By Kim Gilliam
It’s no secret that Alexandrians love their pets. This adoration continues to reach new heights with our city serving as home to an evergrowing number of pet businesses and services. As such, Mayor Allison Silberberg and the Alexandria city council will be proclaiming April 23 as Alexandria Love Your Pet Day. Local businesses will host a block party in the West End to celebrate this announcement. Free for all attendees, this event will be pet and family-friendly, featuring more than 40 organizations, as well as food trucks, children’s entertainment, and interactive demonstrations.
The city of Alexandria mirrors the growing love of pets across our great nation, where the number of pets continues to climb — estimated to top 187 million by 2021. The United States is home to more than 75 million pet dogs — more than in any other country in the world. Sixty-five percent of U.S. households own pets, a number that continues to increase year-after-year, which equates to approximately 44,000 homes in Alexandria.
Would you believe that there are a fourth as many dogs as people in Alexandria? Take a walk down the streets of Del Ray or Old Town on a nice day and you will see lots of wagging tails and water bowls (or even free treats) set out in front of numerous businesses. It should therefore come as no surprise that Alexandria is ranked as one of the most dog-friendly towns on the East Coast according to DogFriendly.com. The City boasts 18 off-leash public dog parks and offers more than 2,000 pet-friendly rooms in extended-stay properties and hotels. Pets can also roam the halls of the Torpedo Factory Art Center and visit numerous stores along King Street.
Come celebrate your love of pets at the first Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Block Party on April 23 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The kick-off event will be held in the Wholistic Hound Academy parking lot at 18 Roth St. — parking is available in the Bishop Ireton lower lot directly across Duke Street — and will be hosted by local celebrity vet Dr. Katy Nelson, and Mayor Silberberg will make the official proclamation. This will be followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening up onto the block party route, which will head down the two blocks of Colvin Street to South Quaker Lane and back. Everyone is invited and leashed pets are welcome.
Delight in the delicious food offerings, get your face painted, adopt a balloon animal, learn from local vendors and non-profits, enjoy various demonstrations and activities such as freestyle dog dancing, nail trimming seminars, pet nose-to-tail assessments and treat taste tests. At each stop, attendees can earn a stamp on their event maps. The first 100 completed maps turned in will receive a gift bag full of goodies from participating businesses. This promises to be a lively community event – I hope to see you there.
Find more information and RSVP via the event page on Facebook: facebook.com/alexandrialoveyourpetday/.
The writer is the co-owner of Frolick Dogs, an indoor dog gym in the Eisenhower Valley.