By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterSeptember 15, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Splash! Pool and Spray Park opened its gates to Soldiers, family members and civilians, and also family members of the canine variety, to help end summer with a bark.
The Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation held its Dog Day of Summer where people and their four-legged family members were invited for a final swim before the park closed for the season Sept. 10, according to Robert Koren, DFMWR aquatics manager.
"We did the dog swim to give a final blowout to end the season for the facility," he said. "We just thought it would be something different for people to do -- bringing their dog to the pool for a couple hours for a bit of swimming instead of just the traditional swimming."
Throughout the day, people and their furry companions were invited to take a swim in the pool and play around the spray park.
Jenna Matlin, military spouse, said this was the first time she'd had the opportunity to bring her dog, Sammy, to a public swimming area.
"I just think this is the greatest thing," she said. "Sammy is very social and she loves playing with other dogs, but I've never had the chance to let her swim with other dogs and she's loved it, so far.
"She loves to swim, so this was perfect for her," she added. "I honestly can't think of anything better for my dog than to have something like this for her to do. I wish she could do this every weekend."
For 2nd Lt. Martin Stanley, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, the day was a great opportunity for him to bring his dog, Shelby, out for a day of mingling.
"This has really been a good time for us," he said. "I love to keep my dog active and she absolutely loves swimming, so this was perfect for her. I definitely hope they continue to do stuff like this for the dogs, and they should do it more often."
This was the first time DFMWR hosted a Dog Day of Summer, and Koren suggested it since he experienced similar activities at other installations, so he said he wanted to bring the furry action to Fort Rucker.
"It's never been done (here) before," he said. "When I came to take the position here on Fort Rucker, one of my jobs was to come up with new programming and new events for people to take part in, so this is just one of the events we did to incorporate something different to the community and the garrison.
"It's important to bring events like this to the installation for the community because this is what we do -- we're the fun people for post," he said. "Not just for Soldiers, but their families, retirees and civilians alike, and it's been absolutely great so far."