Joco 913

What’s soggy, fetching and downright fun? A dog pool party

Soaking wet but happy,15-week-old Cheeto, a future KSDS (Kansas Specialty Dog Service) dog, brings his squishy ball back to his foster mom during Saturday’s Tails on the Trails Pet Festival held at Lenexa’s Ad Astra Pool and Park.
Soaking wet but happy,15-week-old Cheeto, a future KSDS (Kansas Specialty Dog Service) dog, brings his squishy ball back to his foster mom during Saturday’s Tails on the Trails Pet Festival held at Lenexa’s Ad Astra Pool and Park. Special to The Star

What’s a pool party without a little ear-to-ear (or nose-to-nose) gossip.

From the looks of all the tails wagging and posteriors being sniffed, that’s exactly what happened on Aug. 12 when dozens of dogs gathered.

Among the fun activities at the Tails on the Trails Pet Festival: chasing Frisbees, darting after tennis balls, and frolicking in and out of the water at Lenexa’s Ad Astra Pool and Park.

Accompanied by their best people friends, dogs of all breeds not only partied by and in the pool, they showed off their slick dance moves and impeccable trick skills at the festival’s pet talent show.

The event also included a K9 demonstration presented by Lenexa Police Department officers Mike Grisell and Brentt Donaldson, together with their crime-solving K9 partners, Kobi and Wrecker.

Many of the furry guests had made their way to the annual Ad Astra Pool and Park shindig in years past. For others, this was the first time they discovered the joy of a dogs-only swimming pool party.

Ecstatically happy Bruno, a 4-month-old shelter dog, found that pool parties are absolutely “his thing,” as he swam circles in and around his new big-dog friends.

“Bruno is having so much fun,” said Ally McNitt, Greater Kansas City Humane Society volunteer. “Shelter dogs don’t have big pools like this. We brought five dogs today and it’s great to see how happy they are here.”

Like Bruno, Cheeto, a 15-week-old yellow Labrador Retriever, attended his first pool soiree. The party was also his first introduction to the experience of swimming with fellow canines.

“When we first got here, he was overwhelmed,” said Lacey Sturgis, Cheeto’s foster mom. “But it didn’t take long to adjust. He just loves being with other dogs.”

Cheeto, a future Kansas Specialty Dog Service dog, will be fostered by Sturgis for the next a year and a half. During that time, Sturgis will partner with a professional trainer to teach Cheeto basic obedience, along with rules on eating and playing, before he returns to Dog Service for additional training.

One party guest had an ulterior motive for showing up to swim.

“Luna loves to swim,” said Sherie Grafton about her 4-year-old Coonhound Boxer. “But, the only reason she loves to swim is so she can get dried. She loves the towel. So, she gets wet over and over, so I will dry her again.”

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