Pool Gone to the Dogs

Crystal City, Missouri, Dog Day Swim

Any really smart dog knew the day had come and dragged their owners to the Crystal City Pool on September 11, 2011. It was the big day of the Dog Swim. All year they had been planning on attending and they weren’t going to miss it. The people the dogs owned happily followed and provided toys and towels for the animals they love.

It was a bright, sunny day of the waning summer/early fall with the pool water at sixty-six degrees. Not too cold for all the activity that soon would generate lots of heat.

First to arrive was Juno with her pet human, Ann. I couldn’t count how many times that golden retriever made Ann throw a rubber toy into the water so she could fly off the diving board and chomp it in her teeth. Juno worked Ann hard, but both had great fun that day.

Juno Hitting the Water










Among the other attendees was a light blonde, ten month old Labrador with the moniker “Gunny”. His pet human is a female ex-marine and they are a beautiful pair.

The day was dominated by large breeds until three brown dachshunds arrived. I was wrong in thinking they would be intimidated by the size of the other dogs. Those are some confident canines! When they hit the scene, they made it known who the boss is around here! The great beasts, being what they are – great – allowed this bravado and went about their business of enjoying life.

Another small dog arrived named Frankie. He is a convivial character and kept his humans hopping and laughing. He had them trained very well. They never tired of throwing a ball for him and following him around the pool.

Dogs can get their humans to give them names just by their shape or color or demeanor. The tiniest dog, a Yorkie, was dubbed Stuart Little – an ingenious title that brought smiles to all.

The small dogs ran and played with other big dogs outside the water on the concrete surround. It was a delight to watch the antics of five or six dogs of varying shapes and sizes running together in playful abandon. Big dogs in full gallop exuberantly chased a small dog whose turning radius is much sharper. The small dog put the brakes on to inhale the scent of a blade of grass peeking through the fence as the large dogs skittered to a stop eight feet beyond. They’d just get turned around to pursue the short-legged critter when off he’d scamper in a different direction. All the dogs were laughing.

Twenty-one dogs, mostly all strangers to one another, got along famously and relished the moment. What is it people are lacking that prevents them from bonding with strangers and drinking in the good? Why are humans so protective of themselves and full of suspicion? Oh, to be a dog!

Yaps and barks, splashes and sounds of merrymaking filled the air. So much diving and retrieving and soaking-dog-wet-shakes – humans ended up getting wet, too.

How many dogs are in this picture?

In all, twenty-one dogs attended the pool fest. They were proud to pay a $5 admission fee which will go to assist animals who have the misfortune of not owning a human. The Superintendent of Park and Pool, Beverly Sweet, said the Board will decide where the money raised will be allocated. It might be sent to the East coast area affected by the recent hurricane or to our very own Missouri city, Joplin, which was devastated by tornadoes.

In the past, monies have been sent to the Animal Sanctuary (a no-kill shelter) in Missouri and the Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis for their rescue efforts of puppy mill animals. For two years running, monies were sent to New Orleans for relief efforts for homeless animals.

Animals with their quirky grins and life-loving eyes sure know how to make humans jump through hoops for them. They gave their humans a fun day. Human laughter could be heard on all sides of the pool. Countless ear scratches were given and a lot of “Good Boy!” and “Thatta Girl!” was heard. Those dogs sure know what makes their humans tick and it is obvious how much they love their people.

The next time any of you humans out there address yourself as your pet’s owner, think again. They own you and your heart. Isn’t that a joyful, fulfilling and humbling position to hold?


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Margo Dill
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:21:32

    Love the photos in this post. They are perfect! I always want to bring my dog to an event like this, but he is not well-behaved. 🙂 I am glad I can live vicariously through your blog post.


  2. abbyplambeck
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:43:21

    We’re lucky to have a dachshund own us, and he is certainly the boss around here! His back legs have been paralyzed since last October when he ruptured a disk in his back, but he gets around just fine in his doggy wheelchair. I think his German stubborness has been in his favor in adapting to this new life.

    Annette, you’ve done a great job at taking an ordinary fun event and giving your readers a take-away lesson in how it can be applied to their lives. I agree with Margo, the photos are great!


  3. annettecrey
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:32:03

    Margo, I am a devotee of Cesar Milan and I could help you with your dog’s behavior. They call me the “Pit Whisperer” because I can tame Pit Bull Behavior. If we can’t get together, please learn from Cesar, The Dog Whisperer. NO DOG is unchangeable – most of the change comes from the human who needs to learn their language and how to approach the problems.


  4. annettecrey
    Sep 19, 2011 @ 11:36:50

    Abby, My heart went out to you – Not only a creative Mom, but a creative Dog Mom, too – a wheelchair for your pup. I have seen an apparatus that hooks like a harness on the chest and around the back and has rear wheels. The dog walks with his front legs and moves right along.


    • abbyplambeck
      Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:25:47

      Annette, that’s the kind of wheelchair our pup has, and it’s fantastic! If you ever hear of anyone else in this situation, please let me know because I highly recommend the company we got it from. It was a challenging transition because he can’t go potty on his own anymore. Good thing I’m a former nurse and hubby is a physician, so the process doesn’t faze us, but having that along with potty training twins means my days of filled with…well, you know what. 😉


  5. Margo Dill
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 10:03:21

    I agree with you, Annette. 🙂 And I do actually do some of the Cesar stuff. I think Chester’s main problem is his owners and the time we spend with the baby. 🙂 He is wonderful with her and the family. He is actually disciplined here. The problem comes when we are out. I will email you about it when I have a chance. 🙂 Thanks again!


    • abbyplambeck
      Sep 21, 2011 @ 10:34:15

      Margo, what kind of dog do you have? Our dachshund doesn’t behave well in public either, and was labeled a “whirling dervish” by his teacher in puppy obedience training! It’s partly the breed, but mostly his owners. I’ve always used Cesar’s techniques too, but hubby hasn’t and really coddles the dog, so it’s pretty interesting now that he’s 7 and behaves well for me, but gets very demanding and needy for hubby. Since being paralyzed, he lays perfectly still when I do his potty procedures, but hubby always needs help holding him down! I try to not point that out too often. 😉


  6. Susan
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 15:30:04

    I have been owned by Dogs my entire life, beginning with Curly, a mut-mix collie. Thanks to my Aunt Annette and my Grandma we learned early on how to take care of dogs and how they take care of us. I am currently owned by Percy, our 12 year old Lab and Daisy (named for my Grandmother), our frisky Chihuahua. Thank you, Aunt Annette, for your fun article about the Dogs celebrating on 9/11.


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