it) it’s a good idea to check the tax records and talk with building management to confirm the space location and existence, and ensure it was not sold by a previous owner. I know of a few cases where a prior owner sold a space and did not update the tax records. When the owner sold the unit, the purchaser was misled to believe it came with a parking space, but found out at closing that the space was previously sold. If the space is deeded, the MRIS listing should include all of the information.

The condo could also include a parking space that is assigned to you, but in this case, it’s most likely owned by the building and part of the common elements. In this case, you would not have the option to sell the space; however, you may have the option to buy a space from the building, which would be a separate transaction from your home purchase.

Lastly, if you are purchasing a condo and there is no space assigned to your unit, it’s most likely you will have open or permit parking. In some buildings, the association or a developer owns the parking area, and the parking is first-come, first-serve or rented for a fee.

If you’re having trouble getting to the bottom of the parking situation, talking to your title company and agent, they can help you better understand whether parking is included with your purchase, and if you will have ownership over the space.

I’m hoping some readers can share any additional advice they have in comments.

Thank you for this week’s question. Please keep them coming to [email protected] This is also a great place to reach me for anyone looking to buy or sell a home in the Arlington area.

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 — July 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm 457 0

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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.

There are several avenues you can use to get a dog. Dogs are available through breeders, rescue groups and animal shelters. All of these options have good dogs available. But before you go to get a dog, you will need to have an idea of what you are looking for.

The first thing to consider is whether your lifestyle is better suited to a puppy or an adult dog.

Puppies usually require a much bigger commitment in the beginning to teach them all of the important lessons they need to know in the first two to three years of their lives.  The upside of getting a puppy is that it will grow up alongside you and naturally mold to your lifestyle. The down side is the time commitment and the unknown nature of its personality. Even a lovely puppy can develop behavioral problems through no fault of the owners.

An adult dog requires a lot less time right from the start, since they are already socially and physically mature. This means they are (usually) house trained and crate trained, do not require midnight bathroom breaks or detailed socialization plans. It also means that the are a bit more set in their ways and may not adapt as easily to every type of household. The upside is that you have a much better chance of knowing what you are getting right from the beginning. A three year old dog who loves kids and other dogs will probably remain relatively friendly.

The next thing to consider is that type of dog do you want? Large or small? High energy or couch potato? Highly social or super independent? These are all serious considerations and breed characteristics can help answer some of these questions.

Once you know what you are looking for the most important thing you need to consider is the temperament of the dog. When you meet a dog or a puppy, they should willingly and happily approach you and show evidence that they enjoy your company. Shy dogs may be very reserved and will work better in a quiet home with no young children. Any signs of aggression are an indication of major trouble.

Unfortunately, the thing that drives people most strongly, is the last thing that matters.

The last thing you should consider is what the dog looks like. I know, I know, that’s almost impossible. But it is true. The temperament and behavior of the dog is so much more important. Only once you are sure the pup has the characteristics and temperament you want should you even consider the cuteness factor.

Woofs! offers free pre-adoption counseling services to help you find the best dog for your lifestyle and family.  There is nothing we love better than making a great match between a dog and its new family.

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

by Heather Mongilio — July 20, 2015 at 11:05 am 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, plus other local technology happenings. 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.

mProve office

A Rosslyn company may have the answer for keeping research participants active in a pharmaceutical study, and it’s all through mobile technology.

mProve Health, a mobile technology-based company, has created mobile platforms that allow drug researchers to better communicate with subjects. Researchers are responding well to the new technology, mProve founder Jeff Lee said.

“We’re like the shiny new toy of the research market,” he said.

The company designed a platform that uses texts, automated phone calls and a mobile app to send reminders, instructions and messages of encouragement to participants in hopes that it will keep study retention and compliance rates high.

Study participants can also use the mobile app to log diary entries if that is part of the clinical trial.

Other platforms help research companies recruit people for drug trials, increase patient engagement by allowing participants to customize the app to best meet their lifestyles and allow participants to take research surveys that are part of the trial.

By using the mProve technology, drug research companies prevent about 50 people in a 1,000-people study from dropping out, Lee said. Drug companies spend a lot of money on each person in the study, especially those that drop out or fail to follow the instructions, so any preventive measures can save the company time and money.

The pharmaceutical industry is under pressure develop new drugs right now, Lee said, and having this technology can help companies research new drugs more efficiently.

“This is a scenario where the work we do is helping get access to better therapies,” Lee said.

mProve office

mProve technology is currently being used by many of the biggest drug companies, including Pfizer, in the U.S. and more than 50 countries around the world, according to Lee.

Lee first came up with the idea behind mProve five years ago while talking with a friend about improvements research studies could use, he said. From there the company has grown fast.

“It’s a growth-oriented business,” Lee said. “Mobile is a hot topic.”

A typical day of work for mProve employees includes helping a client’s study to communicate with participants, developing new programs for the mProve software and helping to train researchers with the software, he said.

mProve looks for its employees from local universities in the D.C. area, but it’s also hiring people with three to seven years of experience now. All jobs can be found on the company’s website. With so many employees coming from D.C. schools, location was important for the company, he said.

Lee originally started the company in Alexandria but later moved to Arlington. The company now has office space in the UberOffices at 1400 Key Boulevard in Rosslyn.

Arlington’s skilled workforce, transit infrastructure and proximity to an airport helps the company, Lee said. The location also helps the company sell its product.

“Arlington is a nice place [for our business] because one, you find people who are interested in global health, and two, because you have to travel a lot,” he said. “Arlington is kind of a perfect home where everyone is happy.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 17, 2015 at 9:10 am 952 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Arlington’s real estate sales remain steady and consistent for the summer market with 52 homes going under contract this week while 66 new listings came on the market.

Buyers still have a broad variety of properties to choose from. Most sales this week were condos with 30 units ratified. The high ratio of condo sales pushed the average list price of ratified properties down to $606,450. And the days on market climbed to 56 reflecting several properties that had lingered for nearly a year.

Mortgage interest rates held steady this week, climbing only 3 basis points (3/100th %) on the good news that the EU reached a debt agreement with Greece. The average 30-yr fixed rate is now at 4.17%.

Listing of the week: 3700 N. Edison. It’s deceptively large and keeps on going…

You can access all active listings in Arlington on the Cathell Team website.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — July 16, 2015 at 2:30 pm 301 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.

Most of you have likely brought a stool sample in to your pet’s annual veterinary visit, perhaps wondering in the back of your mind why it’s necessary to check a stool sample on an annual basis, especially if you have a cat or dog that spends minimal time outdoors.

Roundworms, hookworms, Giardia and coccidia are the most common intestinal parasites in our geographical region, and all but coccidia also have the potential to be zoonotic — transmissible to human beings — thus deserving special attention.

Roundworms, most specifically Toxocara canis (in dogs) and Toxocara gati (in cats), were found to be present in 1/79 (1.2%) of dogs and 1/26 (3.82%) of cats in Arlington County. Infection can occur via ingestion of infective eggs, in utero transmission (dogs only), or transmammary transmission, which is why it is seen so commonly in puppies and kittens. Infection can cause pot-bellied appearance, failure to thrive, and gastrointestinal signs; puppies infected in utero are most likely to be severely sick. Roundworm eggs are often found in soil, including houseplant potting soil (a source of infection for indoor-only cats). Children, with their propensity to put things in their mouths, are most at risk for zoonotic infection. Due to the complicated migration of roundworm throughout the body tissues upon ingestion in an inappropriate host, symptoms in humans can include visceral larva migrans and ocular larva migrans. Ocular larva migrans is a cause of retinal damage and partial blindness in children and can be mistaken for the more severe disease, retinoblastoma (cancer), resulting in an unnecessary removal of the eye.

Hookworms (Ancylostoma species.), found in 2.21% of dogs and 0.51% of cats in Arlington County, are transmitted via ingestion of infected eggs, as well as transmammary transmission; the larval stages of hookworm also have the ability to penetrate intact skin to infect their host. Hookworms suck blood from the wall of the intestinal tract and can lead to severe anemia and even death in young puppies; older dogs may show diarrhea as the primary sign. Hookworms are most often contracted by humans when they directly penetrate the skin, leading to cutaneous larva migrans.

Giardia, a protozoan parasite, is a common cause of intestinal symptoms in cats and dogs — primarily diarrhea, and less commonly vomiting, inappetence, or weight loss. According to the CAPC, 15.6% of dogs and 10.3% of cats with compatible symptoms tested positive for Giardia, though there are distinct regional differences, with infection being more common in some areas than others. Giardia is the most common intestinal parasite of humans in the U.S., causing similar gastrointestinal signs to those seen in our pets, such as diarrhea, bloating and cramping. Transmission in both humans and dogs results from ingestion of cysts shed in the feces of infected animals, typically from contaminated water. Fortunately, Giardia subspecies are quite species-specific so transmission between humans and pets is uncommon in healthy individuals. Children, elderly, or otherwise immune-deficient individuals are most at risk for transmission from an infected pet.

Coccidia (Isospora species), another protozoan parasite, though not thought to be zoonotic, is a common intestinal parasite, especially in puppies and kittens who do not have fully developed immune systems. It is also more common in pets from intense breeding, hoarding and shelter situations as it is very hardy in the environment. The most recent prevalence data from CAPC showed that Coccida was present in approximately 3% of dogs and cats in Pennsylvania (the closest state with prevalence data).

In general, pet-to-human transmission of roundworms, hookworms and Giardia can be minimized by removing feces from the environment on a daily basis and hand-washing after any potential contamination. Once in the environment, it is extremely difficult to decontaminate the environment; however, if stools are picked up immediately there is little chance of transmission to other pets and/or humans. It is also important to dispose of feces with the municipal waste, as it otherwise has the potential to contaminate water sources.

Other intestinal parasites found less commonly in our pets include whipworms (dogs), tapeworms, stomach worms, Toxoplasma (cats), and Strongyloides. In addition to your pet’s veterinarian, the Companion Animal Parasite Council is a fantastic resource for all things parasite-related.

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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