Willa the Weimaraner might be taking a dip in the Donner Aquatic Center this weekend.
But the nearly 2-year-old dog hardly will just free-spiritedly make a splash. Instead, she will quietly float along in her hot pink polka-dot pooch life vest.
“She’s a little trepidatious,” owner Debbie Collins said. “We’ve taken her places like Muscatatuck (National Wildlife Refuge). But she won’t get in the water unless she has her life jacket on.”
Donner’s 12th annual end-of-season Doggie Swim from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday signals a bit of the end of summer floating away. But it’s at least a joyous, watery romp for sometimes as many as 120 to 150 canines and more than 200 people giving a literal interpretation of a dog paddle. Some animals even fly from the diving board at the $5 admission-per-dog event.
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“Oh — some will do back flips, and half-somersaults,” said Jim Lemke, Donner’s aquatics manager.
Lemke was kidding and laughing, although a few dogs do indeed springboard their entrance.
Others have to be slowly coaxed into the water while a few chase plastic balls or toys on their way to getting wet.
Interestingly enough, the gathering of drenched dogs going shake-shake-shake will unfold the day after KC and the Sunshine Band will have Rocked The Park locally.
Lemke always is careful to mention that the dogs are well-behaved, solidly socialized and seem to enjoy their outing. Although health regulations prevent people from actually swimming while the dogs are there, owners and friends of pooches can remain in water up to their waist.
Organizers ask that dogs be on a leash unless they are in the water.
One difference this year is that the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department’s Bark in the Park event, which normally precedes the swim with dog trick and agility demonstrations, will not be held.
What: Donner Aquatic Center 12th Annual Doggie Swim, in which pooches of all kinds get to swim and play in the water with their owners.
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Donner Aquatic Center, 739 22nd St., Columbus
Admission: $5 per dog. One handler must accompany each dog. No pre-registration required.