Wagging tails and lolling tongues descended upon the City Park Pool on Sunday for a day filled with splishing and splashing.
Dog owners from around the area took the plunge and brought their canines to Pet Poolooza, an annual event sponsored by T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter.
Pet Poolooza allows dogs to swim freely and enjoy the water for an afternoon at the end of the summer pool season. Canines jumped in the pool, played fetch with their owners and simply basked in the sun.
“I think people love getting out at the end of summer, and just taking their dogs with them for a fun day at the pool,” said Hannah Shoemaker, volunteer coordinator at the animal shelter. “It’s once a year, not a chance they get a lot. And I think people are loving that opportunity.”
Although it’s been an ongoing event for 13 years, this is the first year at this location, Shoemaker said. CiCo Park pool hosted the event before.
“It’s been a lot more room for people,” Shoemaker said of City Park waterpark. “We have a lot more pool space, so I think we’ve had a lot more participants this year.”
Along with pooches and their owners, T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter employees and local veterinarians and other animal rescue groups attended the free event.
Melissa Kirkwood, community relations officer at Manhattan Parks and Recreation, said this event is beneficial for the Little Apple.
“It’s really a community event that we really want to involve pets and their owners, because that is a part of wellness for us at the parks and recreation,” Kirkwood said.
“Pets are your family, and they also do give you a lot of exercise, and there’s a lot of exercise going on here today.”
Darren Guyton attended the event with his dog Cirocco, an airedale. Guyton said Pet Poolooza is an opportunity for Cirocco to socialize with other dogs and people.
“She really loves people, and she really loves other dogs, and she really wants to approach them,” he said.
Maggie Davie brought her Weimaraner, Bubba, to the pool.
“This is really for me,” she said. “He’s not a swimmer, but every once in awhile, we do what I want to do.”
Davie said she thinks this is a great event for pet owners and canines.
“This is one of the best things we do in Manhattan,” she said.