BY DIANA BIERMAN
While some smaller breeds, like yorkies and beagles, were hesitant to jump in the water, larger dogs, like golden retrievers and labs, were splishing and splashing with delight. Rocco Guglielmo, of Suffern, for instance, brought his 4-year-old chocolate lab, Ike, to the doggie swim, who was joyously jumping in and out of the pool. “We come every year, and [Ike] loves it,” Guglielmo said. One piece of advice he and his wife learned over the years: “Don’t feed the dog beforehand!”
Gail Sheama, of Suffern, also spent the afternoon throwing balls into the water for her golden retriever, Casey, to fetch. “She looks forward to this each year,” said Gail’s sister, Janet, about Casey. “You’re not getting her out of the water!”
Not only does the event allow the pooches to have fun and socialize with other dogs, swimming also provides great therapeutic benefits, without negatively impacting their joints.
More than 2,600 pooches have participated in the doggie swim over the past decade—with only one bite mishap, noted Ramapo Town Supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence.
Many local businesses and vendors were present as well. Trish Sandford, the owner of Suffern-based Ruff Cuts Pet Grooming, and Dr. Larry Ness of Airmont Animal Hospital, were selling raffles for their latest fundraiser called “Rollie’s Paw Prints,” in honor of Sandford’s lhasa apso, who passed in May. “The money we raise is to provide medical care and procedures to pets whose families otherwise couldn’t afford it,” said Dr. Ness.
Other vendors included the Hudson Valley Humane Society and Hi-Tor Animal Care Center.
Whether big or small, it appeared that all the dogs—and their families—enjoyed the day as if they were celebrating the end of the “dog days of summer.”