Pets, Places, & Things

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

2022 In the Rear View Mirror

By Bob Tagert As is our practice every January, we revisit our Road Trips from the previous year. In 2022 we were finally able to hit the road with less worry about masking up and the stigma of the pandemic lightened up. Whew! February – Harrisonburg, VA February found us on the road to Harrisonburg in the central Shenandoah Valley of the Commonwealth. The city has come to represent a large community of ethnic and linguistic diversity in recent years. Over 1,900 refugees have been settled in Harrisonburg since 2002. Language learning software Rosetta Stone was founded in Harrisonburg in 1992 and the multilingual “Welcome Your Neighbor” yard sign originated in Harrisonburg in 2016. This part of the Commonwealth is home to James Madison University and Massanutten Ski Resort. It is also in close proximity to the Shenandoah Wine Trail wineries and lots of outdoor activities. The food scene in Harrisonburg is as diverse as its residents – a good place for you “foodies” to visit. March – Leonardtown, Maryland We decided to “Rediscover a most Exceptional Place”…Leonardtown. Many of you may recognize the name Leonardtown since it is famous for sponsoring the annual oyster-shucking championships held at the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds. Although most of Southern Maryland is surrounded by water, the only water access to Leonardtown is Breton Bay which leads to the Potomac River. Today, historic Leonardtown remains the only incorporated municipality in St. Mary’s County with its own elected mayor and town council. The town is experiencing a renaissance of its downtown as witnessed by the recent and continued openings of several new restaurants and businesses, some which are located in historic buildings. The ever changing Leonardtown Wharf is open as a public attraction for both locals and tourists, Facilities for boating, kayaking and canoeing are…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

A Vision for 2023

By Lori Welch Brown Is it me or was 2022 mildly to moderately crappy? In retrospect, for me it was akin to riding my bike across a long, flat highway. In other words, it was a grind, days to be flipped on the calendar. And, December was especially brutal. A sweet little five year old boy my husband and I had come to know died unexpectedly. Heart wrenching. Everyone seemed to be going through something big and heavy. Maybe it’s always been that way and/or I’m noticing it more because I’m getting older and that’s what happens. People get sick, bury parents—or even children—divorce, etc.  Cancer, addiction and grief seemed to be the buzzwords for the year, and that’s just flat out wrong. So, I’m envisioning a brighter, more joyous 2023, and I’ve come to realize that’s an inside job. Maybe 2022 felt like I was dragging around a wet blanket because I was the wet blanket. So, instead of a facelift, I’m giving myself an uplift. Of course, many of us start the year with some resolutions that fall apart with the first hang over of the year. I’ll probably make some of those because at this point it’s a solid tradition. This year, however, instead of using them as failure points to beat myself up about, I’ll use them as directional compass points to guide me towards SMART goals. Another thing I love to do is create a vision board. If you’ve never done one, I highly encourage you grab your glue sticks and old magazines stat. Besides giving a purpose to that stack of mags gathering dust, you can make a fun girls’ night out of it. Everyone brings their fave mags; I usually provide the poster board, glue sticks, scissors, and wine. We all gather around…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Pouring a Legend

By Steve Chaconas When looking into the tournament goodie bag 40 years ago, the pack of Zoom centipedes on the bottom of the bag didn’t interest me. No legs, no tail, no nothing. Just a French fry-shaped slab of plastic.  Not catching my interest, how could it interest a fish. So, I stashed them in the bottom of the boat for a few years. Preparing for another tournament, we found fish were biting Carolina rigged lizards. Lots of them. Not wanting to burn up the supply, the bag of centipedes volunteered to be a place keeper. Surprisingly, these do-nothing baits produced bigger fish. Excitement and anticipation followed and a trip to the local tackle shop came up empty. There was no internet, no Amazon, and no way there would be centipedes for the impending tournament. Seeing a frowning face, my wife suggested making some. Impossible I said. Never having poured soft plastics or even knowing anything about it, I was at the mercy of my spouse. She gathered up some plaster of Paris and took the single remaining centipede and poured the molding solution over the bait and the next day, we had a single cavity mold. Using old soft plastics and the microwave, a centipede was born. However, after cooling, it was learned that plastic shrinks when cooled. Putting the baits back in the mold, more plastic was poured. Since coloring wasn’t an exact science, this homemade version was a laminate. A few days later the two-tone bait performed like magic. I loved it and so did the fish. So intrigued with this bait, it became my primary lure, not only for Carolina rigs, but for split shot and drop shot rigs. It was so effective that my guide clients wanted to take a few home to try in their home…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

This is “For the Birds”, Literally…

By Elaine Cole …Over 58 million Americans watch the birds and many of them have read or heard that feeding birds in the winter is B-A-D and does more harm than good. Perpetuated myths say feeding birds during fall and winter can prevent timely migrations or cause birds to depend on feeders rather than foraging for food themselves- then the myth jumps to,  if you stop feeding birds in winter, they’ll starve to death??!!  That is FAR from the truth, and those 58 some-odd million people who have a vested interest in bird watching (and feeding!) should know they are not hurting the birds by feeding them in cold weather!  The fact of the matter is, winter may be the most important time to leave feeders up, stocked with seed. Leaving feeders up through winter will not keep migratory birds from flying to warmer climates, instead full feeders will supplement natural food sources for migrating birds and birds that don’t migrate (resident birds), won’t be forced to scour for food all winter long. I will say that to feed or not to feed in cold weather, IS an age-old question –BUT- the truth is these are myths and feeding birds is actually beneficial to their well-being. Birds migrate regardless of seed in feeders. It’s estimated that wild birds only get 25 percent of food from feeders, the rest is naturally sourced, so full feeders don’t keep birds from migrating. Instead, several triggers urge birds to migrate; like changes in nesting locations as trees lose leaves, less natural food sources, insect decline, winds, temperature drop, and day length. As days grow shorter, many birds get internally restless and head south, taking advantage of lots of natural food sources, and (hopefully!) stocked feeders to help fuel their long flights ahead. During cold weather, resident birds that don’t migrate, need extra…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month – January 2023

By Gina Hardter Baby If your new year’s resolution is to be more mindful, then 3-year-old Baby is happy to help you achieve your dreams!  Baby is all about the calm and quiet, and she’d love a household where her future family takes it slow and low.  If your New Year’s Eve is less fireworks and more falling asleep to a marathon of Cake Boss, then Baby is the girl for you.  Email or call 703.746.4774 to schedule time to meet Baby from her foster home. Grover Grover’s new year’s resolution is to get more exercise…although he’ll admit he already gets a fair amount of exercise.  But too much exercise can never be a bad thing, right?  It’s just more ways to keep your brain and your body in great shape.  Plus, there are all kinds of fun exercises, from Fetch to Chase to learning new tricks, and Grover is happy to do them all with his future family.  Schedule time to meet Grover by emailing or calling 703.746.4774. Thumper New year’s resolution Number One for Thumper?  Stop getting confused with that rabbit from Bambi. They don’t even look alike.  New Year’s resolution Number 2? Find a new home where he can get all the hay and apple sticks he can dream of.  Resolution number three?  Learn how to replace a car tire.  It’s sure to come in handy someday, right?  Help Thumper achieve at least one of his resolutions and schedule time to meet him by emailing or calling 703.746.4774.

Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Winter is Coming: Know How to Keep Your Pet Safe

By Cindy McGovern Predicting winter’s anticipated snowfall is an annual tradition.  Will the D.C. metro area receive any measurable snow? If so, when, and how much?  The Capital Weather Gang is predicting a mild winter with little snow accumulation with January temperatures in the normal range, disappointing many.  But that doesn’t mean you can write off winter and if you are a pet owner, you still need to plan for the cold with its freezing temperatures and chemically treated roads and sidewalks. Just like people, every animal reacts differently to the cold and it’s important to know your pet. If you have an arthritic or older pet, they will likely feel the cold more than a younger animal.  They may also have problems walking on snow and ice and be more prone to slipping and falling. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances may have a harder time regulating their body temperature and thus be more susceptible to problems from temperature changes. If it’s cold outside for you, it’s cold for your pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a common misconception is that because an animal has a fur coat, they’re immune from the cold: they’re not.  Just like people, cats and dogs can get frostbite and become hypothermic and should be kept inside during cold weather.  Some long-haired dogs breeds, such as Huskies, are more cold tolerant, but they’re the exception, not the rule. In fact, short-haired breeds feel the cold faster because they have less protection and short-legged pets even more so because their bellies and bodies are closer to the cold or snow-covered ground. Know the signs of hypothermia: whining, shivering, seeming anxious or weak, slowing down or not moving are all possible indications. Get the animal back inside quickly and if…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

How a Gift of Money Can Help Build Investing Habits

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce As a parent or grandparent, you likely want to teach children sound money habits and help them become financially successful adults. There are a variety of ways to instill good financial habits. The following two approaches allow you to gift assets to children while providing them with hands-on investment experience that may prove useful in the future. Custodial accounts Custodial accounts can be opened for your children before they turn 18. They can be a useful vehicle to teach them about the principles of money and investing. With these accounts, custodians control how investments are managed. Sharing account statements and the way you make decisions on your children’s behalf can be an opportunity to teach smart investment principles. There are a couple of considerations you will want to think about as you determine whether such an approach is right for you and your family. First, when funding these accounts, keep in mind that control of these accounts transfers to the child when the custodianship ends. This generally happens when the child reaches age 18, 19 or 21, depending on state law. You may not want your child to have control of more financial assets than they can handle at that age. It is also important to know that special tax rules, the “kiddie tax” rules, may also apply. The income or capital gains generated in these accounts could be taxed at trust income tax rates for children under age 19 (age 24 if a full-time student). This means your young child may have to file an income tax return of their own, and the tax bill could be higher than if you held the assets in your own name. Your tax advisor can help you determine how these rules would apply to your situation….

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

On their first outing to Europe after the pandemic, Old Town Crier favorites Lynn Weigle-Snow and Joff Snow trekked to Barcelona Spain with their friends the Bigelows in September with their OTC in hand. We hear that a fantastic time was had by all – guess they brushed off the “pandemic” dust!   Sanremo Yacht Club Director Andrea Veneziano (left) with John Sterling of Alexandria (Old Dominion Boat Club) check out the happenings at home following the burgee exchange ceremony at Sanremo Yacht Club, Italy in September. Many thanks for taking the OTC along for the ride. If you would like to see your photo in this space, email a high resolution image (along with a brief description of your locale and any other special information you would like included in the caption) to

Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month – December 2022

By Gina Hardter Nyla What does Nyla want for the holidays?  Well, besides a brand new family to call her own, she’d also like toys – lots of toys.  Stuffed toys, squeaky toys, balls, exercise toys – she’s a fan of the whole lot.  And she’s happy to teach you how to play with her toys as well, like how to throw the ball, then get it, then throw it again.  But most of all, Nyla would just like a dedicated human lap (or two or three or four) to call her own.  Could it be yours?  Learn more about Nyla by emailing or calling 703.746.4774 (opt. 2). Meowy Cyrus Meowy Cyrus has her eyes on the prize: Superstardom in her brand new home!  Meowy is a talented feline soloist who thinks she can go all the way to the Big Show with the help of her new family.  Oft-requested hits include “If I Just Had Breakfast, When Is Lunch?” and “Couch Cuddles 4 Life!”  Meowy has made human fans – or friends – young and old, and can’t wait to make her most dedicated fan club out of her new family.  If you’d like a ticket to the Meowy Cyrus experience, email her bookers at or call 703.746.4774, opt. 2 (no service charges apply). Alaska and Moana Best buds Alaska and Moana aren’t shy about expanding their crew!  When you roll with this twosome, expect to live the life: all the leafy greens you can chew, a plastic castle for chilling and of course, guinea pig “wheeeeeees” all the way home.  These lovely ladies are cheerful and social, made especially confident by their time together, and they would make the perfect addition to any family this holiday season.  Schedule time to meet them at or 703.746.4774 (opt. 2).

On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road – December 2022

The OTC Headed Out to the Water!   Avid readers of the OTC, Lee and Jennifer (Moore) Meadows took the issue with them on their annual two week trek to the Outer Banks.  They took several pics but this was our favorite. Here is Lee in Duck, NC overlooking the Currituck Sound. Curtis and Teresa Dyer traveled with their copy of the OTC on their 19 day Chesapeake Bay trip. The photo was taken in August at Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, Maryland. Teresa and Curtis are very familiar with our Maryland waters since they spent many years living in Flag Harbor. We are happy that they have chosen Alexandria as their home now. If you have submitted a photo and it hasn’t been published yet, rest assured that it will appear in a future issue. We have been inundated with submissions and appreciate each and every one that we receive. If you would like to see your photo in this space, email a high resolution image (along with a brief description of your locale and any other special information you would like included in the caption) to

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