Dog Day at the Leisure Pool

Students and members of the Lubbock community relax with their dogs at the Texas Tech Recreational Sports Center's Dog Day at the Leisure Pool event at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2019 at the leisure pool.

Texas Tech hosted its annual Dog Day at the leisure pool in Urbanovsky Park from 3 to 6 p.m. The event is meant for owners to bring their dogs to the pool and have an interactive experience with fellow pets and their owners. 

Simone Portnoy, a junior human development and family studies major and lifeguard at the Tech Leisure pool, says the event is normally set for the last day the leisure pool is open before they transition into the indoor pool area due to the shift in season. Portnoy said last year the event was cancelled due to the temperature being too low.  

She said there are some requirements which must be met in order to allow an owner to bring their fluffy companions.  

“You have to bring a proof of vaccination; this includes a tag or something that verifies their date of vaccination,” Portnoy said. “They also have to make a five-dollar cash donation and after that they can come in from 3 p.m to 6 p.m.” 

All proceeds from the event are donated to the State Employee Charitable Campaign, and the five-dollar fee will directly contribute to a local shelter, Portnoy said.

She said after the event concludes, the lifeguard team will then proceed to clean the chairs and spend the next few months making sure the leisure pool is clean until it reopens once winter has passed in three to four months. 

Eric Maki, director of recreational sports and overseer of the event, said the event was a fun way of bringing together the community one final time before winter came. 

“We only shut down the leisure pool when it starts to become seasonal weather. When we start to close down the leisure pool, it’s our way of bringing in people,” Maki said. “We know our campus has as many dogs as there are people, sometimes, it’s a great chance to bring both into the same environment.” 

He notes the variety of breeds at the event, having seen everything from the traditional Labradors running about to a little pug relaxing on his chair, he said.

Maki said the event has been going on for over seven years at Tech, though every year it gets a little different, a little bigger and new aspects are added. This is exemplified by the addition of the local Lubbock community being able to partake in the event, as he states in previous years the event was restricted to Tech student and faculty. 

“We look at Texas Tech as an extension of the Lubbock community,” he said. “This is an opportunity to invite them in and demonstrate our great facilities. 

The event also acts as a form of possible recruitment, he said. Maki said as parents and children interact and enjoy the event, there is a possibility the positive experience may stick with them for years to come, inclining them to attend Tech. 

Kendall Gerdes, a professor of technical communication and rhetoric for the English Department, enjoyed her time with her dog Buckley, a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier. 

“He is ten-years-old and loves to swim, this is heaven on Earth for him,” Gerdes said. “This is my fourth year at Tech, it took me a while to hear about it, but last year it was canceled. Today though is gorgeous and a great day for swimming, this is really fun, and I am glad that everyone's dogs are on leashes, it makes it more secure to know that people are looking out for each other's safety.”  

Myra Castillo, a Lubbock local, partook in the even with her dog Koti, a female Brindle Boxer. Together they enjoyed the open session in the pool, Castillo said this was the first time 11-month-old Koti had ever swum. 

“I am glad that they did this, though I wish that either Tech or someone locally would have more splash pads for dogs” Castillo said, “They only have two or three dog parks in Lubbock, we need more events and places like this.” 

Castillo said she was glad they did the event. She said if either Tech or some local would open a splash pad for dogs, it would be great for pets. She said there are only two or three dog parks in Lubbock.  

“We look at Texas Tech as an extension of the Lubbock community,” Maki said. “This is an opportunity to invite them in and demonstrate our great facilities. This is a signature event; everybody sees their pets as an extension of their family, and so this is a chance to allow both kids and adults to be in the water with their dogs and have fun.” 

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