Macon dogs enjoy swimming at public pool

lfabian@macon.comAugust 4, 2013 

Before Sunday afternoon, the only thing Sadie the dog liked about water was that she could drink it.

It must have been quite a shock for her to see other dogs in their owners’ arms and paddling around in the biggest tub she’d ever seen.

“Sadie doesn’t like baths at all, so we’re not sure how she’s going to react to the water here,” said Paul Collins, who had the Labrador mix on a leash.

She retreated backward and tried to pull out of her collar as Collins eased down the ramp of the pool at the East Macon Recreation Center, holding its first Doggie Dip.

Pool season ended Saturday, so the dogs got to take the last laps between noon and 7 p.m.

“A lot of other communities have these end of the season swims and they’ve been very successful,” said Felicia Haywood, who helped organize Macon’s first dog park several years ago.

Her rescue dog Scamper sat panting at her side on the deck.

“He doesn’t seem to like the water and I’m OK with that. We’re just enjoying our day out,” said Haywood, who counted more than a dozen dogs during her two hours at the pool.

Ken and Sandra Stone brought 3-year-old sisters, Cheddar and Maggie, who are part Yorkie, poodle, terrier and maybe a little Chihuahua.

For their first time in the water, Cheddar was reluctant, but Maggie was a natural doggie paddler.

Her wiry, wet whiskers made her look like a seal as she glided into Sandra Stone’s left arm, while Maggie clung at her right side.

“We’ve been wanting to get them into a pool, but there aren’t too many pools that allow dogs, unless you know someone with a pool,” she said.

Richard Williams grabbed his Pomeranian and shih tzu mix by the scruff of the neck and headed toward the deep end.

“Don’t you drown my baby,” his wife called from the shallow end as he dropped Ninja into the water.

Front paws were frantically splashing until the little dog caught his stride.

“It was traumatic for me because he’s like my child,” Jaylene Williams said. “At least now I know he can swim.”

Mike, the first dog to arrive at the pool, even walks around puddles and didn’t take to the water, said Macon-Bibb Parks & Recreation Director Dale “Doc” Dougherty.

The day got off to a slow start.

“They weren’t going in on their own,” said Dougherty, who got the idea from other communities’ successful swims.

His goal is to diversify recreation, which has primarily focused on young children.

“There are other areas that are neglected like animals and seniors,” he said.

It might take a few years for Doggie Dip to begin to make a big splash, he said.

Even Sadie was swimming before long.

“She’s getting used to it,” Collins said. “I think she’s beginning to like it a little bit.”

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.


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