BELPRE - Despite thunder and the threat of a storm, about 40 dogs participated in the third annual Doggie Swim at the Belpre City Pool on Wednesday evening.
"The dogs are having such a good time, coming here with the storm, even was definitely worth it," said DeeDee Townsend of Marietta.
Townsend and her partner Brent Townsend brought their dogs Aleigh and Howard to the event because they thought it would be fun for the dogs.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Three dogs, all with toys in their mouths, swim away from the slide at the Belpre City Pool Wednesday evening during the third annual Doggie Swim.
"Seeing these dogs having a good time and swimming is priceless," DeeDee Townsend said.
The event began early, as it was supposed to start at 5:30 p.m., but there were several dogs in the pool swimming by 5:15 p.m., said Belpre City Auditor Leslie Pittenger.
"No one seems to care there is a storm brewing," she said.
This year's attendance was up compared to the previous two years, said pool manager Jennifer Shoup.
In total, 39 dogs of all breeds and sizes, including a Yorkshire terrier and Newfoundland, enjoyed the facilities and retrieved toys tossed in the water by their humans.
"You can just tell the dogs and their parents are happy to be here," Shoup said.
Susan Berry of Barlow and her granddaughter Emmey Myers brought Berry's pit bull and Labrador mix.
"Emmey has been practicing for this with Bruno for the last week in our pond," Berry said. "This is really fabulous for the dogs."
Pittenger said the event began because there are many dogs who like to swim and play in pools and are not allowed to during the summer season.
"I think that once dog owners hear about the doggie swim, they see it as a great opportunity for their pets to have fun," she said.
Berry and DeeDee Townsend echoed Pittenger's thoughts.
"Dogs love water and most don't have their own ponds, like Bruno," Berry said.
Townsend said her thanks to Pittenger and the pool staff.
"This is really great and something we've wanted the dogs to try for a while," she said. "We're so glad someone around her does it."
While owners were required to be at the pool with their dogs, the swimming was only for the canines.
Normally dogs are not allowed in the city swimming pool, but the event is timed to allow pets to partake of the facility.
"Dogs aren't supposed to swim in chlorine, so we allow it to evaporate before they come in," Pittenger said.
Chlorine and other pool chemicals take a couple of days to dissipate from the water, so the event is scheduled to give enough time for the water to be safe after the pool's last day.
The money collected through the doggie swim will purchase safety equipment for the pool, Pittenger said.
The pool was drained for the season at the end of the event.