Like people, dogs just wanna have fun.
That's the motive behind the Tri-City Dog Park Society's annual Pooch Plunge, which starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8, at Howard Amon Park in Richland.
Dogs will be able to frolic in the park's wading pool or run like the wind in wet and dry fenced areas. Vendors will offer dog-related items on site, as well as food, and a silent auction is planned.
Dogs must be at least 5 months old to participate. Each must be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and supervised by its owner to take part in the fun. No children age 10 or younger will be allowed in the fenced areas.
It'll cost dog owners $5 for each pooch to participate. Proceeds go toward the society's fund to open dog parks in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland.
"Our hope is to have three dog parks within 10 years around the Tri-Cities," said Dave Cazier, president of the Tri-City Dog Park Society. "Right now there's only one in West Richland, on the north side of the Badger Mountain Sports Complex off Keene Road."
Dogs can play in the fenced-off areas at the park unleashed until 4 p.m. each day.
"It's a beautiful thing to see how well all the dogs get along," Cazier said. "When dogs are at home they have the responsibility of protecting the family and the home. Here they're able to become a dog again by playing and wrestling with all the other dogs. It's really a sight to see."
The city of Richland's Parks and Recreation Department is co-sponsoring the event with the Tri-City Dog Park Society, which was organized in 2005. Its mission is to promote, establish and maintain off-leash dog parks in the Tri-Cities.
Cazier says in the four years since the event started, he's never seen dog fights occur.
"Events like this really do help dogs learn to socialize with other dogs, and they need the freedom for a while," Cazier said. "It's a day just for the dogs to have fun and run off some energy. And people love to watch animals at play. They can be so entertaining and hilarious to watch."
-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal