Fort Collins City Park Pooch Plunge breaks attendance record

Collegian Staff

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Photos by Cisco Mora

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Monday afternoon families brought their dogs to the City Park Pool to play, splash, and socialize.

More than a thousand local residents, many of them accompanied by their dogs, spent their Labor Day afternoon at Fort Collins’ City Park Pool.

Monday evening marked the 11th annual Pooch Plunge, the one day of the year that dogs are invited to swim as much as they – or their owners – please.

Pre­sale tickets went on sale August 1 and sold out, according to Fort Collins Recreational Coordinator Krista Hobbs.

Hobbs started the event in 2003 after reading about an indoor pool that allowed individuals to bring and swim with their dogs.

More than 700 dogs and an estimated 1,559 people attended this year’s event according to Hobbs, more than ever before.

“This is my first time,” said Sue Beck­-Ferkiss, a social sustainability specialist who works with the City of Fort Collins.

“I think it’s awesome,” Beck-­Ferkiss said. “It’s controlled chaos with the odor of wet dog.”

Fort Collins resident Michael Beck-Gifford and his wife Hillary bring their golden retriever to the Pooch Plunge every year.

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“He jumps in and stays in until we make him get out to leave,” Hillary said. “Watching the dogs jump off the deck into the pool is so funny. And they all get along really well.”

Dogs of all breeds and sizes ran around, playing fetch and leaping into the pool.

“Everybody is so happy,” Hobbs said. “Nobody ever leaves mad.”

Same as previous years, the Pooch Plunge took place on the last day of the season for City Park Pool. It will open again next spring.

By the end of the event, a thin layer of dog hair floated on top of the water.

“I can’t imagine cleaning the pool,” Michael said.

Collegian Reporter Erick Plattner can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @ErickPlattner.