On Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 22, the Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomed over 800 dogs at its annual Splish Splash Doggie Bash at the Aquatic Center. With some arriving almost an hour early on Saturday, dogs and their owners eagerly waited for the pool gates to open. While they anticipated the event, they were welcomed by Ponce, Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year, and t-shirt giveaways. You could see the excitement in the eyes and tails of all the attendees.
“We love this,” says Lon Williams with his dog George, both residents of Midtown Atlanta. “We’ve come every year, since it started. It’s so organized this year. It just keeps getting better and better each year.”
Not only did frequent residents support the event, but newcomers attended Splish Splash, too, as was the case with Katie Johnson.
“This is my first time,” Johnson says. “It’ll just be fun to watch all the dogs play in the water.”
When the gates finally opened, dogs hurried toward the pool. They were so enthusiastic to jump into the cool water that they impatiently tugged their owners through the entrance. Balls and frisbees were tossed everywhere in the pool with pups jumping in behind them. Some dogs preferred doing doggie paddles in the deep end while others preferred to wade in the zero-entry part of the pool.
Smyrna resident Randall Walsh says Splish Splash is a great way for his dog, Kiya, to release energy, and that this was the only time she could swim.
Meanwhile, for less brave dogs, Splish Splash was one of the most intense moments of the fur-filled lives: these cautious dogs stuck in the tip of their paw to test the water. For every dog making an outrageous dive, another one decided the grassy area better fit their comfort level.
For both dogs and their owners, dog vendors set up merchandise tables near the walls and along the fence. Dogs sniffed their tables for treats, and at one point, some of them even hopped on the tables in order to gratify their curiosity. Some dogs dried off their coats by running around to every possible corner of the pool area while befriending and playing with other dogs.
Needless to say, the dogs and their owners had a “pawsome” time, so much so that some of them returned to one of the other two sessions. Sunday’s Splish Splash session was a post-poned session that had to be re-scheduled due to inclement weather. The event raised approximately $24,000 for the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the three-acre off-leash dog parks.
Guest Post by Annierra Matthews