Capaha Municipal Pool opened up to dog-lovers

Monday, September 25, 2006
Mace, a 7-year-old male malamute, slid down the chute into the swimming pool at Capaha Park Sunday. The dog likes jumping into a small pool at home, said his owner, Jo Harris of Cape Girardeau, so it was easy for her to lead the dog up the steps to take his first plunge. (Fred Lynch)

It took some coaxing but Sadie finally jumped off the diving board at Capaha Municipal Pool on Sunday.

Tim Imrie of Cape Girardeau was impressed with his 5-year-old. "It was her first time ever jumping off a diving board," he said. "But she loves the water -- all chocolate labs love the water."

Cape Girardeau's Parks and Recreation Department opened Capaha Pool for dogs at the first-ever "Doggy Swim Days."

More than 30 dogs swam in the pool from 1 to 4 p.m., said Chad Sierman, aquatics director. The pool will be drained today, and will remain closed until next summer.

Sierman was pleased with the turnout. "I didn't really know what to expect, but this is great," he said from the pool deck.

Dogs were charged $5 to swim but owners could take a dip in the 72-degree water with their pets for free.

Matthew Cook, and his girlfriend, Amy Livesay, braved the chilly waters to swim with Bear, his mother Lynda's golden retriever.

"It's really cold, but it's a lot of fun. We're trying to get Bear used to the water," Matthew Cook said.

Lynda Cook stood on the deck and watched Bear swim. She didn't have plans to get in the water. "It's too cold, and someone's got to take the pictures," she said.

Bear took a couple lessons in the baby pool before Matthew Cook let him in the larger pool. This was Bear's first time in the water.

Several weeks ago, the 2-year-old dog tore a ligament and had a steel plate inserted into one of his hind legs.

"I'm really happy he can swim, especially with that leg. He's doing a really good job," Lynda Cook said.

The Cape Girardeau woman liked the concept of Sunday's event and has heard of other cities that allow dogs to swim in public pools at the end of the season.

"I wish the city would allow it more often. They need a place where dogs can go swimming all the time," Lynda Cook said.

Sierman plans to open Capaha Pool up next year for dogs and hopes to get local pet stores involved in the event. Doggy Swim Days raised about $160, which will go to the city's aquatic department.

The event would have been held several weeks ago but the Cape Girardeau Central boys swim team had been practicing in Capaha Pool while the Central Municipal Pool was closed. The bubble was installed at Central Pool for the winter and it will reopen at 5:30 a.m. today.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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