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Great shakes

NL’s fourth annual dog plunge makes a splash
DON’T YOU HATE IT WHEN WATER GETS IN YOUR EARS? Allegheny, who belongs to Amana residents Chris Marks and his wife Nancy, exits the pool at the North Liberty Aquatic Center’s fourth annual dog swim Sept. 10. The city holds the swim both as a fundraiser to benefit a local animal-related charity and to celebrate the seasonal closing of the pool after it has served its human population for the summer. (photo by Lori Lindner)

NORTH LIBERTY– Tails were wagging and wet fur was flying at the North Liberty Aquatic Center, Sept. 10 and 11, during the city’s fourth annual Doggie Plunge event.
Each year as the city closes its outdoor pool to human customers, Aquatics Director Katie Gerot and her staff get ready to entertain four-legged friends who also enjoy getting wet. In order to be pet-friendly, the water must be properly prepared by cutting off chemical treatments and dropping the water level below the system’s filters.
“Dog hair and grease are very hard on the sand filters we use for normal operations,” Gerot said.
Because the event has been so popular in the past, Gerot scheduled the event for two different evenings this year to give the public more time and to make it easier on the pool’s operating system.
“We have had staining the past few years because the pool sat empty for so long without chemicals,” she said.
Dog swims are becoming more common in several area pools as they close for the upcoming winter season. North Liberty charges a nominal fee per dog, with proceeds benefitting the Cedar Valley Humane Society.
Dog owners were appreciative, and the pooches seemed very pleased. Attendance reached 224 dogs, a 12 percent increase over last year’s attendance and a 25 percent increase from 2013.
“They are very happy to have the event. We always hear positive things,” Gerot said. “We added the ability for kids to come in this year, which seemed to go over really well.”
“We go to all the dog swims whenever they open up,” said Chris Marks. Marks and his wife Nancy, residents of Amana, try to make the rounds with their dog, Allegheny. This is their third year attending the North Liberty event.
“We go to all the dog swims whenever they open up,” said Chris. “Allegheny loves to catapult, take a running leap and jump into the water. Plus, it’s a little contribution to something,” he said of the fundraiser.
For other dogs, it was the first time to visit the North Liberty pool.
Tera Cooling’s one-year-old husky, Shoka, discovered he likes to swim. “He swims in the lake, but this is his first time in the pool. I haven’t gotten him to go in the deep end yet,” said Cooling. “It’s nice because there are no dog parks in North Liberty yet, so this is an awesome chance for him to play and swim with other dogs.”
Gerot said the dog days will continue as long as they prove popular with both man and man’s best friend.
“We welcome any suggestions and comments from the public, and are always looking for ways to improve this for the dogs and their owners,” Gerot said.
Tossing in a few handfuls of kibble might do the trick.