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Outdoor pool season ends with a doggy splash

Madeline Roche • Sep 16, 2018 at 6:32 PM

Local dogs and their owners participated in an open swim to celebrate the end of the outdoor pool season Sunday afternoon at the Ernsthausen Aquatic Center.

Eighty-seven dogs spent some time in the water at the annual Pool Pooch Splash & Swim — an increase from last year’s attendance of 70 dogs.

Norwalk’s rec center at the 100 Republic St. has been holding this event for at least 10 years. 

The Heath family, of Bellevue, brought four dogs to the event.

“I like the whole thing,” Keara Heath said. “The kids can go swimming with the dogs. If I didn't want to go swimming, there’s still the fountain area (splash pad) if I want to walk and take the dogs with me.”

Heath added it was nice to have a fenced-in area. The family recently attended a similar event at another pool but owners were unable to swim with the dogs. Norwalk’s pool pooch welcomed owners to take a splash with their pets.

The admission fee was $5 per dog, but owners and spectators were welcome to watch and swim at no charge. 

“This is fun,” Heath said about the program and the recreation center. 

Recreation director Niki Cross said this year’s pool pooch “went really well,” especially since the event has changed from a competition to open swim for dogs and owners.

“It’s been more successful and we brought in more people,” Cross said. “I think people just like to bring their dogs into swim as long as the dogs are wanting to swim versus the competition before where everybody had to wait their turn and that just wasn't fun for anybody. With us having that increase, it shows people are having fun and the dogs get to interact together and I think it went really well.”

Will the end-of-the-year doggy splash continue?

“Absolutely,” Cross said.

The Huron County Humane Society, Norwalk Veterinary Medical Center and Mapleview Animal Hospital all provided door prizes for the dogs this year. There were plenty of treats and “frosty paws” for the dogs.

The outdoor pool now officially is closed for the season. It will reopen next spring. 

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