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Internationally beloved Japanese character Hello Kitty has been baking up a storm, and she’s bringing her tasty goods to Arlington this Saturday.

Fans can find the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck — a mobile store and bake shop which sells all things pink and adorable — at Pentagon Row, which has been rebranded “Westpost at National Landing.” The truck will be parked in the courtyard from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. near DSW at 1301 S. Joyce Street.

The truck will sell hand-decorated cookies and madeleines, as well as limited-edition T-shirts, rainbow thermoses, plush toys and sprinkle mugs, according to a press release from Sanrio, the cat’s creator.

Sanrio said COVID-19 precautions will be taken. Staff will wear masks and gloves and disinfect surfaces frequently, and stanchions and social-distancing markers will be placed on the ground to encourage social distancing.

Only credit and debit cards will be accepted.

Arlington is one stop on the truck’s East Coast tour, followed by stops in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. This is the truck’s seventh year rolling through the states. It has made previous stops in Tysons and Bethesda.

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Dr. Pepper, a 22-year-old cat, is in need of a new home.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington put out a call on social media on Wednesday in hopes of finding this very elderly, brown and black, domestic shorthaired kitty a welcoming place to nap and snack.

She was brought into the shelter about two weeks ago, Chelsea Jones of AWLA said, when her long-time caretaker had become too sick to care for her anymore.

Dr. Pepper was accompanied by a note that said she was the beloved companion of a cancer survivor, a Vietnam veteran, and her caretaker’s family for 22 years.

“We’re just all in tears over this cat and this poor family that, unfortunately, is having to be separated because of a really sad life situation,” says Jones. “We are flat determined to find this cat an amazing end-of-life home where she can be loved, pampered, and spoiled for however long she has left.”

Dr. Pepper is, admittingly, quite old. While it’s tough comparing animal ages to humans, it’s estimated that a 22-year-old cat is about the same age as a 104-year-old human.

However, Jones says she’s relatively healthy and only is in need of one pill a day for hyperthyroidism.

Her favorite things are napping, snacking, and getting attention.

“She is just so affectionate and so friendly… she wants to just have someone nearby,” says Jones. “To anyone who comes up to her kennel, she puts her paw up to the glass [like she’s] saying ‘hello’.”

While Dr. Pepper has her moments when she plays like a cat a quarter of her age, she mostly naps, asks for attention, and then goes back to laying down.

“She’s really an easy pet to own,” says Jones.

Since their social media call out about 24 hours ago, there’s been significant interest. Jones says Dr. Pepper has a number of appointments today to meet with prospective new caretakers, plus a foster family has already asked to care for her.

But there’s always room for more and there are plenty of other pets one can adopt at AWLA in case Dr. Pepper finds her forever home prior to your visit. Currently, the shelter remains by appointment only — to schedule an appointment on the League’s website, click the animal you’d like to visit and scroll down to schedule.

Arlington has recently seen a number of cute animal stories. Dr. Pepper’s situation is a sad one, but AWLA is hoping for a heartwarming last chapter to the elder feline’s life story.

It’s bittersweet,” says Jones. “But we’re going to make sure [she] has a happy ending.”

Update at 10:45 a.m. — Dr. Pepper has been adopted, according to AWLA.

Photo courtesy of Animal Welfare League of Arlington

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Theater critic Iain Armitage has never given a bad review. Even the shows that aren’t his favorites, he says he tries to focus on the “happy things” in the show.

Most would scoff at a critic who has never given a bad review, but Iain has an excuse: he’s only 6 years old, and he’s been taught it’s not nice to say mean things by his parents, Broadway star Euan Morton and theater producer Lee Armitage.

6-year-old theater critic Iain Armitage“I wish more critics were like him and didn’t give bad reviews,” Armitage said with a laugh.

Iain started reviewing shows on Armitage’s YouTube channel five months ago, reviewing 21 different shows include “Phantom of the Opera” and “Pippin” — his two favorites so far — and, most recently, the Signature Theatre production of “Sundays in the Park with George.” That review has more than 16,000 views and got Iain enough attention to be featured on MTV.com.

It all started when Iain saw Hairspray at Signature and started talking about it. Lee filmed him with her smartphone, and the rest is history.

“I really don’t know why it’s gotten so popular,” Armitage said. “With all the videos, we would have friends in the shows and they’d watch them because he said funny things. We also did it to keep up with what shows he’s seen.”

Iain is homeschooled at the family’s home near Virginia Square, and also likes ice skating, dancing (there’s a video of a dance recital on the YouTube channel) and playing piano. Although being an elementary school-aged theater critic is a rarity, he wishes it were more common.

“I wish there were more little critics like me,” he told ARLnow.com in Ballston this morning with his mother. “Then we could be friends and see the same shows and get famous together.”

Iain said some of his favorite shows are the ones he can watch his father — who was nominated for a Tony award in 2004 for his portrayal of Boy George in “Taboo” — because he likes “the feeling when my dad’s on the stage. If I wave to him after the show, he’ll always wave back to me.”

Armitage said the Signature Theater is a big part of why Iain developed a love for musicals — Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer is Iain’s godfather — and Iain said he wished “more kids in Arlington could see shows.” Iain also wishes he could see more shows. He said he “would like to see every show ever made,” and has gotten frustrated when his parents kept him out of productions that are inappropriate for 6 year-olds, like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” a show about an East German transgender singer.

Iain said he’s “still mad” about not being able to see the show, but is enjoying the spoils of being a viral video star. He smiled and said “I like it” when he was asked about the trappings of fame, but couldn’t confirm he was practicing his autographs for future fans.

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Cooper the cocker spaniel/poodle mix is officially Arlington’s Cutest Dog. Cooper captured a whopping 1,238 votes in the final round of our inaugural contest.

Cooper and his owner, Joe, will receive a brand new Apple iPad courtesy of Siena Park, the new pet-friendly luxury apartment community on Columbia Pike.

If you’re still not convinced that Cooper is, in fact, Arlington cutest dog, we present the following photographic evidence:

Meanwhile, Lucy the Dachshund made a spirited run at first place but came up just short. For placing second, Lucy and her owner, David, will receive a $100 gift certificate to Wylie Wagg in Clarendon (2509 N. Franklin Road). We think Lucy may appreciate the store’s great selection of healthy food and supplies for dogs (and cats) more than some fancy techno gizmo.

Bentley the English lab placed third and will receive a $50 Wylie Wagg gift certificate.

The three top finishers will also receive a soccer ball fetch toy in honor of the World Cup, which we tried to tie-in with the contest but then sort of gave up on (whoops).

Prizes will be presented at a reception at Wylie Wagg. We’ll announce the details later this week.

Congratulations to the prize winners and a big thank you to all contest participants. Your enthusiasm helped make this contest such a smashing success. We hope to see you all at the reception.

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This one’s for all the Milk-Bones. The final round of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest is here, and five of the area’s most charming canines are competing for your affection.

Like the group stage, voting for the final round will last a week. Unlike the group stage, you’ll only be able to vote for one contestant, so choose carefully.

Here is what’s at stake in the final round:

  • Grand Prize: Apple iPad (courtesy of Siena Park, the new pet-friendly luxury apartment community on Columbia Pike)
  • Second Prize: $100 Wylie Wagg gift certificate (courtesy of Wylie Wagg in Clarendon, featuring healthy food and supplies for dogs and cats)
  • Third Prize: $50 Wylie Wagg gift certificate
  • All top three finishers will receive a soccer ball fetch toy from Wylie Wagg, in honor of the World Cup.

Voting closes at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, July 12.

See the contestant “biographies” and vote for your favorite, after the jump.

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We know you’ve probably already started the weekend, but before you fire up the grill or get on that plane, you might want to know the results of Group D in our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest.

With 3,724 votes cast and 148 comments registered, this was definitely the most competitive and active group of the contest. But in the end, Cooper (a.k.a. Coopini) the Cocker Spaniel / poodle mix came out on top. Cooper captured 800 votes, the largest single vote total so far.

Cooper “escaped from the evil clutches of New Jersey to reside here in luxury,” his owner says. “He is the guard dog and is always on alert to keep off pesky robbers and the most stubborn of mail carriers.”

Cooper is “is a sucker for bacon and eggs, as breakfast is his favorite meal of the day.” Plus he “loves to play with bouncy balls.”

But Cooper isn’t the only contestant from Group D advancing to the final round, which will start on Monday.

Lucy the miniature Dachshund captured the “at-large” spot in the final round with 671 votes, the most of any second-place finisher.

A graduate of the Olde Towne School for Dogs, Lucy is an educated but otherwise lackadaisical lady. Her interests include “sleeping, napping, lounging, sunbathing, resting, kicking back, relaxing and siestaing.”

“In between her daily 20 hours of sleep, Lucy enjoys begging for bacon at the table (this bacon thing seems to be a trend -Ed.) as well as chasing squirrels in Butler Holmes Park.”

Lucy “has been the greatest impulse purchase our family has ever known,” her owners say.

A tip of the hat to Tito the Chihuahua, whose enthusiastic supporters propelled him to 601 votes, the next-highest vote total in Group D.

Thank you again to all our great contestants and congratulations to the very worthy finalists. To those who did not make it to the final round: we look forward to seeing you at Wylie Wagg for a reception after the contest (you will receive details via email).

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McGruff isn’t the only dog making news today for his looks. Bentley the English lab has bested the competition in Group C and will advance to the final round of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest.

Bentley amassed a whopping 560 votes out of the 2,967 that were cast. The closest competitor was Cooper, the teddy bear-like toy poodle who has “a strange obsession with popcorn.” Cooper received 456 votes.

Hats off to Cooper and the other 10 strong competitors in this group. And a special shout-out to Waffles the Dachshund, who gets the honorary (and arbitrary) award for cutest name and most patriotic photo.

Some background on Bentley: he was born on St. Patrick’s Day four years ago (a bit ironic for an English lab) at a farm in Winchester, Va, but moved to Arlington shortly thereafter. He’s a big fan of the Clarendon dog park, he eats only the finest organic dog food, and he is an accomplished swimmer. Bentley considers himself a lucky dog, his owners say.

See results from Group C here. And be sure to cast your vote(s) for our final group of 12, Group D, by 2:00 tomorrow afternoon.

Voting in the final round of the contest will start Monday.

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Mago, a female whippet-beagle mix, has captured the most votes in Group B of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest. She will advance to the final round of the contest, which starts Monday.

Mago garnered 280 out of 1,520 votes cast. A special tip of the hat to her closest competitor, Fred the Dachshund, who waged an especially spirited campaign.

A bit about Mago: she was “born on the mean streets of Kentucky and lived her first few months foraging through dumpsters.” She eventually wound up at Wagamuffins rescue in Frederick, Md. She was adopted last February and now resides in Rosslyn.

Mago is allergic to dog food and eats “a prescription vegetarian diet.” But that doesn’t stop her from participating in long walks or from sneaking into her owners’ bed late at night.

Congratulations to Mago and thank you to all the fantastic Group B contestants. We’ll be sending you details about a reception at Wylie Wagg for all contest participants.

In the meantime, don’t forget to vote for Group C and Group D.

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With 431 votes out of 2,222 cast, Buster the Chihuahua has claimed the top spot in Group A of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest.

Buster’s owner says he is “very friendly” and is the “best dressed” Chihuahua in town. Also, “he loves to Hoover around the house and eat anything that is edible and sometimes non edible.”

Congratulations, Buster!

The final round of the contest will begin on Monday. Meanwhile, voting for groups B, C and D will be ending at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively.

Thank you to all our great Group A contestants. Check back for details about a reception Wylie Wagg will be hosting to honor all contest participants.

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It’s Friday. That means everybody is leaving work early to get ready for a weekend of beach/barbecue/cheering on Team USA/etc.

So in fairness to Group D of our Arlington’s Cutest Dog contest, we’re getting voting started early.

Before you run out of the office, vote for up to three of the dogs below (after the jump). It’s the perfect way to start the weekend, really.

Voting for Group D will end on Friday, July 2 at 2:00 p.m.

Here’s a reminder of what’s at stake in the final round:

  • Grand Prize: Apple iPad (courtesy of Siena Park, the new pet-friendly luxury apartment community on Columbia Pike)
  • Second Prize: $100 Wylie Wagg gift certificate (courtesy of Wylie Wagg in Clarendon, featuring healthy food and supplies for dogs and cats)
  • Third Prize: $50 Wylie Wagg gift certificate
  • All top three finishers will receive a soccer ball fetch toy from Wylie Wagg, in honor of the World Cup.

Good luck to all the contestants!

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