As we enter the heart of the summer season in Miramar, the city is already preparing for a unique, fur-filled end-of-summer celebration. The annual Soggy Doggy Pool Day at the Miramar Regional Park Aquatic Complex on August 20th offers a refreshing experience not just for humans, but for their four-legged best friends as well. It's a day where the ripples of joy reach far beyond the pool's edge and the city comes together to celebrate our furry companions. We had the opportunity to interview Silvia Dominguez, the Regional Park Manager, who orchestrates this fantastic event, to delve into the behind-the-scenes details and understand what makes the Soggy Doggy Pool Day the perfect summer send-off. (The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Q: How did the idea for a dog swim day come about? What was the inspiration behind this initiative?
A: Miramar opened its first Dog Park in October 2020 at Miramar Regional Park. We then started looking for ways to get residents involved with their dogs and provide them with a safe, fun activity for them and their canine family members. The first annual Soggy Doggy event was a hit!
Q: What kind of preparation and planning goes into hosting a dog swim day?
A: In order to prepare for this event, we chose the last Sunday of summer (Sunday before school starts). We have an RSVP system in place so that we can gauge the number of participants that we will be getting, and we don’t exceed the pool’s capacity.
Q: What safety measures do you have in place to ensure the well-being of the dogs participating in the event?
A: For the safety of the dogs, we offer a swim session for small dogs under 25 pounds and another session for dogs larger than 25 pounds. We also require proof of vaccination upon arrival to the event. Pool staff also ensures that chlorine levels in the pool are safe for both dogs and humans.
Q: How do you manage and monitor the health risks for dogs (like drinking too much water or overheating)?
A: At the sign-in station, we post flyers and A-frames with rules, risks, and tips so that the dog owners can be vigilant and mindful of their dogs throughout the event. We also have lifeguards on duty for the entirety of the event.
Q: How do you handle the cleaning and sanitation of the pool after the event to ensure it's safe for human use?
A: At the conclusion of the event, the pool is completely drained. The staff then performs an acid wash to the pool finish and filters are thoroughly cleaned. The pool is then refilled, and a chemical start-up is done.
Q: Are there any breed or size restrictions for the dogs participating? How do you handle potential issues of dogs of vastly different sizes being in the pool at the same time?
A: We welcome dogs of all sizes and breeds. However, no dogs in heat or dogs that display aggressive behavior will be allowed. We offer two sessions, one for dogs 25 pounds and under and the other for dogs that are over 25 pounds.
Q: What are the positive impacts of the dog swim day event for the community?
A: Doggy swim day provides a safe and fun environment for canines and their owners. It’s a unique opportunity for dog owners to do something new and exciting with their companions, which in turn translates into a palpable, great energy in our community.
Q: Do you collaborate with any local animal organizations or shelters for these events?
A: Yes, we contact local shelters so if they are interested, they can bring their mobile vaccination bus as well as pet adoption bus. We also contact local vets and doggy item vendors so that they can showcase what they offer.
Q: Have you noticed an increase in dog swim days in other communities? Do you think this event is gaining popularity?
A: There has certainly been an increase in doggy swim days that are being offered by neighboring municipalities. I believe that one of the impacts of COVID was that dog owners got to spend more time at home with their canine companions and, as a result, strengthened their bond. Owners then sought out fun outdoor activities that they could do together.
Q: What advice would you give to other communities interested in starting their own dog swim day?
A: I would 100% recommend that they offer this event to the community. It is a fun way to exercise and socialize for both pets and humans.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Just Add Rover. While we strive to present accurate and reliable information, Just Add Rover does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information.
© 2023 Just Add Rover. All rights reserved. This interview has been conducted for www.justaddrover.com and is protected by copyright law. Reproduction of the interview, in whole or in part, is prohibited without prior written consent from Just Add Rover.