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Dawn Lopiccolo, a Virginia German Shepherd Rescue volunteer, introduces Kaiser, a German shepherd, during the fifth annual Dog Days of Summer at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on Aug. 24, 2013. The four-hour event provided opportunities to see a menagerie of animals including birds, reptiles, dogs and cats.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis

Animals flock to the devil dog museum

24 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Samuel Ellis

On Aug. 24, 2013, Kharma, 8, found something at the National Museum of the Marine Corps that most people look for at a zoo. Visiting with her mentor Sharmeen Howard of Fredricksburg, she found a menagerie of live animals.

Kharma was attending the fifth annual Dog Days of Summer, a four-hour community event.

“It’s been amazing,” said Howard. “Everyone is so knowledgeable and willing to share information, and the museum staff has been phenomenal.”

Several canine groups including Virginia German Shepherd Rescue Inc., Hero Dogs Inc., the Quantico military working dogs and the Stafford County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals introduced their organizations and animals to visitors during the event.

“We have a total of six groups here today,” said Denny Hostetter, public affairs assistant, National Museum of the Marine Corps. “We’ve tried to grow it each year.”

Dogs weren’t the only animals present on Saturday. Although the military working dogs were the only group that attended the first year in 2009, cats, birds and even reptiles were on hand this year, providing participants with opportunities to learn about and interact first-hand with various pets, even some exotic ones.

This was the first year that Bonnie Keller, founder/director of Virginia Reptile Rescue, her staff and animals including a ball python, albino corn snake, bearded dragon and albino leopard gecko attended the event.

“I’d like for people to recognize these aren’t scary animals, said Keller. “Depending on your situation they can make excellent household pets.”

However, experiencing exotic animals wasn’t the only purpose of the event, according to the coordinator.

“This event allows the various agencies to let people know who they are and what they can provide,” said Hostetter. “[But] the main reason for the event is to have some fun. It’s especially fun to watch the children with all the excitement.”

Hostetter didn’t share any specific information about next year’s event, but did say that they are always looking to expand the event and hope people will come out next year to see what new things are added.

For information about the Dog Days of Summer or other National Museum of The Marine Corps events, visit or call 877-635-1775.


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