Approximately 100 dogs and their owners gathered at the Prentis Plunge pool to practice their doggie paddling skills at the Heartland Humane Society’s annual Pooch Plunge event Tuesday night.
In collaboration with the City of Vermillion, the event was held as a fundraiser for the Heartland Humane Society and as a conclusion to the pool’s summer season.
Kerry Hacecky, the executive director of the Heartland Humane Society, said the event is 100 percent profit for their organization, and they can raise anywhere from $400 to $600 from the event. Admission was $5 per dog and all humans were welcome to stop by to play.
“This is the City of Vermillion’s way to promote being a pet community while raising money for (Heartland Humane Society),” she said. “It’s essentially a dog party. They get to come to the pool and swim and socialize and wrap up summer for Vermillion.”
Hacecky said the event is a great way for social dogs to “take the leash off” for the night.
“They can get in and swim; all the amenities besides the slides are still open, so the lazy river still has the current going in there. We’ve got toys hanging around so they can play fetch, they can play tag and the dogs can do their thing,” she said. “It’s a good play session. I bet all the dogs sleep really well tomorrow.”
Judy Zwolak, president of the Board of Directors of the Heartland Humane Society, said the event is especially fun for families with children.
“It’s so much fun to be able to bring your dog to the public pool, and you can get in the water and all the dogs have fun playing with each other,” Zwolak said. “They love playing with each other; you’ll see them running around in the grass as well as getting in the water.”
Ann Prince, a Vermillion resident and the owner of Mouse, a St. Bernard, said this was the first time he was able to experience swimming.
“I thought it would be really fun for my dog to experience the water since he’s never been in the water before,” Prince said. “He seems to be doing really good with the water… he’s never been deeper than the bathtub before.”
David Carr, an economics professor at USD and a Vermillion resident, is the owner of Minnie, a Newfoundland. He said it was also her first opportunity to try out swimming in deep water.
“This is her first chance to try swimming… she’s a little overwhelmed with this many dogs but she’s gone in over her head and swam, which she should since she’s a water dog,” Carr said.
Hacecky said the Prentis Plunge pool drains and cleans the pool facilities after the event and closes the pool down for summer.
“We’re really grateful for everyone who comes out and participates, and even more thankful that the City of Vermillion lets us do this,” she said. “I think that being a pet-friendly community is important as college kids are relocating they are looking for pet-friendly (communities), so this proves Vermillion is a great place to stay.”