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Canines enjoy ‘Bark in the Waterpark’
Dogs enjoy a swim on Saturday at “Bark in the Waterpark,” a fundraiser for the Great Bend Dog Park. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The Wetlands Waterpark closed to humans the weekend before school started, but there’s always a final furry swim before the pool closes for the year. Saturday was the annual Bark in the Waterpark, with dogs only invited to swim.

The humans present were there to chaperone their “fur babies.” Pool Manager Megan Hammeke and crew were there to take donations at the gate and make sure no dogs went running out without their owners. They requested $5 per dog, with proceeds going to the Great Bend Dog Park.

Some people came without dogs, just to see the spectacle. A woman from Hays with two children said they’d just visited the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo and thought it would be fun to see the puppies swimming.

Another woman came alone but made a donation to the dog park anyhow, Hammeke said. “She just wanted to see what it was about.”

“This is the most dogs I’ve here seen!” an enthusiastic youth said.

The event lasted until noon and by 11:30 a.m. they had admitted 80 dogs, surpassing last year’s total of 63.

“It was a beautiful day,” Hammeke said.

“I’ve never seen dogs swim before,” another observer said.

“I’ve had so much fun,” yet another woman said. “It’s been years since I’ve been in this pool.”

With 30 minutes still left, a few families with dogs were already headed past the gatekeepers.

“They’re worn out,” said one woman with two dogs.