Making a splash: Furry friends paddle their way through Doggie Dip Day

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By Deborah Swearingen

As the gates of the Ken-Caryl Ranch pool opened Saturday, dogs of all shapes and sizes poured in.


The parade of pups signaled the start of the final session of Doggie Dip Day. The canine event — now in its 12th year — includes a free swim session, and diving, swimming and retrieving competitions. It’s held at the pool after it closes for the summer, and there are three 60-minute sessions for Ken-Caryl residents and their dogs to choose from.

With all the dogs running in and out of the clear blue water, it was tough for some to discern one from another.

“There are so many goldens,” Vicki Calabro said, laughing, while searching for her golden retriever Bella.

Bella bounced in and out of the water, shaking dry only to submerge herself again.

“She loves the water,” Calabro said. “And the kids, of course.”

Calabro and her family were one of many in attendance at the fun-filled pool event.

Doggie Dip Day is one of Kristen Peterka’s favorite events. As a dog owner and lover, the Ken-Caryl recreation director enjoys seeing the dogs’ excitement.

“It’s the happiest day of the summer,” she said. “The dogs and their owners are so excited to be here.”

Calabro echoed this point, eyeing the balls of wet fur paddling through the water.

“This is super hysterical,” she said.

Although a few fearless dogs jumped right in, most were a bit more hesitant. But once they dipped their paws in the water, the dogs were thrilled to cool off on a hot summer day.

“What I like to see is dogs that are scared, and if the owner works with them slowly and they gain confidence, they’ve achieved another thing that makes them more confident,” said Dawn Olson, owner of the Ken-Caryl Pet Spa.

Olson attends the Doggie Dip Day with her business most years and said she loves that the event provides a chance for the dogs to interact with each other.

“I just like the socialization of the dogs,” she said. “Again, it’s so good for them.”

Carrie Thornburg and her German shepherd Lina attend every year. Last Saturday, Lina moved in and out of the water with ease, fetching balls tossed by Thornburg.

Lina has learned what the trip to the Ken-Caryl Ranch pool means, and the dog could barely contain her excitement when the pair pulled in to the parking lot.

“We love this,” Thornburg said.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.