The Pickerington Community Pool just might have come up with a new meaning behind the adage "the dog days of summer."
The phrase is usually employed to describe the sweltering heat of the late summer months, but Sept. 2, Labor Day, it aptly described a scene in which more than 90 canines participated in an afternoon pool party, no leashes attached.
The event, called "Dog Splash," was sponsored by the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department, which made sure the last day of pool season was a memorable one.
Dogs of all shapes, sizes, colors and stripes were welcome to come frolic in the pool on a hot afternoon. The cost of admission was $5 per dog. The canines were required to have their vaccination records in order. Their human counterparts were charged no admission fee.
"She loves it," Pickerington resident Ed Starr said referring to Macy, his 7-year old yellow Labrador retriever.
"I didn't have to throw her in at all," Starr said. "She just went jumping in after a couple of other dogs."
Starr said he thought he would have to coax Macy in, however, such was not the case with her and a large number of other dogs who experienced swimming in a pool for the first time.
A small white Japanese Spitz named Yuki, which means "snow" in Japanese, had no problem getting his four feet wet.
"This is the first time he's been in the water," said Lisa Socolik of Pickerington.
"He loves the snow, but he's never been in the water," she said.
The Socolik family, including father Michael and sons Connor and Ian, all took turns splashing around in the pool with their Yuki.
"This is a great thing they're doing, it's a lot of fun," Mrs. Socolik said.
Ardra Zinkon brought her two yellow labs, Mattie and Moses, ages 4 and 8, respectively.
"Moses prefers to drink the water," Zinkon said.
"He went in once to get a tennis ball, but that was enough for him," she said, adding "he's got arthritis."
The more rambunctious Mattie couldn't get enough of the water.
"This is the first time she's ever swam, other than the kiddie pool in the yard," Zinkon said.
Pickerington Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger said the city's first-ever Dog Splash went off without a hitch.
"There were no dog fights or bites; everybody cooperated," Medinger said.
She estimated about 270 people attended the event.
"There were 90 dogs and about three people per dog," Medinger said.
"We actually had people come just to go swimming and we had people that came just to watch the dogs," she said.
As for whether to make Dog Splash an annual event, Medinger said " we're still deciding" but did acknowledge it "was our most successful (pool) event this year. We'd like to keep it going."
She said the Pickerington Community Pool held three other special events throughout the season: family fun night, adult night and family luau.
Early Bird registration for the 2014 pool season starts March 1, Medinger said.