Dogs make a splash during summer events

By Dr. Beth Leermakers

When you spend many hours on Facebook networking shelter dogs, you discover a lot of animal care tips and resources from rescuers in the trenches. Here are a few dog-related tips that may be helpful. 

To keep cool, Maisie loves to jump into pools and swim.
Photo by Beth Leermakers

Dog Activities

Sniffspot. If your dog doesn’t get along with other dogs, or is afraid of people, you can’t take him to the dog park. Instead, you can rent someone’s yard for an hour. I took my dogs to a wonderful sniffspot in Cedar Hill, with one fenced acre and a pool (sadly no longer available at this time). My water dog was in heaven, and my other dogs had plenty of room to romp. Sniffspots would also be helpful when traveling with a dog who needs to stretch his legs, or who won’t go to the bathroom on a leash. Use the Sniffspot app to find a sniffspot near you, reserve a time and pay. 

Dog-friendly stores. When it’s too hot or rainy to walk outside, take your dog to Home Depot, Lowes, Bass Pro Shop or Cabelas for some exercise. Call ahead to be sure that location allows dogs. Half Price Books, The Container Store and, of course, PetSmart, Petco and other pet stores also welcome dogs. 

Dog swimming events. At the end of the season, many local pools and water parks open their gates to pooches and their people. Proof of current vaccinations is required, and some events require dogs to be spayed/neutered, so plan ahead. 

Here are a few of my favorite events. 

Doggie Splash Day. Saturday August 5, 9 a.m.-noon, Vanston Pool, 2913 Oates Dr. in Mesquite. $5 for 1 person and dog; $2 for each additional dog; $1 for spectators. Proof of vaccinations is required. Visit the website to pay in advance and skip the line! 

Pooch Plunge. Sunday, August 6, noon-3 p.m. WetZone, 5304 Main St. in Rowlett. $15 per dog, $5 per person. You must purchase tickets online (no tickets sold at the door). Proof of rabies vaccination is required.  

Doggie Dive In. Saturday, August 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Central Aquatics Center, 715 Mary Drive in Hurst. $10 per person, dogs are free (maximum of two dogs/person). Dogs must be spayed/neutered. Proof of current vaccinations, including rabies, is required. 

Wags and Waves. Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Hawaiian Falls Garland, 4550 North Garland Ave. $22 per person (purchased online until Sept. 7), $25 day of the event. Dogs must be spayed/neutered and current on vaccinations, including rabies. 

Doggie Beach Bash. Date TBA (in mid-September, usually on a Sunday afternoon). NRH20, 9001 26 Blvd., North Richland Hills. Tickets can be purchased in advance.

Training/Fearful Dog Resources

The Muzzle Up Project. Need help getting your fearful dog used to wearing a muzzle before you head to the vet? Follow the muzzle conditioning protocol at 

Relaxation protocol. This is a 15-day program that helps anxious, reactive (and well-adjusted) dogs learn to settle and pay attention to you. Download the free MP3 audio files at 

Contact-free boarding. My dog is terrified of new people and won’t let strangers touch him. 

A muzzle and sedative get us through vet appointments, but boarding him is challenging. I found a trainer in Azle who boards fearful dogs. My boy spent five days at Paws to Consider (; 817-458-8161), and Rachel never touched him. She opened his kennel door so he could go outside to the play yard several times a day. 

Family PetCare (in Fort Worth, and Pappys Pet Lodge (; multiple DFW locations; I considered the facility in Roanoke) also offer contact-free boarding.  

If you have any best kept secrets for me to share in a future column, send them my way at [email protected]. Thanks and have fun with your dog(s)!