One of my dog training students and I have fallen into the habit of watching people’s reactions to her cute, well-mannered little dogs as we train our way past them on the sidewalk. When someone smiles, we usually agree, “Yep, she can come to our (imaginary) party.” When they scowl, they often get a, “Not likely.”
How much fun it was to receive news of a wine tasting party at Arlington’s on the evening of June 15 ust for members of the Arlington Dog Owners Group (A-DOG). Surely everyone at that party will be the sort who’d smile rather than scowl at the sight of two cute dogs showing off their best manners. These are my kind of people, to be sure.
You have to be a to be a member to attend, though, so if you’ve got a dog and haven’t yet joined A-DOG, this is the perfect time to do it. You can sign up right online through the A-DOG website for just $20 per household. A-DOG is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so donations and membership dues are deductible to the full amount allowed by law. Still need more reasons to join?
A recent letter to Arlington dog owners from A-DOG also listed these member benefits:
- Discounts from participating businesses for full (paid) members.
- Regular updates on dog-related issues.
- Opportunities to share in community outreach programs such as the A-DOG booth at Town Day as well as an A-DOG team for the MSPCA-Angell Walk for Animals.
- Other social, educational and service events during the year.
- Opportunities to meet and socialize with other dog owners.
- A-DOG is a strong community advocacy organization, offering you opportunities to provide your input into off-leash recreation and other dog-related issues—to forever change the landscape for dog owners in our community!
This all sounds good, but what, you ask, does A-DOG actually do? In the organization’s own words, it was established in 2008 with the following mission:
- 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.
Personally, I find the commitment and energy that the A-DOG board of directors pours into this mission just astounding.
I witnessed them work tirelessly and without complaint toward helping Arlington dog owners earn the right to off-leash privileges during limited hours in most Arlington town parks with the passage of Article 36 at Town Meeting in Spring of 2010, a change from our previously super-restrictive leash-law. A-DOG now works with the Parks and Recreation Commission to educate the community about the rules for these off-leash dog activities.
Their work doesn’t end there. A-DOG says they will “continue to work with the Town to establish and maintain reasonable laws and regulations relating to dog ownership.” A-DOG is also participating in the Dog Park Task Force created by the Park and Recreation Commission as plans are drawn up for Arlington’s first fenced “Dog Recreation Area.”
It isn’t all about off-leash freedoms, though. A-DOG works to help the community with plans such as donating “a second Microchip Scanner to the Town so lost dogs can be reunited with their owners even on weekends, when our animal control officer is not on duty.” In addition, A-DOG “works with the Parks and Recreation Commission, community groups, local businesses and the schools to help educate the community regarding dog ownership and dog/human behavior.”
There are so many reasons I think it’s worthwhile to support this organization that I can’t fit them all in! If you’re an Arlington dog owner and are not already a member of A-DOG, I’d encourage you to visit their website at www.arlingtondogowners.org to explore whether becoming a member and supporter of the group is right for you. And if you are a member by the evening of June 15, I look forward to clinking glasses with you at the A-DOG member wine tasting party at Menotomy Beer and Wine!