Pooch plunge brings in money for Humane Society

August 24, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |
  • Scott Oburn, left, of Hagerstown jumps off a diving board with Wally, his 2-year-old Golden Retriever Wednesday evening at the annual Pooch Plunge event at Potterfield pool in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

If the dog days of summer are over, no one told the pooches plunging into Potterfield Pool Wednesday.

The mild late-August day belonged to the more than 100 dogs splashing in the cool water.

Hosted by the Humane Society of Washington County and the Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Department, the Pooch Plunge marked its eighth year allowing area canines to enjoy an end-of-the-season dip.

The event is a fundraiser for the Humane Society that is hosted after Potterfield Pool closes for the season, spokeswoman Katherine Cooker said.

She said last year the event raised more than $900.

“Our major goal, though, is for dogs to have a good time with their owners,” Cooker said.

For many dogs, that meant a running start for the water, splashing everyone in their path as they paddled to a colorful ball or toy floating on the rippling surface.

Heads bobbing, toys securely in mouths, the dogs triumphantly made their way back to the sides eager to repeat the quest again.

Not every dog was a fan of the water, however.

Some struggled against the sloshing wetness, their nails gripping the pool’s sides, unsure if the clear substance was friend or foe.

Owners supported those anxious bellies and soothed their dogs with words of encouragement, often helping them back to dry land.   

Lilly, a 2-year-old Chihuahua mix, was not fond of the water, said her owner, Richard Curtis of Hagerstown. But by bringing her to the Pooch Plunge, Curtis said he and his wife, Virginia, are able to gently acclimate their pup to the water.

And, not to mention, introduce her to many new pooch pals.

“I think its an awesome way to meet new people, and a great way for dogs to meet new friends, to socialize,” he said of the event.

Unlike the retrievers splashing about, chasing toys in the deep end of the pool, Lilly was content to hang with her new friends, Cocoa Pup and Penelope “Penny” Pumpkin — two Chihuahuas owned by Kimberly Bynum of Hagerstown — on the edge of the shallow end.

“I love it,” Bynum said. “Cocoa loves it, but I’m not so sure about Penny.”

Watching so many dogs getting along is evidence that Hagerstown can use a dog park, said Pat Miller of Fairplay.

“I’m always impressed and delighted to see a venue in Hagerstown where dogs can come together,” she said.

But Miller, who owns Peaceable Paws dog and puppy training in Fairplay, was not at the plunge to swim with her dog.  

Instead, the event was a teaching tool for her canine students  learning to relax and remain calm amid a crowd of energetic dogs as part of Peaceable Paws’ Downtown Hound class.

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