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Paddle along little doggie

Barking, panting, dog-paddling and the smell of 75 wet pooches made up the atmosphere at the second annual Dog Swim at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool Sunday.

Dogs from all around Oak Harbor and Coupeville came with their owners for a night of fun and swimming.

The Dog Swim takes place once a year, right before the emptying and cleaning of the pool.

This year’s Dog Swim went very smoothly. According to Craig Carlson, North Whidbey Park and Recreation director, there was a bigger turnout of people and dogs this year. At last year’s event, about 60 dogs showed up with their owners.

“We all had a great time,” Carlson said. “There were no major incidents and all the dogs and people seemed to get along great together.”

All breeds of dogs turned out for the event; from Chihuahuas to Labrador Retrievers and many breeds in between.

Jan Hill was busy watching her son Hunter swim with their German Rottweiler, Bandit. Bandit, who is four years-old, was decked out for the event with a red bandana around his neck as he paddled furiously in the water.

“This was Bandit’s first time ever going swimming and he did great!” Hill said.

“We like to introduce him other dogs. Contrary to what some may think about Rottweilers, he has never hurt anyone and he likes to meet other people and dogs,” Hill said.

Kids and adults alike seemed to like the idea of swimming with their furry friends. While some owners chose to sit and watch their dogs swim around the pool, many decided to jump right in and enjoy the fun too.

Alyssa Conwell and her little sister Ashley were seen swimming around the pool with their dogs, Anabelle and Sabrina, in tow.

“I like the dog swim because we can bring our dogs and they can play somewhere where they normally wouldn’t be allowed,” Alyssa said.

At the end of the night, it appeared that the dog swim was a big hit, even to the point of exhaustion. Small dogs rested in the arms of their owners, while the larger ones simply flopped down on the floor next to the pool, wore out from their night of swimming and excitement.

Lifeguard Emily Weisinger stood with her co-workers, petting the dogs on their way out the door.

“In all, this was great fun for the whole family, especially the dogs,” Weisinger said.

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