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McLean Pet Fest will return this Sunday, Oct. 15 (courtesy McLean Community Center)

Dogs, cats and other household critters in McLean will get an early taste of Halloween when the McLean Community Center’s annual pet festival returns this weekend.

The McLean Pet Fest will unfold at McLean Central Park (1468 Dolley Madison Blvd) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 15). MCC says costumes will be “welcome” at a pet parade scheduled for 3 p.m.

Other attractions planned for the free event include a Fido’s Bone Bar, live music, pet tricks, a photo booth, giveaways, demonstrations and pet-related vendors, such as trainers and rescue and adoption organizations.

Three gourmet food trucks have also been lined up: Arlington-based Ribeye Philadelphia Steak, the frozen yogurt chain Sweet Frog and a new mobile cafe called Frothy Mug Coffee.

MCC Special Events Manager Catherine Nesbitt says the goal of McLean Pet Fest is to provide some entertainment and an opportunity for humans and their pets to spend time outdoors, while also educating community members about adoption, animal health and safety, and other topics.

“McLean Pet Fest is an inclusive community event that brings people and their pet companions to McLean Central Park to learn, be enriched and have a joyful experience together,” Nesbitt said.

Other events coming to the community center this month include a screening of the original Broadway show of “Sweeney Todd” next Thursday (Oct. 19), the McLean Community Players’ production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Proof” starting on Oct. 27, and a Festival of Frights and Trunk or Treat at the Old Firehouse on Oct. 28.

A full calendar of events can be found on the MCC website.

As it develops a budget for the next year, the McLean Community Center is seeking feedback on its programs and services with a community survey. The survey is available in English, Spanish and Korean, and the results will be shared with MCC staff and the governing board.

Cozy Cat Suites is coming to Herndon (via KLNB)

(Updated on Aug. 9) A business that caters to cats and all their boarding and grooming needs is opening soon in Herndon.

Cozy Cat Suites will open this fall at Herndon Marketplace (413 Elden Street), according to the company’s website.

The cat-centric business describes itself as a “luxury cat boarding and grooming facility.” It will be located next to the tanning salon Palm Beach Tan.

The business was started by siblings Tyler Parker, his brother Scott and Tyler’s wife Alyssa. 

The pet industry is growing rapidly and we saw the need for luxury cat boarding.  A place that is just for cats, so they can feel comfortable and cared for without the smell or sound of dogs being mixed in the same facility.  We will be offering individual suites for cats to board alone or with family members,” Tyler Parker said. 

All suites will have webcams for “parents” to check in, along with other amenities. The team has been in dog daycare and boarding — including its brand Playful Pack, which has several locations throughout the community. 

“Herndon is a very busy area in the heart of NOVA and the Dulles airport provides a  beneficial spot for a boarding business.  We look forward to meeting and servicing the feline loving community,” Parker said.

Playful Pack provides grooming, daycare and boarding services for dogs, while also working with local animal shelters to host foster dogs until they find new homes. The business has locations in McLean, Fairfax Station and Hybla Valley, among other sites.

There is currently one suite available for lease at Herndon Marketplace, which is anchored by Safeway, according to KLNB’s leasing materials.

The incoming business was first reported by The Burn.

Photo via KLNB


A pet resort has officially opened its doors to cats and dogs in Reston.

Giving Tree Pet Resort, a nearly 13,000-square-foot facility on a 1.7-acre piece of land on Association Drive, offers group daycare, individual daycare, getaway boarding and a day camp.

Owners can choose between tiered rooms like a presidential suite — which includes a 55-inch 4k Television, premium bedding and two forest walks — and a forest view deluxe room.

The business began when one of the owners adopted Dori, a mini schnoodle, but when the owner, Young, and his wife had to return to work, they struggled to find a place for their furry friend to spend during the days.

“Unfortunately, there was a serious lack of facilities nearby and the quality of the facilities that were available was not impressive,” a Giving Tree spokesperson told FFXnow. “Hence, him and his brother-in-law, Han, started to do some market search and found out that Reston had a pressing need for a pet resort — not [just] any, but one that will meet the standards of care of pet owners in Northern Virginia while being conveniently located.”

The owners settled on a location at 1912 Association Drive. The site was structured to accomplish the owners’ vision of serving the community and offering interactive and enrichment programs.

The business opened on July 1. It also offers grooming services, cat boarding, and a chauffeur pet taxi.

The pet resort could add an outdoor component if Fairfax County approves Giving Tree’s recently submitted request for a special exception. The business anticipates that the outdoor areas will be used by about 20 dogs at a time out of the 60 dogs expected at the facility, on average, each day, according to the application.

Dogs have become plentiful at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (courtesy FCAS)

Dozens of dogs at Fairfax County’s animal shelter have become infected recently by a respiratory illness known informally as “kennel cough.”

While it’s common to see some canine infectious respiratory disease complex (CIRDC) cases, the current wave has been exacerbated by more dogs staying in the shelter for longer periods of time, according to the Fairfax County Animal Shelter (FCAS).

As of yesterday (Thursday), 42 of the 67 dogs in the shelter at 4500 West Ox Road were symptomatic with CIRDC, which has cold-like symptoms such as coughing and a runny nose, Fairfax County Department of Animal Sheltering Director Reasa Currier told FFXnow.

“Every dog has received an individualized treatment plan from our veterinarian and most dogs are improving quickly without the need for medication,” Currier said, describing the symptoms as generally mild.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, CIRDC comes from a variety of viruses and bacteria and is spread through respiratory droplets. Dogs can catch it through close or direct contact with infected animals, sneezing and coughing, and exposure to contaminated objects, such as toys or water bowls.

Kennel cough doesn’t affect humans and other kinds of animals, but it can spread quickly in congregate settings like a shelter, in part because it’s contagious before symptoms appear. The illness also thrives in humidity and is “exacerbated by stress,” FCAS says.

The shelter says it has “robust daily cleaning protocols,” and staff have been “carefully monitoring all dogs for symptoms,” separating those that are symptomatic from the healthy animals.

However, the biggest challenge has been the size of the shelter’s dog population, which neared 100 dogs earlier this summer.

“[There are] more dogs in our care than the staff and facility can adequately support and dogs remaining in our care for extended periods of time,” Currier said. “Our animal population has increased by 25% over the same period last year while the number of days animals spend in our care has also increased as adoptions have slowed.”

Crowding is an issue at shelters nationwide, as some of the over 23 million households that reportedly adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic reevaluate that decision.

The surge in pet surrenders reflects “complex social and economic circumstances,” led by people moving or encountering other housing-related challenges, Currier says. Though 70% of renters in Fairfax County own a pet, many apartments don’t allow pets, place restrictions on the size or breed, or require a fee or deposit.

Increasing costs for veterinary care and pet supplies, particularly food, may also affect someone’s ability to keep their pet, according to Currier.

In the hopes of encouraging adoptions and reducing surrenders, FCAS is promoting its available pets more frequently, reviewing its adoption process to reduce barriers, and providing more resources to pet owners, including free or low-cost vet care and free temporary boarding for those in crisis.

The shelter is also seeking volunteers who can foster large dogs and asking anyone planning to surrender a dog to try to postpone it for at least two more weeks. Owners are advised to ensure their pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations before turning them in.

“There is not one easy solution to the increase in homeless animals, but it is something we must tackle through multipronged efforts,” Currier said. “We appreciate the support we receive from our generous community who keep our pet food pantry stocked and our team of dedicated volunteers and fosters who allow us to continue to provide exceptional, individualized care to every animal who come in the shelter’s doors despite the growing need.”

The home decor store Le Village Marché is opening a new boutique at Chesterbrook Shopping Center in McLean (courtesy Le Village Marché)

A home decor store inspired by Parisian flea markets will say bonjour to the Chesterbrook Shopping Center in McLean this week.

Le Village Marché will open a new boutique at 6234 Old Dominion Drive on Friday (June 9), marking the company’s first expansion within Northern Virginia since it began operating in Shirlington in 2007.

Inspired by founder and owner Angela Phelps’ past travels to Paris, the business sells kitchen, garden and bath products, along with candles, jewelry and other accessories, and notebooks.

“Owning a French-inspired gift shop has been a dream of mine since my very first trip to Paris over 20 years ago,” Phelps said in a press release. “McLean is the perfect place to begin expanding the franchise and we are thrilled to be opening our doors to a community with so much warmth and charm. From French tea towels and glassware to beaded chandeliers, we truly have it all!”

The McLean store marks a new chapter for Le Village Marché, as Phelps seeks to expand the company through franchising. She previously had another location in northwest D.C., but it closed permanently in 2020 when its lease ended and the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, according to its website.

Le Village Marché arrives during a period of transition for Chesterbrook Shopping Center, which created intentional vacancies as it began a major renovation last fall.

Property owner Federal Realty has started to refill those empty spaces, welcoming the juice bar South Block, a mobile Call Your Mother deli and the clothing store J.McLaughlin this year.

Next year, the shopping center will add Small Door Veterinary, a primary and urgent care practice for pets, Federal Realty announced earlier this week. Emphasizing its use of modern technology, the clinic will provide services from wellness exams to surgeries through a membership system.

According to Federal Realty, the planned “state-of-the-art facility” in McLean will be the company’s ninth location overall and first in Virginia, though it has four existing and upcoming sites in D.C.

“After establishing successful practices in New York, Boston, and D.C., we are thrilled to introduce our modernized approach to veterinary care in Virginia and extend our services to a wider community of pet owners,” Small Door Veterinary co-founder and CEO Josh Guttman said. “Our forthcoming location in Chesterbrook will provide a nurturing environment staffed with highly skilled veterinarians who will be dedicated to ensuring only the best care for pets and their owners.”

Federal Realty bought Chesterbrook in 2021 after previously serving as property manager for the 90,000-square-foot shopping center for nearly two decades.

The renovation is focused on modernizing the center’s storefronts and façades, a process expected to finish this year. New outdoor amenity spaces are scheduled to be completed in 2024.

“It is exciting to see the transformation of Chesterbrook attracting premier local and national brands,” Deirdre Johnson, Federal Realty’s senior vice president of asset management, said. “The recent openings…[create] the distinguished neighborhood destination envisioned to best serve our community.”

Three pets were killed in a house fire in Annandale (via FCFRD/Twitter)

Multiple pets were killed in a house fire in the Broyhill Crest neighborhood of Annandale this morning.

Fairfax County firefighters were dispatched to the single-family house in the 3500 block of Marvin Street at 11:19 a.m., according to scanner traffic.

Upon arriving, firefighters found smoke issuing from a fire apparently concentrated in the house’s basement, which was difficult to access due to “hoarding conditions.”

All human occupants were able to evacuate and are safe, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt says. The exact number of people who were in the house hasn’t been confirmed yet.

However, two dogs and a cat were trapped by the fire. Annandale Today first reported that one of the dogs, a Doberman, had died, and the FCFRD later confirmed that all three pets were killed.

Hat tip to Xavier “X” on Twitter

Loyal Companion is closing all of its Fairfax County stores, including one at the Mosaic District (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Loyal Companion is letting out one final howl before permanently shuttering all of its stores in Fairfax County.

Independent Pet Partners, the pet wellness chain’s parent company, announced yesterday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to close all its stores outside of Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

That includes Loyal Companion’s stores in Vienna, Tysons, Herndon, Merrifield’s Mosaic District, and Pender shopping mall in the Fair Oaks area. The closure announcement was first reported by Patch.

All stores will close after Feb. 28, according to a message on the company’s website.

To our Loyal Companion community,

With a heavy heart, we want to inform you that we’ve made the tough decision to close our Loyal Companion stores.  We have loved serving the community and supporting you on your pet wellness journey. ​

Our stores will be open through the end of February.  We will be offering liquidation discounts and we encourage you to take advantage of these great offers to get all the supplies you need.

While it’s hard to say goodbye, it’s easy to say thank you. Thank you for being part of our family. Thank you for caring about pet wellness. And thank you for supporting your local community. ​

We’ve enjoyed all the hugs and belly rubs along the way. ​

~ Your Loyal Companion Team

All products are now 10 to 30% off at the closing stores. Furniture and equipment is also for sale, per signs posted at the Mosaic District location.

Loyal Companion launched in 2019 with a massive, coordinated opening of 52 new stores. The business prides itself on a focus on nutrition and the availability of holistic services, including food, grooming, veterinarian care, training and pet day care.

“We are confident we can use the chapter 11 process to emerge as a stronger, more focused business, and better able to serve our customers,” Independent Pet Partners said in a press release. “For those stores that are closing, and for markets we will no longer serve, we will do everything possible to try to find buyers for these locations so our pet parents can continue to be served.”

Loyal Companion says it’s no longer accepting returns, but refunds will be offered until the stores officially close.

Canines at Dogtopia (courtesy image)

Dog daycare, boarding and spa chain Dogtopia announced yesterday that it plans to open a new location at 11039 Lee Highway in Fairfax early next month.

Dogtopia offers areas for playtime and exercise with live camera feeds so pet parents can watch their pets while they’re away. The daycare will also have contact-free curbside drop-off and pick-up service.

Dogtopia’s Fairfax location is scheduled to open in early February. The location will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday to Friday, and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

According to the release:

Dogtopia’s environment allows dogs to feel comfortable, enjoy plenty of playtime and exercise, and the playrooms offer fun for dogs of similar size and temperament. Each playroom has compressed rubber flooring to ease joints, prevent slipping and promote safer play while trained Canine Coaches promot physical and mental activities throughout the day. Dogtopia maintains live camera feeds from inside their award-winning app allowing pet parents to watch and enjoy their dog’s playday at any time. The app is also how pet parents may reserve their play dates, overnight boarding visits, manage their account, and communicate with the daycare.

The company also has Fairfax County franchises in Falls Church, Tysons, Herndon, and Springfield.


Pickles, a rescue cat, was trapped in a stormwater drain at Lake Anne in Reston for almost a week.

Her owners unsuccessfully tried to get him out after he became stuck on Dec. 4, his mews audible through a manhole.

After Fairfax County’s animal control staff said they couldn’t humanely trap the cat and the Fire and Rescue Department’s non-emergency line also said they could not do much, the owners turned to the county’s stormwater maintenance team for help.

After working from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday (Dec. 9), the team was able to get Pickles out, according to Brittany Catton Kirk, the owner.

“After a laborious first attempt/ he escaped and ran down a second drain. I seriously was going to give up at that point but your team did not. They moved the truck and started again. And this time got him!” Kirk said.

She told FFXnow that the cat was rescued on a freeway in Maryland a year ago.

Kirk said they promise to keep the feral rescue cat indoors from now on and lauded the team for their effort.

“It would have been an entirely different Christmas and trauma to know our cat was dying in a closed dark space, and now he is safe at home,” Kirk wrote.

PetMedic Urgent Care will open a clinic in Tysons in 2023 (via PetMedic)

Tysons’ gradually expanding network of health care services will soon include a new option for pets.

PetMedic Urgent Care, a small but growing franchise based in Massachusetts, will open its first location in the D.C. area at Tysons West (1495 Cornerside Blvd) next year, the company announced yesterday (Tuesday).

The clinic will operate similarly to human urgent care centers, providing medical services for non-life-threatening conditions after regular business hours and on the weekends, according to the press release, which was previously reported by the Washington Business Journal.

“We are thrilled to be offering veterinary urgent care in Virginia,” PetMedic founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nir Ben-Ari said in a statement. “The need for urgent care in the veterinary space is high to alleviate burnout in our teams and to provide a stronger continuum of care.”

From the news release:

The clinic is staffed by an experienced emergency medicine team and is complete with a modern surgical suite, laboratory, digital X-ray, ultrasound, and cutting-edge software that allows for an efficient workflow for team members.

PetMedic won’t offer vaccinations, wellness visits and other “routine” services provided by veterinary practices. Patrons will be able to make same-day appointments online.

Founded in January 2020, PetMedic currently has three locations: two in Massachusetts and one in Portland, Maine. According to its website, the business has four new clinics in the works, but the Tysons one is the only expansion outside of those two states.

“Pet parents love the after-hours and weekend options, and our healthcare network appreciates the extra hands when they’re overloaded,” Ben-Ari said. “It’s a win-win for the community in every respect.”

To address humans’ medical needs, Tysons welcomed an emergency room from Reston Hospital Center this summer to support the area’s growing population. The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine also opened a primary care office in McLean in February.


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