Howling at Hamilton allows for canine socialization

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No one really likes wet dog smell, but it’s worth it when the pooch gets some play time in the pool.

The Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center (HLAC) held their Howling at Hamilton event Sunday, inviting dogs from across the Palouse to enjoy the water. The Humane Society of the Palouse received the proceeds from the event.

The event coordinator and board member for the Humane Society of the Palouse Emily Spellman has been running the event for nine years.

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“I was reading in ‘The Bark’ magazine … and there was a small town that was doing this as a fundraiser for their shelter,” Spellman said. “I thought, ‘Well, maybe Moscow would do that for us.’”

Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center is a pool/waterpark located in Moscow, ID. Aside from the pools, there are a couple slides and a play structure. At the event, there were also toys for purchase and free treats for the dogs.

The convenience of having the event at HLAC is the fenced-in area and water that is safe for dogs to swim in, Spellman said.

A wide range of breeds arrived to play in the water, from Great Danes to pugs and every size in between. About 150 dogs showed up within the first hour of the event, Spellman said. By the end of the day, 445 dogs had attended.

“All the dogs have fun,” Spellman said. “Even the dogs that don’t swim run around and play.”

Grace Fisher, a WSU junior majoring in construction management, found Howling at Hamilton through the Center for Civic Engagement and decided to volunteer at the event.

“It’s a good opportunity to get outside on a Sunday and have fun and do something different,” she said.

The lively atmosphere at the pool was exemplified by the dogs jumping, running and shaking all over the place. Howling at Hamilton gives these dogs an opportunity to interact with other dogs and humans.

“I think it’s good that people’s dogs are able to be around these other dogs without it being dangerous for anyone,” WSU graduate Anastasia Kibby said.

Some of the requirements for the dogs to attend are that each dog needs a person, and the dog should be in good temperament in order to avoid conflicts with the other canines, Spellman said.

“(We wanted to) let them come out and have some fun,” said Allister Billow, who brought his two dogs, Maddie and Doug.

Some of the dogs who came to the event were rescues or came from the Humane Society, Spellman said. She said she intends to continue Howling at Hamilton for as long as possible.

Spellman said her favorite part is seeing all the happy people and dogs. Everyone enjoys the time to play in the water and be with the dogs, she said.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her have so much fun,” Kibby said, referring to her dog, Brownie.