Man’s best friends make a splash at their very own party on September 9
By Maria Massaro
The Dog’s Day Pool Party has been an annual treat since 2006, giving canines the opportunity to swim, play fetch, or just go for a dip in the Larry Weeks Community Pool in Vint Hill. Aquatics Manager Melissa Nester has been coordinating this event for the past 10 years and has watched it grow into an experience so appreciated that it now draws “regulars” from all over the county and beyond. “Many of the dogs return every year,” she said. “Participants are so grateful that we offer this that they’d like for us to offer more than once a year.”
Dog’s Day will be held on Saturday, September 9 from 1 to 4 pm. Attendees pay six dollars per dog at the gate. Proceeds go to the Fauquier County Parks and Recreation Youth Swimming Scholarship, which allows qualified individuals the chance to take part in free beginner swim lessons. Benefitting both canines and the community, this year’s event is sure to
yield another good turnout and happy memories for all involved. “We usually have anywhere from 50 to 100 dogs come through, depending on the weather and the time of day, with up to four persons accompanying each dog,” Nester said. “We have also seen an increase in human numbers since allowing children inside the gate. This has enabled more participation from families.”
While other agencies have added a dog day in the last few years, Larry Weeks is the only public pool in Fauquier County that offers an event like this. “Although we have a lot of dogs from Fauquier, we see visitors come from neighboring counties as well,” Nester continued. “Ours is still a popular event because there just aren’t many other options for our canine friends to enjoy running and splashing about with other canine friends in a controlled environment.”
Ideal for the occasion, both the family and children’s pools at Larry Weeks have designs that allow easy access for the dogs. “Both of our pools have a zero depth entry, which makes it much easier for little ones and those that aren’t such good swimmers,” Nester explained. “The dogs still get to enjoy the water and feel secure at the same time, with their feet touching the floor. The baby pool is a hotspot among all sizes of dogs. The entire depth is just under two feet. Not only do dogs fetch balls in this pool; they also get to chase and play with each other. A few of the braver ones even go down the slide, and some you just can’t stop!”
The pure and simple fun explains the appeal and longevity of Dog’s Day. “I have found it to be a great idea and have continued programming it into our schedule each year,” Nester said. “It’s such a happy sight to see the dogs enjoying themselves, and it’s so much fun to see all different kinds of dogs with different swimming abilities. Some never get in the water, and they still seem to have fun. I’ve even seen dogs wearing lifejackets and, on occasion, a bathing suit!”
Dog’s Day Rules
- Only pooches are allowed in the pool.
- Dogs must have a current county license and vaccinations.
- Dogs need to enter and exit on a leash no longer than six feet.
- Handlers must be at least 16 years old.
- Children must be in direct supervision of an adult at all times.