Dog day swims are becoming a popular way to raise money for animal shelters and chapters of the Humane Society around the country.
Moscow has its Howling at the Hamilton, when canines have the city pool all to themselves for the day. The entry fees, along with the proceeds of toy sales and a dive contest, benefit the Humane Society of the Palouse.
This annual event is even popular with non-dog owners who head to the Hamilton Lowe Aquatic Center just to watch the dogs splash and generally create pandemonium. This year, it will be held on Sunday, September 11, from 1-6 PM.
Organizers have not reported trouble between dogs in previous events. Considering this is a gathering of more than two hundred canines off leash, catching Frisbees and retrieving balls, this is nothing short of amazing.
So how did these dog day swims come to be?
These events began about nine years ago, and through word-of-mouth advertising became a popular fundraising idea for humane societies and animal shelters around the country. Cities are usually open to the idea.
In Moscow, the inspiration came from a story in Bark magazine. Managers at the Humane Society of the Palouse took the idea to the city of Moscow and the Hamilton Lowe Aquatic Center, and found both supportive and eager to develop the idea.
It’s not all fun and games, though. Aquatic centers have to clean up the mess at the end of the day. But nobody seems to be complaining. Employees enjoy the day of doggy fun as much as the pet owners, and find the event a great way to interact with community.
So, do the pools reap any of the benefits? That varies from place to place. The Asotin Aquatic Center in Clarkston, Wash. charges a cover fee for the Dog Days of Summer fundraiser, but all other proceeds go the Lewis Clark Animal Shelter. In Moscow, all proceeds of Howling at Hamilton benefit the Humane Society of the Palouse.
Beside dog swims, there are other animal participation fundraisers around the Northwest.The Spokane Humane Society and the Humane Society for Seattle/King County both host benefit walks. Spokane’s Parade of Paws is a two or four mile walk open to anyone and everyone, with pet or without. The walk aims to benefit the animals at the Spokane Humane Society waiting for their forever home. Seattle Humane's Walk for the Animals is a two mile dog-friendly walk that sees more than 1,000 participants each year. Along with the main event, Seattle’s humane society showcases pet contests, adoptions and giveaways.
Animals are usually so excited for these events that they practically pull their owners through the doors and jump right into the activities.