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Annual pooch plunge makes a splash at City Park

Video by Ryan Crist


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For many, the end of summer is an inevitable mourning period for long sunny days, bare feat, non-stop watermelon, not knowing whether it is Tuesday or Saturday and relaxing in a chilly pool. For dogs, on the other hand, the end of the season means one step closer to sidewalks that won’t burn their paws and weather that they can enjoy all day everyday in their permanent coats.

To celebrate, City Park’s Annual Pooch Plunge kicked all the people out of the pool this Sunday, Aug. 27, and opened its fences to hundreds of happy dogs for a pawesome time.

The event was presented by the City of Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Department and is an annual affair that occurs across the country, but it has become an especially popular event in the Fort Collins community for the past 14 years.

Stephanie Monroe, the Recreation Area Manager for the City of Fort Collins, helped organize and manage The Plunge and says the doggy pool day is something that will continue to be an event in town for many years to come.

“It is one of those events where if we ever stopped doing it, we would have a lot of angry dog lovers,” Monroe said. “Just hearing and seeing all the happy dogs and the happy people with their dogs is my favorite part.”

Dog owner David Brors brought his happy dog, Reagan the Great Dane, to City Park to socialize and swim at their first Pooch Plunge.

“She was having fun until she got in to the deep water,” Brors said. “Then she was like, ‘Um, this is a lot deeper than I am used to.’ She ran in over there and then fell in. She sinks right to the bottom.”

Upon entry, each of the first 400 human attendees acquired a free doggy gift bag full of dog treats, dog waste baggies, and a specialized Pooch Plunge magazine presented by the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Articles within the magazine included treat recipes for fuzzy friends, skin care tips for concerned dog owners, and a column about the benefits of four-legged swim time.


The CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital had two tents set up at the event. One tent provided pamphlets on dog care as well as tennis balls, while the other tent had CSU vets ready in case a dog needed medical care.

Second year Marketing and Management CSU student Sarah Rhodes works with external relations for the CSU Vet Hospital tent.

“We are giving out information about taking care of dogs and what to do when something goes wrong, and how to contact the vet school when something goes wrong,” said Rhodes.

Other tents set up around the pool included organizations such as Dog Tales Activity Center, Friendship Hospital for Animals, The Larimer Humane Society and Guardian Pet Aquamation, who provide pupuccinos for dog attendees to lap up out of tiny paper cups.

Sara Griffith, a student at the University of Wyoming and Fort Collins native, attended the Pooch Plunge with her 5-month-old son, a black German Shepherd named Link.

“He loves swimming, obviously, but he is pretty ball obsessed, but he is interacting, and he loves it,” Griffith said. “He has been the best puppy we could have ever asked for.”

Hundreds of yellow tennis balls filled the pool for play for dogs to fight over and retrieve. The doggy paddle was a popular technique all day, and signs were posted around the perimeter of the pool declaring that humans were not allowed in the water. When people began entering the water, life guards posted around the pool blew their whistles to reinforce the rule. Both small and big dogs of all breeds attended the event with varying degrees of water tolerance. All dogs smelled like wet dog, and all of them were good boys/girls.

Collegian reporter Miranda Moses can be reached at or on Twitter @mirandasrad.

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