At College Hill Pool, dogs given their day.
By Brendan Kachel
It was the Dog Days of Summer, an annual romp in the College Hill Pool for canines, and a small, black dog named Zoe seemed unwilling to take the plunge. She stood at the water’s edge and watched as a rubber ball bobbed a few feet away. She seemed intent on the ball, but just as intent on staying out of the deep end.
Zoe’s owner, Kristy Gropp, offered words of encouragement.
“Just jump in,” she said.
Zoe instead pawed at the water, as if she could stir the ball back to the edge. Finally Zoe took the plunge, or fell (it was hard to tell which). But she did dog paddle her way to the ball.
“We just like to support the Humane Society,” Gropp said. “That’s where she came from.”
The event brought dogs of all sizes and breeds to the College Hill Pool last month. Those dogs, via their owners, each brought at least a $10 donation with them, which went to the Kansas Humane Society, an organization funded on private donations and adoption fees.
Jennifer Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Humane Society, estimated that more than 200 people attended the event.
“The pool today is for the dogs,” a voice crackled over a public address system. “Humans, you may only go up to your knees.”
The pool had closed for the season the day before, and the pH level of the water was significantly lowered which made it safe for the animals.
“They should do this before the season as well as after,” said Nancy Moddrill, who was accompanying her dog Abby. “We’re going back for another swim.”
Others, like Joe Moddrill, were there just for the spectacle. He watched from a safe, splash free, distance.
“I have a couple of Yorkies I didn’t bring because they’re not sociable,” he said.
Contests were held, including smallest and largest dog, as well as Frisbee catching and long jump contests. The long jump contest resulted in a run off when two dogs, Drum and Rufus, appeared to leap the same distance. Drum was eventually crowned, though Rufus gained a prize for his second place finish.
“Everyone should have a little buddy,” Campbell said. “It’s a party in the pool with the puppies. How can you not love it?”