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Igor, a dog at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (photo via AWLA/Facebook)

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) announced today a low-cost canine training program called Alexandria Animal Academy.

The new program is set to start on Jan. 21 and will feature an eight-week virtual course coaching both parents and pets in various fields, from confidence building to leash reactivity.

“The course includes 8-weeks of virtual coaching (both live and recorded) and tailored instruction from a certified professional dog trainer, a starter pack with basic materials to be successful, lifelong access to the course materials, and opportunities to build community with other dog parents facing the same issues,” AWLA said in a release.

The program is being led by Alli Holte, the behavior and training coordinator for AWLA who works one-on-one with dogs at the shelter who need behavioral work.

After the course, there are three free follow-up sessions for up to six months after the coursework is completed.

The courses can cover:

  • Confidence Building: “This track is for pups who show signs of shyness, fearfulness, and stress, and who might act in aggressive ways (growling, snapping, barking) when faced with novel people, places, or things.”
  • Chill Out: “This track is for pups with big feelings! If your dog loses their mind when the mail carrier comes, has a hard time calming down at the end of the day, or nearly tears your arm off every time they see a squirrel, ‘Chill Out’ might be the right fit for you.”
  • Leash Reactivity: “This track is for pups who have big feelings when they see scary things during leash walks. If your dog snarls and snaps when they see a stranger, pulls you into traffic to get closer to another dog, or pancakes when a city bus rumbles by, ‘Leash Reactivity’ might be the right fit for you.

Enrollment for an 8-week course is $200, or $300 for two tracks, or $350 for all three tracks. The course content is also available for $100 for those that don’t want to attend the live Zoom sessions or receive feedback/personalized training plans.

AWLA said a limited number of needs-based scholarships are also available.

“Please contact us at [email protected],” AWLA said, “or register for the live Zoom session on Wednesday, November 15 at 6 p.m. if you would like information on the scholarship option.”

Registration for the program is set to run from Dec. 1-Dec. 31.

Photo via AWLA/Facebook

Puppy available for adoption at Lost Dog Cafe this weekend (image via Lost Dog Rescue)

Alexandrians might be able to find a furry new friend this weekend.

Lost Dog Cafe (808 N. Henry Street) in the Braddock neighborhood is hosting a puppy adoption event from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, for a litter of puppies born last month.

“Are you ready to welcome a furry friend into your life?” the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation said on the event website. “We have something special just for you! Join us for ‘Pups on the Patio’ at Lost Dog Cafe in Alexandria. This heartwarming event is dedicated to finding forever homes for an exceptional litter of puppies known as ‘Butterball’s Little Turkeys’.”

According to the Lost Dog Rescue website:

These precious pups have an incredible story to tell. Born on September 8th, 2023, they were brought into the world by a caring mama who was rescued from the Dickenson County Animal Shelter in Virginia. She was pregnant, confused, and scared, but thanks to the swift action of Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation (LDCRF), she was given a safe haven in foster care.

The foster mom says she is an amazing mama, and her puppies are a testament to her love and care.

This special adoption event will feature only this litter of puppies, so you don’t want to miss out on this special opportunity. Come and meet these little darlings, fall in love, and take one home to be a part of your family.

An online application must be filled out before requesting an ‘interview’ with the puppies.

The puppies are:

  • Blue Slate
  • Narragansett
  • White Holland
  • Royal Palm
  • Osceola
  • Rio Grande
  • Merriam
  • Bourbon Red
  • Gould
  • Eastern

Thousands turned out in costumes for the 27th annual Del Ray Halloween Parade on Sunday.

This year, the parade was named one of the top 10 Halloween Parades in the country by USA Today.

The Del Ray Business Association parade started at Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Bellefonte Avenue and ended with live music and prizes at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center athletic fields.

“We couldn’t have made such a successful event without more than 100 volunteers,” said parade organizer Gayle Reuter. “We start planning for this months in advance, and it takes so many neighbors and friends to make it a success.”

Del Ray’s next big event is the 48th annual Alexandria Turkey Trot on Nov. 23.

Gambit, a dog available for adoption at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (image via Animal Welfare League of Alexandria/Facebook)

(Updated 10/3) Paws in the Park, a pet-themed festival, is returning next Sunday (Oct. 15) to Oronoco Bay Park (100 Madison Street).

The event is the biggest pet adoption event of the year for the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA). Activities include a dog costume contest, a “pet parade,” and activities for both pets and owners.

The event started back in 2017 with pet businesses coordinating a block party to celebrate local animals, and over the years the event has continued to grow. Paws in the Park runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and features shopping, music, food and drink, and pets available for adoption. Event proceeds benefit the AWLA.


Attention Del Ray dog owners: The Eugene Simpson Park will reopen to the public in the beginning of next year at the end of more than a year of redevelopment.

The formerly dusty, not-grassy park at 521 E. Monroe Avenue will be closed for the last three months of the year to allow for a “sod establishment period,” according to the city.

“Construction at the dog park continues with grading and site preparation for tree installation and sod installation this month as the start of the fall planting season approaches,” the city told ALXnow in an email.

In other Del Ray dog-related news, more work is being completed this fall on the dog run at Mount Jefferson Park (300 block of Hume Avenue). Work began on Mount Jefferson Park in Jan. 2022.

“The developer has been working with staff on a few options to address the drainage issues within the dog run and will be submitting a revised site plan,” city parks planner Judy Lo told ALXnow. “We anticipate the northern section of the dog run will be re-graded with possibly additional inlets and/or bioretention and plantings. This type of work is best done in the fall when the temperatures start to cool.”

Photos via Facebook and City of Alexandria

Daryl, an alligator that was rescued last summer by the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (via AWLA)

Alexandria has seen an increase in neglected animal seizures over the last few years, including animals rescued from hoarding situations and one confiscated alligator.

This year, 11 animals have been legally seized due to animal cruelty/neglect investigations, versus two animals seized in 2022 and eight in 2021, according to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (4101 Eisenhower Avenue).

Most recently, on July 11, a man brought a cat into the animal shelter that he found in an apartment in the unit block of E. Linden Street near Hoofs Run. The Alexandria Police Department then responded to a call for service and found the home “filled with large amounts of trash and clutter and had a bad odor of feces throughout the residence,” according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

“Officers on the scene reported they did not believe the residence was suitable for habitation,” according to the search warrant affidavit.

Three cats were taken from the home and AWLA, with help from the City Attorney’s office, was granted custody of all three cats by the General District Court on August 3. Police later found that the woman had been convicted of animal care violations for hoarding 36 cats in Henrico County, Georgia, according to the search warrant affidavit.

“The cats were very dirty with feces and urine embedded in their fur, but were otherwise in good nutritional condition,” said Tony Rankin, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s chief of animal services. “We do not plan on filing any charges at this time. The case info was forwarded to Adult Protective Services in the hopes that (the former owner) can receive assistance.”

The number of animal abuse calls for service remains steady, with 174 calls reported from Jan. 1 to July 31 this year, 175 calls for service for the same period in 2022, 138 calls for service in 2021 and 93 calls for service in 2020, according to AWLA.

Animal Services received 3,382 calls for service in 2022, 3,252 calls in 2021 and 2,218 calls in 2020. Rankin said that a vast majority of those calls are for wildlife complaints related to barking dogs, aggressive dogs and dog bites, while about 10% are for stray animal calls.

Who’s at the shelter now?

There are currently 55 animals available for adoption at the animal shelter, and 89 animals in the building (47 dogs, 30 cats, a ferret, six rabbits and five hamsters). Sometimes the shelter also has tropical birds.

Many of the animals are surrendered by owners who couldn’t take care of them.

“All the hamsters with Marvel names are surrenders,” Rankin said. “They started out with two and then they had 20 on their hands… So, Groot, Pepper Pots, Natasha, Valkrie, and Shuri were all surrenders.”

AWLA is open every day for adoptions from noon to 7 p.m.

Alright, but what about the alligator?

Last summer, a three-foot-long alligator named Daryl was brought into the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter (4101 Eisenhower Avenue). Daryl had been living in a five gallon fish tank in a small apartment in the West End.

“The owner got it at a roadside place in Florida,” said Rankin. “The only reason we got it was because he made his girlfriend mad and she called him out for having an alligator in the apartment.”

The former owner lost an appeal for custody of Daryl with the Alexandria General District Court, and AWLA then worked with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to find him a new home at a wildlife enter in Lexington, Virginia.

“He wanted his alligator back,” Rankin said. “But he lost his appeal.”

Image via Google Maps

Annual dog swim at Warwick Pool (image via RPCA/Facebook)

If you’re looking to escape the heat in one of Alexandria’s public pools, time is running out.

Starting in two weeks, Alexandria’s pools will start to close. The first to go is Memorial Pool at 901 Wythe Street, which is open through Sunday, Aug. 20.

The Old Town Pool and Warwick Pool, meanwhile, will be open through Monday, Sept. 4.

The last to close isn’t really a pool, but the Potomac Yard Interactive Fountain, which is open through mid-October.

Finally, the pool at the Chinquapin Park Recreation Center and Aquatics Facility (3210 King Street) is open year-round.

On the bright side, as the pool season comes to a close, the city opens its pools for the annual dog swim.

On Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17, well-behaved and vaccinated dogs are allowed to hop in the pool and swim.

“This event is open to all well-behaved and vaccinated dogs,” Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities said on Facebook. “Entry is free, but owners must pre-register. Separate registrations for each dog are required.”

Image via Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities/Facebook

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Win prizes if you can spot Waldo at 25 Alexandria businesses (staff photo by James Cullum)

Where’s Waldo? Kids and parents with eagle eyes can spot him this month in 25 Alexandria businesses.

After you find Waldo at 10 businesses, spotters can collect prizes at Hooray for Books (1555 King Street) in Old Town. Collectors with at least 20 stamps on a passport (found at any participating business) can claim a Waldo temporary tattoo and store coupon.

The annual promotion will end with a grand celebration and prize drawing for a set of Waldo books at the store on July 31 at 4 p.m.

Find Waldo at these businesses:

  1. Alexandria Visitor Center (221 King Street)
  2. AR Workshop Alexandria (1212 King Street)
  3. Beeliner Diner (3648 King Street)
  4. The BEST Gift Shop (112 S. Patrick Street)
  5. Conte’s Bike Shop (1100 King Street)
  6. The Company of Books (2200 Mount Vernon Avenue)
  7. The Dog Park (705 King Street)
  8. fibre space (1319 King Street)
  9. Fresh Baguette (1101 King Street)
  10. Gold Works (1400 King Street)
  11. Happy Place (105 S. Union Street)
  12. Hooray for Books (1555 King Street)
  13. King Street Souvenirs (217 King Street)
  14. Lavender Moon Cupcakery (116 S. Royal Street)
  15. Pacers Running (1301 King Street)
  16. Penny Post (1201 King Street)
  17. Red Barn Mercantile (1117 King Street)
  18. Rocket Fizz (1701 Centre Plaza)
  19. Stitch Sew Shop (1219 King Street)
  20. Ten Thousand Villages (915 King Street)
  21. Today’s Cargo (1102 King Street)
  22. Turkish Coffee Lady (1201 King Street)
  23. The UPS Store (107 West Street)
  24. Uptowner Cafe (1609 King Street)
  25. Whistle Stop Hobbies (1719 Centre Plaza)
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Good Friday morning, Alexandria!

🌥 Today’s weather: Cloudy. Mild. High of 69 and low of 51.
🌥 Tomorrow: Cloudy. Mild. High of 72 and low of 52. Sunrise at 6:05 am and sunset at 8:04 pm.

🚨 You need to know

More gunfire was reported near the Braddock Road Metro station yesterday afternoon, prompting the Alexandria Police Department to tweet that it’s “determined” to solve recent crime issues.

“APD has taken action by installing cameras and increasing police presence in the area to ensure everyone’s safety,” APD tweeted. “No one has been hurt, but we’re determined to prevent any potential harm by keeping a police presence there until we resolve this violence.”

Thursday’s incident occurred in the same block as a number of recent shootings. The city is experiencing a crime surge, and police are fighting it by increasing patrols in high-crime areas, installing mobile camera units and hosting community events.

📈 Thursday’s most read

The following are the most-read ALXnow articles for May 4, 2023.

  1. JUST IN: Police investigating shots fired incident near Braddock Road Metro station (1834 views)
  2. Fundraiser established for family of the ACHS student who died this week (1203 views)
  3. Notes: Alexandria driver killed in hit-and-run in D.C. | ALXnow (727 views)
  4. JUST IN: Melanie Kay-Wyatt announced as Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent (516 views)

🗞 Other local coverage

📅 Upcoming events

Here is what’s going on today and this weekend in Alexandria, from our event calendar.

Dog at The Board Hound (image via The Board Hound/Facebook)

The Board Hound at 133 South Peyton Street in Old Town is hoping to live up to its name as a place to board dogs.

The facility offers training services and training services for canines, but according to an application, it’s hoping to expand to offer overnight dog care.

“At present time, 133 S Peyon Street is in accordance with the City of Alexandria and allowed to operate as a dog daycare,” the application said. “Within the scope of current permissions it is not clear if the business can allow overnight accommodations for the dogs in our care.”

The change would result in some staffing adjustments, but the application notes that all dogs and employees would remain inside the building overnight.

The proposal is heading to the Planning Commission on June 6.

“We would like to begin offering this service,” the application said.

The Alexandria location is one of two Board Hounds, with another set up in nearby Shirlington.

The Board Hound is one of several dog care facilities that’s popped up in the area. Alexandria has a reputation for being a dog-friendly city, a reputation ALXnow readers tended to agree with.

Photo via The Board Hound/Facebook

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