As the dog days of summer draw to a close, local caninies will have a chance to splash to their hearts’ content at the annual Labor Day Doggy Dip at Dormont Pool.
From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5, dogs of all shapes and sizes are invited to swim, thanks to and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.
Now in its third year, the event has proven extremely popular, with last year’s attendance at more than 500 dogs.
“We truly were floored,” said event organizer and Dormont Recreation Committee member Kim Hoffman, “(The turnout) was fantastic.”
What started as a suggestion on the Dormont Pool website is quickly becoming a borough tradition.
“We saw the comment and just thought it was a great idea,” said Hoffman.
Gretchen Fieser, director of public relations for Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, agreed. Fieser has worked with Dormont Pool to coordinate the event since it began in 2009.
This year’s event will feature stepped-up safety measures, following the accidental death of a dog attending last year’s swim. This year’s event will feature more security and a double-gated entryway.
Hoffman called last year’s tragedy “heart-wrenching,” and said the safety of both dogs and humans attending Doggy Dip is the organizers’ highest priority.
Hoffman hopes a more closely controlled environment this year will promote a fun, friendly environment where everyone can relax. Dogs may go off-leash, but must be under control at all times. “Dog Guards” will be on duty, but ultimately owners are responsible for the conduct of their dogs during the event. Aggressive or out-of-control dogs will be asked to leave without refund.
Hoffman hopes behavior won’t be an issue, and said owner supervision can diffuse many potentially dangerous situations. She recommended that owners use common sense and respect their dog’s reactions to the environment.
“Read your dog,” she said. “If your dog gets nervous, take a break or maybe try the shallow end.”
Overall, said Hoffman, Labor Day Doggy Dip at Dormont Pool has been successful and well received.
“It's fantastic,” she said. “Everybody loves it. The dogs have so much fun. Watching it is almost like a cure for depression.”
Both Fieser and Hoffman suggest registering your dog prior to the event. Three swim sessions are available, each limited to 200 dogs. Early registrants are more likely to ensure their dog a spot.
Those who register by Sept. 1 pay $20 per dog, per session. After Sept. 1, registration fees rise to $25 per dog, per session. Registration at Dormont Pool on the day of the event will cost $25 and is subject to availability.
Proceeds from the third annual Labor Day Doggy Dip will be split 50/50 between the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and Dormont Pool. Hoffman said the pool's share of event proceeds will go toward maintenance.
The 2011 Dormont Pool Doggie Dip Schedule:
Small Dog Session (30 lbs. or less)—4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
All Dog Session (all sizes welcome)—5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Large Dog Session (60+ lbs)—6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
An advance registration form is available online, or owners can call (412) 321-4625, ext. 246, to pre-register their pooches.
In addition to the aquatic fun, the event will feature games and raffles. Each dog will also receive a doggie bag of treats.