The 14-month-old German Shepherd’s owner, Madelyn Ritrosky, gave him a nudge. Still, Cookie refused to jump into the swimming pool, darting away from the black ramp leading to the water’s surface.
Catching up to her canine, Ritrosky tossed a tennis ball into the water, giving the black-haired hound enough confidence to leap into Mills Pool on Wednesday evening.
This is the eighth year of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department’s event Drool in the Pool at Bryan Park or Mills Pool, located at 1100 W. 14th St.
Although Mills Pool closed for the season on Aug. 12, the event provided a once-a-year opportunity for dogs to dip their paws in the community pool.
During the event, people were restricted from the water. Although a variety of dog toys floated on the pool’s surface, feces spotted the floor.
“It’s a little chaotic, but it’s a lot of fun,” Community Events Coordinator Bill Ream said. “We get everything from little, tiny Chihuahuas to big Great Danes.”
Between Wednesday’s event and the second Drool in the Pool from 5-8 p.m. today, Ream said he expects about 250 dogs to participate.
“It provides a really unique opportunity for them to go out and have a fun activity with their dog they wouldn’t normally be able to do,” Ream said. “Instead of driving all the way to a lake or somewhere, they can come here for a little bit of fun for a few hours.”
When Ritrosky purchased Cookie about a year ago, he was only 2.5 months old. But because Cookie loves water, Ritrosky said her 13-year-old son Jared Winslow was eager to participate once Cookie reached the 6-month age requirement.
“We’ve been counting down a whole year so Cookie could come because we know how much he loves water and be social and friendly with other dogs,” Ritrosky said. “He hasn’t been in this kind of a water situation. You know, this is different than going in at the lake and going in a beach. He hasn’t been in a pool before.”
When 3-year-old Miles, a Black Labrador, arrived in the parking lot at Mills Pool, he knew exactly where he was.
“He barked,” said Carrie Leener, Miles’ owner and resident of Morgantown, Ind. “He knows where he is at and what is about to happen. He knows there’s a pool in there and is ready to get wet.”
Waiting in line outside the pool’s entrance, Miles continued barking. But once inside the facility, beyond the dressing room with paw-spotted concrete, Leener let Miles off his leash and turned him loose to play.
“He’ll be asleep before he gets out of the parking lot because it wears him out,” Leener said. “It’s just a good socialization for him, and he has a good time with the other dogs, and he loves to swim.”
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