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Day of wet fur, toothy grins

Wed., Aug. 6, 2008

City pools slated for demolition treat canines to a few laps

Max had no problem with it. Neither did Charlie. And after a few swims and jumps, Baxter could barely contain himself.

“Take a deep breath, OK?” Kimberly Morse told the poodle mix before he jumped into A.M. Cannon pool Monday evening. Baxter raced Morse’s other dog, a spaniel mix named Carly, to the ball, barking all the way.

“He’s not normally so barky. He’s just really excited,” Morse said. The city of Spokane is giving man’s best friend the last hurrah in the five pools scheduled for demolition this year in two-hour events advertised as “doggie dips.”

The A.M. Cannon pool hosted a final, free swim for humans Saturday, and dogs ruled the water for two hours Monday. Morse and her husband, Bill, joined a dozen or so other dog owners for the event.

Hillyard, Comstock, Liberty and Witter pools will host pooches later this month.

“We just wanted to do something that was a little fun and a little different,” said Nancy Goodspeed, city parks and recreation spokeswoman.

No need to have the pools cleaned afterward: Each will be demolished and replaced before next summer.

Most of the dogs hadn’t been in a pool before Monday.

“He’s a river dog, so this is really a treat to go in the pool,” said Verna Luther of her yellow Labrador retriever, Max. “He’s not going to go home all stinky.”

A few, like Holly, hadn’t even been in a river or lake.

Dean Smith and his daughters, Maggie and Mary, had to force their golden retriever in at first. She got the hang of it quickly.

“She’s definitely getting more comfortable,” Smith said as Holly paddled by.

The dogs and their shenanigans kept onlooker Judith Gilmore, a grant writer for SpokAnimal C.A.R.E., laughing. Gilmore watched the Morses’ Carly dunk Baxter underwater using her paw. Baxter lost grip of the ball, and Carly snatched it and paddled off.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, if you were a kid you would have gotten kicked out,’ ” Gilmore said.

The plan was for small and medium-sized dogs to have the pool for the first hour, followed by their larger counterparts for the final hour. But small turnout allowed all sizes in the pool at once.

A Chihuahua named Lucy enjoyed a dip near a reluctant schnauzer-Pomeranian mix named Buddy. A dripping, pregnant 8-year-old black Lab named Angel rested near her owners, Sabrina and David Kjos.

And a golden retriever named Charlie showed no sign of tiring as he dove in and out of the pool fetching a float toy.

“It’s really nice to have the opportunity to let your dog out and not have people worry,” said his owner, Angie Simmers. “Everyone here has the same agenda.”

Meghann M. Cuniff can be reached at (509) 459-5534 or by e-mail at

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