Canine residents from a Tennessee animal shelter have been making quite the splash with at their annual doggy “pool pawty.”
There were plenty of happy hounds from the McKamey Animal Center enjoying the last of the summer sunshine in and around the outdoor pool at the Carver Recreation Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last weekend.
Each year, before the city closes the pool as fall approaches, they let the animal shelter host an event for all dogs in the community.
It’s a chance for dog owners and their four-legged friends to enjoy a swim together, with all proceeds generated going towards the work of the McKamey Animal Center.
“It is my team’s favorite event to host,” Lauren Mann, director of advancement at the shelter, told Newsweek. “It is always such a blast for community members and of course the dogs!”
The event has been extra special for canine owners in the wake of the pandemic and the lockdowns that temporarily brought an end to doggy days out like this.
The good news is that it’s now back and there are no plans to put a “paws” on it anytime soon.
“This event was started far before I started working at McKamey Animal Shelter, but the pandemic put a pause on it,” Mann said. “My team brought it back last year and have loved it for the last two years. We plan to host it annually as long as we can.”
The McKamey Animal Shelter posted a video highlight reel to social media showing the various ways the dogs who attended made the most of their time in the pool.
Some enjoyed games of fetch, jumping into the water to grab tennis balls with wild abandon. Others decided to enjoy a few laps of the pool, often with a toy clenched between their teeth.
A few preferred to chill by the poolside, happy to have dipped a paw or two into the water. Some were even treated to piggy back rides and cuddles in the pool itself. One thing is certain though, everyone enjoyed themselves.
For many dogs, this was a rare opportunity to enjoy a swim. Unless they live by the coast, it can sometimes be difficult for our canine friends to get access to open water.
That’s a shame too as swimming can help with weight management and sleep patterns among canines, while studies have shown the huge benefits that can be gained if they have certain pre-existing conditions. In a 2014 study published in the journal ISRN Veterinary Science, researchers conducted a series of experiments to explore the potential benefits of having dogs with osteoarthritis swim on a regular basis.
As part of the study, a test group of dogs with the condition were tasked with swimming for three 20-minute sessions each day, followed by a 5-minute rest period.
The results showed that, after a period of eight weeks, each of the dogs’ mobility, lameness and weight-bearing ability improved significantly. There was also a marked reduction in joint pain among the dogs tested.
So while events like the “pool pawty” may be fun and raise money for an important cause, there could be other, wider health benefits to be gained from taking our four-legged friends for a well-earned dip.
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