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South Boston News / July 12, 2018
Grab your swimwear for a day at the Staunton River State Park pool — and bring your dog, too.

The Halifax County Dog Squad will host a “Paws in the Pool” fund raising event at the Staunton River State Park pool on Saturday, Sept. 8 from noon-4 p.m. The event is a chance for families to bring their pups to swim with them in the pool after the end-of-season Labor Day holiday weekend.

The fundraiser was conceived by Dog Squad volunteer Debbie Palmer, also with Palmer Properties of Virginia, after she witnessed a similar event hosted by the Lynchburg Dog Park.

“I wanted to bring that relaxed and fun atmosphere back to Halifax County,” Palmer said.

Staunton River State Park typically closes the pool after the Labor Day holiday, but Park Manager Adam Layman immediately agreed to let the Dog Squad use it for their fund raising event.

“The state is leaving the pool open for a week after they would normally close it. For us,” said Palmer, expressing her appreciation.

Along with swimming with your pooch in the pool, the Dog Squad fund raiser will feature snow cone, cupcake, and hotdog vendors, and the folks behind the South Boston Pizza Festival will provide the first 120 entrants with two free slices of pizza pie. Palmer said “dog-related vendors” would be at the pool as well. The South Boston Chamber of Commerce, Halifax County Visitor Center, Italian Delight and its sister Fruitopia, and Riverdale Auto are all advertising and selling tickets, but Palmer said she is still looking for a “Top Dog” sponsor.

Tickets are $20 and the purchase will pre-register entrants to earn those free pizza slices. If a family wants to bring a second dog, the cost is an extra $5. All dogs should have proof of up-to-date rabies vaccinations and be comfortable with other humans and canines as the event will be off-the-leash unless the dogs are outside the pool complex.

“People know their dogs,” Palmer said. “If they have a dog that doesn’t get along well with other dogs or people, this is probably not an event for them.”

Owners should also keep their dogs from harassing others for their food and will be given bags to catch any waste the pups produce.

The Dog Squad states that any aggressive dogs will be removed from the event.

“I hope this can be something we can do every year,” Palmer said.

The Dog Squad is a non-profit dog rescue that focuses on abandoned or abused dogs. Palmer also said they attempt to foster “code red dogs,” those that are in immediate danger of being put down by Animal Control or the various animal shelters in the region. But caring for these dogs is expensive.

“Each dog we rescue, we have to pay for the complete vetting,” Palmer said. Complete vetting includes first aid as well as deworming, vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and parasite control.

Palmer hopes that “Paws in the Pool” will be a “big fundraiser to continue to support dog rescue.”

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