Marshall pool goes to the dogs

Center's 1st Pooch Plunge gives canines chance to dive in

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Crouched down with his hind legs shaking, Remy pawed at the water for nearly a minute, eyeing the plastic neon toy his owner had thrown into the water.

The 7-year-old golden retriever waited nearly a minute before finally plunging into the water, swimming toward the floating toy before bringing it back to the pool's edge.

"He loves the water … he's just trying to figure it out," said Vancouver's Ray Anderson, 55.

Anderson faithfully stood by the pool, his jeans soaked from pulling Remy out when he returned with the toy.

"I get as wet as he does," he said. He watched as his dog swam a little slower after each retrieval. "He'll sleep well tonight."

Remy was one of dozens of dogs that plunged into the pool at the Marshall Community Center on Monday at its first Pooch Plunge.

The pool closes annually on Labor Day for cleaning, but this year the center decided to get the pool a little dirtier beforehand. Karen

Krohling, who works for the community center, organized the Pooch Plunge that lets dog owners in the community give their four-legged friends a chance in the pool.

"I'm a dog lover and I had heard of others in the community," she said.

Organizing it was actually pretty simple, she said.

The chlorine was turned off to make for safer swimming conditions for the canines and the filtration system was turned off so that when they do the cleaning, the dog hair goes straight into the sewer system.

"It's just a chance for dogs to swim in a safe environment," she said, standing in the pool herself ready to wrangle dogs in distress.

Charging $5 per dog, the event also raised money for the Humane Society for Southwest Washington, with half the proceeds benefiting the nonprofit pet adoption agency.

Most people came out just to see their dogs happy.

Angel, a 2-year-old black Labrador, didn't even bother to shake off the water after her owner, Charlene Albrich, had pulled her out of the pool.

Her mouth wide open, tongue flopping wildly, Angel stared intently at the plastic cylinder that Albrich held, waiting for her to throw it again.

"She's a water dog," she said. Having watched dogs do tricks at the Clark County Fair event Dock Dogs, Albrich and her two sons "wanted to see if she could do a running flying leap."

As Albrich wound up, Angel was already midair. "She's doing more of a belly flop," she said with a laugh.


Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; emily.gillespie@columbian.com