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The Daily Tar Heel

Orange County dogs make a splash at 15th annual Dog Swim

Orange County Animal Services’ annual Dog Swim proved summer fun is not just for humans. On the last day of summer, dogs were invited to swim in Heritage Hills Pool and soak up the sun.

The swim on Sunday marked Animal Services’ 15th anniversary of the event, and over 100 dogs came with their owners to celebrate the occasion. Cooper Hatch, the program coordinator at Orange County Animal Services, said the event welcomes all people and breeds from anywhere in the community.

“It's for people in the community, Orange County residents, not Orange County residents to come bring their dog for a couple hours,” she said. “They can swim. If they don't want to swim, they can just run around the pool. There's toys and treats and lots of fun things going on.”

Prior to entry, dogs must be vaccinated, not in season and leashed, but poolside, dogs are free to run, swim and play on land or in the water.

While dog owners enter at no cost, the price for pool admission is $10 for dogs residing in Orange County and $15 for good boys and girls from other counties. Hatch said the proceeds go to Orange County Animal Services.

“We also split some with the pool because they do have lifeguards on duty, and they have their cafe open, and 30 percent of those proceeds go to the shelter as well, so it's kind of a fundraiser for us and a little bit for them as well,” she said.

For the first year since the event’s inception, it was held at the Heritage Hills Recreation Club pool to account for the number of dogs, Hatch said. She said she was amazed by the turnout.

“I guess it's a nicer day, and we got the word out,” she said. “I mean, so far we have over 100 dogs that have come out today, and we still have an hour left.”

Orange County resident Jane Shealy said she has brought her white labrador, Logan, to the event for about eight years.

“He loves the water,” she said. “He doesn't care whether it's 90 degrees or 30 degrees. He wants to swim.”

On Sept. 28, Orange County Animal Services is hosting its Family Fun Fest, where pet owners can get affordable vaccination shots, get information about spaying and neutering and learn information from a veterinarian and a trainer. 


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