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West Hartford Pooches: Plan for Plunge Day This August

West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Pooch Plunge. Aug. 30, 2021. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford dogs are invited to dive into the Beachland Park pool on Monday, Aug. 21. [Updated]

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford’s outdoor pools close for the season on Aug. 20, but the town’s now-longstanding tradition of keeping one pool open so “some” residents can enjoy the water for one more day will continue in 2023.

Swimming on Monday, Aug. 21 at Beachland Park, 847 South Quaker Lane, is for canines only. More than 100 dogs are expected to attend, organizers said.

The annual end-of-summer Pooch Plunge is once again a fundraiser in support of the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition’s plans to establish a permanent dog park.

What’s different about this year is that since November 2022, West Hartford has actually had more than just a pop-up dog park. But while West Hartford’s Town Plan and Zoning Commission (TPZ) recently approve a permit for the dog park to remain open indefinitely, it will still have to close and/or relocate temporarily. The property where the dog park is located – the former St. Brigid School at 100 Mayflower Street – will ultimately become a construction site for the creation of a new Elmwood Community and Cultural Center.

The cost to attend the Pooch Plunge is $15 for the first dog, and $5 for each additional dog. Registration can be done online in advance, but owners must still bring the confirmation email and signed waiver to the pool with their licensed dog(s). Walk-ins are also welcome and payment can be made by Venmo or cash at the gate.

Organizers note that there will also be a raffle with some “paw-some” prizes to be awarded.

“The dog days of summer are literally here,” David Coleman, co-president of the WHDPC said in a statement. “Dogs bring joy to our lives, and this is a joyful event. We always get a fantastic turn out, and we appreciate the support of the town and our corporate sponsors. The Pooch Plunge, our largest fund raiser of the year, is intended to gather momentum for a permanent dog park in town. We look forward to this dog day afternoon!”

Courtney Daley, owner of Daley Paws, is a sponsor this year. “We are honored to support this amazing event,” she said. “It’s so cool to promote local events in the town that I grew up in. We can’t wait to meet more local dog owners at the Plunge. As a business owner, we fully support the dog park coalition and its effort to establish a permanent dog park here in West Hartford. I know that our customers will be thrilled when that day comes.”

The event will feature just one session this year, from 4 to 6:45 p.m., and dogs and their owners can come and go. Aug. 22, at the same time, is the rain date.

Tennis balls will be available for use by all dogs, but personal dog toys are not permitted.

Children may attend but humans are not permitted in the pool. Children and dogs must be supervised, organizers said.

All dogs must be properly licensed and have 2023 tags.

More information can be found on the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition Facebook page.

Donations are very much appreciated and will also be accepted from those who cannot attend but would like to support the dog park. Click here for more details.

The event is sponsored by the West Hartford Dog Park Coalition (WHDPC), Town of West Hartford, Daley Pawz (lead business sponsor), Uberdog, Pet Supplies Plus, and Keating Insurance.

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