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Pooches ply Potterfield

September 27, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The doggy paddle was the swimming stroke of choice Sunday during Claude M. Potterfield Pool's Pooch Plunge, during which dogs were allowed into the water.

Whether all of the approximately 40 dogs brought to the pool wanted to stay in the water was another matter entirely, as some dog owners soon found out.

Seemingly everywhere around the pool during the three-hour event were dogs - some wet, some dry and some shaking the water off, getting those nearby a bit more wet.

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Some dogs played fetch and swam with great energy, while others held onto poles to try to avoid getting in the pool.

Joanne Physioc of Hagerstown was one of the first in the pool, getting in the shallow end shortly after the 1 p.m. event started.

Physioc was holding Elle, a 5-year-old mixed breed who she said had never been in a pool.

"You are supposed to get in the pool," Physioc told her. But Elle was apparently not interested in obeying that request.

Perhaps Elle would change her mind after watching Lucy, a 6-year-old mixed breed who enjoys swimming in the pool, Physioc said.

Perhaps not, Physioc said she later concluded, after Elle still had little interest in getting in the water regardless of how much fun Lucy was having in the pool. Lucy is owned by Physioc's daughter, Polly Physioc.

John Budesky, Hagerstown's director of administrative services, said other municipalities hold a Pooch Plunge at the end of the pool season.

Budesky said he consulted with Paul Miller, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, who thought it was a great idea.

Since they just firmed up plans for the event in recent weeks, Budesky said he would have been pleased if 10 people came.

More than 100 people came to the Hagerstown pool Sunday, leading Budesky to talk about making it an annual event, always held after the pool closes for the season, he said.

While Lexi, a 120-pound Great Dane, was one of the biggest dogs at the pool, he was also not enthusiastic about getting in the pool, said his owner, Laura Reamy.

Instead, Montgomery, a 140-pound Great Dane, played in the pool while Lexi waited for him, Reamy said.

As with many of the other dog owners interviewed, Reamy said she likes taking her pets to local events and was pleased to be able to take her dogs to the pool.

At his wife's suggestion, James Kline came with his dog, Leather, an 11-year-old black Labrador.

Since Kline had been out of town recently, she told him, "'You need to bond with your baby,'" he said.

So he did. Together he and Leather happily sat on the ramp of the shallow end.

"I think this is the greatest event," Kline said. "It is super to let all the dogs mix together."

He also liked the fact that profits from the event went to the Humane Society, he said.

On the other side of the pool, closer to the deep end, Brad Yeakle was playing fetch with Maddy, his 3-year-old black Labrador, who jumped into the water to retrieve a floating canvas object.

"It is great. It gives people a chance to swim with their dogs," Yeakle said.

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