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Lifestyle Pets

Annual Pooch Plunge Brings Together West Hartford Dogs of All Sizes and Abilities

Wilson the labradoodle chases his toy into the pool being the first pup to take the plunge. Photo by Zoe Pierce

Delayed a day due to the threat of severe weather, the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition (WHDPC) held the annual Pooch Plunge at the Beachland Park Pool on Tuesday.

The Beachland Park Pool had a new group of swimmers as they welcomed over 100 pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

By Zoe Pierce. Photos by Zoe Pierce and Hunter Marotto

As the summer comes to an end, the town’s outdoor pools are closed to the public, but before one of them is cleaned for the season the dogs of West Hartford got the opportunity to test the waters.

On the only day Beachland lifeguards don’t need to worry about diving, dog paddle is the only stroke you’ll see.

The crystal blue water that is usually filled with excited kids and families looking to cool down was instead occupied by more than 100 dogs over the span of three hours, according to Suzi Craig of the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition (WHDPC).

“This is such an institution of an event,” said Craig. 

Before going into the pool, participants had to fill out a waiver and then pay $10 for entry to the fundraiser. The WHDPC also set up four raffle jars with prizes such as dog collars, treats, calendars, and even a dog bed. 

The WHDPC has been working since 2008 to give West Hartford a dog park, something that the public has been yearning for over the years. As they continue to work with the town, the Pooch Plunge is an effort to remind the public of the work being done to secure a location.

The event has become one that both dogs and humans alike can look forward to every summer.

West Hartford resident Melissa Guerrero brought her labradoodle, Wilson, to enjoy the plunge and escaped the heat. “I think this is great,” said Guerrero, “I love supporting these initiatives.” 

“I wish we could do this more,” said Guerrero. “I think we could find some support and funding to get this taken care of.”

The dogs were chasing toys and tennis balls into the pool, almost never getting tired. Photo by Zoe Pierce

Looking around the pool, it was hard to see who was happier – the dogs or the people.

The dogs came in all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Maddie Schwartz brought her two dogs, Bean and Buddy, to the pool. Buddy was recused by the Schwartz family in 2017 after he was hit by a car in Louisiana, an accident which caused him to lose one of his legs.

Even missing one of his legs, Buddy had no trouble keeping up with the rest of the dogs. “He’s still wild,” said Schwartz. “I can’t image how wild he was with all four legs!”

As more families began to show up with their dogs, the WHDPC also began to hand out goodie bags to the families who were heading out. The bags has samples of treats and bones as well as a magazine and a bandana for the pooches.

“I always want to thank the community for hanging with us,” said Craig. “It’s been more of a struggle to get a dog park in West Hartford than I could have ever imagined.”

Buddy and his ”brother” Bean take a break from running around in the pool. Photo by Zoe Pierce

“It’s tricky,” said Craig referring to the technicalities of establishing a dog park in West Hartford.

As the search for a permanent dog park continues, the Pooch Plunge was an event not to be missed for both human and dogs, along with all the other events hosted by the WHDPC.

For more information about the WHDPC and to learn more about volunteering or supporting the group, go to: www.westhartforddogpark.org or email them at [email protected].

More than 1,600 people are members of the WHDPC Facebook group, and more are welcome to share photos of their furry friends.  

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

The goodie bags handed out to participates held samples of treats as well as other goodies. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

A pup enjoys the sun and Beachland pool after it was closed off just for the pooches. Photo by Zoe Pierce

The pups took small breaks between fetching and playing to cool down. Photo by Zoe Pierce

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 20, 2019. Photo credit: Hunter Marotto

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!

 

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Zoe Pierce

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