It’s a dog’s life at Doggie Poolooza

Rosie Brook’s Dog Nuka, a German shepherd Malinois mix loves the chase.

Are you looking for a place to take your dog for a little relief from the September heat? Then grab your four-legged friend, and head to the Yucaipa Regional Park. San Bernardino County Regional Parks in association with Baseline Animal Hospital is hosting the popular event, Doggie Poolooza, complete with vendors, demonstrations, and a doggie swimsuit contest.

“My dogs love it,” said Silvia Lomeli of West Covina, as she tossed a ball into the water for her two Maltipoo mix dogs. “It is one of the highlights of the year for my dogs to come to the festivals.”

The event draws dog owners from all over Southern California. Tammy Freeman brought her 6-month-old Labradoodle from Yucca Valley to take part in the festivities.

“I wanted to come last year, but we just couldn’t make it,” said Freeman “My dog would come every day if it was possible.” Freeman quipped as her dog pounced on a bright colored tennis ball.

Many dogs were strutting around the park in costume for the “Doggie Swimsuit Contest.” Mike and Sherry Shaw from Moreno Valley dressed up their dogs “Smiling Miley” and “Mr. Winston” for the affair. Smiling Miley sported a hula skirt and a red bandana.

“My dogs are having a blast,” said Sherry Shaw. “This is our first time here, and it is just great,” said Shaw as her dogs pranced around in the water. “We would love to come to this event if they have it again next year.”

As expected, the DJ blasted “Who Let the Dogs Out” on the sound system, as dogs jumped to catch Frisbees and chased balls across the grass. The DJ also announced all of the contest winners.

On Sunday, the big dogs got a chance to get out in the water and play. There was no lack of diversity in the breeds that attended. There were German pointers and shepherds, yellow, black and white labradors, Malinois of Flemish origin, standard poodles, great danes and even a couple of St. Bernards getting into the action.

Stefanee Collins’ of Rancho Cucamonga, dressed her St. Bernard in a lifeguard outfit. Rather fitting considering the breed’s history of being bred as rescue dogs in the Italian-Swiss Alps. Collins’ dog, Brutus, did not disappoint, looking like he could step right into an episode of “Baywatch.”

“We do love coming here, we come every year,” said Collins. “Watching the dogs all have a blast together is so rewarding,” Collis said as she prepped Brutus for the Swimsuit Contest. “It’s like the dogs get their day at the beach to just enjoy one another.”

Rosie Brook of Beaumont attended both days of the event, as she has small and large dogs. Both dogs seemed to love the water, and her Malinois-shepherd mix was eager to swim after the ball, no matter how many times it splashed into the pool.

“It is great that I can bring my dogs to swim here,” said Brook. “It is such a safe environment for them to have fun.”

Many dog owners that attended are also regulars at other dog-friendly places.

“This place is nice,” said Cecil Bradley of Highland. “I take my dog Cleo to Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach all the time, but this is a bit closer for me.”

Margarita Griego and Henry Collins, who work the front entrance, said attendance has been strong.

There are some rules to be aware of, if you plan on attending week two.

Dogs must be over six months old, have current licenses and vaccinations, and must not show aggressive or dangerous behaviors.

Friends of Regional Parks, Will be collecting slightly used/clean blankets, bags of dry dog food, and other dog supplies to help local shelters.

“Please visit a shelter. There are so many dogs that need adopting,” said Griego.

To be sure, many rescue dogs were in attendance. If you would like to take your pooch to join in the fun, you’re in luck. Doggie Poolooza continues Sept. 14. for large dogs and Sept. 15, for small dogs, 19 inches or shorter.

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