Hundreds of dogs take over Stronach Community Centre pool for 11th annual Pooch Plunge event

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A loud but happy canine convention was unleashed on the Stronach Community Centre’s outdoor pool on Sunday.

Hundreds of furry friends charged into the water as part of the London Dog Owners Association annual Pooch Plunge.

“It’s just a good chance for people, on the long weekend, to have something fun to do with their pets,” Nina Lavery, vice president of the group, said.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes splashed, chased tennis balls, and drenched owners on the pool deck. 

Ashley Denton, from Thorndale, brought her Pomeranian for a swim. But Obi needed a little convincing at the edge of the pool.

“He loves to swim. He’s not too sure about jumping in, but he’ll walk in. He loves the beach,” Denton said.

On the other side of the pool deck, Sara Raposo was trying to convince her dog, Winston, to embrace the plunge.

“He needs to learn how to swim, and he needs to be more social with dogs,” she said. But Winston, clad in a teeny-tiny orange life jacket, didn’t seem to be enjoying the experience.

“He swims out of the water,” Raposo said with a laugh. “You kind of have to hold him and go in.”

The first plunge was for small dogs only, because last year some of the tinier pups were overwhelmed by their larger friends, Lavery said. Close to 300 dogs were set to take the plunge over the course of the afternoon.

The event raises money for charity and helps Animalert, a local pet adoption group, look for fosters and adoptive fur parents. Last year the Pooch Plunge brought in more than $2,700. This year funds are going to the East Village Animal Hospital.

“They do a lot of really cool things where they help people in the city, with rescue groups and the spay/neuter programs. They also help people on (social) assistance and things like that,” Lavery said.

“They do a lot of good for the city.”

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