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Annual Pooch Plunge a hit for dogs, owners

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

The weather was warm, the pool was cool and the dogs were having the time of their lives during the second annual Pooch Plunge Saturday.

“This has been such a well-received event, that it’s debatable who has more fun, the dogs or their owners,” said Ilona Strull, Parks 4 Paws organizer.

Proceeds from the Pooch Plunge will be split between Parks 4 Paws and the Carson Aquatic Facility, she said.

From 20-30 dogs showed up with their owners to each of the three sessions offered in the outdoor pool, Strull said.

Tennis balls were provided for dogs to fetch, and some owners brought their own toys, she said.

“Sometimes it’s better to have someone else’s tennis balls so they don’t get possessive,” she said, laughing, but added that they all seemed to be getting along just fine.

Most dogs eagerly plunged into the water to retrieve a ball tossed in by their owners Saturday, but others needed gentle encouragement.

Joe Gillespie’s 1-year-old corgie-pit mix, Honey, was one which needed a nudge.

“She hates getting in above her belly, so we’re trying to get her used to this. But she still wants out immediately, then she shakes all over anyone nearby,” Gillespie said.

“I’d say she’s getting better, though. Before, she’d be back there where the water’s shadow is,” he said, pointing to the fence around the pool.

Julie Taylor’s 8-year-old flat-coat retriever Buddy, also was a bit shy, and needed direction to climb up the ramp which had been provided to help dogs find their way out of the pool.

“This is great for socializing,” Taylor said. “We sometimes go to Lake Tahoe, because it’s the cleanest. We don’t let him swim in the river.”

Taylor’s 16-year-old daughter Lexy said Buddy was trying to get used to the pool.

“I think this is pretty cool, but I think he’s kind of afraid of the water. If I was in the water, he’d like it a lot more,” she said.

Neal Goudswaard brought his two golden retrievers Pepper and Carly to the event.

“We saw the story, and there are very limited facilities for dogs to swim in Carson City, so we thought this would be fun. Water has a therapeutic value for people and dogs, so I think this is a wonderful idea, and I think it’s really great of the city to allow this,” he said.

“They’re both having fun out there,” he said. “Carly’s trying to get two balls at the same time. I even noticed they have a pile of towels over there.”

Strull said the fundraiser will help Parks 4 Paws to reach its goal of providing a bona fide dog park in Carson City.

“We’ve been at it three years now, and we almost have enough for fencing at Fuji Park. We’re just waiting for the city to finish grading,” she said.

Other amenities planned for the dog park include benches, shade structures, possibly more trees, drinking water for dogs and people, as well as poop cleanup stations, she said.

“We’re also working on getting another one at Centennial Park, which will be a lot larger,” Strull said.

“How can you not have a good time at something like this?” she said.