By Kim Gilliam
As Mayor Allison Silberberg and city council prepare to proclaim April 29 the second annual Alexandria Love Your Pet Day, the organizers of the associated Block Party are using this year’s event to not only bring together our animal-adoring community, but
also celebrate its commitment to responsible pet ownership.
Given that 65 percent of U.S. households own pets and an estimated one out of every four Alexandria residents is a dog, this is an important consideration.
While many of us can quickly identify the benefits of owning a pet, it is important to also keep in mind the associated responsibilities. In short, owners should know and meet all of their pets’ needs while being considerate of others. Important considerations include:
• Selecting a pet suitable for your home and lifestyle to avoid an impulse decision.
• Recognizing that a pet is an investment of time and money beyond just food and shelter. They also need socialization, training and exercise.
• Ensuring pets are properly identified and licensed.
• Providing preventative healthcare for your pet with a commitment to lifelong care.
• Considering your pet in emergency preparedness and estate planning.
At this year’s block party, attendees will have the chance to meet with organizations that focus on various aspects of responsible pet ownership, including rescue groups that work to match a pet with your home and lifestyle, trainers who can advise you on techniques to ensure pets exhibit appropriate behavior and vendors of products and services that improve your pet’s life.
Kids can get a sense for responsible pet ownership by adopting a stuffed animal from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria and taking it to different stops on the Block Party route for grooming, socialization and vaccinations. Dog owners can sign up to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test – a prerequisite for volunteering with many therapy groups – which focuses on “responsible owners, well-mannered dogs.” Attendees can see how others have engaged their dogs both mentally and physically in activities such as freestyle dance and agility.
Make plans to come celebrate your family members with fur, feathers or scales at the Alexandria Love Your Pet Day Block Party on Sunday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The kickoff, held in the Wholistic Hound Academy parking lot at 18 Roth St., will be hosted by local celebrity vet Dr. Katy Nelson. Silberberg is invited to make the proclamation.
Attendee parking is across Duke Street in the Bishop Ireton High School lower lot. The block party will take place along Roth and Colvin streets featuring more than 40 local organizations, food trucks, children’s entertainment, interactive demonstrations and more. Bring the whole family to this free community event, as leashed pets
For additional information, go to: www.facebook.com/alexandrialoveyourpetday
Kim Gilliam owns Alexandria’s Frolick Dogs, an indoor dog gym, with her husband Kevin Gilliam.