Who Let The Dogs Out?

Posted: August 30, 2013

(Photo by Holly Marcus / DN-R File)
Participants at last year’s Doggie Swim Day included Sarge (TOP), an Australian shepherd; Bentley (second from top), a golden retriever, and Sarko, a Boerboel puppy (ABOVE). (Photo by Holly Marcus / DN-R File)
The annual Dog Days Dog Swim will be held Sept. 8. This year, organizers have split the event into two sessions: One begins at noon, the other at 1:30 p.m. (Photo by Holly Marcus / DN-R File)
For all water loving dogs, Sept. 1 is your day! Westover Pool is opening its gates once again for Dog Days Dog Swim.

For the fifth year, all non-aggressive dogs are welcome to come take a dip in the pool and enjoy a swim with others of their kind.

“[The dogs] seem to appreciate it and enjoy it,” Lynn Turner, special events coordinator for Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation, said of the furry guests. “It’s like a dog party.”

Organizers separated the event into two sessions this year in hopes that this will spread out attendance and prevent too many dogs being in the pool at once. This year, the party begins at noon, with the first session running until 1:30 p.m. The second group will begin at 1:30 p.m. and run until 3 p.m.

But this event is also for well behaved dogs that might be a little unsure of the water. “I would say most of the dogs are a little hesitant to jump in the pool,” Turner said. “And a lot of the dogs wear life vests.” But once a year, the day after the Westover Pool closes for the summer, all dogs have the freedom to jump in for a swim, and it seems that even the hesitant dogs leave happy.

The day was created after someone suggested the event, and it has proven successful. “People just love their dog time,” Turner said.

Last year, there were 60 registrants and Turner is hoping for just as great of a turnout this year. Owners can bring more than one dog, but there must be a person accompanying each pet.

There is a $2 fee for each four legged participant. Proceeds benefit Happy Dogs Unleashed; group members will be present. PetSmart, one of the sponsors, will also be there with free goodies.

All dogs must be registered. To register, call 433-9168. Registration ends Aug. 30. Before entrance, dog owners must present proof of current rabies vaccination (not tags). For more information, visit harrisonburgva.gov/dog-swim.

Contact Sarah Stacy at 574-6292 or sstacy@dnronline.com

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