Month: August 2023

Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Protecting Our Cats and Dogs from Heat Stroke

In late June and early July, major media outlets reported that U.S. temperatures this summer were expected to break records nationwide, including in metro Washington. Pet lovers are used to accommodating their animals’ changing needs and protecting them no matter what the weather. When it’s hot out, we know to keep our pets in cool, shaded spaces; to give them tepid water; to help them relax; and to not leave them in parked cars. What else should we be more aware of this year as we head into midsummer? Vets recommend following established guidelines for enjoying summer with your pets safely. Think of safety rules for pets as being even more souped up than those for humans, and often specific to species or breeds. Handling our pets’ particular needs becomes even more important during intensifying heat waves. A good rule of thumb is to be even more careful for our pets (and our kids and other humans!) than we would be for ourselves. During a heat wave, experts recommend that humans stay indoors, drink lots of water and electrolytes, keep out of direct sunlight, and avoid exercising outside. Similarly for our animals, this means keeping them cool, calm, hydrated, and inside. Tracking the Heat Index First, track your heat index online, which projects what heat feels like for humans by measuring the air’s temperature and relative humidity. Humid heat is more dangerous than dry because of that relative humidity. Levels range from Caution (80° to 90°F), which can make people feel fatigue; to Extreme Danger (125° or higher), which can cause heat stroke and death. Please check out the links for heat index trackers/apps and other hot-weather information from the CDC, the National Weather Service, NOAA, and the American Veterinary Medical Association at the end of this article. Walking Our…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Events Around Town- August 2023

Best of the West by West End Business Association 5th 1 to 5 p.m. Admission: Free (pre-registration recommended) Patrick Henry Recreation Center 4653 Taney Avenue The West End Business Association (WEBA) invites Alexandrians and neighbors to the inaugural Best of the West event celebrating the neighborhood’s restaurants and consumer-facing businesses. Hosted at the Patrick Henry Recreation Center, the event will feature tastings from local restaurants, vendor booths, free entertainment and some friendly competition to be named “Best of the West.” Pre-registration is recommended for earlier and guaranteed entry. Alexandria Summer Sidewalk Sale 12th Throughout Old Town and Beyond One of the longest running summer shopping events returns to the D.C. region’s Shop Small destination for independent boutiques, Alexandria, Virginia, with the annual Alexandria Summer Sidewalk Sale happening Saturday, August 12, 2023, throughout Old Town and beyond. The event features more than 40 Alexandria boutiques stepping out of their storefronts and offering deeply discounted summer merchandise. Plus, enjoy live music along King Street and shop pop-up vendors along the 0 block of King Street. In Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, browse unique finds at the Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market and more. Learn more at Art Night in Old Town 17th 5 to 7:30 p.m. Admission: Free Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria On the third Thursday of each month, discover an art gallery and/or cultural arts organization offering an evening of fine art and studio crafts. Come to Old Town for an evening of art and stay for dinner at a nearby restaurants More information on participating art galleries and restaurants can be found at Del Ray Bands and Brews Summer Bar Crawl 19th 12:30 to 6 p.m. Admission: $15 Advance Tickets; $25 Day of Event Tickets Various locations along Mount Vernon Avenue Join the fun and…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Keeping It Cool in the Garden

By Garden Helpers Let’s keep those flowers and foliage looking good during the “Dog Days”! Here are a few August gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it’s best for the rest of this season. Watering Watering can be the biggest task this month particularity if the weather gets hot. Vegetable gardens, most flowering plants, and the lawn all need about one inch of water every week to keep them green and looking nice. Be sure to water thoroughly, and deeply each time you water. When possible, do your watering in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm up before the cooler evening hours set in. Deep watering will induce the plant’s roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil. The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won’t have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies. Be sure to check the hanging baskets and container grown plants every day during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Don’t just check the surface… Push your finger an inch or two into the soil to be sure there…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge


By Julie Reardon Not happy with your job and love dogs? It seems appropriate during the “Dog Days of Summer”, to check out the many opportunities available to make money from the pet industry, dogs in particular. Now more than ever, people love their dogs, consider them family and are willing to spend whatever it takes to keep them happy and healthy. It goes without saying that many costs associated with pet and particularly dog ownership, have gone up as people demand more goods and services; veterinary care has skyrocketed in the past 10 or 15 years. But lest you think veterinarians are getting rich at you and your dog’s expense, the increased cost is because big health care has taken note and small practices owned by vets are getting bought up by large corporate entities at an alarming rate. Unlike veterinarians who spent 7 or 8 years at vet school and doing residencies because they love animals, the corporations are all about the profit so not just the care and diagnostics, but the drugs your pet is prescribed have gone up accordingly. These increased veterinary costs have spawned a burgeoning pet health insurance business. Many companies, even those that primarily insure humans and their property, are getting into the pet insurance business. As with any insurance, it’s always wise to check the fine print of what is and is not covered and the limits of coverage. Most require upfront payment of veterinary services and reimburse you for them, some have annual or lifetime limits. It’s also wise to consider what kind of dog you have and what you might need the pet insurance for, to be sure those things are covered. For example, active working or competition dogs are at greater risk of cruciate ligament injuries which can run…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

The Dog Days of Summer Are Sizzling

By Wanda Lou Willis Early July begins the “dog days of summer” which lasts until early September. Depending on latitude and climate, the actual dates vary greatly from region to region. Nearly everyone has heard this expression and knows that it refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. Some of the popular beliefs or claims connected with this period are that it is an evil time, there’ll be droughts and plagues, wine will turn sour, and humans will suffer from heat hysterics or go mad. The Ancient Greeks believed that the “dog days” weakened men and women became aroused. The phrase took on an ominous meaning by the 19th century. It was believed that dogs would most likely contract rabies during this period. Today it’s a time to be laid back and carefree while sipping iced tea in sleepy contemplation. The term seems a natural expression since dogs pant and lie as flat on the ground as they can to avoid the heat; however, it has nothing to do with dogs. Where does the expression “dog days of summer” come from? What does it really mean? The “dog” in this saying refers to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky which rises and sets with the Sun. The ancient Egyptians named the star Sirius after their God Osirus, whose head resembled that of a dog. Both ancient Egyptians and Romans believed that the combination of the brightest luminary of the day (the sun) and the brightest star of night (Sirius) was responsible for the extreme heat experienced during the middle of summer. In ancient Egypt, the New Year began with the return of Sirius. When it appeared they knew that the “Nile Days” were at hand. It was a warning to the people who lived along the…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Heading North(ish) to North Ocean City, Maryland

By Bob Tagert Beach days are the best days. We’re talking about those relaxing dog days of summer spent by the water when the world seems to fall away. Just the act of spreading out your towel and laying in the sun! Or that refreshing, cold bite of the water as you dip in for the first time! Throw some beach snacks and summer books in your bags (July OTC “Last Word”) and you’re ready to go. With this thought in mind we decided to return to Ocean City, Maryland this month. With the air temps reaching record highs, the cool Atlantic Ocean seemed like a reasonable destination. Having grown up in this area, I am very familiar with Ocean City trips. Back in the 60’s and 70’s it was fast becoming a popular destination to escape from the city. However, back in those days there was only one Bay Bridge and the traffic backups were legendary. On occasion the backups would stretch for miles. Impromptu parties enroute would pop up with frustrated beach goers. In 1969 the construction of the new parallel span began and was completed on June 28, 1973. How is that for good timing at the beginning of summer? With the new bridge and the widening of Route 50, the backups were soon a distant memory and the way to the Atlantic and her sandy beaches were wide open. Back in those days the beach destinations consisted of Ocean City in Maryland and Rehoboth, Dewey, Bethany and Fenwick Island in Delaware. Back then there were miles and miles of dunes, grasses and empty beaches. In fact, back then, the commercial district of Ocean City ended at 60th street. North of that was dunes, blue sky, no life guards and surfers looking for “the” wave. That is…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes August 2023

By Bob Tagert As I write the August Publishers Notes the heat index this week is forecast to be around 105 or more degrees. Scientists say that the first two weeks of July were the hottest on record. The averages temperatures for August range between 69 to 89 degrees. Hopefully August will be a little kinder to us. There is a silver lining to the heat and the rain – see the photo of me standing in front of our friends hydrangeas. I am about 5’11”. These are amazing. Also amazing, are the sunflowers on the cover that will be in full bloom this month. Will be worth the drive to see them. (See About the Cover) One sure way to escape the heat is to head to the beach. This past month we took a Road Trip to Ocean City – Maryland not Jersey. The cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean were exactly where I left them years ago. There is always something calming about the ocean…there can be hundreds of folks around, but it is just you and the surf rolling in. Was good to spend time with a longtime friend and meet some new ones along the way. As summer is winding down, tourist season is in its last throes. Families are fitting in the family vacation before school starts and trying to jam in everything as Labor Day is fast approaching. This means lots of foot traffic on lower King Street here in Old Town. While I am all for the ‘pedestrian mall’ in the 0 and 100 blocks, the amount of people crossing Union Street on a weekend is unreal. Alexandria might want to consider getting a “crossing guard” so vehicles can pass through the intersection without worrying about hitting someone – especially those who…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

It isn’t always about cats and dogs, is it?

By Erin Shackleford In addition to our purring and barking fur pals, the AWLA has some cute little critters available for adoption that include small mammals like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits! Here is a little info on these breeds.   The Hamster: Hamsters, by nature, are active pets, so they need access to equipment like an exercise wheel and ball. Did you know they can run the equivalent of 20 miles a day? Hamsters are nocturnal, so you might hear them hitting the gym later at night. Hamsters have a lifespan of approximately 2.5 to 3 years, with slight variations among species. These intelligent little hamsters make friendly companions! The young, 2-month old hamsters we currently have for adoption have been socialized with people since birth. (Pictured are Izzy, DeeDee and Dusty)   The Guinea Pig: Guinea pigs have lots of appealing qualities! They’re small, gentle and personable. They need daily time out of their enclosures for interaction and affection. These hardy little animals enjoy hay, specific veggies, and crunchy timothy biscuits. Most guinea pigs enjoy petting and playing. They are social and often like the companionship of another guinea pig. Depending on the species, they can require daily brushing if they have longer hair. Guinea pigs live an average of 5 to 7 years. We have multiple guinea pigs available for adoption! (Pictured are Amori, Tamira and Tia)   The Rabbit: Rabbits can make excellent companions as they’re highly social. They do need larger enclosures than hamsters and guinea pigs. A “rabbit-proofed” room is also a necessity, so they have room to hop around, stretch their legs, and explore. Rabbits can also benefit from secure outdoor enrichment spaces. Rabbits enjoy munching on hay, fruits and veggies, and timothy biscuits. Rabbits have longer lifespans at 10 plus years, so they are certainly a bigger commitment. We have a…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

The Long Goodbye

By Lori Welch Brown I refuse to say goodbye to summer in August.  I know—vacations are over, school is starting, but still—summer doesn’t officially end until September. And, those first couple of weeks in September are glorious! I get it though—August is the beginning of the end. By mid-August, maybe I am a little teensy, weensy bit ready to part ways when the mere act of walking out to the end of my driveway feels marathon-esque. My hair has taken on epic proportions thanks to the same humidity that snaps the life force from my body and has me shopping online for fainting couches. And, just like that, I’m fantasizing about the black leather boots lying dormant in my closet and all those adorable fur-lined jackets calling my name. Even in endings rest assured there is something to look forward to. Saying goodbye is never easy, but it is made less hard when there is something new to step into—like a pair of beloved boots or perhaps even a new line up of classes. As a kid, while I was devastated by the notion of summer break closing in on me, I was simultaneously excited by the prospect of a new pack of No. 2 pencils, some colorful notebooks, and a new lunch box. It’s the yin and yang of life. Goodbye summer, hello Scooby Doo lunch pail. In adult world that may translate to goodbye bathing suit, hello boots. Or goodbye outdoor running, hello gym. Goodbye lazy days on the beach, hello rhythm and routine. It’s at this time of year, however, that I am grateful to live in a place where one can actually experience a change of season—and not just by the flipping of a calendar page. I get giddy at the thought of driving through Virginia…

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Business Profile

Specs New York

By Lani Gering Who doesn’t love a very cool pair of shades? No one that I know of. I’ve always thought that you can tell a lot about a person by the style of glasses they choose. Brainy people tend to lean toward the Harry Potter look while the sporty peeps – pun intended – lean toward frames that are more function than form. The creatives in my circle like whatever designer is the most outrageous. Maybe not quite Elton John outrageous but you know what I mean. Eyewear is an extension of your personality as far as I’m concerned and it doesn’t end with your prescription lenses. In fact, I’m thinking that I lean toward the conservative – think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – while many of my friends lean toward what’s new NOW. All this being said, Specs of New York covers all of the bases. Many of you might remember that Old Town had a Specs location in the 200 block of King Street a few years ago. Unfortunately, the location didn’t really pan out and the store was closed. However, their location in The District (the shopping district) in the MGM Grand in National Harbor has proven to be a successful endeavor. It has been nominated by Community Votes Alexandria 2023 as a candidate in the retail store category. When I asked the proprietor, Oren Goldberg, how the nomination came about since they are no longer in the city, he said he had no idea but is very flattered. Winners were announced on July 30th. In any case, the MGM location is very inviting and the inventory is very impressive. They are very proud to handle the latest upscale Dita line. This brand is in good company with Prada, Cartier, Gucci, Tom Ford and…

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