Dogs have their day at West Valley pool

Published: Saturday, Aug. 28 2010 4:47 p.m. MDT

WEST VALLEY CITY — Fur and water were flying as dogs leapt into the swimming pool, paddled around for a while and then drenched anyone passing by as they dried off.

Saturday was the annual Dog Days of Summer event at the West Valley City Family Fitness Center swimming pools, and the place had clearly gone … well, to the dogs.

This is the seventh year the fitness center has sponsored the pet-friendly event, which includes a long-jump competition and a pool-length dog paddle race, before the pool is closed for annual maintenance. The pool will be drained and cleaned, and people won't be allowed back until it reopens Sept. 8.

"We do it because it's fun," said aquatics supervisor Nate Geving. "It's a chance to let the dogs come and play in our pool."

About 200 dogs joined in the swim.

"It's mainly for her," said Adriana Garcia, of West Valley City, as she watched her 2-year-old mixed poodle, Arial, paddle her way around the pool.

"She gets to swim here, and we don't have to keep hauling her out," Garcia said as Arial headed out for another lap around the lazy river. "She loves to swim."

The same could be said for 78-pound Muddy.

"As soon as we got through the door, he was in the water," said Muddy's owner, Brittin Mower, of Salt Lake City.

Most of the dogs in the water had other motives than just taking a dip, however.

"It's not about the water. It's about the tennis ball," said Elana Smith, watching 1-year-old Litchi retrieve the yellow ball for the umpteenth time.

Many of the smaller dogs were satisfied wading in the shallow waters of the pool.

For Maui, a golden lab who won the dog-paddle race by three-quarters of a second, it was about speed.

"She's a really good swimmer. That's all we knew," said Courtney Stout, of Murray. "I thought she was good, but I didn't know she was that good."

Money raised at the event will go to help the West Valley Animal Shelter, which operates a vaccination clinic as part of the event.

e-mail: mhaddock@desnews.com

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