It’s a ritual worthy of the end of summer. Each year, after the last bather has toweled off and flip-flopped out of the park, KC Parks and Rec staff at The Springs Aquatic Center prepare for the region’s wildest dog party. This year, the park was opened on September 9 to hundreds of dogs and their families for three sessions of water play. The result: happy chaos.
At the deep end and in the lazy river, retrievers jumped in and out of the water to chase thrown objects. At the other end of the pool, dogs of all descriptions splashed, chased and lost each other, and ran down the kiddie slide. The rules were simple: no humans in the water past their knees, and all dogs on leashes unless in the water. Humans mostly ignored the first rule and made every reasonable effort to comply with the second. But, like children, dogs don’t stay in the pool, and the decks were a constant flurry of dogs running from group to group.
Dogs are uniquely able to lose themselves in the pleasure of the moment. If joy could be measured per square foot, for six hours on September 9, The Springs may well have been the happiest place on Earth.