August 25, 2012 in Washington Voices

Valley Mission Pool to host Paws in the Pool Aug. 30

By The Spokesman-Review
Map of this story's location

Coming up

Paws in the Pool

Where: Valley Mission Pool, 11123 E. Mission Ave.

When: Thursday

What: Dogs weighing up to 34 pounds can swim from 4 to 4:45 p.m., dogs between 35 and 59 pounds will swim from 5 to 6 p.m. and dogs 60 pounds and larger will be in the pool from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

Cost: $5.

Call: Registration is required; call (509) 688-0300 by Wednesday.

Everyone step away from the pool. It’s time for Fido to get wet.

The city of Spokane Valley will host a Paws in the Pool event for the first time Thursday by opening up Valley Mission Pool, 11123 E. Mission Ave., for swimmers of the canine variety. Dogs of all sizes are welcome, though dogs will swim at separate times based on their weight – that way a Chihuahua doesn’t have to worry about getting swamped by a Great Dane.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Mike Stone said the new program is the idea of the city’s recreation coordinator, Jennifer Papich. “She’s always trying to brainstorm and think outside of the box,” he said. “I think they were looking for something new, something that would have a positive impact in the community.”

Such dog swims have been done before in cities like Spokane and have been popular, Stone said. But it wasn’t as easy as picking a day after the pool closes and letting the pool go to the dogs. Stone said the city had to pay $150 for a special variance from the Spokane Regional Health District that came with a long list of requirements the city must follow.

“This is pretty coordinated,” Stone said. “They’re very particular about pools.”

Dogs will be washed down with a hose before being allowed in the pool and will get a quick check from a vet. Owners must show proof of a current rabies vaccination and no dogs under 6 months of age are allowed. Dogs must be accompanied by an adult and have to be on a 6-foot leash except when in the water. Only two dogs are allowed per person and owners should come prepared to pick up after their pets.

Owners also shouldn’t expect to jump in the water with their dogs. That’s not allowed either. The city even has to have lifeguards standing by. Dogs that are unruly or aggressive will get the boot.

Little dogs weighing up to 34 pounds will swim first from 4 to 4:45 p.m. Thursday. Dogs between 35 and 59 pounds will swim from 5 to 6 p.m. and the big dogs weighing 60 pounds or more can swim from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Pets must be registered in advance by calling (509) 688-0300 and owners should plan to come a little early for the hose down and vet check. The registration deadline is Wednesday and the cost is $5. “We wanted to keep the fee reasonable,” Stone said.

Stone said he’s not sure how many pooches will show up. “This is our first time doing this,” he said. “Everywhere this has been held it’s been extremely popular. On the surface it just looks like a huge amount of fun.”

He’s not sure whether to expect to see dogs in little swimming outfits or perhaps canines fitted with doggie floaties, Stone said.

“I’ve got to see this, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”

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