Valarie's Animal Den

OVER 20 YEARS Valarie's Animal Den, Inc.
737 8th Street SE
Washington DC, DC 20003
ph: (202) 547-PUPS (7877)
alt: (202) 460-0444
email: [email protected]
For more information about our services, feel free to contact us.

Pet Boarding

Our Boarding services are available all days of the week. Prices vary depending on the weight of the pet and the length of the stay. Pets are walked 4 times a day, fed twice a day, and allowed playtime. We also administer medication at a price of $5.00 per day. Puppies who are not house broken incur an additional charge. Pick-ups and drop-offs on Sundays and Holidays also incur an ad

Pet Boarding

Our Boarding services are available all days of the week. Prices vary depending on the weight of the pet and the length of the stay. Pets are walked 4 times a day, fed twice a day, and allowed playtime. We also administer medication at a price of $5.00 per day. Puppies who are not house broken incur an additional charge. Pick-ups and drop-offs on Sundays and Holidays also incur an ad

Operating as usual







Timeline Photos

Timeline Photos

I'ts okay powl

I'ts okay powl

The Benefits of Living with Pets
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There is something unique about the impact that the company of a pet has on one's psyche. Pets - and particularly dogs and cats - do not judge.

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If youre lucky enough to have a garden, a balcony, or even just a sunny window sill, then you should look into growing an herb garden for your cat.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week
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May 21-26 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Follow these tips on how to approach an unfamiliar dog to avoid a bite

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Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Dog from Fleas

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Man spends $60,000 in custody fight for dog

Embroiled in a legal battle over the custody of his dog, a Brooklyn man is offering everything from a $250 game of fetch with his beloved puggle to limited edition art pieces to raise money for his depleted legal fund.

Manhattan art gallery employee Craig Dershowitz, 34, has already burned through $60,000 of his own savings in the cross-country court battle for the return of Knuckles, who is one-quarter pug and three-quarters beagle. Dershowitz’s ex-girlfriend, wardrobe stylist Sarah Brega, currently has the dog in her home in California.

"He snores like an old man. His whole butt wiggles when he wags his tail. He is so loving and sweet and warm. He's incredible," Dershowitz says in a video that he's posted on a site he created to shed light on his case and raise money.

The couple dated for four years and broke up in March, 2011, but were sharing custody of "Knux" until November when Dershowitz claimed in court papers that she “kidnapped’’ the dog.

Dershowitz said he purchased the dog when the couple was together two years ago and grew very attached to him. While searching for a new place to live after the couple broke up, Dershowitz claims that Brega kept the dog when she was supposed to return to him after Dershowitz settled in a new spot. Brega has retained a lawyer to fight for custody of the dog in court in California and New York.

“Knuckles lives a happy and healthy life in California with me, where he has ample room to play, and lives in close proximity to a beach for off-leash dog-park outings,” Brega said in court documents.

Dershowitz claims that his former girlfriend is deliberately forcing him to exhaust his limited resources.

“Obviously we dated many years and she knew my finances intimately, so she knew all the money I had was from savings and years of working two jobs,’’ Dershowitz told

He appeared on TODAY Tuesday to dispel claims that he's doing this for revenge, saying "this is an expensive revenge; not something I want to do."

"(Knuckles has) been with me his whole life," Sarah Brega told TODAY in a statement. "It is unfortunate that (Craig) is using the courts and a fraudulent fundraiser to continue to harrass me. He is taking advantage of unsuspecting donors.

"Craig thrives on media attention and he is seeking it out in order to further his career while exacting revenge."

Dershowitz admitted that when Brega first kept the dog he contemplated stealing it back from her family’s home in Massachusetts but did not want to create any legal trouble and decided to take the high road.

“I don't mean to insult people who have had terrible things happen to their human children, but Knuckles is very much, in my mind, my son,’’ Dershowitz said. “We are connected on a very serious level.’’

'Free Knux'
To raise money for his legal bills, on his web site Dershowitz offers everything from “Free Knux’’ T-shirts to a $200 professional portrait of Knuckles to big-ticket items like a $3,500 wardrobe styling by a stylist friend of Dershowitz’s.

“I have a ton of friends who are artists, so I wanted to provide something in every media of art that I could,’’ Dershowitz told “Knuckles grew up with them. Some of them have crashed on my couch and he slept alongside them, or they have played fetch with them, so when I set up the website overnight, they all were willing to help out to get him back.’’

As of Monday afternoon he'd only raised $140, but believes at least one of every item will be sold as his story, which was first reported by The New York Post, gains exposure. His goal is $20,000 in order to defray his anticipated legal fees over the next two to three months.

Cross-country court battle
The legal battle over Knuckles began four months ago when Dershowitz filed papers on Jan. 31. Dershowitz said that a Manhattan court has already ruled that Knux should be in his custody but the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department will not retrieve him from Brega’s home until a ruling is made in a Los Angeles court. Dershowitz said a hearing is coming Wednesday in Los Angeles where he is hoping the judge will sign a document that would allow the sheriff’s department to enforce the ruling from the New York court.

“Best-case scenario, I get the [document] and I’m on an airplane before the end of this week,’’ he said. “The sheriff’s department would retrieve Knux, hopefully that day, and I would have him stay with a friend of mine out there until I fly out to take him back.’’

If that comes to fruition, Dershowitz will be happy to complete the transaction for anyone who has put in a payment on his webpage for a game of fetch or a smooch from Knuckles.

“It goes without saying that they can only play with Knux once he comes back,’’ Dershowitz said. “I have full faith that it will happen.’’

To learn more about Knuckles and see the items up for sale visit Dershowitz's website.



Cats tend to shed naturally and though it is normal for cats to shed, excessive shedding should be a cause for concern. Shedding relies on many factors, for instance the environment of the cat and whether it spends more time outdoors or indoors. While outdoor cats shed more in the spring months, indoor cats shed all through the year.

Shedding is done by cats to remove the dead hair. This dead hair triggers skin irritation and it should be removed. The dead hair keeps falling even if you do not remove it yourself.This is a big problem for indoor cat owners.

There may be a serious problem as the underlying cause for the shedding which needs to be treated by your vet immediately.

Cat hair loss may be due to the diet of the cat. A diet that lacks in the essential nutrients will reflect in the skin and hair too.

Stressed cats tend to shed more. Stress may be brought on by illness, changes in the environment of the cat, loss or even jealousy. These cats are very irritable and eat less food.

Allergies can also produce excessive cat shedding. Allergies of many types including inhalant allergy, allergy to the sun, certain types of food, medicines like penicillin and sulfonamide and even insect bites or parasites can also cause the cat to shed excessively.

Certain diseases too cause excessive shedding. Hyperthyroidism in cats can also trigger the shedding. This is a condition where there is malfunction of the thyroid gland.

Another disease where this shedding occurs is the feline Cushing syndrome. This is characterized by the presence of acne, seborrhea, excessive thirst and frequent urination in addition to the excessive shedding.

Presence of granulomas can also lead to excessive shedding. You need to find out whether the granuloma is a benign or a malignant one and for this you have to do a biopsy. Granulomas are nodules formed as a result of infection.
Sometimes, the shedding may be due to pregnancy and lactation when a lot of hormonal changes are occurring. Once the lactating duration is over, the shedding will return to its normal amount.

Infections caused by bacteria, fungi and yeast also cause excessive hair loss in cats.

Alopecia is another condition where you can find frequent episodes of cat hair shedding. There is no skin irritation or itching but bald patches appear on the cat.

Cats that are under chemotherapy may also experience excessive hair loss. This condition will resolve once the chemotherapy is over.

Treatment for cat hair loss depends on the cause. Antibiotics can be given for infection, allergy can be treated with antihistamines and a change in diet also helps. You have to brush the cat’s hair at least 2-3 times a week. This will remove all the dead hairs and the grooming will take care of the dirt or feces sticking to the fur of the cat. Once the fur is kept clean the shedding will reduce gradually.

Got a cat? Want a dog? Despite the cliché about fighting like cats and dogs, it's perfectly possible for the two species to live happily under one roof. However, it's also perfectly possible for a cat to injure a dog, and for a dog to seriously hurt or even kill a cat. To keep your home a peaceable kingdom, you'll want to arm yourself with some know-how before you add a new dog.


Flea control for dogs

Few dog owners are fortunate enough to avoid an eventual run-in with fleas, the most common dog parasites. Even with regular bathing and grooming, the tireless critters can find their way to the tender flesh of unsuspecting dogs (and dog owners). The bloodsuckers not only don't pay rent, they cause itching and can transmit diseases to their hosts.

Happily, controlling fleas has become much simpler, safer, and more effective in the last few years. New products that break the flea's reproductive cycle make it possible to keep the little biters at bay without exposing your dog to toxic chemicals.

Your dog's continuous itching and scratching will probably be your first clue that he's got fleas. If you look closely, you may actually see the little dark brown bugs. More likely, though, you'll see what look like black and white specks. The black specks are "flea dirt," or flea feces. The white specks are flea eggs. If you do see actual fleas, they won't be easy to catch because they move fast and can jump farther than you'd think their tiny legs could take them.

If you think you've spotted some but aren't quite sure, run a flea comb (a fine-toothed comb) over your dog's back, groin area, haunches, and tail. These are the places fleas like most.

While some dogs experience nothing more than itching, others can develop flea allergy dermatitis. Heavy infestations can be serious enough to cause anemia. Some fleas carry diseases, such as typhus and tapeworm infections, that can be transmitted to your dog.

Flea basics
To really get rid of fleas, you have to disrupt their life cycle. Fleas thrive in moist, humid environments--that's why they're a much bigger problem in the summer than in winter.

An adult flea can live for four months on the body of a dog, but it'll die in a couple of days without its canine host. After a nice meal of blood, fleas mate on the dog's skin. The female can produce as many as 2,000 eggs during her short lifespan.

Those eggs fall off and hatch all over the house--in the carpet, on the couch, under the covers. Eventually those newly hatched fleas will need to find a host of their own, and the whole cycle starts all over again. So it's not enough to kill the adult fleas; you have to get rid of all the eggs and larvae, too.

How to prevent fleas
New products are less toxic than older remedies and have made it easier to protect your dog from fleas. Some of these options can be pricey, but the upside is that they work.

•Three types of control. Different vets like to use different products for controlling fleas. The most popular choices generally include spot-ons, which are dabbed between a dog's shoulder blades each month; pills, which are also effective for a month; and sprays for the yard, which can work for up to three months.

•What doesn't work. It's generally agreed that collars don't work well, particularly pricey electronic flea collars. Products using only permethrin as the active ingredient usually don't work well, because fleas have built up an immunity to this insecticide.
Widely used products

•Frontline Plus is a spot-on liquid that contains the active ingredients fipronil and S-methoprene. It kills fleas at all stages in their life cycle within 24 to 48 hours, and it's waterproof.

•Advantage, a spot-on liquid that contains imidacloprid, kills fleas currently on the dog within 12 hours. It's also waterproof.

•Revolution is a spot-on liquid that uses selamectin and is waterproof.

•K9 Advantix is a spot-on liquid that has imidacloprid and permethrin.

•Sentinel is a monthly pill that combines both a flea killer and a heartworm preventative.

•Program Tabs are monthly pills with lufenuron.

•Capstar with nitenpyram is a once-a-day pill.

If it's not working
If, despite your best efforts, your dog's still a flea magnet, here's what you need to know to get rid of the infestation.

•Treat all your pets. If you have more than one animal in the house, you'll have to treat them all to be truly rid of fleas.

•Treat your house. Foggers and sprays are an effective way to control fleas indoors. Most experts recommend sprays, because foggers can miss crevices where fleas hide. Choose only safe, nontoxic insecticidal sprays for indoor use. It's also a good idea to vacuum thoroughly each week, being sure to get under cushions--a favorite flea hideout.

•Treat your yard. If you think your yard is where the fleas are coming from, you'll need to treat it, too, with a spray product that kills fleas but is safe for pets and people.
When to go with the pros

Some of the effective flea control products are only available at a veterinarian's office. Those that are combined with heartworm preventive require a prescription.

Bottom line: Fleas are not only annoying, they can harm your dog's health. By sticking to a regular flea control routine using the newest products, you can keep your dog comfortable and safe from most flea troubles.


Spay & Neuter

Spaying or neutering will keep your dog from getting pregnant or impregnating another dog. Females get the spay surgery, which removes the ovaries and uterus, while a neuter surgery removes a male dog's testicles.

If you're cringing after reading this last sentence, consider this: the surgery provides many health and behavior benefits, and you won't find yourself with a bunch of puppies who need homes other than yours.

Next, throw out the persistent myth that sterilization changes a dog's temperament. In fact, dogs will be just as playful, friendly, aloof, timid, happy, anxious, silly, affectionate, food-motivated, or gentle as before being fixed. The only difference is males will be less likely to be aggressive and to roam.

What spay/neuter is important for your dog
The surgery has many benefits other than preventing unwanted puppies.

•Spayed before her first heat, a female has almost zero chance of getting mammary gland cancer. After the first heat, the chance is only 7 percent; 25 percent after the second heat. Past that (even far, far past), spaying will still reduce risk.

•Spaying prevents pyometra, a common, life-threatening infection of the uterus. Typically, it's middle-aged (or older) females who get it, about six weeks after a heat cycle. The treatment is an emergency spay.

•Neutering prevents some cancers of the testicle and anus, and it helps prevent some significant prostate problems in males.

•The best part is that after neutering, male pups change from juvenile delinquents into pillars of the community (although some will still lift a leg on the pillar). Males are less aggressive without that testosterone jamming up their brains, they're less likely to roam (and they don't act like such escape-artist Houdini Hounds in order to get out), and they're less likely to hump and mark. You'll still see some of this behavior, mind you--just less of it.
What it won't do is send your female dog into menopause (another myth). Dogs don't go into menopause. Ever.

When it's time to spay or neuter your dog
Puppies can be spayed or neutered any time after eight weeks of age. Some people wait until just before the dog becomes sexually mature, sometime around six months of age, depending on the breed.

Here are some things to consider when scheduling the surgery:

•Hormones affect body structure. If you want your dog to be as big and manly as possible, with a build like Arnold Schwarzenegger, wait a bit to neuter. If you don't like the more exaggerated features, neuter earlier.

•Females will also have a slightly more feminine appearance if spayed later.

•The dog will be exactly the same functionally whether you do it early or not.

•Surgery is safer when the dog is young, although smaller patients have a higher risk of problems with hypothermia and hypoglycemia when anesthetized.

•Younger patients have immature immune systems, which can be a concern if postsurgery infections or other problems develop.

•Don't put it off and assume you can just isolate your dog from any romantic encounters. Mistakes (open doors, broken fences) happen, and there are already too many unwanted pets in the world.


737 8th St SE
Washington D.C., DC

Opening Hours

Monday 9am - 6pm
Tuesday 9am - 6pm
Wednesday 9am - 6pm
Thursday 9am - 6pm
Friday 9am - 6pm
Saturday 9am - 6pm




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