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Paws In The Pool gives people, dogs chance to swim together

South Boston News / September 10, 2018
The first-ever Paws In The Pool event at Staunton River State Park on Saturday was a huge success, drawing 48 dogs and their owners for an afternoon of swimming, snacks and fun at the park’s Olympic-sized outdoor pool.

The event was a fund raiser for Halifax Dog Squad, which works to rescue stray dogs in the area and find homes for them. “Everyone had a great time,” said Debbie Palmer, a Dog Squad volunteer. “It was everything and more than what we expected.”

Park Manager Adam Layman, Vinnie the Pizza Man and business sponsors of Halifax Dog Squad worked together to pull off the unique event — a chance for dogs to swim with their owners in an outdoor pool.

The summer swim season at Staunton River State Park ended over the Labor Day holiday, but park staff kept the pool filled for the Paws In The Pool fundraiser before draining it for the season.

“Adam Layman was so good to work with,” said Palmer. “He was there during the entire event and looks forward to making this an annual event.”

People visited from as far away as North Carolina for the pooch-and-people swim; one person there was rescue volunteer Richie Wentz, who brought a dog he has fostered in captivity for seven years. “This was the dog’s first taste of freedom,” said Palmer. “Once Richie let him off the leash he ran and jumped straight into the pool. This was like a dream come true for this rescue.”

Halifax Dog Squad is already planning for next year’s event. To donate to Halifax Dog Squad, visit them on Facebook at Halifax Dog Squad Inc.

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