By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 27, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Fort Rucker's Splash! Pool and Spray Park went to the dogs Saturday. And that resulted in a unanimous paws-up rating from the nearly 60 four-legged family members who took part.
The Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted its second Dog Days of Summer at Splash! as a way to get people's furry family members in on the fun before the park officially opens for the summer season, according to Rob Koren, DFMWR aquatics manager.
"Last year, we offered one dog swim at the end of the summer season after the pool had closed to the public, so this year we decided that it went so well last year at the end that we'd try it out and do one again at the beginning of the summer before we drain the pool to get it ready for opening," he said.
The participation rate hit the attendance mark he was hoping for, said Koren, adding that the event was a resounding success, partly due to the unique nature of the event.
"This was a very unique program to the garrison," he said. "There has been nothing like it done here until (last year) -- these always seem to go over very well with the community.
"It's something different and out of the norm, and it's something that people aren't used to seeing," he continued. "People want to include their fur babies."
Include their fur babies they did as people came out with dogs of all shapes and sizes to bask, play and swim in the pool and waters of the spray park, something Katherine Kelly, military spouse, said she was happy to be a part of.
"There aren't many opportunities to do something like this with your pets, so the fact that they offer this here is really refreshing," she said. "Our dogs are basically family members to us, so we want to include them whenever we go on family outings and our dogs love getting in the water, so to be able to bring them here to play and swim with other dogs was a lot of fun. I only wish this was something they could offer throughout the year, but I'm just glad they had something to include our pets."
Although family members were not allowed to swim in the pool with their four-legged counterparts, they were more than welcome to splash around with them in the spray park.
As much as Koren said he'd love to offer the program year round, due to safety and sanitary concerns, the event can only be offered at the beginning of the year before the park is drained and cleaned for the summer swim season, and again after the end of the swim season.
He said the event will return in all its furry glory at the end of season.