The first Dog Swim held at the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center (ELFAC) was something to howl about. To close out the summer season, the ELFAC hosted their first-ever man’s best friend swim on Saturday, September 10, 10am-1pm. The event was similar to others that are held at community pools nationwide at the end of the summer.
By 10:30am, the line to enter extended into the parking lot as canines stretched to sniff and greet each other. Their taut leashes pulled their owners inch by inch as each new pooch joined the line, sometimes resulting in a round of barking. In order to expedite the entrance process, an ELFAC staff member handed out waivers to the humans to fill out while waiting. (Article continues after video.)
Once inside, the pups could explore the grassy areas, the splash pad, the concession area and, of course, the pool. Dog biscuits were available for purchase at the concession stand for hungry hounds and a table was set up offering various toys in case handlers had forgotten theirs.
In addition to the intermittent misting from the sky, many handlers were also sprayed by tail-waggers as they shook off the pool water. Many community members brought tennis balls and other toys for their best friends to retrieve. With each throw of a toy, there were multiple dogs in competition to get the toy, but it was all good-natured. Some furry friends attempted going off the diving board, with a few being successful. A wide range of breeds were represented including a Newfoundland, a Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) and a Bichon Frise.
Megan Mast and Darien Harris of East Lansing attended with their dog Skylar (pictured). A one and a half year-old German Shepherd, Skylar chased a toy into the water and returned it to the couple repeatedly. It was their first time participating in this kind of event and Mast thought it was “Awesome.” She was surprised by the high attendance, “Because it’s rainy, I thought there wouldn’t be many people.”
Jim Jennings, East Lansing’s Aquatics/Athletics Coordinator, declared the event a success with 201 dogs participating. “The day of the event went extremely well,” said Jennings, “and the feedback was absolutely amazing.” Many people requested that the City hold the event annually.
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