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Pooch Pool Party a doggone good time

Gabrielle Jung helps a bedraggled canine out of the pool as he and many other area pooches enjoyed a splash of fun at Dickinson rec center pool Tuesday. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press1 / 3
Sgt. Cory Lee of the Dickinson Police Department's K-9 Division gets acquainted with a puppy in need of rescue. Raise the Woof was showing off their puppies at this year's Pooch Pool Party at the Dickinson Rec Center pool on Tuesday. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press2 / 3
Some dogs took well to the water, playing fetch by land or by sea. Iain Woessner / The Dickinson Press3 / 3

This year's Pooch Pool Party proved an outstanding success, drawing in dozens of dog owners and their canine companions to enjoy one last splash of summer fun at the West River Community Center water park.

"I think every year we grow it more and more," Alissa Karsky, programs supervisor with Dickinson Parks and Recreation, said of the event, which is her brainchild. "Those animal owners in town love to have something for their four-legged family."

A pet owner herself, Karsky first had the idea for the Pooch Pool Party when she lived in South Dakota, where she's from. She had watched how much her pet labradors enjoyed swimming and thought it'd be great if everyone could take their dogs to the pool.

"How fun would it be to bring the dog to the pool?" Karsky said. The popularity of the event inspired her to want to bring it with her when she came to work in Dickinson, and the past few years have shown that North Dakotans enjoy it as much as South Dakotans did.

In attendance this year was Raise the Woof, a local animal rescue organization, who offered sweets and playful puppies for rescue. Dogs of all sizes swarmed the cascading structures of the water park, some as natural in the water as fish—and others, bedraggled and wide-eyed, looked to their owners for an explanation for why they had come to such a sorry state.

Pets and people alike seemed to have a good time—and Karsky said that if potential community partners in the area have other ideas for pet-themed events, she's always looking for such opportunities.