Dog days of summer: K-9 training and civilian pup splashes – The Dickinson Press

More than 200 dogs — paws of all sizes — dipped and splashed into the outside pools Tuesday evening at the West River Community Center as the last swim of the season. But before all of Dickinson’s furry canines dived in, the Stark County Sheriff’s Office was obliged to use the pool area to conduct water apprehension with some of its K-9s.

Lt. Eldon Mehrer said that the sheriff’s office was grateful that the West River Community Center allowed them to use their pool for a K-9 training opportunity.

“When not only K-9 officers train, but when all officers train, you like to train in a variety of situations that you might encounter in real life. So the pool training that they did yesterday, while it may happen infrequently, means there may come a time where they have to do an apprehension or something like that involves water. And so, you need to expose those K-9s to water in an apprehension atmosphere, so to speak,” Mehrer said. “The things you do in training, you try to do them as realistically as possible just in case you encounter that real life… (Then) you know those K-9s are tools that we use and you want to make sure that your tools are going to function when you actually need them.”

Several added, “… Our overall goal is make our communities across Stark County better places to live and work and people to do the things that they enjoy, and having our officers prepared for things that they may come down the road is what we try to do when we train.”

With the West River Community Center turning off its pool chemicals for the last summer dive, it’s becoming a tradition for Dickinson Parks and Recreation to host its annual Pooch Pool Party. This year marked its sixth annual year for the event. From corgis to retrievers, an array of furry friends showed up for one last swim. Dickinson Parks and Recreation Program Supervisor Alissa Karsky was delighted to see how many people attended the event with their dogs.

“… Everybody comes out as a family or a couple. It’s just crazy how many people we have totally that come out each year. It’s something that I guess everybody’s really looking forward to and even enjoy going to whether or not they have a dog,” Karsky noted. “… Dogs are so much part of the family that having an event for your animal which is like a child or a family member to everybody is just as important. Any opportunity to get your dog out and about whether or not you work all day and they’re cooped up for that kind of thing, people like to get out and do things with their animals too and be able to not only socialize but for the dogs to get to socialize.”

A dog plays with a ball in the water during the sixth annual Pooch Pool Party Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

A smaller dog plays fetch in the water during the sixth annual Pooch Pool Party Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

With a warm 70-degree evening, some dogs galloped to the pool water and submerged quickly — cannon-ball style. Others, who were a bit more curious, dipped their paws into the water before diving in. Even Sparky from the Dickinson Fire Department showed up to cheer on the dogs.

“I think it was very successful. It seems like it is year after year whether or not… the weather (cooperates)… (It’s) something that people always look forward to because their dogs are like their kids and so it’s an event to get to take your furry kids to So it was definitely successful,” Karsky added.

During the Pooch Pool Party, local pet businesses handed out treats and prizes for dogs and their owners. For next year’s event, Karsky hopes that the department can bring back a photo booth for pets and their owners to capture some fun and entertaining moments.

1/4: Two dogs interact in the pool water Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

2/4: A small dog enjoys playtime at the pool during the annual Pooch Pool Party Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

3/4: A dog jumps for a ball that landed in the pool water during the sixth annual Pooch Pool Party Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

4/4: A corgi braces for impact down on a water slide during the sixth annual Pooch Pool Party Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, at the West River Community Center. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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