Town Day 2014: As fun as ever!

A-DOG sponsored its popular booth at Arlington Town Day for the 7th year in a row! Thanks to all volunteers who made it possible, including Joan Black (shown at left), Ann and Roslyn Smith and other A-DOG members who showed up to help make the booth a success!  And, thanks to all the visitors who stopped by, enjoyed our games for kids, a free canine massage (see below), entered our free gift drawing (see below) and obtained information about A-DOG and recreational options for responsible dog owners in Arlington.


Thanks to Friends of A-DOG Businesses and other supporters who donated goods and services to the event.

This includes Janice Zazinski of Beloved Companion who offered free canine massage at our booth.

massage7booth copy

Also, to those who contributed valuable gift certificates or gift items to our gift bag, including:

  • Menotomy Beer, Wine and Spirits
  • Robins Nest Pet Salon
  • Vera Wilkinson of The Cooperative Dog training
  • Unleashed by PETCO, Arlington Heights store
  • A-DOG volunteers

Congratulations to Lizzie Casanave and family, who won the gift bag in our free drawing!


Here are some more photos from A-DOG’s booth at Town Day, 2014:


kidsoffleashmap Joanoffleashmap crowd toydogsmap
Dogfathermassage1 copy littleboylab joangamekids dachsunds

Life is a walk in the (dog) park

Unleashed, pooches and their human pals have more in common than you’d think.

By Matthew Gilbert

Globe Staff / May 31, 2011

(Note from SRD:  I loved this article (thanks to Brenda Kokubo for passing it on)!  It so clearly describes why we get up each morning, put on our grungiest sweatpants, and escort our doggies to the local park to meet their, and our, friends. Especially, to me, it describes the bonding among dog owners: some become our closest friends, others will always be only the anonymous “Fido’s mom”; but with all we end up sharing a valuable connection. People who come to public meetings to protest, in an exaggerated fashion anyway, “20 dog owners standing around with coffee cups” just don’t get it..that this is a community recreational activity as important to people as to their dogs. This article is reprinted on our website with permission from its author, Matthew Gilbert…..please comment on the article and join the Pets group on!)

I get high every single day from Amory Playground in Brookline. Overlooking Boston, with a front-row-balcony view of the Prudential, Amory’s dog-friendly hours are a daily dose of joy not just for my Yellow Lab, Toby, but for me. Like so many dog owners, when my dog goes off the leash, I do too.

Mostly, the rush is from being in the presence of freed animals in the city. I come to the dog park and leave behind so many of the rules of adulthood and city life. I roll into the parking lot, unhook Toby, and get pulled into this uncontrollable dog park world.

Even on rain-swept mornings, when the great field is sludgy and Toby’s rubber ball is an orb of mud, I like to go there, find a few like-minded congregants huddled under trees along the perimeter, and stand soaking with them. Sunny, dry days are better. We form a minyan of dog people, and we mumble together while our animals shake it up around us. The dogs improvise a biblical scene about dominance and submission, and they corral and chase one another into corners of the field like school kids at recess. We analyze their play, and we see ourselves in it.

I used to be clean most of the time, always soft-spoken, and unwilling to throw balls in public. I’d spend my spare time with my iPod on, or power-watching classic TV shows. Before Toby, who is now 6, I still stood a chance of seeing every episode of “Law & Order” ever made. Now, I rarely miss a morning at Amory, unconcerned about how imbecilic I look pitching the ball for Toby to fetch. Now my pants legs are ever-splotched from dog paws. After an hour, I am dirty and maybe stinky, too. More than once, I’ve been peed on by a dog, unaware until I detect an unusual warmth on my calf. My dog-averse friends will no longer take rides in my toy-cluttered, fur-flecked car.

There is something spiritual about these daily park visits, I am sure of that. They move me in ways my other quasi-religious forays including one ground-rumbling mass in a Colorado forest never did. Partly, the rush comes from the lushness of Amory, which includes two romantic baseball diamonds, a rim of fairy-tale weeping willows, and a pastoral hillside, for lying in the shade on perfect summer days. It’s an idyllic urban spot, like so many of the dog parks in this country; it’s one of the closest things to a fairground you’ll find on Boston’s Green line, between the B and C trolleys, a few blocks from Fenway Park and its interrogatory lights. With free admission, no dress code, squirrels on picnic tables, nannies with strollers, and the scent of pot occasionally tinging the breeze, the park carries the air of civilization at its most wistfully mundane.

But mostly, the rush is from the dogs, from being in the presence of freed animals in the city. I come to the dog park and leave behind so many of the rules and barriers of adulthood and city life. I roll into the parking lot, unhook Toby, and get pulled into this uncontrollable dog park world where sudden, unplanned things happen and where there are no traffic lights. While my DVR is sitting at home living by a tight schedule, I’m unplugged. I instantly feel a heightened pressure to be ready to spring into the moment of a dog fight, or one of the many owner fights, or to catch a dog charging into the street to chase cars. It’s liberating, to let go of the habit of circumspection and caution, to be more alert to the possibilities of the here and now. We become more dog-like at the park, even while we stand around brazenly anthropomorphizing our beloved pets into infants, TV characters, and, in the case of Quincy the Amazing Midair Frisbee-catching Collie, sports heroes.

Humans don’t bark – or do they? When we’re off-leash, we certainly do. In conversation with another dog owner, one of us inevitably has Tourette-like outbursts, mid-sentence. This doesn’t generally happen at a coffee shop or in the subway, among the civilized. But you can be confiding in a park friend about losing your keys, or losing your job, or losing your father, when she suddenly begins calling her dog away from a puddle, away from a passerby on the walking path, or, in the case of the crumb-obsessed Toby, away from a baby carriage. And our calls aren’t gentle or even civil; they have enough raw affect to reach a brain that only hears affect. From “Daisy girl, DAYY-sy girl,” to “Come HERE Alexis,” we can be heard screaming out across the field. Despite a stubbornly mellow voice born for FM radio, I have had to become a scrappy newspaper hawker “Toby COME, Toby COME,” again and again.

Collectively, we probably sound like hungry farm animals. Or maybe we’re a congregation of supplicants, yelling and yelling to be heard just once.

Maybe we sound like fools, too. Who cares. The anonymity of the park can be disarming, freeing. It’s part of the uplift, too. I can’t count how many deeply satisfying conversations I’ve had with strangers over the six years of Toby’s life, interactions charged solely with the love of or fascination with dogs. How strange and yet natural it is to share intimate details of your “goose” or “monkey” with someone you’ve never seen before and may never see again — a BU student, a homeless man, a suburban mom. In those moments, it feels like a small world. Or maybe a carnival, or a World Series game, or a Grateful Dead concert. Who you might be, or not be, outside the park borders doesn’t quite matter. Such social hierarchy has less weight on a rainy morning when you’re standing together wrapped in electric blue and orange nylon. If you know dogs, if you love dogs, if you are funny, if you’re a good listener, if you’re a good talker, then you can find your spot. We enter the park as pretty much just ourselves. It’s a purer hierarchy.

In many cases, we don’t even know one another’s names, just the dogs’ names. We’re unleashed from the burden of our names.

And, of course, we’re not all strangers. There is an attachment among park people that, after years, can be profound. I’ve made a few lifelong friends standing in that field. Many of us see our park mates more than we see friends out in the world; we’re the cast of “The Office” or “Cheers,” reading one another’s weaknesses, teasing as a sign of affection, noticing absences.

Indeed, this community of dog lovers has been the great bonus of the park. Dogs, little gusts of spirit, are a way into our own hearts, yes, but they are also a bridge to other people. We could be walking alone with our dogs, day in and day out, looping the neighborhood blocks, nodding or not nodding to the other dog owners on leash. I could be playing tug of war with Toby in the TV room, in front of an episode of “30 Rock.”

But instead we choose to meet up, despite the social irritations and the occasional bad dog — or maybe because of the social irritations and the bad dogs and the ever-present potential for cracks in the surface. The tone of interaction usually isn’t very refined, as we pick up poop and carry it in plastic bags, its malodor assaulting our nostrils; as we pull humping dogs off their conquests by their collars and maybe reveal a glimpse of pink; as we share and overshare and listen to the rantings of the less tethered among us. We let it all hang out.

The dog play ushers in an atmosphere of extroversion and, sometimes unexpectedly, celebration. With the yelling, and the dirt, and the swirling dog energy accelerating our un-self-consciousness, it’s as though we’re children at the playground all over again. Forts are built and ponytails are tugged — figuratively, of course, but still. It’s as close to the unadorned, primitive socializing of “Peanuts” as I’ve known. Yes, all of the dynamic problems of groups (read: families) are in the air — the triangular tensions, the unrequited attractions, the ganging up, the passive-aggression. But they are in the air, and not subterranean. They are as obvious as the little mutt who thinks we can’t see she’s got a big, illicit clump of grass in her mouth.

One day recently, I took a step back and watched. Sitting under a maple tree on the hill that borders Amory and simply observing bodies in motion, I saw that the humans moved like the dogs, only at a much slower pace. The dogs — romping, chasing, looping — were an accelerated, time-lapse version of the people. As a group, the owners migrate slowly, curling forward, shedding and gaining members along their path; the dogs do it 30 times for their one.

Sitting up on the hill in that moment, watching the human and the canine social whirl side by side, I see all the movement in the park as a sky filled with planets and constellations. And the dogs are our shooting stars.

Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert is working on a book about dog-park culture called “Off the Leash: Dispatches From the Dog Park.” He can be reached at

A-DOG in the Arlington Patriot’s Day Parade, 2011!

A-DOG marched in the Arlington Patriot’s Day parade on April 17, 2011!  It’s been estimated that from 19 to 30 dogs participated, with their owners, as well as other members and friends who marched without their dogs.

Highlights of the parade included:

  • Marching behind the awesome Jumbalaya band..that was really fun!
  • The friendly crowds of enthusiastic spectators, including many groups of children who frequently cried “doggies! doggies!” and were even more delighted to have the doggies come over to greet them personally!
  • Passing Town Hall, where the announcer read a very nice statement about the mission of our organization, and remarked on all the well-behaved dogs in the parade.
  • Seeing so many of our friends and neighbors among the spectators!
  • The feeling of community, fun, and celebration that only a parade can bring!

Thank-you to all members who participated, as well as to the organizers, including:

  • Joan and Dana, who built a beautiful A-DOG Cart!  This cart was pulled by Joan and Emily (escorting Bella and Clio), since no dog volunteered for the effort.  ;-) Joan, Dana and their 3-generation family escorted their three extended-family dogs, including Dana and Joan’s Bella and Wizard.
  • Ann and Roslyn, who pulled the entire event together in so many ways, as they always do, including creating the A-DOG banner, carried by Mary and Zarina in the parade.  Roslyn escorted their dog Pepe.
  • Susan R., who stitched lovely blue bandannas for the marching doggies and escorted her dog Juneau

Please add your own comments, acknowledgments and parade memories under “comments” below, and contact us to have your photos added.

See you next year!

Off Leash Morning Program — Implementing Article 36 — Begins

Last spring, Arlington Town Meeting passed a substitute motion sponsored by A-DOG Town Meeting Members. This bylaw change, now taking effect, allows dogs off leash, under owner control, in parks under Parks and Recreation Commission authority. The bylaw change specified certain areas to be excluded, including parks right next to school buildings, near playground equipment, and any other site by exclusion of the Parks and Recreation Commission. The program and specific rules have been developed, with input from the public, by the Park and Recreation Commission and Recreation Department. These are described on the town website. Also available at that website is a pdf brochure for download. This brochure is also being distributed at various sites, and A-DOG is pleased to have contributed to its reproduction through a donation to the Town.

The public input considered by the Commission and Recreation Department was received at monthly Commission meetings, or submitted to them by various residents. This input also included that received in numerous public meetings, over approximately two years of developing the Green Dog Plan, narrowly defeated by Town Meeting the year before. Also, the Commission sponsored two public meetings specifically on implementation of Article 36 were held over the past few months.

The first meeting, focused on all parks affected by the program, was held on June 15, 2010 in Town Hall. Minutes from the meeting are available on the Town website.

The second meeting, focused on Robbins Farm, was held on September 16, 2010 in Town Hall, at the request of opponents of the off leash program. This meeting was moderated by the Honorable Judge Rudy Kass, as a pro bono courtesy to the Town. A summary of this meeting is available on and another appears on the Town website.

Spring Unleashed a Big Success!

Our Spring Unleashed fundraising and networking event held at Picture Perfect Pets, Arlington, on May 15 was fun and successful!  Thanks so much to those who make this possible, including our volunteers and those who contributed door prizes and/or their time.  Thanks, in particular, to our fabulous Friend of A-DOG, Bette Yip, without whom this event would not have been possible!  The photos below tell the story, including some examples of the complimentary pet portraits that were so generously donated by Bette Yip.

And, thanks to all of you who came out on this sunny day to spend time indoors visiting with us!  The donated door prizes and drawing winners were:

Heidi Hemple: Certificate for 2 free hours of professional organizing: Monique Chaplin, “Room to Breathe”:

Candy Shostak and Riley Hart: Certificate for pet grooming (2 avail) Robin’s Nest Pet Salon:

C. Bulawa: Gift Basket:  Briana Flynn & Family

Sue Sheffler and Dilys Burke: Certificates for a week of dog walking — Blue Sky Dogs, Jennifer Burns

Mark Kaminsky: Gift Bag for Medium Sz Girl Dog — Go Play:

David White: Gift Bag for Small Sz Boy Dog — Go Play:

Ellen Kushner: Gift Bag for Large Boy or Girl Dog — Go Play:

Riley Hart: In Studio Pet Photography Sitting with free 8X10 — Picture Perfect Pets,

Karita Paul: Basket of favorite training treats — Picture Perfect Pets,

Ellen Kravitz/Kevin Hazel: Dog Puzzle Toy and Bette Yip’s article on their uses — Picture Perfect Pets,

Kayla Flynn: A-DOG Hoodie (sz med unisex, gray) — Sue Doctrow of A-DOG

Carol Keller: A-DOG Coffee Mug — Sue Doctrow of A-DOG

Stephen Weil: A-DOG Sigg water bottle (0.6L) — Sue Doctrow of A-DOG

Ellen Duranceau: Labrador Retriever T shirt (size L) — Mary McCartney of A-DOG

2010_05_15_ADOG_15A-DOG Cake made by Roslyn SmithSpring_Unleashed_Crowd_32010_05_15_ADOG_08Ellen_Duranceau2010_05_15_ADOG_332010_05_15_ADOG_06Mary_McCartney2010_05_15_ADOG_64Blue_Sky_Dogs2010_05_15_ADOG_712010_05_15_ADOG_05Spring_Unleashed_Crowd_2Spring_Unleashed_Crowd_4Spring_Unleashed_Crowd_1

Spring Unleashed Networking Event at Picture Perfect Pets, May 15 in Arlington

April 12, 2010

ARLINGTON—Local businesses will celebrate spring while joining together to support the efforts of the Arlington Dog Owners’ Group to earn local dog owners the privilege of exercising and socializing their dogs responsibly off-leash. This fund-raising open house, “Spring Unleashed – a Celebration of Responsible Dog Ownership,” will be held at Picture Perfect Pets Dog Training and Pet Photography (11A Medford Street in Arlington Center) on Saturday, May 15 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

A-DOG supporters are encouraged to bring their friendly dogs on leash to network with dog friendly businesses and fellow dog lovers while enjoying complimentary pet photography by Bette Yip, refreshments for canines and humans and door prizes donated by local, dog loving businesses. Tax deductible donations to support A-DOG’s efforts are appreciated, but are not required to join in the fun.

Says Bette Yip, owner of Picture Perfect Pets, “In my dog training classes, I emphasize to students the importance of seeking out safe opportunities to let our dogs run, play and socialize with a variety of other dogs in order to maintain both their physical and mental well-being. Dogs that get this sort of activity present fewer behavioral problems. It troubles me that Arlington dog owners have no places to legally follow my advice.”

Arlington Dog Owners Group, or A-DOG, organized in 2008 in Arlington, MA, with these guiding principles:

* Relationships with dogs and other companion animals have numerous benefits to individuals of all ages, and to the community at large.
* With dog ownership comes responsibility, not only to promote the health and welfare of one’s dog, but also to ensure that one’s dog does not adversely affect the safety of others.

A-DOG’s mission includes:

* Advocating for the rights and interests of Arlington dog owners.
* Promoting responsible dog ownership, emphasizing respect for the rights and interests of neighbors and the community and the welfare of our companion animals.
* Educating the community about dog behavior and other factors influencing canine-human interactions.
* Working to promote safe, healthy recreational venues for dogs on- and off-leash in Arlington, enabling responsible dog owners to exercise and socialize their dogs

With this kick-off celebration, A-DOG is initiating its fundraising campaign to contribute to the establishment of fenced off-leash recreation areas currently under consideration by the town of Arlington. In addition, A-DOG continues its advocacy work for the legalization of responsible off-leash recreation more broadly in Arlington parks. A-DOG is a tax exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

A-DOG ( is also a founding member of the Coalition of Massachusetts Dog Owner Groups (, which advocates for local and state recreational policies to benefit responsible dog owners. Members of other MassDOG member groups will also be invited to participate.

Coolidge Corner Theatre “Best in Show” screening with Dr. Nicholas Dodman March 15

From Cheryl White, Community Outreach Coolidge Corner Theatre:

It’s all about dogs and the people who love them when the Coolidge Corner Theatre presents a special screening of Best in Show, master mockumentarian Christopher Guest’s hilarious send up of competitive canine culture, paired with a talk by Nicholas Dodman, one of the world’s leading veterinary behaviorists, on Monday, March 15 at 7:00 pm.  In keeping with the evening’s theme, the Coolidge will raffle off a free basket of pooch goodies from Polka Dog Bakery.

Guest (This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind) wrote and directed Best in Show, which follows a colorful group of contestants as they prepare for one of the greatest events of their lives – the prestigious Mayflower Dog Show in Philadelphia.  Winner of American and British Comedy Awards, this inspired gem features a stellar ensemble cast who perfectly capture their characters’ eccentricities, anxieties, and competitive zeal as they vie for the coveted cup.

Before the screening, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, founder of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts’ Veterinary School of Medicine and best-selling author of The Dog Who Loved Too Much, Dogs Behaving Badly, and The Well-Adjusted Dog, explores the sometimes curious bond between people and their pooches, the evidence for dogs’ intelligence, and whether we under- or overestimate our canine companions.

This program is part of the Coolidge’s popular Science on Screen series.  For more information, visit Coolidge Corner Theatre’s website or call 617/734-2501. Tickets are available through the web site or at the Coolidge Corner Theatre box office, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline.

In Memory of PJ Smith

dogs at beach (19)a

Our hearts go out to A-DOG founders and board members Ann and Roslyn Smith, and to Dick and Scarlett, too.  They lost their beloved PJ last night, December 3.  PJ had a long, active, and joyful life, with so many adventures and good times like the one in his photo!  And, his doggy life was filled with love to the very end, with his family there with him to comfort him.

Holiday Pet Drive Sponsored by A-DOG Member Family

Our fellow member Briana Flynn wrote to us recently to ask that we help spread the word about a holiday pet drive she and her family are planning.  They are collecting donated items needed by local shelters.  Please contact Briana at <> to ask how you can help.  Their flyer is reprinted below to give an idea of what is needed:

Hello! We are a local family collecting the following items to donate to local animal shelters that are in desperate need of the following:
Bath Towels
Laundry detergent
Plush toys
Rubber squeaky toys
Tennis balls
Dental Chews
Knotted rope toys
Rawhides/knuckle bones
Training treats
Phone books for small animals to shred
Cat litter
Copy paper
Paper towels
Toilet Paper
Dog beds
Distilled Water
3-tab manila file folders
Dishwashing liquid
Large trash bags
Hand sanitizer
Cat and dog food
Rubbing alcohol
Tape dispenser refills
Air fresheners
Old Crates
If you have any of the above, please contact us at:
We will pick up any of the above items that you can part with and will donate them to local shelters (MSPCA, Buddy Dog, ARL, Alliance for Animals)  in mid December.  THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!
Every little bit will help!

A-DOG Booth a Success at Town Day 2009!

A-DOG’s booth at Arlington Town Day, 2009 was much fun and another big success!  Highlights:  We collected 192 signatures on our petition for off-leash recreation in Arlington.  This should bring us to over 900 signers!  Volunteers at the booth reported that residents were lining up and waiting patiently to sign, showing that support for this issue is as strong as ever in Arlington!  If you missed us at Town Day, you can, of course, still sign the petition online.  We also signed up several new members, including new neighbors just moving to Arlington.  We sold some T shirts and took orders for more.  Six lucky winners were selected in our free drawing, winning great gifts generously donated by businesses and individuals who support us.  The prizes and winners were:  Gift certificate good for one day of daycare at Crate Escapes (Belmont) or Raining Cats and Dogs (Cambridge) — Wendy Richter and Pam Byron;  Gift certificate good for 2 dozen cookies from Lakota Bakery — Betsy Leonder;  One pound of coffee from Starbuck’s Arlington Heights manager Rachel — Emily Page; and a wrought iron “pawprint” leash hook, made in North Conway NH and donated by an A-DOG member — Teleia Pastore. Congratulations to all our winners and WELCOME to our new A-DOG members.  And, thank-you to all our wonderful volunteers at our Town Day booth!  And, thanks, again to our business Friends of A-DOG for their continued support!  Stay tuned for more photos of Town Day, 2009.

Annual Report 2009

Annual Report
September 27, 2009
submitted by Susan Doctrow, president

In spring 2008, a group of concerned dog owners in Arlington incorporated a new not-for-profit organization, Arlington Dog Owners Group (or A-DOG), to improve life for dogs and people in Arlington. A-DOG’s guiding principles are:
— Relationships with dogs and other companion animals have numerous benefits to individuals of all ages, and to the community at large.
— With dog ownership comes responsibility, not only to promote the health and welfare of one’s dog, but also to ensure that one’s dog does not adversely affect the safety of others.

A-DOG’s mission includes:
— Advocating for the rights and interests of Arlington dog owners.
— Promoting responsible dog ownership, emphasizing respect for the rights and interests of neighbors and the community as well as the welfare of our companion animals.
— Educating the community about dog behavior and other factors influencing canine-human interactions.
— Working to promote safe, healthy recreational venues for dogs on- and off-leash in Arlington, enabling responsible dog owners to exercise and socialize their dogs.

A-DOG’s founding directors are: Susan C. Ruderman and Susan R. Doctrow (co-presidents); Andrew Fischer; MaryAnna Foskett; Brenda Kokubo; Carrie Moore; Mary Mangan; Ann Smith; Roslyn Smith; and Judy Weinberg
A-DOG’s founding officers are: Susan C. Ruderman (co-President); Susan R. Doctrow (co-President, Treasurer); MaryAnna Foskett (Clerk and Vice President).

Highlights of A-DOG’s second year:

1. First Annual Meeting: The first Annual Meeting was held in September, 2008. A new board of directors and officers were elected and will serve a two-year term, through the Annual Meeting in September, 2010. These are: Susan R. Doctrow (president and treasurer); Andrew Fischer; MaryAnna Foskett (clerk); Brenda Kokubo; Carrie Moore; Mary Mangan; Gian Schauer, Gerald Silberman, Ann Smith (membership director and acting co-president); Roslyn Smith (membership director and vice president); and Judy Weinberg. Please note that “acting co-president” and “membership director” are not official positions in the state filings, but the Board has agreed that these individuals serve in this capacity.

2. A-DOG’s “Pawprints” Newsletter: Editorial team Lynda Gutowski, Hank Haddad, and Gian Schauer have produced two issues of the A-DOG newsletter, available on our website and distributed by email to members. The expertise and creativity of our editorial team has resulted in a very professional, informative, and beautiful publication.

4. Town Meeting: More details can be found on our website. The Green Dog plan, sponsored by a town committee but supported independently by A-DOG, was defeated by only 5 votes at Town Meeting, 2009. This is a substantial improvement over what happened last year but, still, Arlington has yet to join many other communities in modernizing its leash law, and/or providing fenced areas that are already legal, to allow off-leash recreation for responsible dogowners. Our plans to promote this include encouraging the town to establish a Dog Owners Task Force, similar to the ones established in Somerville and other communities, to seek ways to provide off leash recreation to responsible dog owners and their dogs.

5. Marketing and Promotion: Thanks to professional efforts by several A-DOG member/volunteers, A-DOG continues to build its reputation with distinction in Arlington. Dan Foskett designed and continues to maintain our website ( The website features our logo, created for us by graphics designer Lisa Berasi during our first year. This logo is also featured on our full-color brochures, designed by Ericka Gray, also during our first year. Lisa joined with Gian Schauer and Ann Smith to produce, with generous help from Arlington Community Media, Inc. (ACMI), a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that has been airing on ACMI cable channels. The PSA emphasizes the core mission of A-DOG, to represent the rights and interests of responsible dog owners through education and advocacy.

6. “Friends of A-DOG” program: This program continues, thanks to generous businesses listed on our website. Some of these businesses offer discounts to A-DOG full members; others have provided A-DOG with financial donations or donated goods or professional services. Several businesses or individuals donated prizes given away in a drawing on Town Day.

7. 501(c)(3) Status: Through a detailed application process, A-DOG has now gained recognition by the IRS as a tax-exempt, charitable organization under code 501(c)(3). Contributions to A-DOG, including membership dues, are now considered tax deductible, retroactive to our founding date, May 5, 2008. A-DOG is also registered as a public charity with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

8. Town Day. A-DOG sponsored its second booth at Arlington Town Day on September 26, 2009. Activities at the booth included: (1) Signing up new members and “Friends of A-DOG”, (2) Collecting signatures on our petition (see below); (3) Selling and taking orders for A-DOG T shirts; and (4) A free drawing for prizes generously donated by Friends of A-DOG businesses. The booth was a great success, in particular, people were standing in line to sign our petition. Clearly, there is much interest and support for our mission in Arlington.

9. Membership: Ann Smith and Roslyn Smith, as our Membership Directors, will issue a report at the Annual Meeting. A membership outreach, by mail, to about 1300 registered dog owners was very successful and our membership now numbers about 400 individuals. Membership cards are distributed to full members to enable their use for discounts at Friends of A-DOG businesses.

10. Petition: In an effort spearheaded by member/volunteer Iain Miller, A-DOG launched an online petition last year, also collecting hand-signed signatures. At Town Day, 2008, we collected 245 signatures. Before Town Day, the total was over 750 and the list continues to grow. Approximately 190 signatures were collected at Town Day, 2009 and we believe that most, if not all, of these are new ones. The list of petition signers, organized by Precinct, thanks to Ann and Roslyn Smith, was presented to Town Meeting members and the Board of Selectmen to support the Green Dog program. We believe that this helped make the vote as very close as it was, and will continue to collect names of our supporters in order to make legal off-leash recreation a reality in Arlington. The Petition can be accessed and signed via our website.

11. MassDOG Founding Membership: This new coalition was envisioned by Michele Biscoe, chairperson of somldog of Somerville and is now a reality. The Coalition of Massachusetts Dogowners Groups (MassDOG) is network of dog-related community organizations in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The leaders of each of these groups meet, usually every other month. MassDOG has met several times already, and has begun to establish its presence and influence, on behalf of responsible dogowners throughout the state. (Sue Doctrow represents A-DOG.) Besides helping one another through sharing of strategy and experience, MassDOG is leading education and advocacy efforts at a statewide level. MassDOG members have been interviewed in some excellent press coverage of the off-leash recreation issue, for example, on WBUR (90.9 FM) and in the Boston Globe. MassDOG member teams, including a team from A-DOG, walked together at the MSPCA Walk for Animals, raising several thousand dollars for the MSPCA/Angell Animal Medical Center. Our own A-DOG team raised over $1500 and the MassDOG teams together raised over $5000. For more details on MassDOG, see our website

12. Treasurer’s report: This, too, will be presented at the Annual Meeting. A-DOG has raised approximately $3500 this year, to date, and has approximately $2600 cash on hand to fund its future endeavors.

Future plans:
I believe that our specific activities in the coming year, pending Board approval, should include:

— Working with the Green Dog committee to synergize with their efforts and to ensure that the program they develop will serve the interests of our members and other responsible dog owners in Arlington. This includes continuing to advocate for, and to have a role in, a Dog Owners Task Force.
— Expanding our membership outreach efforts. This includes encouraging existing full members to renew their memberships (otherwise, they will remain as associate members unless they resign).
— Continuing to collect signatures on our petition and to otherwise mobilize support for legal off leash exercise and socialization opportunities for dogs in Arlington.
— Forming an Advisory Council of professionals in relevant fields to provide guidance to us as we go forward.
— Continuing to sponsor valuable educational and advocacy events in our community, and to participate in appropriate events sponsored by others. For example, it has been suggested, including by a pediatric emergency physician at Town Meeting, that teaching children to interact safely with dogs, and to interpret their behavior, has a significant effect on bite prevention. Arlington dog trainer Bette Yip has established a program to teach children how to safely interact with dogs, and has presented it for other groups, including MayDOG. She would be happy to also present it with us. Another event we’d like to hold would be repeat screening(s) of Prison Pups, perhaps in smaller venues than the Regent, though not necessarily, since that screening in May, 2008 was such a big success. Perhaps we could repeat it as a charitable fundraiser, with co-sponsorship of other MassDOG groups.

Pawvilion Fur Ball 2009 to benefit the Animal Rescue League — September 24

Here is a notice about a fun event to benefit the Animal Rescue League:

Please join the Animal Rescue League of Boston at

The 2009 Pawvilion Fur Ball
A Dance Party for Animals in Need
At the Bank of America Pavilion

Thursday, September 24, 2009
VIP Reception: 5:30pm to 6:30pm
Dance Party: 6:30pm  to 11:00pm

Tickets available now at the Pawvillion or Animal Rescue League websites.

Live Nation and the Animal Rescue League of Boston are pleased to announce “Pawvilion 2009 A Dance Party for Animals in Need” will be held at Boston’s premier outdoor venue, the Bank of America Pavilion, on Thursday, September 24, 2009.

Following on from the success of last year’s fundraiser at the Bank of America Pavilion, this year’s event–The 2009 Pawvilion Fur Ball–will feature a 1970s and 1980s musical theme. Playing the hits of the day will be DJ “Big Missy,” along with a silent auction of amazing items and a “Best Dressed” competition. Whether you have two legs or four, the evening promises to be a barking good time! Television journalist Maria Stephanos and comedian Steve Sweeney will be among the emcees.  Come support our furry friends and travel back to the era of polyester, platforms, and big hair.

Tickets are priced at $40 for standard admission and $100 for the VIP package which includes a private reception and free parking, along with other special features.

All proceeds raised at the Fur Ball will benefit the Animal Rescue League of Boston, a 501(c)(3) non-profit humane organization dedicated to rescuing domesticated animals and wildlife from suffering, cruelty, abandonment, and neglect. For more information about the Animal Rescue League of Boston’s programs, please visit or call (617) 426-9170 x615.

The Bank of American Pavilion is located in the heart of Boston’s waterfront district, 290 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA, 02210.

We hope you can join us on September 24!  Please spread the word about this special event.

A-DOG’s Team to Walk in the MSPCA Walk for Animals on Sept 13 — Join or Sponsor Us!

A-DOG is sponsoring a team to walk with our dogs at the MSPCA Walk for Animals on Sunday, September 13. We will be walking with teams from other community dog owners groups, including from Somerville, Dorchester, and Newton. We are all part of the new Coalition for Massachusetts Dog Owner Groups or MassDOG.

We all know that the MSPCA does wonderful work to protect animals.  Michele Biscoe, captain of the SomDOG team asked Brian Adams, the MSPCA Senior Manager, Media and Community Relations, to describe for us just how our donations will benefit animals, and he replied: “The donations raised will go towards the MSPCA-Angell’s General Fund to help where the money is needed most. Some programs include helping care for homeless animals in our adoption centers, providing financial assistance to pet owners facing certain financial struggles and caring for animals surrendered or seized through our Law Enforcement department. These are just three examples and there are many more….”

As part of MassDOG, we are participating in a friendly challenge issued by our friends at SomDOG. The team that brings the most members to the Walk will win prizes donated by Michele Biscoe (Taza chocolate, made in Somerville) and Sue Doctrow (Lakota Bakery cookies, made in Arlington). Our A-DOG team, with 7 members as of this writing, was in the lead for quite awhile. But suddenly, SomDOG has surged ahead, with 11 members! And, they’ve raised $1180, to our $1190.  Competition is certainly heating up!  So, if you can, please join our team and walk with us on Sunday! If you can’t join us, then please sponsor our team, or an individual team member of your choice, with a donation to the MSPCA.

Click here to join our team or sponsor us!

Arlington Board of Health Warns of Toxic Algae in Spy Pond, August 2009

Natasha Thorne, Health Compliance Officer of the Arlington Board of Health has notified us of a safety issue at Spy Pond.  Dogs and humans should stay out of the water until the toxic algae situation has resolved.  Consult the Board of Health for further information.

Ms. Thorne’s letter, and the Public Health Advisory she sent us, are reprinted below:


The Arlington Health Department is requesting your help to notify dog owners of the risks associated with allowing their dogs to swim in Spy Pond. High levels of microcystis algae continue to be detected in water samples from Spy Pond. This type of algae can be toxic to both humans and animals. It can be especially toxic if it is ingested in high doses as well as cause skin irritation and a rash after wading or swimming.

Although signs have been posted at Spy Pond and a Public Health Advisory has been released via the Town Alert system, it seems that more outreach is needed, therefore I am hoping you would be willing to post something to your website or direct me to another source to get this information out.

Please find the Public Health Advisory attached

Thank you,

Natasha Thorne
Health Compliance Officer
Arlington Board of Health



Town of Arlington

27 Maple Street
Arlington, Massachusetts 02476
Christine Connolly Sharkey, MPH, CHO                            Tel: 781 316-3170
Director of Health and Human Services                            Fax: 781 316-3175

August 17, 2009

High levels of microcystis algae continue to be detected in water samples from Spy Pond. This type of algae can be toxic to humans and animals. Water samples are being collected and monitored on a weekly basis by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Mystic Watershed Association. This Public Health Advisory will remain in effect until cell counts drop to safe levels for two consecutive weeks. This type of algae can be toxic if ingested in high doses and can cause skin irritation and a rash after wading or swimming .The Arlington Board of Health strongly advises residents not to swim or stand in the water and especially urges residents to keep pets away from the water.

Microcystis is a cyanobacteria algae that grows naturally beneath or on the surface of many waterbodies.  Under certain conditions (such as warm weather and an abundance of nutrients in the water) the algae may undergo an explosive type of growth that results in dense, floating mats of algae.  This is commonly referred to as an “algae bloom.”

Contact with high levels of the cyanobacteria algae has been found to contribute to eye, ear, and skin irritation.  Microcystis is different from most other types of algae because it contains and can secrete a toxin into the water.  During an algae bloom, the amount of algae and toxin in the water can become elevated and exposure can be potentially harmful to people and animals.

Health concerns vary depending on the concentrations of microcystis and its toxin, microcystin.  Ingestion of elevated concentrations of the algae and its toxin can lead to more serious health effects (e.g. muscle cramps, twitching, and liver damage)

Since algae benefit from warm, sunny weather, as the days get shorter and cooler, the algae are likely to dissipate.  Any toxins that are in the water will decline over time as the algae die off.  In addition, any rainfall will help to circulate the water and break-up the bloom.

Please check online at

In Memory of Genie (2004 – 2009)


Our beautiful friend Genie passed away on June 2. She was much too young, and far too strong and healthy, until her recent tragic illness, to leave us this way. Those of us who loved her, including our own two labs who played with her almost every morning, are heartbroken. Our deepest sympathies go out to our dear friends, and fellow A-DOG members, Audrey and Pat, for their terrible loss. Genie had the sweetest, most fun-loving temperament. She loved hiking in the mountains or at the Fells, skiing, splashing around in any pond or mud puddle she could find, having “sleepovers” when Pat and Audrey cared for Miles or Maddie, and chasing tennis balls endlessly with her buddy Becker. She also loved her “Frosty Paws” or her “doggy lattes” at Starbucks and was always so very gentle with her toys (her “babies”). Above all she adored Audrey and Pat, and the exciting, outdoorsy labbie’s dream life that they gave her. Genie, we really miss you, but will think of you every day, especially on hikes, where we will imagine that, somehow, you’re up ahead breaking trail for us. (Read more messages of love and condolences from Pat, Audrey, and Genie’s hiking friends here.). Love, Sue and John
(Portrait by Justin Ide and “Genie and Junior” by Audrey).

A-DOG Display at Robbins Library

We hope you saw our display at Robbins Library during the month of August. Our table featured useful and interesting books on dogs and dog training, as well as literature on A-DOG and on other topics of potential value to our members. We were delighted to learn that Robbins is ordering more books for dog owners to add to their current collection. Thanks to Susan Ruderman and Ann Smith for setting up this great display!