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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.

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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.

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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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A pet care business that brings grooming, dog walking, pet sitting and other services directly to owners has expanded into McLean.

Launched earlier this month, Woofie’s of McLean introduced itself to the community on Saturday (Sept. 17) at the kick-off for Shipgarten’s seven-week Oktoberfest celebration in Tysons. The “Dogtoberfest” event on Oct. 22 will serve as a grand opening.

Dogtoberfest festivities will include baths, nail trims and a raffle for a free grooming. Woofie’s will also offer a $5 discount on a first walk or 10% off a first grooming appointment, the company said.

Franchise owner and operator Ana Hul, a McLean resident, credits her 10-year-old Yorkie with inspiring her to become an owner after patronizing Woofie’s for years.

“I have been personally impacted by the way Woofie’s has taken care of my dog Pepper, and I wanted to provide that same level of care to pets in my own city of McLean,” Hul said in a press release.

Based initially out of Hul’s home, Woofie’s offers home visits for dog walking and pet-sitting services, including overnight care, as well as pet spas out of a mobile van that can stop at customers’ houses and community events.

The franchise’s service area includes McLean, most of Tysons east of Route 7, and northern Arlington. Its operating hours are from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Founded in Ashburn in 2004, Woofie’s began franchising in 2018 and now has five locations, all in Northern Virginia. A Reston-Herndon franchise launched in April 2019.

The company was acquired by the franchisor Authority Brands in January.

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Staff at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter are hoping that their space will be cleared up — mostly of adoptable animals — with the help of a special event this Saturday (Aug. 27). 

In a partnership with NBC4, the shelter is hosting a “Clear the Shelters” adoption event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the adoption center (4500 West Ox Road).

The shelter has nearly 300 pets that need homes. All fees that are typically required for adoptions will be waived. 

We are way over capacity and need the public to come out this Saturday and adopt one of these wonderful animals,” Reasa Currier, director of the animal shelter, said.

Among the available animals are over 80 cats that came from an owner that was simply overwhelmed with the pets. Animal Protection Police was called to remove the cats from the home, Currier said. 

They are beautiful, healthy cats who are thrilled to finally have a space of their own with a litter box, food, and a soft blanket. They’re shy and hesitant of new people, but with a little patience they’ll come around and make great pets,” she said. 

The shelter was also recently approached by resident who is seeking to give away 30 rabbits in phases.

Staff and volunteers have been caring for the rabbits who have arrived at the shelter, seeing to their daily needs, and introducing them to potential adopters. Some of the rabbits are lionheads, some have shorter fur, variety of fur colors and mostly rich soft browns,” Currier said.

Clear the Shelters is an annual pet adoption and donation campaign that was launched by NBCUniversal Local eight years ago. This year’s half-hour special features feel-good stories of animal rescues and adoptions. It’s hosted by “The Blacklist” actor Amir Arison.

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A lost community pig was returned to its owner (via Nalls Produce/Facebook)

A pig that found its way to a local business that happen to be trained in proper swine handling has been returned to his owner.

The pig was caught by staff at Nalls Produce, a garden center located in the Kingstowne area, which turned the loose community pig to the county’s animal control division. 

“How serendipitous that a loose pig wandered one of the only places in the area that has staff trained in proper swine handling with pig feed in stock,” Nalls Produce wrote in a statement on social media.

The pig was returned to the owner after a community search, according to second Lt. Kathleen Prucnal of the county’s animal protection police.

Our officers occasionally encounter pigs in Fairfax County and they prioritize public safety and animal welfare when doing so.  There were several calls received by dispatch over the course of a few days and we attempted to locate and confine the animal each time it was reported,” Prucnal wrote in a statement.

The Fairfax County Police Department advises anyone who comes across a loose pig to contact their non-emergency dispatch number 703-691-2131, though 911 should be used if it’s an emergency situation.

Nalls Produce described the pig as a “young full size piggie” and not a “mini” like Penny, the pig owned by the business.

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The Fairfax County Animal Shelter is about to become a paw-pular place for beagle devotees, with 16 pooches saved from a Virginia research facility last month set to go up for adoption later this week.

On Monday morning (Aug. 8), a number of the spirited, tail-wagging beagles made their first public appearance since arriving at their new, temporary home. Dogs with names like Rosebud, Mint, and Bergamot hopped around in the grass, gnawed on a toy, and sat in their water bowl outside of the facility.

“[They] are putting their paws on grass for the first time,” shelter director Reasa Currier said as several floppy-eared puppies pranced around her feet. “They were uncertain about the sun, uncertain about the outside. All of this is brand new.”

Last month, a judge ordered the release of thousands of beagles from an Envigo research facility in Culpepper, Virginia due to the inhumane treatment of the dogs.

In recent weeks, local shelters stepped up to help the rescue effort and find the dogs forever homes. This includes the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation in Falls Church, the Fairfax-based Homeward Trails, and the county animal shelter on West Ox Road.

The first wave of 16 dogs arrived at the shelter Thursday (Aug. 4). They ranged in age from 3 months to 6 years old. The beagles are currently receiving medical attention, tons of love, and just being allowed to adjust to life “being a dog,” Currier says.

She noted that the plan is to spade and neuter them this week, so they can be put up for adoption likely later in the week.

The phones have been “ringing off the hook” with calls from prospective puppy parents nationwide, Currier says.

The county shelter has an open adoption process, meaning people can walk in, fill out paperwork, meet with a counselor, and walk out with a new furry family member within the hour.

That process will remain the same for the beagles and will operate on a first come, first adopt basis. All the dogs are expected to be adopted very quickly, so Currier suggests monitoring the website to stay up to date on their availability.

For those that might miss out on the initial round of adoptions, more beagles are expected to arrive at the shelter in the weeks ahead. Read More

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Morning Notes

A flock of birds flies over Route 123 in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Real Estate Taxes Due Today — For Fairfax County property owners, it’s the final day to send in the first installment of your annual real estate taxes, which saw significant increases this year even with a 3-cent reduction in the county’s rate. Payments can be made to the Department of Tax Administration by phone, mail, drop box, mobile app and online. [DTA]

Springfield Man Convicted in 2020 Murder — A jury convicted Carlington Fitz Auther Campbell yesterday (Wednesday) for shooting and killing Anthony Sullivan outside a West Springfield apartment in November 2020, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced. Campbell was found guilty of second-degree murder and a weapons charge, which carry possible prison sentences of five to 40 years and three years, respectively. [WUSA9]

Decision on Mosaic District Skating Rink Postponed — “Because of some public pushback, unresolved questions and a legal-advertising snafu, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on July 13 deferred until September its decision on whether to allow temporary ice- and roller-skating rinks in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.” [Sun Gazette]

Fairfax City Veterinarian Helps Ukraine Animal Shelters — “Dr. Courtney Katsur chokes up when she describes what she saw while volunteering for two weeks in Ukraine. The veterinarian with Town & Country Animal Hospital in Fairfax tried for months to find a way to get to the war zone to help animals she was seeing in the news.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Clinics Available for Required Student Vaccinations — “Before students return to school in late August, families can check to ensure their students are up to date on immunizations required at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Health Department is offering appointments at upcoming immunization clinics.” [Patch]

Inova to Rebrand Urgent Care Centers With Partnership — Inova Health System will soon let patients make appointments, check wait times and more through the on-demand health care platform GoHealth Urgent Care. Announced yesterday (Wednesday), the joint venture will convert seven existing Inova Urgent Care locations in Northern Virginia into Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care centers later this year, with additional locations planned. [Inova]

Penn Daw Firefighters Help Mow Lawn — “Recently, Station 11, Penn Daw, B-Shift responded to a routine EMS incident for an elderly gentleman experiencing distress while mowing his lawn on one of the hottest days of the year. The #FCFRD crew assisted the gentlemen, and then completed mowing his lawn prior to leaving.” [FCFRD/Twitter]

Park Authority Fall Registration Begins Next Week — “Fairfax County Park Authority registration for fall classes and programs opens Aug. 2, 2022. Fall classes will be in full swing with programs at Rec Centers, nature centers, historic sites, lakefront parks, golf courses and schools. Virtual classes are available for those who prefer or cannot attend in person.” [FCPA]

McLean Lidl Hosts Kids’ Drawing Contest — “Lidl is holding a drawing competition for children at its new McLean store as part of a benefit for the SHARE of McLean food bank. Starting Wednesday, children can participate in the drawing competition, with a chance to win a $100 Lidl gift card…Once the competition closes on Wednesday, Aug. 3, Lidl will narrow down the entries and ask McLean community members to vote for their favorite piece of art.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]

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A chicken on the move (via James Wainscoat/Unsplash)

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and growing concerns about monkeypox, a recent, national surge in salmonella cases linked to live poultry has flown relatively under the radar.

However, the bacteria has spread to 48 states since early February, infecting 572 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Northern Virginia hasn’t been immune.

As of last Tuesday (July 19), there have been 11 cases reported in Virginia, including two in the state’s northern region, the Virginia Department of Health said. Eight of the cases have been tied to exposure to live poultry, and one resulted in a hospitalization.

It’s unclear whether either of the Northern Virginia cases occurred in Fairfax County, since the data typically isn’t released on a local or county level, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.

For the three cases not linked to poultry exposure, VDH says it’s unsure how the illness was contracted.

“Those cases could be either lost to follow-up (unable to contact them for interview/investigation) or we have not received their exposure information from the local health district that conducted the investigation for that case,” wrote Kelsey Holloman, who manages VDH’s Foodborne Disease Epidemiology program.

Overall, the U.S. poultry salmonella outbreak has led to 92 hospitalizations and two deaths. It has been more than a month since the last recorded case on June 22, though the CDC says the actual case numbers are likely higher since many people recover without medical care and don’t get tested.

Caused by a bacteria that lives in the intestines of people and animals, salmonella can be spread through contact with contaminated food or drink as well as infected animals and their environment. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.

While most people recover without treatment in four to seven days, the illness can be more severe for young children, adults over 65, and immunocompromised individuals, according to the CDC.

Per VDH, tips for avoiding infection include:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and water after touching live poultry/backyard flocks, their eggs, or anything in the area where they live and roam.
  • Keep backyard flocks and flock supplies outside.
  • Do not let young children (under 5) handle backyard flocks, including chicks and ducklings

Earlier this year, salmonella outbreak tied to Jif peanut butter led to 21 total cases in 17 states, including four hospitalizations, VDH says. The CDC closed its investigation into that outbreak earlier in July.

The CDC estimates salmonella cause about 1.35 million illnesses, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Photo via James Wainscoat/Unsplash

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The Fairfax County Animal Shelter will receive the beagles soon (via Fairfax County Animal Shelter)

For the first time, animals from a research facility will be up for adoption at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

Roughly 4,000 beagles from a research facility will be transferred to the shelter. A spokesperson for the animal shelter says staff and volunteers are excited to welcome the animals to start the “next chapter of their lives.”

“Once we know them, we’ll be able to help match them with awesome new families who can show them what it means to be a loved pet in a real home,” the spokesperson told FFXnow in a statement.

The beagles were rescued from inhumane conditions inside a research and breeding facility in Cumberland earlier this month. Homeward Trails, a shelter based in Fairfax Station, is helping the Humane Society of the U.S. find permanent homes for them.

In May, federal officials seized 145 dogs and puppies that law enforcement officials said were in acute distress. The rescue comes after federal inspectors found dozens of violations of federal regulations at the facility over two years.

For example, a female beagle’s paw was trapped in shoddy flooring for so long that she became dehydrated, according to a report from the New York Times.

Even though the beagles are from a breeding and research facility, no special protocol will be followed. The Fairfax County shelter plans to follow its standard adoption protocol.

Organizers are encouraging residents to consider adoption and support the shelter by volunteering. A wishlist for foster homes and the shelter is also available online.

The shelter doesn’t have a firm timeline yet on what the beagles will arrive or how many, according to a shelter spokesperson.

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