Pets all over Arlington slept soundly the night of Saturday, Aug. 24, following the annual Wags n’ Whiskers event held at The Village at Shirlington. It included more than 50 exhibitors like pet services, retailers and rescue groups providing onsite adoptions.
Upon entering the event, visitors were greeted with live music from the Dan Haas Trio and The Morrison Brothers Band. Those that got there early received a recyclable swag bag with coupons and treats that were likely devoured on the ride home. The bags also came in handy for the assortment of goodies exhibitors were passing out. Free treats included tennis balls, samples of dog and cat food and lollipops for humans. The Arlington County Department of Environmental Services was also giving away convenient containers for pet waste disposal bags while educating attendees on safe disposal of pet waste to protect the county’s ground water.
Furry four-legged, three-legged and two-legged with wheels dogs walked the streets of the shopping center with their two-legged best friends sniffing out delicious treats from vendors like The Furry Foodie and Le Petit Treat. There was a plethora of pet food to try and a pet pool for dogs to cool off in. One dachshund took a particular liking to the pool and rolled all around in the water like a mini Shamu, splashing onlookers who laughed as other dogs ran away from what they probably thought was the dreaded bath.
One rescue group providing onsite adoptions was Operation Paws for Homes, a nonprofit that pulls dogs from high kill shelters and places them with families in Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and neighboring states. Within the last few years, the organization has found “furever” homes for more than 2,900 dogs.
“This is the second time we’ve attended Wags n’ Whiskers and it’s a wonderful event. Last year we placed 17 dogs and only a couple hours into today’s event we’ve already placed 10,” said Jen Dodge, director of Operation Paws for Homes. By the end of the day, the organization placed 16 dogs and three more will likely go to their furever home this week. For more info on this rescue group visit https://ophrescue.org/.
Another rescue group exhibitor was the local Pets for Vets chapter. Pets for Vets is a national organization matching shelter animals with America’s veterans and their families. The Washington D.C. chapter opened in 2011 and covers Maryland, Virginia and D.C. The group interviews each veteran and their family and finds a shelter dog that will be a perfect fit. The dog goes through training and fostering with volunteers before being placed in the home permanently. “It’s our first time here and it’s a terrific event. We’ve met lots of people,” said Kim Phillips, director of the D.C. area chapter. For more info on Pets for Vets visit www.pets-for-vets.com.
Comments from visitors and vendors alike were positive about the event. “I’m new to the area so this is the first time I’ve attended Wags n’ Whiskers. It’s a fantastic event and has something for everyone. I’ve seen dogs of all shapes and sizes — everything from a Great Dane to a Chiweenie. I look forward to attending again next year,” said Keith Schumpert, a Fairfax resident who attended the event with his wife and their miniature dachshund, Maggie.