Greenbelt Pooch Plunge
Each year the outdoor pool at the Greenbelt Aquatic and Fitness Center opens from Memorial Day to Labor Day. On the Saturday after Labor Day, after the outdoor pool has closed for the season, dogs have their turn to enjoy it for one morning.
Dogs and their handlers enter the pool from the outdoor gate. The fee is $5 per dog and it benefits Greenbelt Animal Shelter. Each handler has to sign a release form.
Amy Spetsios with her Newfoundland Annie (age 2)
Sitting in the pool is Valerie Silensky, holding her St. Bernard Boomer. Silensky tells me that she and Boomer marched in the Labor Day Parade in the GreenBeLT Pride group and she uses the service of Grooming by Em (Emily) in Brentwood.
Lying on the pool chair is Marty Brandon, with Filly by his feet, who is a 13-and-a-half years old Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix. Walking by is Alice Noll, with her 10-month-old Labrador Jonas.
Ellen Noll with her 4-year-old Gracie Smudge. She says that Gracie is a therapy dog and was the poster dog for the Pooch Plunge two years ago. She adopted Gracie from the Prince George’s County Animal Shelter when she was a puppy. She tells me that Gracie is adventurous and can be feisty.
Amy Spetsios, wearing a “Got Water?” t-shirt, poses with her other Newfoundland Oakley (8). Because each handler can have one dog at a time, Spetsios brought Annie home and Oakley here.
On the right Alice Noll is with her 10-month-old Labrador Jonas. On the left Noll’s friend Chrissy Purdie sits with her 3-year-old Toby, a Labrador/Husky mix.
Sofie (right) and Darwin, both 7-year-old Labradoodles, chase after a ball. Their owner Kim Thompson says that they are very athletic and are great retrievers and swimmers. She has brought them here every year since they were born. “This is their favorite day of the year.”
Kyako Hillman sits with Traffic outside the fence. She says that she and her husband got Traffic while living in Nigeria. He was so named because he was born in a traffic jam. His previous owner had 15 dogs and Traffic was abused by some of those dogs. That is why she is holding him here. She will go in, maybe to the kiddie pool, when there are fewer dogs. Hillman tells me that Traffic is a rare Portuguese Water Dog, “like President Obama’s dog.”