\r\nDogZ In Z Hood\r\nBy Kelly MacConomy\r\nIt\u2019s no secret that Alexandria has gone to the dogz. Port City is home to upwards of 30 dog-friendly parks, 20 pet services and supplies stores, and a Scottish Terrier, Alex, for a City mascot. But what even neighboring Arlington, named the number one dog friendly city in the U.S. by Travel & Leisure Magazine, doesn\u2019t have is a Bassador!\r\n\r\nYou may have seen Lionel, the Black Labrador\/Basset Hound mix, holding court \u201cpal fresco\u201d at Stomping Ground on Mt. Vernon Avenue, waiting for a sorghum biscuit to rain down from a tabletop. Or perhaps you have taken your Port City brewskie and burnt ends to a picnic table at Pork Barrel BBQ and been met with chocolate brown eyes gazing covetously at that metal tray. That\u2019s Lionel! The Bassador of Del Ray.\r\nIn an interview with the Bassador, over a game of pool balls in the No. 9 Lounge upstairs at Evening Star Caf\u00e9, where Lionel can often be found lounging in one of his fave plotzing spots in Del Ray (when he\u2019s not in the country guarding his mountaintop perch in Woodstock), Zebra got to know more about the intriguing lifestyle of Lionel\u2019s roving canine consulate.\r\n\r\nLionel was adopted by Anthony Istrico and Heather Garlich from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League in 2016. As Lionel tells it, he was born four years ago on July 5 but Anthony and Heather rescued him on July 10, so he requires both a birthday and an anniversary soir\u00e9e. Much like Alexandria itself, he gets to celebrate twice that week.\r\nLionel confided that his turn ons are no different from any country dog\/city Bassador: socks, snacks, Shenandoah sticks, bones from Let\u2019s Meat on the Avenue, serious snuggles, snow, and the errant found street mitten. Only one this year so far! Turn offs remain steadfastly Mom and Dad leaving without him, cats and special tax districts.\r\n\r\nLionel\u2019s gastronomic preferences span the length of The Avenue and across the globe. Despite being half Italian, Lionel prefers deep-dish pizza to Neapolitan for the extra thick crust. He claims a pupperoni pizza-his fave topping-with the deep-dish crust takes on the nuance of a spicy, beefy bone.\r\nThe Bassador enjoys sampling the expansive wealth of apr\u00e8s dog-park dining here in the City, as well. Vola\u2019s Dockside on the waterfront is a pawticularly accommodating pal-fresco doggie dining scene. Lena\u2019s outdoors on the petio by the fire pit is a fine place to sit and stay awhile. Lionel approves of any place in Port City, while keeping Anthony and Heather leashside with the Istrico Productions crew, as long as it offers water and a nice Pinose Noir or Malbark with a local and sustainable menu (the Bassador is a locovore) and dog-friendly servers who give great tummy tickles. Oh, and primo doggie bags.\r\nThe Bassador of Del Ray doesn\u2019t let his title or day job as consigliere to Istrico Productions go to his tail. As an \u00fcber Amazon aficionado (they deliver his Bark Box), he prefers the rubber Washington Post to the rubber Wall Street Journal (who doesn\u2019t?), and he\u2019s been an avid Zebra reader since he was a pup. Simple pleasures are the stuff of good living: a new tennis ball, walkies in the woods, a new chew toy from The Dog Store, a forbidden chair, more socks.\r\n\r\nAll things being political, living across the moat from Capitol Hill, Bassador Lionel has learned a human trick or two. Mastery of a firm pawshake is key in this dog-eat-dog town. The trick, Lionel advises, is to look the human straight and long in the eye, until you get a treat.\r\nLook for Lionel, the Bassador of Del Ray, having a dog day afternoon on The Avenue, listening to his favorite book (Call of the Wild) on tape, rolling over to the tunes of Three Dog Night, Dog Star, Snoop Dog, and Steppenwolf, and playing dead to the stylings of his favorite carooo-ner, Lionel Ritchie. Tell him Zebra sent you. He\u2019ll thank you with a big smile, a wag and a wiggle.\r\n\r\nThe Bassador asks us to remind our readers: If you have room in your home and heart, paws to think about adopting a dog or cat from the Alexandria Animal Welfare League or a shelter\/rescue near you. You rescue them. And they rescue you right back.