Holmes Aquatic Center to Host Plenty of Dog Paddlers Sunday

A new tradition is about to hit the calendars of all Parkies and their pups: the inaugural Doggie Splash Day will be held at the Holmes Aquatic Center on Sunday.

“We’re excited about how that can become another event [where] folks just kind of circle the calendar,” University Park spokesman Steve Mace said.

It couldn’t come at a better time; though the pool will already be closed to the public for the summer, the annual maintenance work won’t have begun yet, so there’s one last chance for pets and their owners to cool down and splash off. But how did this idea come to be?

“Every day, we watched people walking their dogs just outside the pool fence, and staff thought it was time to let them in for some fun,” parks director Gerry Bradley said in a statement.

The dog paddle race kicks off at 12:45 p.m. for the natural swimmers, and the hot-dog retrieving contest starts at 2. Finally, for the more glamorous pets, the costume/swimsuit contest gets underway at 2:30.

“We’re certainly looking to have fun with it, what with the dogs dressed in costume and, of course, the dog paddle,” Mace said.

To participate, you must be a University Park or Highland Park ISD resident. Dog owners pay $5, and spectators pay $1. But don’t worry — it’s for a good cause. A portion of the proceeds goes to Take Me Home Pet Rescue.

“We are always looking at ways to maximize the use of the pool,” Bradley said. “It’s always been the social hub for our community.”

Pets must be older than 6 months, wear tags and leashes, and be up-to-date on shots. Though your furry family may be numerous, there’s a limit of two dogs per owner. It’s also important that everyone plays nice; aggressive pooches may be asked to leave.

The folks at City Hall are crossing their fingers for a good turnout and a splashin’ good time for everyone.

“There are a whole lot of dog lovers in the community,” Mace said.

Bonus: Bradley even said “Elvis” would stop by to check out the “hound dogs.”

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