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Sun Splash “Yappy Hour’ gives dogs a tail-waggin’ good time

By Staff | Oct 2, 2011

For the second year in a row, Yappy Hour hosted by Sun Splash Family Waterpark was a tail wagging good time for dogs of all breeds, sizes and colors and their owners.

The park opened its doors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, offering local canines a chance to take a dip in the family pool or splash around in the children’s area. The cost was $10 per dog; owners got in free. A handful of vendors sold pet supplies and toys, including colored Frisbees and tennis balls.

“Very, very good,” Sandie Greiner, the manager of the waterpark, said of the event. “Good turnout.”

When the park threw the first Yappy Hour last year, it was a one-day event and 174 dogs showed. After receiving positive feedback in calls and e-mails, Greiner decided to expand the event over two days.

“I just felt like the demand was greater,” she said.

This year, 264 dogs attended on Saturday and Sunday combined.

Cape Coral resident Debbie Bolan dropped by with her 7-year-old Australian shepherd, Tara.

“I love it,” she said of Yappy Hour. “I think it’s a wonderful event.”

Bolan explained that she has always liked the water park and Tara enjoys the water, so the event was a perfect combination for them. It also gave Tara a chance to meet and play with other dogs, she added.

“They’re mingling with other pets,” Bolan said of the canines present.

Asked what Sun Splash could do different next year, she offered adding some pet adoption tables.

“These are obviously pet lovers,” Bolan said. “I hope it continues.”

Greiner is looking to expand Yappy Hour to include groups like the Humane Society and Lee County Animal Services for adoptions. She invited the organizations this year, but they were unable to attend due to prior weekend engagements.

“We want to make it a pet-friendly day,” Greiner said. “It’s turning more into that every year.”

“I just want to keep building on it,” she added.

Cape resident Barbara Galletta attended Yappy Hour with Oakley, her 1-year-old yorkie.

“I wanted him to get more used to being near water and a lot of dogs,” she said, noting that it was her first time visiting the water park. “So I came to bring him, but now that I saw it, I’ll come myself.”

Oakley was spending the day running around and testing out the shallower waters. Galletta wished the larger dogs were being kept more to the family pool and the little dogs being kept more to the children’s area, as advertised, because the event might be more controlled, but they were still having a good time.

“He’s been very good,” she said. “And I like being able to take him off the leash and let him play.”

With a 1 year-old beagle named Annie left home on Saturday, Galletta said she might bring her Sunday.

“I think it’s nice they do this for the dogs,” she said.

According to Greiner, the park will hold Yappy Hour each year as long as there are no problems.

“As long as there’re no incidents with the dogs,” she said.

To participate in the event, owners had to provide proof of their dog’s vaccinations and they had to fill out a form. Forms were available online and at various locations in the city, such as City Hall and Rotary Park, where the dog park is located. Forms were also available at the park during the weekend event.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark is located at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.

For more information about the park, call 574-0558 or visit: www.sunsplashwaterpark.com.