10th Annual Dog Swim at Ida Lee

In the parking lot at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg, early arrivals cautiously sniffed each other. A Cavalier whimpered at the sight of a Chihuahua. Leading with his nose, a Husky stalked a strutting Boxer.  Soon, they were arriving in droves.  Among them: Golden Retrievers, one Bloodhound, Poodles, West Highland Terriers, Chihuahuas and Jack Russells, German Shepherds and Bulldogs, Boxers, a Springer Spaniel, Labradoodles, Huskies, Black, Chocolate and Yellow Labs plus just one sweet, gentle giant Newfoundland. They trotted and paced and panted and of course smiled.

We were about to experience the tenth annual Leesburg Dog Swim – an event popular at many Loudoun County community pools celebrating the last hurrah of the summer.

As this canine menagerie lined up with their owners, pups were unleashed and released into the pool area one at a time. In spite of their numbers, this was a well mannered menagerie by canine standards. Some waded into the water, then out, then in and, as dogs do, out again. Others kept their distance, clearly not fans of H2O. There was an occasional high speed canine conga line weaving in and around the attendees with a surprisingly minimal amount of barking.  It concerned no one that there were just a few tennis balls for play, all of which were, as expected, hoarded by black labs.

Dr. Mike Strickland, a Veterinarian for 35 years, has attended this event every year since its inception a decade ago. He and his assistants from Leesburg Veterinary Hospital set up a tented area where they were soon busy administering first aid for any four legged swimmers in need of attention for strains, scrapes or the twisted nails that come from over vigorously climbing in and out of a concrete pool. Barring these injuries, dog romping ensued non stop until the event was played out and tired dogs and owners headed home for a long wet dog nap.

All in all, it was a petite mardigras for dog people and their happy dogs.

Leesburg Veterinary Hospital is located at 19463 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg, VA 20175; 703-777-3313; http://leesburgvet.com/

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