MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Shouts of Watson! Piper! Winston! Molly! were heard this sunny Saturday at the Maplewood Pool, but it wasn't coming from parents trying to get their kids attention, but rather that of their dogs who were enjoying the first Dog Days of Summer event from the Maplewood Recreation Department.

Dogs of all sizes and breeds ran around the grounds of the Maplewood Pool, as well as jumped into and swam in the pools, all which were open for the dogs to enjoy. Several pet owners shared that they were surprised their dogs were not going into the water, but instead, were busy playing with other dogs around the pool deck.

Jill Paice was there with her two dogs, who shared via email, "my two pups ran around (mostly around the Pet Wants treat stand where they were giving away free samples) and enjoyed the water.  The labs and the goldens seemed to be having the most fun retrieving tennis balls from the deep end with ease... we were particularly amused by a bull dog who worked for about two hours pushing a giant beach ball around, in and out of the pool."

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Paice also acknowledged the hard work of the lifeguards, who she described "as attentive as ever," and who also manned the doors to the pool to ensure no dogs got out without their owners. "I am thankful to live in a community that recognizes that there are many dog owners who love their dogs like family and that we like to give our dogs special adventures," said Paice.

"I think this was a great opportunity for all of the dog lover's of the community to give their dogs the best day ever," said Paice. "Our pups bring us so much joy and they complete our lives in ways we never expected. This was the best way to give back to them. I can't wait for next year to do it all again."

Melissa Mancuso, Maplewood's Director of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, said she came-up with the idea after learning of similar events at other towns, and thinking it was a perfect fit for the dog-friendly town of Maplewood. Mancuso said she was happy to see so many pets and their owners enjoying the event.

Maplewood Mayor Vic De Luca agreed with Mancuso that the event was a success adding, "letting residents bring their pets to the pool is a great way to wrap-up the pool season."

The Dog Days of Summer is the last event of the summer at the Maplewood Pool, said Mancuso, who added she expects to hold the event again next season.