New Brunswick

There will be more dog paddling than usual Sunday at the Dieppe Aquatic Centre

The Dieppe Aquatic Centre is hosting its first dog swims this Sunday prior to a temporary closure of the pool.

Pool to host canine swim prior to shutdown for renovations

Dog swims have proven popular recreational events in parts of the United States, says Nadia Damphousse of the Dieppe Aquatic Centre. (Saskatoon Waterpaws Canine Aquatic Centre/Facebook)

You might say the Dieppe Aquatic Centre is going to the dogs.

Two dogs-only swims are scheduled for the pool on Sunday.

"Bring a ball … bring some rubber toys that they'd like to retrieve in the water and we'll just have fun with it," said Nadia Damphousse, the centre's service and program supervisor.

The pool is normally a popular spot with humans, said Damphousse, who has been working there for about 10 years. 

Nadia Damphousse, supervisor for clients and programs at the Dieppe Aquatic Centre, says owners must pre-register their dog for the swims. (CBC)

In fact, it's going to celebrate its 10th anniversary Sept. 21. But before that, it's closing for a five-week renovation project.

That makes the timing perfect for a dog swim, she said.

"It's always been something on my to-do list or wish list," said Damphousse, noting that dog swims are very popular in the United States.

The renovation project will include regular maintenance, sprucing up the locker rooms with fresh paint, and replacing the recreational pool's liner, which means there's no need to worry about the dogs damaging it by digging in with their claws.

"Not everyone was 100 per cent on board," said Damphousse. "But we're tearing up that whole pool area. So how about we have a little bit of fur and have some fun with it?"

Still, it's not going to be a free-for-all.

The centre is about to undergo a five-week renovation project prior to its 10th anniversary in September. (City of Dieppe)

The larger pool is going to be blocked off. There will be separate sessions for small and large dogs. Registration will be limited to 40 for the small dog swim and 25 for the large. And a $5 fee will be charged. 

Owners have to show proof their animals have been vaccinated against rabies and wash and brush their dogs ahead of time "to limit the fur that will be left in the pool." 

Dogs with diabetes aren't allowed because swallowing the water could cause them health problems.

Humans aren't allowed in the pool either.

"We don't want the owners arriving with their bathing suits to have a swim in the pool," said Damphousse. 

"It's not recommended for the humans to be swimming in the water with their dogs with all this going on."

Not all dogs are swimmers

The recreational pool has a sloped entry so the dogs will have easy access, she said. She doesn't recommend throwing your dog in if it has never gone swimming before.

"Dogs don't all just naturally swim," said Damphousse. "Make sure your dog is a swimmer."

Pre-registration started Monday evening at Dieppe.ca.

The swim for the small dogs will take place from 4:05 to 4:35 p.m. and the large dogs will be admitted from 4:40 to 5:10 p.m.

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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