Pooch Plunge

The dog days of summer might be on the wane, but there’s a chance for one last hurrah as the Windham County Humane Society and Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department will co-host the 2nd  annual Doggie Plunge Monday, Aug. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Living Memorial Park swimming pool in Brattleboro.

“This was a creative idea that we came up with last year, and it did so well that we decided to hold it again,” said John O’Farrell, director of development at Windham County Humane Society. “For 10 bucks, you can bring your pooch to the pool to splash around for a while.

“This is the one time during the entire summer where owners and pets alike can get together and enjoy the facility. This is the last day the pool will be open before we drain and clean it for the winter, so it’s an invaluable opportunity for the animals.”

O’Farrell said that the dogs will be allowed into the pool in small groups, which will be rotated out every 30 minutes, to allow enough swimming and romping time for all. Owners are welcome on the pool deck, but are asked not to swim with the dogs

“We’ll have lifeguards on duty throughout the event,” he said. “The dogs must be licensed, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. We also expect all owners to have their pets on a leash and under control.”

O’Farrell said that this was quite a popular event last year, with about 20 to 30 animals in attendance. He said that there will also be a prize wheel, where pet owners can win free giveaways, such as T-shirts, hats with logos and so forth.

“This is something that we added, to add a fun element to the event,” he said. “This way, owners can have a little souvenir of the day.”

The history of the Windham County Humane Society goes back well over 100 years. In 1887, a group of animal lovers in Windham County formed The Brattleboro Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Mrs. Jennie B. Powers served as humane agent for both Windham County in Vermont and Cheshire County in New Hampshire.

Armed with the powers of a deputy sheriff, Powers worked tirelessly in defense of animals. She once jumped from a window in her Brattleboro home to stop a man from beating his horses.

At the freight yards, she monitored the loading of cattle, inspecting them on the cars. At her own expense, she also once fought in a court case against a man charged with starving his horse.

In 1968, the organization gained 501(c)3 status under the new name, Windham County Humane Society (WCHS). In the early 1980s, WCHS was run out of an office in downtown Brattleboro, with no housing available for animals.

In the late 1990s, a dedicated group of volunteers raised the money to build a new facility on West River Road, which opened to the public in April 2000 and where it is still located to this day.

“This event is a firm favorite with our staff,” said Phoebe Wolfman, outreach coordinator for WCHS. “We just really love seeing these dogs splashing around in the water, and clearly enjoying themselves.”

Another event of note coming up this weekend at WCHS is the Clear the Shelter Adoption Event, which will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 5 p.m.

“This is a national event, where we’re waiving the adoption fees for adult cats, and 50 percent off adult dogs,” Wolfman said. “We’re really trying to find a way to get the animals out of the shelter and into their forever homes.”

NBC- and Telemundo-owned TV stations are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host this initiative, a nationwide pet adoption drive to help find loving homes for animals in need. More than 250,000 pets have found their forever homes through this event since 2015.

“We’re very proud of the work we’re doing at the Windham County Humane Society,” Wolfman said. “From the Doggie Plunge to placement services, we provide a very real and tangible service to the animals of this community.”

The 2nd annual Doggie Plunge will take place Monday, Aug. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m., at Living Memorial Park Pool, 31 Memorial Park Drive, West Brattleboro. Admission is $10 per dog, payable at the door. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Windham County Humane Society and Brattleboro Recreation and Parks. The Clear the Shelter Adoption Event will be held Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 5 p.m., at the Windham County Humane Society, 916 West River Road, Brattleboro. For more information, contact WCHS at 802-254-2232,

windhamcountyhumane.org or info@windhamcountyhumane.org.