YMCA pool goes to the dogs for a day

By Douglas McCulloch | Sep 02, 2017
Photo by: Douglas McCulloch Jeannie Poirier helps her dog Roxie, who suffers from paralysis, swim in the YMCA pool.

A cool September morning with temperatures in the low 60s might not seem like prime pool party weather, but none of the swimmers at the YMCA seemed to mind – because they’re dogs.

The annual tradition, held on September 2 before YMCA staff closes its pool for the winter, invited dog owners to bring their pooches for a swim. This year’s event attracted dozens of dogs and even more pet owners, like Amber Piva and her yellow lab Blake.

“He loves it here,” she said. “He won’t get out of the pool.”

Blake is no stranger to swimming, as Piva brings him to the beach frequently. But the YMCA pool became Blake’s first time in a swimming pool, Piva said.

Jeannine and Chris Poirier brought their dog Roxie to the pool party. Their rescue dog from Louisiana sustained an injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down, and she usually uses a wheelchair for long trips, but with the right equipment, she’s still able to enjoy swimming.

“She loves the water, and she has a lifejacket to help her in the water,” Chris said as Jeannie guided Roxie through the water.

Sandy McConnell brought Homer, a chocolate lab once destined to be a therapy dog, to the pool. Homer usually swims in Lake Noquochoke, but the pool didn’t seem to scare him.

“It’s a great experience,” McConnell said. “I wish I knew they did this before.”

But not every dog had their day at the pool. Rachel Mandeville and Chelsea Little spent close to ten minutes trying to coax their black lab Storm into the water to no avail.

“She’s nervous about the water but we thought it’d be good to get her to go swimming,” Mandeville said. “I guess she’s a little baby though.”

Homer, a chocolate lab, jumps into the pool. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
A dog retrieves a tennis ball thrown into the water. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Amber Piva's yellow lab Blake hangs out at the edge of the pool. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
Rachel Mandeville and Chelsea Little struggle to bring their dog Storm into the water. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
A dog makes a big splash after jumping in. (Photo by: Douglas McCulloch)
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