What to do when your pet goes missing

Critter Corner

What to do when your pet goes missing

By Karen Peak – 2/24/2018

Things like proper fencing, not letting dogs or cats roam loose, using caution around open doors all reduce the risk of a pet becoming lost. However, sometimes things happen.  

One nice, spring day my dogs were outside when I heard a crash. A neighbor’s tree came down and severely damaged a section of my fence.

I had a cat who learned how to lift screens in our first home. We learned fast to open all windows from the top down because of her.

Long before anything happens, do two things: microchip and take frequent pictures of your pet. According to data from the American Humane Association, the American Kennel Club’s Reunite and others, the recovery rate more than doubled for dogs with a registered microchip. The recovery rate for cats increases almost 20 times with a registered microchip.

Update information if you move or change your phone number. A chip registered to your old information does no good. Periodically ask your vet staff to scan the chip and make sure it is functioning.

That cute puppy or kitten will change a lot over the years. Make sure you have current and clear pictures. Pictures of curled up dogs and cats may be cute, but they are hard to see markings that may help finders identify the pet as yours.  Get shots of both sides and the front of your pet.

Quick action is needed when your pet goes missing. Send out alerts through Paws Boost, Fido Finder and similar websites. Be aware that some sites that put out alerts are free, others are not.

Contact animal control in your county and the surrounding areas in at least a 50-mile radius. Check/call shelters daily.  Not all shelter staff will remember to call you if your pet may have been turned in.  Alert social media groups such as lost/found pet groups on Facebook. Post on your local Patch pages, Craigslist, etc.  

Alert the company your microchip is registered through.  Post color fliers at all regional vet clinics.  When you post fliers in your neighborhood, slip them in plastic sleeves to help protect from the weather.  Talk to postal carriers.  Post signs in pet supply stores, laundromats, post offices if they will allow it, grocery store and library community boards.  Get door hangers (the ads that people hang on doorknobs) made and put them on all doors is your area. Offer a reward.  Make signs bilingual.  When you go looking for your pet, take pictures with you.

If your lost pet is a cat, ask neighbors to check sheds, garages and under porches.  Cats can squeeze into small spaces. Put out food, a litter box, a secure, sheltered box with a towel or shirt that smells like you.   
If your pet is a lost dog add these steps.  If your dog get excited at the sound of a specific squeaky toy, car keys jangling, bring that with you.  Check areas your dog may be drawn to, such as dogs down the street or a local park you frequent or schools.  

Put out things with your scent on them.  Put out food. Drag things that smell like you and your dog in the area and back to your home.  

Do you have access to a female in season?  If so, try spreading her scent in the area. Set humane traps.

Hopefully your pet will never go missing, but be prepared to act just in case.

Maintenance Items to check for the Spring

Maintenance Items to check for the Spring

Examine Roof Shingles

Examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.

Probe the Wood Trim

Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.

Use Compacted Soil

Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.

Inspect the Concrete

Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.

Check Outside Faucets

Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.

Service the AC Unit

Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.

Check Power Equipment

Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.

How to replace an exterior light fixture

An exterior sconce should rest tightly against the wall without any gaps that might let in water. But it’s not easy to get a weather tight fit against siding with overlapping pieces, such as shingles, clapboards, and vinyl.


One solution is a rigid-foam mounting block, notched on the back side to mirror the profile of the overlap. The notches fit on top of the siding as snugly as a puzzle piece; no cutting is needed. These blocks fit over vinyl or wood siding with a 4- or 5-inch-wide exposure and ½– or -inch-thick butt edges. (If your siding doesn’t match these measurements, you’ll need to make your own block.)


To install the light, simply caulk around the top and sides of the block’s back face, and press it against the siding. Leave the bottom uncaulked so that any water that seeps in can escape. Now pull through the wires from the receptacle box, connect them to the fixture, and screw the light to the electrical box in the wall. Finally, caulk around the sides and top of the lamp base where it meets the block and the sides and top of the block where it meets the siding.



Illustration by Harry Bates

Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet Hose Bibb

How to Repair a Leaking Outdoor Faucet Hose Bibb

By: Allen Lyle

Repairing a dripping outdoor spigot is often at the bottom of a homeowner’s to-do list, since the leak is outside the house. But left unchecked, it doesn’t take long for even a small leak from a hose bibb to waste hundreds of gallons of water.

Another common problem on outside spigots is leaking around the valve stem when the water is turned on. The good news is that both of these problems can often be easily fixed simply by tighten the packing nut behind the handle 1/8 to 1/4 turn.

If the faucet still leaks after tightening the packing nut, the washer on the end of the valve stem needs to be replaced. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Turn the water off at the water meter using a cut-off key.
  2. Unscrew the packing nut beneath the handle of the faucet.
  3. Grasp the faucet handle, and pull the valve stem out of the hose bibb.
  4. Remove the screw on the valve stem holding the faucet washer.
  5. Replace the washer with one of the same size and thickness.
  6. Push the valve stem back into the hose bibb housing.
  7. Tighten the packing nut on the hose bibb until snug.
  8. Use the cut-off key to turn the water back on at the meter.
  9. Turn the spigot back on to remove any air from the line.
  10. Check for leaks around the packing nut on the valve stem.
  11. Turn the faucet off and check the spigot for leaks.

Fix any size tear in your window screens

Follow these easy steps to fix any size tear in your window screens

Small tears

For small tears in metal screens, use tweezers to twist the strands into shape and then seal them with a dab of superglue. With a fiberglass screen, use a needle and fishing line to stitch the tear, then seal it with superglue. Don’t pull too hard, or the screen will buckle and you’ll create an uneven pattern.

Medium tears

  1. If the damage is more than an inch on a metal screen, you’ll want to make a patch. Remove the screen from the window and place it on a flat surface. Use a sharp utility knife to cut out a clean square where the damage is.
  2. From the replacement screening, cut a patch that’s slightly larger than the damaged portion. Unravel the edges and bend the strands through the existing screen until they’re interwoven. Glue the border with adhesive rated for use with your screen type.

Large tears

  1. For large holes or tears that are longer than a few inches in fiberglass mesh-type screening, you’ll want to replace the whole piece of screen fabric. Lay the screen on a flat work surface. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pry up the spline that runs around the perimeter of the frame, holding the fabric in place. Remove the old spline and the screen fabric.
  2. You’ll need a piece of screen that’s larger than the size of the frame, because the excess is trimmed to fit. While you’re at the store, also buy a spline roller and a new spline material that will fit the groove of your screen (you can use the old spline if it’s not damaged). You could also use a putty knife instead of a spline roller so you don’t need to buy a new tool. Lay the new screen over the frame, making sure you have a couple inches of overlap on all four sides. Starting on the top edge, place the spline into the groove and press it in place with the spline roller or putty knife, letting the excess hang over. Check to make sure the screen material is not crooked.
  3. Once the top is secure, stretch the screen fabric taut and secure it along the bottom. Then secure each side Trim off the excess material with the utility knife.

11 Ideas for Organizing Your Shed

11 Ideas for Organizing Your Shed

The Family Handyman

Elizabeth Flaherty

Make Use of a Mobile Cart

A mobile cart is a great solution to keep your frequently used garden tools and supplies (gloves, soil, trowels, etc.) in one spot and properly organized. You have two choices here: First, you can try our DIY garden cart project to use materials you may already have. Second, you can buy a durable garden center that can hold a wider variety of items. Both are a great fit for organizing your shed.

Install a Track for Holding Tools

We particularly like the GearTrack rack for organizing your shed, because it’s easy to install. These tracks can hold a variety of different-sized tools, making them ideal for your shed. Remember to install the rack fairly high up in your shed to free up floor space.

Create a Garden Supply Cupboard on an External Wall

A garden supply cupboard is a fun little cubby that you can mount on the outside of your shed. Pull the box open, and it can hold common garden tools or supplies you use every day. This helps when organizing your shed and makes cleanup easier, too. Check out our plans for a cupboard to see if it works for you.

Make Space for a Pegboard Organizer

Pegboard is one of the best materials for organizing your shed. Install a wall of pegboard, and with the right hooks and attachments you can transform that wall into whatever type of storage space you need. Add a few labels for better organization, and you’ve got a great solution. Here’s our guide on how to use pegboard for storage

Seal Up Patio Cushions and Related Items

If you use your garden shed to store patio cushions and other seasonal items, then you need a way to protect those cushions and keep them from cluttering up your shelves. We suggest a cushion storage bag, which is designed for this very thing, but you can also repurpose any large, sealable plastic bags.

Simple Rack for Long-Handled Tools

This compact rack is strong and simple to build. You can store shovels, rakes, a sledgehammer—any long-handled tools—conveniently up and out of the way.


Add a Potting Bench

We have plans for a beautiful cedar potting bench that you can construct for your garden shed. This allows you to concentrate the messiness of working with plants into a single area that’s made for just that kind of work.

Include Plenty of Toy Storage

Do you end up using your shed to store a lot of yard toys that tend to get cluttered, even when they are ‘put away’? This handy cubbyhole-based project has space for lots of toys and gear.

Build a Lumber Rack

If you use your shed for storing rough lumber and boards, you need a rack or two to keep the boards off the floor and to allow space between boards for air to circulate. If you also have plywood to store, this rack is perfect to help organize your shed.

Storing Hazardous Materials

If you store any cleaners, pesticides, pool chemicals or other hazardous materials in your shed, consider keeping them up and away from kids and pets in a wall cabinet or similar lockable storage area.

Storage Drawers

These drawers are a great way to organize all those tools and supplies kicking around your shed.





When taking your dog out for a stroll through the community, please keep in mind that your neighbors are trying to keep their grass green, mowed and their properties tidy. This includes not having to clean up PET FECES from dogs they DON’T own.


Also remember to clean up after your pet when walking thru the common areas in the community.


Kids have also stepped in it getting to the bus, which is not a pleasant situation.


So, pick up after your pet, bottom line.


Thank you!

Things to do in Leesburg


Things to do in Leesburg – 2017


Spring Bling

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Time: 9AM – 4PM

Ida Lee Park Recreation Center

Free Admission

Hometown Fine Arts & Crafts Show

Shop for the finest in home decor, fine art, hand-poured soaps, candles and more..

Discover the most current trends in jewelry and personal accessories.



Easter Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 8, 2017

12PM – 4PM

Rain or Shine!

All children/ages – $10.00 in advance

$15.00 day of event

The Hunt is on for candy and prize filled eggs at Ida Lee Park. After the hunt, enjoy family friendly amusements and photos with the Easter Bunny. It is sure to be a time honored egg-cellent event.

Pre-registration ends on Thursday, April 6, 2017




Movies in the Park

Save your Friday Nights!


May 19th

June 16th

July 21st

August 18th

Enjoy a free flick under the stars this summer at Ida Lee Park! Bring your family, food and a blanket, but please leave your pets, glass containers, and alcohol at home. Each date will feature a different movie and show time will begin at dusk. For the schedule of movies call 703-771-1368.



Acoustic on the Green


June 12th – August 26th


This free concert series features live concerts from the best local and regional talent around. From country to blues, rock and roll to classic covers, there is a tune for every taste. Concerts are held on Saturday evenings at Leesburg’s Town Green located at 25 W. market Street. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. No pets or alcohol allowed. For more details or a schedule of performers, please visit www.idalee.org or call 703-777-1368.



Leesburg Air Show

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Leesburg Executive Airport

Go to leesburgairshow.com

for more information



Flower and Garden Festival

Saturday and Sunday

April 22nd & April 23rd

Historic downtown Leesburg

For the 27th year, Historic Leesburg will once again be in full bloom.

Over 150 vendors will be on display featuring landscape designs, gardening supplies, outdoor living items, plants, flowers and herbs!

Our Beer Garden, food, music, and kid’s entertainment will be back to make this a weekend not to miss.

Pets March Is Poison Prevention Month

March Is Poison Prevention Month: 10 Tips on How to Protect Your Pets

March is Poison Prevention Month – Are These Common Items Lurking within Your Pet’s Reach?

From food to plants, there are dozens of common household objects that can be poisonous to your pets. Pet proof your home with these precautions.

1 – Household Cleaners: Keep household cleaning products out of reach. From a curious kitty opening and chewing up dozens of wipes or a puppy opening a cabinet and getting into the floor cleaners, there are many “interesting” things we don’t want our pets ingesting.  Keep the cleaning products up high or behind a locked cabinet.

2 – Plants: Lilies, Azaleas, Daffodils, and English Ivy are a few plants your pets shouldn’t chew on. Keep bulbs out of their reach too. You can see a full list at the Humane Society.

3 – Potpourri
and Candles: They may smell good but, but they could irritate your pet’s nose, cause a burn, or make them sick if ingested. Keep scented products firmly out of reach of curious paws and noses.

4 – Medicines: “Child proof” containers don’t necessarily mean “pet proof”. A bored pet could chew right through a pill bottle, never mind those sheets of pills with only a thin layer of plastic and foil.  Keep all medications well out of Fido’s reach.

5 – Certain Foods: Chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions can all wreak havoc on your pup’s digestive system. Don’t forget that chewing gums or mints sweetened with xylitol can be lethal to pets.


6 – Citronella Candles: No candles are good chew toys but citronella can give our furry friends a tummy ache.

7 – Ice Melters: Some of these these are labeled “pet friendly” which means it has less of the harmful chemicals in them than others but none are something you want your pet eating. Be sure to wash your dog’s paws after a winter walk.

8 – Cocoa Mulch: True to its name, this mulch has cocoa elements of chocolate in it. If you have pets who spend time in the yard and you plan to mulch, you’ll want to avoid this one.

9 – Fabric softener sheets: Think of the fun your pet can have in pulling one after another out of the box, then chewing them up. This is not good. Fabric softener is full of chemicals your pets are better off not ingesting.

10 – Traps: Rat poison, ant traps, roach motels, if within reach of a curious pet, all of these pose hazards to your pet’s health. Be careful with them.

It’s a good idea to periodically give your house the once over and make sure the obvious things are out of pet reach. If you’re preparing for a new pet, you’ll want to be especially stringent.

If you know your pet has ingested something questionable or is acting woozy, call the ASPCA

Animal Poison Control Center for guidance.