H-NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Sep 15, 2011 7:53 PM by Jeanette Trompeter

No Place Like Home: Dog Days of Summer

As summer gives way to fall, there are rituals that mark the change of seasons. Like city pools closing for the season. In Templeton, that ritual happens with a wonderful celebration. And joyous proof, there's No Place Like Home.

The dog days of summer arrive late in Templeton. At least in the literal sense at the community pool. "No running!" a volunteer yells at two labs scrambling across the pool deck. Come September, they clean and close the pool in Templeton, but before that happens, it's a four-legged-free for all weekend. "No Running" she commands again, and once again, her commands are ignored.

It's called Dog Splash Days and it's a fundraiser for the Vineyard Dog Park. Over three days, hundreds of happy canines get free rein to the wet relief a dip in the pool provides in a hot summer day. "It's really Dog Disneyland. Dogs get to come and jump and play with their friends." says Paula Ofarrell, President of Parks for Pups. "It's a rare day for a dog to get to swim in a community pool, especially a big pool."

And it's a rare opportunity for all of us to observe the lessons to be learned from our four-legged friends. Similar to children, their enthusiasm is not harnessed with worries about body image or bathing suit insecurities. "Of course we have a huge supply of rubber ducks and yellow bananas." says Ofarrell. "And all kinds of fun toys, so it's really dog delight."

The changing of seasons should come with celebrations like this. Because there's something about these transitions....they mark our lives. We'll remember where we were this time next year, who we palled around with, what brought us the most delight, and what we were scared of. "It took him three years to get really comfortable with jumping in the pool" says Ginny Becchine, talking about her dog.

By this time next year, it may all be much different. But rituals like this
provide a sense of continuity, comic relief and a celebration of the summertime fun that, like or not, is winding down. "It's just pure joy." explains Ofarrell. "Sometimes our lives aren't full of this, but when you see just pure joy, happiness, bliss, just so happy, it just creates these lasting memories." And more proof there's no place like home.

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