Some dogs eagerly jumped in, while others had to be dragged. But it wasn't long before the dogs and their owners seemed to be enjoying themselves at Sunday's annual Hot Dippity Dog event.
As usual, the Memorial Park Family Aquatic Center staff reserved the last swim of the season for dogs and their owners. While the Memorial pool is now closed, Ellis Porter Riverside Pool will remain open until Labor Day.
Annabelle Hoose, 6, looks forward to the event each year, her mother said.
"We come every year," Ashleigh Hoose said. "It's just fun for the dogs and it gets them used to the water. (Annabelle) loves it. It's her most favorite thing. She asks repeatedly during the year, 'When is Hot Dippity Dog?'"
Annabelle, at times, had to pull her Maltese-poodle mix, Apple, into the water in the children's area. The dog stepped carefully until it discovered it was able to swim in the area.
Dawson Farris took his dog, Phoebe, on a slide with a drop in the deep end.
"It's our first time, and my dog loves it," he said. "I think she loves all the dogs as much as getting into the water."
The event drew 93 dogs, whose owners each paid $4 for the experience. Upon arrival, owners were given flying discs to toss in the water for the dogs. When they left, they got a "PupCup" custard treat courtesy of the local Culver's.
Julie Haupt, aquatic program manager for the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, said the event has been held at least 20 years or so.
The event is appealing, she said, because it's not often that most dogs get to swim with their owners. The dogs like that, but they also like seeing the other dogs, she said.
"This event is one that my staff and I look forward to each year. We like watching the dogs come in and swim and have fun," she said.
"It's a good atmosphere," said Tim Boyd, whose son, Nate, was in the pool with their dog, Tanner. "We like to see the different types of dogs."
His wife, Jenny, added: "With all the negative stuff in the news, it's nice to do something so positive and fun and community-building."