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Dogs Have Their Day in West Hartford

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Dog Park Coalition held the annual Pooch Plunge on Monday at Beachland Park.

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

For nearly three hours on Monday afternoon, the dogs of West Hartford were in their glory – swimming, diving, chasing tennis balls, and chasing each other through and around the pool at Beachland Park.

Happily leash-free, there were many more splashes than barks as West Hartford pooches of all shapes and sizes enjoyed the once-a-year opportunity to swim in a town pool before its annual deep cleaning. The event, hosted by the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition, is a fundraiser to support an eventual permanent dog park in town.

“We’re loving it,” said Mike Matthews, who moved with his wife, Michelle, from the Washington, DC, area to West Hartford last September.

Their high-energy chocolate lab mix, Rihanna, loves the water and even when the weather isn’t all that warm the couple often takes her to swim in the Farmington River.

“She loves it,” Michelle Matthews said. “If she doesn’t get swim time she knocks over her water bowl.”

“I love how dog-centric tis community is,” Michael Matthews said, but he and his wife said a dog park is the one thing that West Hartford is missing.

Eileen Daly of the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition said by 6:15 p.m., 165 families – and an estimated 200 dogs – had checked in to the event. “They were singles, doubles, people who came with their grandchildren,” she said.

Evan Berman of William Raveis’ Broder Group was once again a sponsor this year, and noted that Uberdog was the lead sponsor of the event.

“The turnout is excellent. It shows that people care,” he said.

Barry Nemirow, also of Broder Group, said West Hartford has so much to offer, “but we don’t have a dog park.”

Suzi Craig of the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition was grateful to all who made the annual event – which was canceled last year due to COVID-19 – such a success and a great time. “Thank you to our amazing sponsors, the Town of West Hartford, and all the families for coming out and supporting us.”

While a permanent site for a dog park has not been secured, Craig said all the funds raised Monday “will go into the bank for the future.”

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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