Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

VHC to Take More Trauma Patients — “Virginia Hospital Center is preparing to become a trauma center. The Arlington hospital, now amid a major campus expansion, is taking steps to secure Level 2 trauma designation — meaning it could handle more serious cases like head injuries and complex fractures with a devoted response team, led by an in-house general surgeon.” [Washington Business Journal]

APS May Be Rethinking School Swap — “As the potentially contentious redistricting of elementary-school boundaries begins to take shape, Arlington school leaders may be tiptoeing away just slightly from somewhat radical suggestions they offered just weeks ago.” [InsideNova]

AWLA Rescues Kitten Near Pentagon –“We received a call about a car parked near the Pentagon, with a note under the windshield stating that there was a kitten up inside the engine. Using a mix of patience and really yummy cat food, our officers were able to safely remove the kitten and bring her back to the shelter.” [Facebook]

Arlington-Made App Highlighted by Apple — “In honor of Veterans Day, Arlington, Virginia-based Sandboxx, creator of a platform that keeps military families connected, is being featured in Apple’s app store as its App of the Day.” [Technically DC]

Arlington Co. Makes Best-for-Vets List — Ballston-based contractor CACI is on a new list of the Best Companies for Veterans. [Tysons Reporter, Monster]

Sullivan Selected as Caucus Chair — “Virginia Democrats on Saturday chose Eileen Filler-Corn to become speaker of the House of Delegates, a pick that managed to be both historic and conventional for a party that flipped both chambers of the General Assembly in elections Tuesday… Del. Charniele L. Herring (Alexandria) will be the new majority leader, becoming the first woman and the first African American to serve in that post. Del. Richard C. ‘Rip’ Sullivan Jr… will be caucus chairman.” [Washington Post, Blue Virginia]

First Flakes Today? — Some light “conversational” snow may fall today as a cold front passes through. Meanwhile, NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer expects this winter to be colder and snowier than usual. [Capital Weather Gang, NBC 4]

New Korean Chicken Eatery Near Fairlington — “Korean chicken restaurant Choong Man Chicken is coming to… Shoppes at Summit Centre (4700 King Street).” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

By Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Nothing says summer like enjoying a sweet frozen treat like ice cream or a snow cone.

While you might be inclined to let your dog have a lick, many desserts are artificially sweetened with Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. So instead of sharing your summer dessert, try one of these easy pet-friendly treats to beat the heat.

Frozen Fresh Breath Treats 

  • 1 cup of plain or Greek yogurt
  • Small handful of fresh parsley leaves
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves

Blend all the ingredients until the herbs are evenly disbursed. If you’d like the consistency to be a little thinner, add a splash of water. Pour into an ice tray and freeze. The parsley and mint will help freshen your dog’s breath, while also providing other health benefits.

Parsley can reduce inflammation and aid digestion, while mint is antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral to help prevent bacteria growing in your dog’s mouth.

Doggie S’mores

  • Dog biscuits
  • 1 cup of carob chips or 1 tablespoon of carob powder
  • 1 cup of plain or Greek yoghurt

Put carob chips in a bowl and melt over boiled water. Once melted, mix with the yogurt. For carob powder, mix it directly into the yogurt. Dip the top of the dog biscuit into the mixture, then place another biscuit on top to create a sandwich. Line a tray with as many s’mores as you want, then freeze.

Since chocolate is toxic for dogs, regular s’mores aren’t an option, but carob has a similar taste and texture to chocolate, and also contains healthy nutrients to help flush toxins from your dog’s body.

Bark + Boarding Ice Cream

  • Equal parts plain yogurt
  • Peanut butter, pumpkin puree or chicken stock

Blend ingredients together. Pour into ice trays, then freeze until solid. Here at Bark + Boarding, our doggie-friendly ice cream is always a hit! Using the pumpkin puree has the added benefit of aiding your dog’s digestive health. If you go with peanut butter, make sure you get a naturally sweetened brand without Xylitol.

Tennis Ball Surprise

Combine two of your dog’s favorite things: tennis balls and treats! Carefully cut a slit into a tennis ball, revealing the hollow center. Fill it with treats, then give it a toss. This is sure to liven up any game of fetch, and will also give your active dog something to keep busy as they snuff out the treats.

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The two Kriser’s stores in Arlington are being rebranded as “Loyal Companion,” with a grand opening planned to give away free pet food.

The rebranding is part of a change for all East Coast locations of Kriser’s. The new brand includes the natural pet food focus of Kriser’s with other parts of “holistic pet wellness.” From the brand’s website:

Loyal Companion is unlike any pet experience in the world. We’ve combined some of the best brands in the business including Kriser’s, Especially For Pets, Bark! Dogma – Life, With Your Pet, Pet Source, Pet Life and Whole Pet Central to form one new company dedicated to holistic pet wellness. Loyal Companion is a community of pet experts — nutritionists, behaviorists, educators and groomers — that has banded together to make life easy for pet owners by offering everything you need under one virtual and physical roof. Raw food. Healthy treats. Supplies. Grooming. Daycare. Training. Vet services. Advice.

(Though Baltimore-based Dogma is one of the stores now under the Loyal Companion umbrella, as mentioned above, Dogma Bakery in Arlington is unaffiliated with the brand.)

There are two Kriser’s locations in Arlington, one in Clarendon at 2509 Franklin Road and one at 2501 N. Harrison Street in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center.

Both locations are throwing grand opening celebrations for the new brand on Saturday (May 4) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday (May 5) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The events will offer free gift bags for the first 100 customers in each day, with gift cards up to $100 as a doorbuster prize, according to the company.

The stores will also have raffle prizes, with potential to win free pet food for a year, gift cards and more.

Planned in-store activities include a blind taste test for pets and staff on hand to answer pet nutrition questions.

Photo via Google Maps

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The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Exploring the outdoors is always better with a furry friend, but that doesn’t have to only include dogs.

For many cats, learning to walk on a leash and getting to spend time outside is a fun adventure, and a rewarding experience for the owner. Teaching your cat to walk on a leash may take some practice, but it can be fun for both you and your cat.

Find the Right Harness

It’s important to buy a harness to use for walking your cat. Cats are less likely to wriggle out of a harness than a collar while out and about. There are harnesses specifically designed for walking cats, but even within this category there are a variety of options.

You may need to try several before you find one that your cat likes. Make sure you find the right fit; you should be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the harness, but no more than that.

Introduce Your Cat to the Idea

Once you’ve purchased a harness, you need to give your cat time to warm up to it. Begin by letting them smell and play with the harness so it doesn’t seem so foreign. Help them make good associations with it by giving them treats as they investigate it and keep it near their food bowl when you feed them.

Unexpected noises may startle your cat, so also practice clicking and unclicking the harness. Once they seem comfortable with it, try putting it on. Continue giving them treats as they wear it so they have a positive association. When you first put it on, don’t buckle it. As they get used to wearing it loose, buckle it and resize it as necessary.

It will likely take several tries for them to adjust, but if after a few attempts they still seem to hate wearing it and any other harness you try, your cat may just not be made for leash walking.

Bring Out the Leash

Now that your cat is comfortable wearing a harness, it’s time to attach the leash. Even if you’re itching to get outside, patience is your friend when teaching your cat to walk on a leash. Attach the leash to the harness and stay inside as you let them explore.

At first, don’t try to lead them at all — just follow them as they walk around the house. As they adjust to this, you can start giving them gentle guidance. You should never be yanking on the leash or pulling them along.

Head Outside

If your cat doesn’t show any resistance or discomfort walking around inside with the harness and leash attached, you can bring them outdoors. Put on the harness and leash indoors, then carry them out the door to a safe, fenced-in area.

It’s important to always carry your cat outside rather than letting them walk out on their own. If they get used to the idea of walking outside on their own, they’re more likely to do it when they don’t have their leash on.

For your cat’s first outdoor experience, go to an enclosed area away from loud noises or other animals. This removes stress for both you and your cat, so you both have a positive first outdoor adventure. Be sure to keep treats on hand so your cat continues to have good associations with the walk.

You’ll need to be prepared in case your cat becomes extremely frightened. Carry a heavy towel with you so if they get startled or become panicked, you can wrap them up in the towel and bring them inside without being scratched or bitten. To help prevent this, keep your first several walks near an open door so that your cat will feel more secure knowing they have the option to return inside.

Slowly Increase Your Walks

As your cat gets more comfortable outside, gradually increase the time and distance you go outdoors. They won’t be able to handle long distances like a dog, but if they’re enjoying their adventure then you might be surprised at how long they’ll be willing to stay outside. Follow your cat’s lead and enjoy a more leisurely stroll as your cat explores new smells and chases bugs.

Teaching your cat to walk on a leash takes time, but with a little bit of patience (and lots of treats!) you could be having outdoor adventures with your cat before you know it.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website.

Click here to check out our short video about this article

Mention this article for a free evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

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(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) It’s the eve of the big NCAA basketball tournament and the Ballston Business Improvement District is planning to mark the occasion with puppies.

The BID is hosting an event dubbed “Bark Madness” from 5-7 p.m. tonight (Wednesday), with pizza and drinks — and puppies looking for a home. The event is being held at the BID’s office at 4600 N. Fairfax Drive.

“The BID office will be filled with pups and dogs of all shapes and sizes ready to be drafted into a permanent home,” said a spokeswoman for the BID.

Proceeds from the event will go to Arlington’s Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, which teams up with other rescues to help home animals from kill shelters. Homeward Trails is also where many of our Pet of the Week stars come from.

Attendees are asked to make a $25 donation to Homeward Trails to attend.

As for the cat lovers, don’t despair: Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is hosting a cat adoption event at noon this coming Saturday, March 23 at the Ballston Unleashed by Petco (3902 Wilson Blvd).

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Morning Notes

Wind Chill Advisory in Effect — A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect this morning due to a combination of gusty winds and bitterly cold temperatures. [Weather.gov]

MLK Day of Service — As of Friday, more than 850 people were signed up to volunteer for Arlington County’s MLK Day of Service today.

Rosslyn Building Sold — “Rosslyn’s Oakwood Arlington extended-stay apartments has changed hands for $70 million. Mapletree Investments, a Singapore real estate investment firm, has acquired the 184-unit property at 1550 Clarendon Blvd. from AvalonBay Communities Inc.” [Washington Business Journal]

Local Nonprofit Gets TV Donation — “Patricia Funegra founded La Cocina VA in Arlington as a way to create change through feeding, educating and empowering the community… FOX 5 and Easterns Automotive Group teamed up to help Funegra… with a $1,000 donation and all her students received new cast-ironed pots, recipe books and $50 gift cards.” [Fox 5]

Local Nonprofit Helping Puerto Rico — Wheels to Africa, which was founded by a 10-year-old Arlington boy in 2005 to send used bikes to Africa, is now sending used bikes to Puerto Rico to help residents still recovering from Hurricane Maria. The nonprofit’s founder has since gone to graduate from college and is now working in Arlington. [Washington Post]

County: Get a Flu Shot — “Flu season is officially underway. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that flu activity is ‘elevated’ as flu viruses circulate nationwide. Arlington healthcare officials are urging residents to take precautions and get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Kitten Lounge Coming to Georgetown — “What’s being called the first-in-America kitten-only place to rest, relax and interact with kittens between the ages of three-to-six months will open in early March, at 3109 M(eow) Street NW.” [WTOP]

Reduced Publishing Schedule Today — Due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. We’ll return with a full slate of local coverage tomorrow.

Photo courtesy Tom Mockler

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Feral Cats Abound in Arlington

The following feature article was written by Buzz McClain, a writer and communications professional who lives in Arlington. It was funded by our new Patreon community. Want to see more articles like this, exploring important local topics that don’t make our usual news coverage? Join and help fund additional local journalism in Arlington. 

A feral cat is a cat that lives in the wild without human intervention, and Arlington has plenty of them.

Along with coyotes, foxes, rabbits — so many rabbitsturtles, snakes, and other fauna that share the county with humans, feral cats have established “colonies” throughout Arlington, some of which date back for generations.

At any given time there are some 200 to 250 feral cats in Arlington, with colonies ranging in size from two to three cats to more than a dozen. There seems to be a concentration of colonies around Columbia Pike and Carlin Springs Road and in the Nauck neighborhood, according to Anna Barrett, an animal services coordinator with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, the private nonprofit organization that provides shelter and animal control services in the county.

Feral cats are easy to spot, she said. For one, they are unapproachable, so if they see you first, chances are they’ll run and hide. You can’t lure them to your hand or into a trap, not even with food. “They’re more like wildlife than a domestic cat,” she said.

They also may have a section of an ear removed. A clipped ear, Barrett said, is an indication that the cat has been trapped, neutered, inoculated for rabies and distemper, “ear-tipped” to indicate treatment, and returned to where it was found as part of the AWLA program of the same name: Trap-Neuter-Return. (See here for the feral cat program page of the AWLA website.)

AWLA personnel do not do the trapping, and they don’t accept feral cats as strays for adoption — they are not safe for the staff to handle. Feral cats cannot be domesticated, and handling them may lead to injury, to humans as well as cats.

But feral cat colony “caretakers,” and the occasional determined resident, manage to bring them in. That’s when the AWLA staff does the T-N-R and ear clip service. The feral cat colony caretaker who brought in the cat is responsible for returning them to where they were found, which is why it’s best for those unfamiliar with feral cat behavior to not even try.

In her eight years at the shelter, Barrett has seen a reduction in the feral cat population. “We feel the 200 to 250 number is greatly reduced from year’s past, in large part to the T-N-R program,” she said.

The T-N-R program, she added, “is not a perfect solution, but it goes with our humane approach to animals.”

The neutering would cost $300 to $400 per cat for a pet cat or kitten. The League pays for cats trapped in Arlington or in the City of Falls Church.

The cats, said Sandra M., choose her and not the other way around. And it’s been that way for going on eight years.

After her own cat died in 2010, an “outdoor” Siamese cat tentatively approached her at her home in South Arlington and Sandra M., a cat lover, fed it. (She would rather we did not use her full name or specify which neighborhood she lives in, for reasons that will become obvious.)

The cat was healthy but clearly did not have a home, nor did it seem to crave human companionship other than the occasional meal. Eight years later, the cat still comes for regular feeding but little else, along with some eight other cats.

They do not go into her house. Instead, they live nearby in the wild in what is known as a feral cat colony, one of many in Arlington, some of which date back for decades.

Sandra M. is a feral cat colony caretaker, an unofficial title given to a select few by the AWLA. But not everyone is enamored with having feral cats in their neighborhoods. Sandra M. reports several of her charges have been mistreated after being captured. Kittens and older cats have been poisoned.

“That’s something I just don’t understand,” she said. “I don’t understand why a human would do that.”

For Sandra M., the cat colony is a blessing. “They rescued me,” she said. “They’re like little children to me.”

If you see a cat you think is feral, Anna Barrett suggests contacting the AWLA office to report it. A feral cat colony caretaker may be able to have the cat serviced in the Trap-Neuter-Release program. Questions may be directed at [email protected] or by calling 703-931-9241, ext. 200.

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Anyone looking for some extra company for the holidays in the form of a four-legged friend might want to swing by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington sometime in the next few days.

The AWLA is looking for foster parents willing to take in a shelter pet over Christmas and New Year’s, launching a “Home for the Holidays” drive this week.

From now through Sunday (Dec. 23), anyone willing to take in a dog or cat can visit the shelter at 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive. Foster parents will be expected to care for their animals through Dec. 27, or can apply for an extension through Jan. 2.

AWLA will provide all basic supplies for foster pets, but anyone picking up a furry boarder will likely need to bring a leash or pet carrier.

The shelter asks that participants keep foster pets separate from any owned pets, and that any “foster cats/rabbits/guinea pigs are kept strictly indoors and foster dogs are not taken to dog parks,” AWLA wrote on its website.

Anyone who decides to adopt their foster pet will also receive $25 off AWLA’s adoption fee.

The shelter has full details available on its website.

Photo via @AWLAArlington

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Morning Notes

Students Sue Over W-L Name Change Decision — Three current students at the school claim Arlington’s School Board didn’t follow proper procedure in voting to start the process of stripping Robert E. Lee’s name from the school earlier this summer. [WUSA]

Could Jeff Bezos Buy Crystal City’s Biggest Property Owner? — JBG Smith’s CEO isn’t sure, but he’s heard the rumors too. The company took over the ownership of the bulk of buildings in the neighborhood from Vornado/Charles E. Smith and is a key part of Crystal City’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters. [Washington Business Journal]

County Board Considers Pool Zoning Rule Changes — After a Nauck church ran into trouble renovating a large pool, Arlington officials want to review how the county regulates those sorts of properties. They hope to wrap up work before the year is out. [InsideNova]

Metro Settles Legal Case Over L’Enfant Smoke Incident — The terms of the deal haven’t been made public, but the family of Carol Glover were seeking $50 million in damages from Metro. Glover died after smoke filled a tunnel near the L’Enfant Plaza station, an incident that sickened scores of other people. [Washington Post]

Nonprofit Raises $10,000 in Arlington Vet Tech’s Memory — Alexandria’s CEVA Animal Health raised the money to honor Chris Griffey, who once worked at the NOVA Cat Clinic in Arlington. The funds will go toward medical care for foster kittens. [WJLA]

Photo courtesy of @thelastfc

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July 4 is just around the corner, and PETA is urging people looking to celebrate Independence Day in Arlington to abandon any plans to set off fireworks and avoid frightening local pets.

The animals rights group announced in a news release Monday (June 11) that its workers will start handing out leaflets across the D.C. area to spread the word about the lesser-known impact of fireworks on our four-legged friends. PETA notes in the release that animal shelters often become flooded with lost pets in the immediate aftermath of the holiday, after being startled by the sudden explosion of fireworks.

“Fireworks sound exactly like ‘bombs bursting in air’ to animals who end up fleeing in terror — some never to be found again,” PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien wrote in a statement. “PETA is urging everyone to protect animals and other vulnerable members of the community by never setting off fireworks, which can carry a penalty of fines or even jail time.”

PETA is also recommending that pet owners keep their animals inside on July 4, and even close the blinds or turn on the TV or a fan to drown out the noise of fireworks.

The group also points out that local laws prohibit people from setting off many types of fireworks across the region. In Arlington, the county has a ban on projectile fireworks, as well as ones with sparks that reach higher than 12 feet in the air.

A full list of approved fireworks is available on the county’s website. The full press release from PETA, after the jump.

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The Animal Welfare League of Arlington took in about 70 cats and dogs this past Friday (April 6) from shelters across Virginia and West Virginia.

Four staff members traveled to different parts of Virginia, but shelter staff from the West Virginia brought the animals to Arlington themselves.

The AWLA accepts animals weekly from the West Virginia shelter, and the large number of transfer requests from Virginia shelters wasn’t tied to any specific event, according to Chelsea Lindsey, the league’s communications specialist. The other shelters are simply high-intake and at capacity, and can’t easily adopt out all of the animals in their region.

Even though shelter transfers aren’t unusual, it was still a larger intake than usual for the AWLA.

“That’s a big number for us to take in in one day,” Lindsey told ARLnow.com, adding that she expects many of the kittens to be “snatched up quickly.”

About 50 of the animals were mother cats with kittens, and have been placed with foster families mainly in Arlington and Alexandria. Those kittens will have to wait until they are at least eight weeks old before being adopted out, in addition to hitting weight targets and being fixed.

Only one animal, a cat, from the large shelter transfer is ready for adoption. The dogs all need to be fixed and several of the cats have what Lindsey called “kitty colds.”

Photos courtesy of Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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