Dog parents can get a few photos of their furry best friend with Santa while chowing down on free donuts in Ballston over the next couple of days.
This Friday afternoon (Dec. 17) from 1-3 p.m., four-legged locals can join Santa outside of Ballston Quarter’s Hearts + Paw for holiday pet photos. The combination veterinarian, dog daycare, and grooming business opened in May.
Then, on Saturday, free donuts and hot cocoa kits from District Doughnut will be available at the mall from 1-3 p.m. along with $25 gift cards to REWILD, the trendy plant shop that opened at Ballston Quarter earlier this fall. The snacks and gift cards are available while supplies last with only one giveaway given per person. Holiday tunes will also be spun by local D.J. Cyndi Tran.
Both events are taking place at and hosted by Ballston Quarter on Wilson Blvd.
Elsewhere in Ballston this weekend is a holiday wreath market at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Stuart Street. That event is being organized by the Ballston BID and will feature live music, a local TikTok star (the cello-playing one), a light art projection, holiday wreaths for sale, and Santa selfies.
There’s plenty of other holiday cheer in Arlington this weekend with Christmas now just over a week away. There’s the Rosslyn holiday market (with Santa and dog photos, too), holiday light displays in Crystal City, and a number of local Christmas tree sales (depending on availability among the current tree shortage).
Columbia Pike pet fair “Paws on the Pike” is returning this weekend after being held virtually last year.
The event by the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO), now in its fourth year, will be from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday at Centro Arlington apartments (950 S. George Mason Drive).
It will feature a mix of pet-friendly activities and a meet-and-greet to help locals connect to nearby animal service providers and vendors.
For those starting to get concerned about what to do with their pets over the holidays, the fair will offer locals a chance to meet with pet-sitters and boarders.
Pets will be available for adoption from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and other rescue organizations.
“Join us for a day of pet-friendly fun and meet your local veterinarians, trainers, pet-sitters, boarders, dog walkers, groomers and more,” the CPRO said on its website. “Find your forever friend from a local shelter or stock up on homemade treats, there’s something for every pet parent.”
Planned activities include a “pup-arazzi” photoshoot with a professional photographer taking free portraits of pets. Pet owners must sign-up in advance for a photoshoot.
There will also be a DJ and “water bar” to allow pets to sample selection of different types of water. At 2 p.m., Pastor Ashley Goff from Arlington Presbyterian Church will be on-site to bless pets with a brief prayer.
Photo via Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization/Facebook
Apartment Rents Bounce Back — “It took a little while, but average rents for Arlington apartments have now shot past pre-pandemic levels, according to new data. With median rent prices of $2,013 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,437 for two bedrooms, Arlington is among 92 of the nation’s 100 largest urban communities that has seen rents return to, or exceed, levels of March 2020, when the pandemic hit.” [Sun Gazette]
Ballston Resident Creates Bourbon Brand — “I Bourbon is one Arlingtonian’s ode to this classic American whiskey. Now, if he could just get it on store shelves.” [Washington Business Journal]
Reston to Crystal City Bus Proposed — “One of two projects proposed by Fairfax County, the new express bus service would connect Fairfax Connector’s Reston South Park and Ride lot with key employment destinations in Arlington County, including the Pentagon and Pentagon City and ending in Crystal City. The county is seeking $5.1 million to cover two years of operating costs for the service as well as the purchase of six buses.” [Reston Now]
AWLA Takes in Louisiana Pets — “A special delivery arrived Wednesday afternoon at Manassas Regional Airport: a plane carrying more than 100 pets that were evacuated from the Louisiana hurricane zone ahead of Ida’s arrival earlier this week. As the plane landed, rescue organizations from throughout the D.C. area were standing by to take the animals in. ‘There were mostly dogs, but also a few cats in the mix,’ said Samantha Snow with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.” [WJLA]
Student Housing May Become Hotel — “Marymount University is moving to convert some of its recently acquired student housing in Ballston into hotel rooms, giving its hospitality program a boost in the process. The Arlington university filed documents with county planners Tuesday seeking permission to convert as much as half of the 267-unit residential building at 1008 N. Glebe Road into a hotel. Marymount has operated the building, dubbed The Rixey, as housing for students, faculty and staff since buying it back in 2019.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Pet Rescue Orgs Take in Hurricane Evacuees — “One of the first transports of dogs arrived Sunday with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, which was able to find fosters to take in evacuated dogs from Mississippi shelters… Homeward Trails Animal Rescue is another rescue urgently working to take in dogs and cats in Hurricane Ida’s path… ‘Fostering or adopting an animal NOW will save more than that one life. It will save dozens. Please donate, foster and adopt NOW.'” [WUSA 9, WTOP, WJLA]
Arlington Girl Hooks Record-Setting Fish — “If you happen to meet 5-year-old Caroline May Evans, she may want to tell you about the fish she caught. It’s a story worth hearing: She and her mom and dad hiked 12 miles into the remote Wind River Mountains of Wyoming, where she swung a red worm over the outlet of a lake with no name and caught what turns out to be a world-record golden trout. Caroline’s fish, landed on July 8, a few days before her 5th birthday, weighed 2 pounds, a remarkable size for a golden.” [Field and Stream]
Young Dems Blast Arlington Bishop — From the Arlington Young Democrats: “In a letter penned to his church community, Bishop Michael F. Burbridge of Arlington made heinous statements about trans folks and even trans children, where he stated that “no one is transgender.” Not only is this statement harmful to the hundreds of thousands of trans people that live in this country, many of whom live here in Arlington, but it is categorically false.” [Twitter]
APS to Punish Less, Teach More — “The Arlington County, Virginia, public schools are reimagining discipline, in the hope that teaching valuable life lessons will benefit students more than punitive consequences. On the first day of the 2021-2022 school year, Superintendent Francisco Duran, standing outside the newly opened Cardinal Elementary School, in North Arlington, said the school system is shifting the focus of discipline from punishment to making amends.” [WTOP]
Glebe Road Over Pimmit Run Back Open — “After more than two weeks, N. Glebe Road between Military Road and Chain Bridge Road/Virginia Route 123 in Arlington reopened Monday morning after delays caused by storm damage. The stretch was was originally set to be closed for nine days beginning Aug. 13 and ending Aug. 23, but an additional week was added on because of the impact of severe weather.” [WJLA]
Police Make Credit Card Theft Arrest — “The officer located the owner of the wallet, contacted him, and learned the wallet was previously stolen and there were fraudulent charges on the victim’s credit cards. The officer initiated a follow-up investigation and developed a suspect description. At approximately 8:22 a.m. on August 29, the officer was on patrol in the area of Wilson Boulevard and N. Randolph Street, observed the suspect on foot, and took him into custody without incident.” [ACPD]
A Lyon Village homeowner’s attempt to deter dogs from peeing on his prized bushes has prompted a major controversy on the local Nextdoor social network.
A post about the plastic “spikes” placed between the bushes and the sidewalk prompted outrage, hundreds of comments and even — reportedly — calls to police, despite the fact that it turned out to be a commonly-used product.
Eric Wang says he first became aware of the Nextdoor post when he noticed an ARLnow photographer taking photos of the blunt, somewhat bendy spikes, “as well as a number of people passing by and checking out the mats through the day.”
“I figured something was up, so I looked on Nextdoor and it was at the top of my feed,” he said in an interview over email. “I had stopped using Nextdoor for several months because of toxic content like this.”
The initial post alleged that the spikes — actually a product sometimes called a “scat mat” that’s advertised as an “gentle [way] to scare or irritate animals without harming them” — were “sharp” and could “do some damage to [dog] paws.”
Quickly, dozens of people piled on in condemning the homeowner, who Wang later identified as himself.
Among the comments that followed: “What a nut,” “what a sicko,” “clearly DGAF about anyone besides himself,” “just horrible,” “pure evil,” “pretty sick behavior,” “sociopathic behavior,” “what an ass.”
Wang’s modern home near the intersection of Key Boulevard and N. Adams Street, in the affluent neighborhood north of Clarendon and Courthouse, is distinctive. It has also caught the attention of local residents due to the prickly-worded signs Wang previously posted about dogs peeing on his bushes.
“Dear dog owners: your dog’s piss is killing these shrubs!” said the sign, a photo of which was posted in the Nextdoor thread. “Each of these shrubs costs $300. If you’ve been allowing your dog to piss on these shrubs, please kindly remit compensation for the damage you have caused.”
“After my first set of signs was not well-received, I relented and created a second set of signs (which nobody on Nextdoor bothered to post, which shows an intent to shade the facts here),” Wang told us, recounting how he finally decided to buy the mats.
“The second set of signs was meant to be humorous, and included a graphic of a smiling urinating dog with a red circle and slash through it and the words, ‘Please, no pissing on the shrubs.’ Neither set of signs was particularly effective, and they also weren’t very weatherproof,” Wang wrote. “So I went online and did some research and purchased the scat mats based on the product reviews I read — many of which were posted by pet owners.”
On Nextdoor, numerous people — who post using their verified full name and neighborhood — fretted that children, seniors and those with disabilities could fall and injure themselves on the spikes. They called for the mats to be reported to the authorities, for Wang to be sued, and for other forms of retribution.
- “I called ACPD”
- “Needs to be reported and the owners put on notice”
- “The Animal Welfare League needs to pay this homeowner a visit”
- “[An animal control officer] said he’ll check it out and make contact with the homeowner to inform them that there are concerns within the community.”
- “If somebody sent pictures to this guy’s insurance company that might have faster results”
- “I reported it to Arlington County. If more people do so, we would have a better chance if them doing something about it!”
- “Has ‘sue me’ written all over it. Hope it happens!”
- “We could all pee in bottles for a week and pour the contents on their bushes”
At least two people posted that they called police and were told nothing could be done. An Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman said she could find no record of calls regarding the spikes.
“The reaction is completely unhinged,” said Wang, an Ivy League-educated lawyer. (The person who started the thread is also an attorney, according to his LinkedIn profile.)
“The over-the-top… online pile-on represents the modern-day dangers of the Internet mobocracy,” continued Wang. “The knee-jerk reactions show a complete intolerance for facts and hatred for rational thinking. While this is a relatively minor example compared with phenomena like January 6, COVID denial, and anti-vaxxers, it is part of the same social pathology.”
Shortly after Wang started posting comments defending himself — “I’m sorry, but my property is not a public bathroom for the neighborhood dogs,” he said in one — many were removed and Wang was suspended from Nextdoor for not being “respectful to your neighbors,” according to screenshots reviewed by ARLnow.
Other comments that defended him were also removed, though accusations that those residents were somehow in cahoots with Wang, or were Wang using a false identity, remained. (Wang denied that he knows one particularly vehement defender, who posted dozens of comments before disappearing.)
The number of comments on the post were about 300 earlier today, down from 350 yesterday.
The criticism of Wang extended to commentary about his custom-built home.
“That house is an eyesore,” wrote one person.
“House as ugly as sin,” wrote another
“That house is heinous… our eyes are offended,” said a third.
Development Proposal for Ballston Macy’s — “The Ballston development pipeline continues to grow as plans come into focus for the Macy’s department store in northern Virginia. Insight Property Group is seeking Arlington County’s approval to raze and replace the Macy’s/office building at 685 N. Glebe Road with a 16-story development, delivering 555 apartments above a grocery store. The project would transfer development rights and density from the affordable Tyrol Hill/Haven Apartments off Columbia Pike.” [UrbanTurf]
‘Arlington Superwoman’ Invited to White House — “Mariflor Ventura, also known as ‘Arlington Superwoman,’ tells 7News she has been personally invited to the White House for July 4th celebrations. The Bidens have said they plan to host first responders, essential workers, and military service members and their families on the South Lawn for a cookout and to watch the fireworks over the National Mall… Ventura was first featured by 7News in April for her tireless dedication to feed, clothe and provide for hundreds of immigrant families.” [ABC 7, ABC 7]
Why There’s a Bit of a Haze in the Sky — From the National Weather Service: “If the sky seems milky to you, it’s probably because of the high altitude smoke which has moved into the area from wildfires in the western US and Canada. This smoke will likely hang around at least through tomorrow.” [Twitter]
Record Year for Local Pet Adoptions — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington found homes for a record-breaking number of dogs, cats and small animals during the fiscal year ending June 30, the organization announced on July 1. A total of 2,587 animals ‘were adopted into loving families and brought much-needed laughs, love and comfort’ during a tumultuous time, said Animal Welfare League CEO Sam Wolbert.” [Sun Gazette]
New Farmers Market Finds Success — “Vendors from Pennsylvania to the Northern Neck of Virginia traveled to Arlington Saturday morning to sell their vegetables and other goods at the inaugural Cherrydale Farmers Market in Arlington. The customer count was larger than organizers expected, especially from the time the market opened at 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. Some vendors sold out of their goods long before the market wrapped up at noon.” [Patch]
More Libraries Open Today — “Starting July 6, Arlington residents and Library patrons will have access to five open library locations — Aurora Hills, Central, Columbia Pike, Shirlington and Westover libraries. Arlington Public Library will prioritize access to library collections, reintroduce core library services and feature new operating hours across the system.” [Arlington Public Library]
Nats Offer Prize for Summer Readers — “This year, the Washington Nationals are offering each reader who finishes Summer Reading one voucher for an upcoming baseball game. Each voucher is good for two free Nats tickets, while supplies last.” [Arlington Public Library]
Photo courtesy Beth Ferrill
By the end of the year, dog owners will have a new place to drop off their dogs for the day or for vacation.
Playful Pack, a Northern Virginia-based dog daycare and board center, aims to open a new location in Rosslyn this winter. The business will replace the boutique gym LavaBarre at 1528 Clarendon Blvd, which closed last year.
Brothers Scott and Tyler Parker and Tyler’s wife Alyssa opened their first location in Fairfax Station in 2019. The forthcoming Rosslyn location is part of a plan to add four locations by the end of 2021, Tyler said.
The Parkers opened their second location in May in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center along Old Dominion Drive in McLean, and the other two sites in Leesburg and Alexandria are in the works.
Scott — who’s known locally for his nightlife, restaurant, grooming and fitness ventures — said they chose Rosslyn because there were not enough similar services in the neighborhood.
“We really wanted to put a boarding service on the [Metro’s] Orange Line,” said Scott. “There are many in Arlington that are over capacity, so we thought this area was underserved.”
The new 3,600-square-foot, cage-free daycare will have different activities daily to keep the dogs mentally and physically stimulated, said Scott.
“There’s bubble day, photo day — that kind of stuff,” he said. “Fun ideas we’ve tried over time [that] the dogs have enjoyed.”
Staff will evaluate the dogs’ temperaments and group them by size and energy levels. Dog owners can observe how their furry friends are faring via webcams streaming onto the Playful Pack website.
“We just try to be the safest and best place for dogs to have fun while their owners are away,” said Scott.
Playful Pack will also help to foster dogs through partnerships with Home Animals Rescue Team and Mutt Love Rescue.
Scott said prices will be similar to those at existing locations, where daycare for one pooch starts at $30 a day and overnight boarding at $65 a night.
Playful Pack will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., seven days a week.
A new combination veterinarian service, dog daycare and grooming business is being unveiled at the Ballston Quarter.
Heart + Paw’s grand opening is this Saturday, at 700 N. Randolph Street, marking the company’s first location in Virginia. Company co-founder George Melillo said the spot was a natural choice.
“Our vision has been to create a destination that has multiple pet care services in one location, led by the most trusted partner in animal care, the veterinarian,” Melillo, who is also the company’s chief veterinary officer, said in an email.
People and their leashed pets are invited to check out the new facility and meet the staff there from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required, and $50 discounts and other rewards are available, including a grand prize worth $500 for your pet.
“We are looking forward to offering our services at the vibrant, pet-friendly Ballston Quarter,” Dr. Noon Kampani, the location’s partner doctor, said in a news release. “As families transition back to normalcy and return to the office, Heart + Paw is here to be a part of making sure your pet is well cared for.”
The location was slated to open in 2020, but the business delayed the debut so people could see the new center firsthand.
“Throughout the pandemic, Heart + Paw has continued to grow,” Melillo told ARLnow.com, noting that “we slowed down our expansion in order to assure that we were balancing the needs of existing essential care providers: keeping our people safe, the public safe and serving the pet care needs of our communities.”
The location is next to LensCrafters on the first floor of the retail center’s open-air row of shops. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Photo courtesy Heart + Paw
The first time Matt and Vicky Eichler saw Jazz, she was in a crate coming out of baggage claim at Reagan National Airport.
“They sounded the big siren at Reagan National and she came through the little cargo thing,” says Matt. “And she was born to us.”
That was in 2002.
Today, Jazz (short for “Jazzmatazz”) is a newly-turned 19-year-old, toothless, miniature dachshund who lives with her caretakers in the Arlington Forest neighborhood. And this birthday girl (her birthday was March 19) has gone Arlington viral.
As ARLnow’s Pet of the Week last week, Jazz made quite an impression. On Facebook, Jazz’s story have received more than 250,000 impressions, 16,500 likes, 650 shares, and 1,300 comments — and counting.
It’s the most viral Pet of the Week post on social media that anyone here can remember. (In terms of readership on the ARLnow website, Jazz was unable to overtake the all-time Pet of the Week pageviews leader, a pet rock named Steven.)
It’s not totally clear why Jazz has stolen the hearts of an NHL arena’s worth of Facebook users, but her caretakers think it’s because she’s lovable, cute, and alive.
“All of our neighbors when they see her say ‘Oh, she’s still alive?’ and we say ‘Oh, yeah!,” says Matt.
Nineteen years ago, the newly-married couple was looking for a dog to carry on the family legacy.
“My family has had dachshunds in their family since 1980,” says Matt. “And Vicky really wanted a dog, so [she] emailed a number of breeders.”
They found a match, but the dog was all the way in Louisiana. So, the young pup took a flight by herself to meet her new family.
“She came with the name ‘Jasmine,'” says Vicky. “But I didn’t like it. It was too girly.”
So, they named her Jazzmatazz. With her Louisiana origins, Vicky says that the name “totally fit her.”
That first day with her new family was full of surprises.
“We brought her home, went to the backyard, and she instantly knew how to play ball,” says Matt. “It was pretty amazing. She was more than eager to play and push [the ball] back with her nose and chase it down.”
Jazz also didn’t bark in her first days, but that changed, oddly, once she saw herself for the first time.
“She was really quiet. And then she saw herself in the mirror and started to bark for the first time,” says Matt. “Then, we couldn’t shut her up after that.”
A few years later, the Eichler got another addition to their family.
“When we brought [our son] home from the hospital, Jazz welcomed him to the house,” says Matt. “She would pop up on her hind legs and look into the cradle.”
On walks, Jazz was protective of the baby, barking at passers-by.
“She was a good older sister,” Matt says.
As the years have passed, Jazz has slowed down a bit. Her eyes have gradually gotten worse, her hearing is going, and her mobility isn’t great. But she still has a great sense of smell, always tracking down her treats.
With FRK9 Brooks as its mascot, the Arlington County Police Department is hosting a “Fill the Cruiser” pet supply drive to benefit the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.
“FRK9 Brooks has a case of puppy love and is asking for your help ensuring his furry valentines at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington have the supplies they need,” a press release said. “For more than 75 years, AWLA has served the Arlington community with animal sheltering and control services to help pet owners keep their animals healthy, happy, and home.”
The drive, this Friday, Feb. 12 from 2-5 p.m., will be held at a contactless, drive-through donation station set up outside the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on the 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive.
FRK9 Brooks, who turned one in November, is being trained for this. A police service dog, his responsibilities include participating in community outreach events and helping officers deal with “strong emotions and stress that are often an inherent part of policing,” ACPD said back in August.
Suggested donations include cleaning supplies, treats, Vienna sausages, Easy Cheese, toys, pill pockets, leashes, and buckle collars. A full list of supplies AWLA can accept is available on its website.
AWLA cannot accept pillows, sheets, comforters, plastic dishes, used cat scratchers, towers, trees and litter boxes, used or extra-large dog beds or prescription medications.
On arriving, participants are asked to stay in their cars until they reach the unloading areas. Officers will be on-hand to remove donations from their vehicles.
There will be a separate area available for those arriving by bike or on foot.
Photos #1-3 from the file, photo #4 via Arlington County
Another business is closing at Pentagon Row.
The Unleashed by Petco store is closing on Saturday, Jan. 23, according to signs in the window. The store is currently holding a 10-50% off sale ahead of the closure.
Unleashed, a smaller-format version of the big-box Petco stores, opened at Pentagon Row in January 2013, replacing a Hallmark store.
Signs in the window direct customers to two other stores that are remaining open: an Unleashed location at 3902 Wilson Blvd in the Ballston area, and a full Petco location at 5825 Leesburg Pike in Bailey’s Crossroads.
The closure is the latest at the shopping center, which is in the process of being rebranded as “Westpost” and which now allows to-go alcohol consumption in common areas.
Other recent closures include Siné, Aabee Express, A Deli, Bed Bath & Beyond, Champps, Starbucks, World Market, and the Mike Bloomberg campaign office.
There are a number of new businesses, replacing some of the closures, including the currently open Bun’d Up, Wild Tiger BBQ, and Napoli Salumeria, as well as at least two that are coming soon: Nighthawk Pizza, Origin Coffee Lab and a Virginia ABC store. Signs for the latter recently went up in the windows of the former Bloomberg office.