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“Yappy Hour’ a splashing success

By Staff | Oct 3, 2010

Man’s best friend wet their paws for the first time Saturday at Sun Splash Family Waterpark and their owners reported that it was a barking good time.
Officials decided to open the Tot Spot and Family Pool areas to dogs for a day of fun before the pools were drained and filters changed. The park closed for the season Sept. 26. “Yappy Hour,” which ran from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., was open to all dogs with proof of current vaccinations and a completed registration form.
The cost was $7 per canine, but free to owners. The catch: Only dogs were allowed to swim. Owners could wade in to the water to retrieve their dog, if needed, but they could not swim nor use the slides at the park.
Cape Coral resident Teresa Webster dropped by with her family, her son’s girlfriend and three four-legged friends, chihuahuas Daisy Mae and Taco, and Reed, a terrier. She said they came out because it was the first time the park had opened up the grounds for dogs.
“It was fun,” she said. “It was cute watching the big dogs bite the waterfall.”
Lisa Salerno, girlfriend of Webster’s son, said the dogs swam and played nicely.
“They did a lot better than we thought they would,” she said.
Salerno added that the event offered them something new to do.
“They usually don’t have many events available for dogs,” she said.
Robert Webber and his wife, Laurel, traveled from Punta Gorda to attend Yappy Hour with their 9-year-old yellow labrador, Morgan. Webber explained that they live on a boat for a portion of the year and Morgan has access to freshwater. During the winter, the head to their Punta Gorda home where there is limited access to safe freshwater.
“She doesn’t get in the water because of the cute little alligators,” he said, adding that Saturday’s event was a good idea. “This is a real opportunity for her.”
Webber said they take Morgan to homes with pools, but a water park is different.
“This is a water dog,” he added. “They love it. They are absolutely passionate about the water.”
Shirley Brennan, of Matlacha, also was not one to pass up a great day for Sky, her 7-year-old malamute mix. Sky spent the day swimming in the water and checking out the other dogs present. The friendly type, the event gave Sky a chance to socialize.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for people to get out with their dogs,” Brennan said.
“She’s having a great time,” she added.
According to officials, Yappy Hour could become a staple at the park in the future.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd. For information about the park, call 574-0558 or visit the website at: www.SunSplashWaterpark.com.