Pooch Plunge returns to close down outdoor pool

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 12, 2016

 Bodhi, a 4-year-old golden retriever, takes a break from swimming at the Family Aquatic Center last year.

Bodhi, a 4-year-old golden retriever, takes a break from swimming at the Family Aquatic Center last year.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WEST BLOOMFIELD — In just a few short weeks, romping in the waters will be reserved for the dogs.

It’s no secret that this summer has been exceptionally warm, and while residents have enjoyed cooling down at the Family Aquatic Center on Farmington Road, the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission is preparing to close down the outdoor pool with the annual Pooch Plunge on Aug. 27.

Sign-up for the Pooch Plunge is open to West Bloomfield Dog Park members or dogs with updated bordetella and/or rabies shot records. Registration in advance is required, and on-site registration will not be offered. 

But you better hurry, as spots are filling up quickly, according to Meagan Kurnat, the Parks and Recreation Commission’s marketing coordinator. The cost is $7 for residents or $9 for nonresidents. 

The Pooch Plunge has sold out in the past, and this year the commission has added five additional spots for each time slot, permitting a total of 20 additional dogs to enjoy the canine cooldown. 

“There definitely seems to be a lot of interest. It’s a fun thing for people to do,” Kurnat said. “There are not a ton of places for dogs to get in the water.”

Kelley Marcaccio, the commission’s aquatic specialist, said that as of Aug. 9, approximately 40 out of the 100 slots were filled. 

“People have actually been registering for the event as early as June,” Marcaccio said. “I think it’s an event that the community looks forward to, and so I think that we would continue with it each year.”

Thirty-minute sessions are broken down by weight class. Dogs 30 pounds and less will swim 9:30-10 a.m.; dogs 31-79 pounds will swim 10:15-10:45 a.m., and again 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; and dogs 80 pounds and heavier will swim 11-11:30 a.m.

“It’s kind of our way of celebrating the end of summer,” Kurnat said. “It’s the absolute last thing we do before we close the pool. It’s a good way to wrap up the year. We look forward to it every year.”

Owners are allowed to enter the water up to their knees with their dogs. Those younger than the age of 12 are not permitted on the pool deck and must cheer on their dogs from outside the deck.

Each dog will receive a doggie bag filled with treats, and participants can enter drawings for additional dog-related prizes. Dog toys will be placed around the pool for pooch playtime. 

“We do have lifeguards the day of the event in case any human or dog is in the water and needs assistance,” Marcaccio said. While a majority of the dogs enter the water, Marcaccio said that many are happy just roaming around the deck and enjoying the toys.

Once the Pooch Plunge concludes, the pool will be drained and cleaned. It will not reopen until 2017.

Sponsors are still needed for the event. Any pet-related or other local business interested in sponsoring the event can contact Marcaccio by calling (248) 451-1903. 

For more inforamtion about the Pooch Plunge or to register, visit www.westbloomfieldparks.org or call (248) 451-1900.