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Hot dogs chill out at Draper pool

Gleeful yelps and barks could be heard a block away from the Draper pool Saturday as more than 100 dogs turned the facility into a canine water park.

Some took flailing leaps off the diving boards while others were more cautious and ventured only ankle deep. Their soaked-to-the-bone humans threw balls to fetch and made sure everybody played nice.

Dimple Dell Recreation Center hosted the first-ever Walk Wag and Swim to raise money for No More Homeless Pets.

Earlier, participants took their dogs on a mile walk, and then they got to cool off in the pool.

Emily Zarr, who owns three labs — Hershey, Mac and Butters — said when the pool gate opened it was complete chaos for a few minutes.

Labradors, Dalmatians, pugs, retrievers, Danes and mutts charged at the water, splashed and frolicked and got out just so they could leap back in.

"This is awesome; they are having the best time," said Zarr. "We will definitely come to this again."

Leone Biesinger, a Sandy resident who brought her dog to the event, said it is important to take pets to activities such as the swim to socialize them. Learning to get along with other dogs helps them get along with people.

"If they don't get out a lot they destroy my house," said Zarr, who goes on frequent outings with her dogs. "It's good exercise, and it is nice to get out and meet people."

The pool has been closed since last week, and no chlorine or chemicals were in the water, making it safer for the dogs. Staff will then drain the pool for cleaning and conditioning before it opens to the public again next year.

"In this area there aren't that many dog parks and, with a lot of the areas being watershed areas, there are a lot of places people can't bring their dogs to be able to swim — plus it's just a fun thing to do," said Shelley Gallagher, pool aquatic coordinator.

Money raised from the event went to No More Homeless Pets to help save dogs and cats left homeless from Hurricane Katrina.

Jaime Aalen, a volunteer for No More Homeless Pets, said this week a few staff members and volunteers for the organization went down in a caravan to Texas and Mississippi to pick up around 100 dogs and 75 cats.

"This has just been a great event — the dogs had fun, the people had fun and I am sure that they are all going to go home and just crash for a few hours," Gallagher said. "We will be doing this again next year."