Who let the dogs in?


Everybody loves a cool outdoor pool on a hot day. Make that everybody and every doggy too.

Monday is the last day of the season for the Grosvenor Outdoor Pool. After the humans have had their fun throughout the afternoon, the pooches then get their chance to wet their waggers. The annual dog swim is not just a great way to cap off the summer but it also works as a great promotion for a great cause: the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, better known as SCARS.

Terra MacLean, training co-ordinator with SCARS, said that there’s no word on how many Schnauzers and Scotties get into the spirit of the season-ending splashfest but the place is always packed and all have a howling good time.

“It’s pretty fun to watch the dogs. There’s your regular ones that obviously have a pool at home or are quite adept at swimming. They hit the water and don’t look back. Every other dog… I like to watch the comical reactions. The dogs are trying to figure out why they’re there and why they’re allowed in the pool,” she said.

“It’s really, really cute. The dogs really love it.”

SCARS operates in the Edmonton and Athabasca regions, taking in homeless animals or those slated for euthanasia. It collects unowned and unwanted pets from remote area dog pounds and veterinary clinics acting as pounds. It takes in abandoned pets often that are sick or injured. Each creature is assessed and treated as needed, and all are vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.

It isn’t cheap work, but it is important. More and more frequently, there are animals in severe distress.

Please note that this next paragraph contains detail that might be disturbing to some.

SCARS has dealt with “a wild amount” of severe surgical cases in the last month, including one dog that was quilled by a porcupine and then ran into complications, costing the organization close to $8,000 for his repeat surgeries. “Then we’ve had another dog, she had unfortunately, we believe someone cut off her vaginal area.” An intricate surgery was performed to save the animal and allow her to urinate. MacLean said that there has also been “an absolute run” of kittens and puppies that have suffered trauma requiring femoral head removal surgery or putting pins in the animal’s legs.

“It’s Murphy’s Law. They’re all just slammed in. Honestly, probably the last 45 days has been eight surgeries of major, major implications for cost.”

SCARS offers all of its services thanks to donations. It offers a number of different fundraisers throughout the year. Visit www.scarscare.ca to see others but none really compare to the unleashed glee that comes with the dog swim.

“I don’t think you’ll ever see any happier dogs. It involves toys and water and a kind of free-for-all.”

The annual dog swim takes place at the Grosvenor Outdoor Pool on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission is by monetary donation or donating a new or gently used pet toy or blanket to help support SCARS. For a complete list of possible donations, please visit the SCARS website and find the wishlist.

Please note that dogs need to be up to date on their rabies shots and vaccines, and humans … bring your own bags to pick up after your dog.


About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.