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The City Journals

Dogs Leap at Personal Pool Day

Oct 07, 2016 02:07PM ● By Travis Barton

Dogs swam around the pool fetching tennis balls during the Dog Days of Summer event on Sept. 17 at the Family Fitness Center. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

They jumped, they swam, and they played fetch. Nearly 300 tail waggin’, doggy paddlin’ pooches had a day to remember at the annual Dog Days of Summer event on Saturday, Sept. 17 at the West Valley City Family Fitness Center. 

“[The dogs] have so much fun with this,” dog owner Anna Smith said. 

Every year the Family Fitness Center closes and cleans the pool. But before embarking on the month-long maintenance, the pool is opened up to dogs where they can swim around the pool participating events like the Doggy Long Jump contest or the Doggy Paddle Race. Raffles were also held throughout the day to participants with dog appropriate prizes like treats or collars. 

This is the 12th consecutive year the event has been held. Carly Kent is the pool coordinator at the Family Fitness Center and has been here since its inception when she was a lifeguard. 

“We thought it was a good idea and worth a try and it’s just kept going,” Kent said. 

Before the aquatic events began, a 2K and 5K was held outside around Centennial Park. The first half hour of the pool was reserved for smaller dogs under 25 pounds before opening up to bigger dogs and the aquatic events. 

The Doggy Paddle Race saw dogs jump in the pool after their tennis ball and swim to the other side of the pool to their owner. Only three dogs completed the swim with the majority of the others reaching their toy and returning to the closest edge of the pool. 

“[The dogs are] like, ‘I got my ball, I’m done with this,’” Smith said with a laugh. 

Kent said 2016 was the biggest event they’ve had yet with 300 dogs. A dog named Lola won the Doggy Long Jump with a jump of 14.5 feet. While a dog named Muddy won the Doggy Paddle Race with a time of 28.5 seconds. 

Seeing all the dogs enjoy themselves is one of Kent’s favorite parts of the event. 

“I really like dogs. It’s fun to watch the dogs jumping and playing,” Kent said. It’s the type of craziness she can enjoy and handle. “And I get to control chaos.”

West Valley City does not currently have a dog park and Kent said this creates an opportunity that local residents otherwise couldn’t enjoy. 

“It gives [dog owners] a chance to bond with their pets…and with no dog park, this kind of helps support the dogs in our community,” Kent said. 

“I’d love to see a dog park [in West Valley] and it would be great if [the dogs] had their own pool too,” Smith said. 

The West Valley City Animal Shelter was also on hand with a pet vaccination clinic and to accept donated items. Attendees received a dollar discount for any items donated per dog like toys, leashes, treats, brushes, nail clippers or shampoo. There was a dog bathing area available for canines prior to leaving the event. 

With dogs playing fetch in the pools and occasionally relieving themselves in the water as well, it’s as good a time as ever to clean the pools. 

“Yeah,” said Kent, “it can get a little smelly.”