To end summer with a splash, YMCA Auckland let the dogs out with their second fun-filled Doggy Day Out. May 1st was a sunny Sunday, and YMCA at the Onehunga War Memorial Pool welcomed dogs of all shapes and sizes for a splash around in their outdoor pools before they closed for winter. The day featured lots of fun-filled canine activities and plenty of treats for dogs and owners alike.

A dog photographer came along for the ride, local businesses had stalls set up, Auckland Council had a dog handler present and Beneful New Zealand were sponsors of the event, so it was certainly a busy day – and that’s before you think about the 187 dogs that attended with their families. With a $5 donation per dog, it was an easy way to have a pet-friendly day for the Onehunga community – and beyond!

There was quite a queue before the event opened, which is always an exciting way to kick off an event. With lots of interest on Facebook, and substantial community support (especially with local group ‘Dog Lovers of Onehunga Bay’), the Dog Day Out was ready to be a rollicking success.

Jo Brayshaw, Centre Marketing Representative, was really enthusiastic about the day – and how easy it was to run. “It was an event that practically ran itself – the dogs really let loose, and by the end of the day they were tuckered out.”

There’s that old show biz adage about never working with children or animals – but we at YMCA Auckland already know how wonderful working with kids can be, and our doggy dealings proved no different. That’s not to say that there weren’t challenges, mind you. Jo elaborates:

“It was interesting – and entertaining – seeing some of the dogs being introduced to water for the first time. Some were just throwing themselves in, while others were a bit hesitant. One small Dalmatian puppy was very cute – and very scared of the water!”

There was also a bit of a challenge in containing all the dogs in the relatively small area. There were some runaway attempts – but the one dog that did manage to get out into the park was quickly tracked down. YMCA Auckland staff also made sure to carefully manage the dogs’ entrance into the pool area, so that regular gym-goers weren’t inconvenienced by the day’s festivities.

Dogs and their people came from all around to spend the day having fun in the sun. While there was fabulous representation from the local Onehunga community, we also had a visitor from Tauranga come all the way up, just to have a really special day with his dog and new canine pals. Local councillor Denise Krum came along to see what we were up to, and Centre Manager Cameron Kerr brought his whole family along for the fun and festivities.

Special thanks must go to Beneful for their sponsorship – providing everyone with samples of Beneful Medleys, as well as spot prizes of full bags of Beneful dry food.

It’s also important to mention where the entry donations went to. Over $1000 was raised towards YMCA Auckland’s Send a Family to Camp cause. You may remember our article about the most recent year’s Family Camp from our last e-newsletter – and these funds will help the next camp be just as wonderful.

The Send a Family to Camp cause gives families an opportunity to be active, have fun and spend some quality time together and with other families at YMCA Camp Adair in the beautiful Hunua Ranges.

This year’s Dog Day Out was a huge success – but next year, the YMCA at the Onehunga War Memorial Pool want to make it bigger and better than ever. So make sure that you and your pup keep it in mind – when the outdoor pool is closing, a doggone good time is just around the corner!