In South Florida, the real dog days of summer begin in the fall.
Water parks and public pools in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties will open their doors to pups in the upcoming weeks. And Fort Lauderdale Beach will see a surfing and paddleboarding competition for dogs and their owners.
Quiet Waters Park and T.Y. Park in Broward are hosting events in their water parks in early October. In Miami-Dade, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables will welcome dogs on Oct. 2. Calypso Bay Waterpark in Royal Palm Beach will host four swimming sessions on Oct. 1
Below are details on canine-friendly events at local beaches, parks and pools.
PawSup and Surf Competition
7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 24 at the beach by Sunrise Boulevard and A1A in Fort Lauderdale. Competition fee is $35-$50. Admission is free. Go to the event's Facebook page.
Lybbi Kienzle, of Fort Lauderdale, taught her Golden Lab mix Josh how to surf after he retired from his work as a search dog with the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue Team. Now, she's organizing a canine-friendly surfing and paddleboarding competition.
It costs $35 to enter the competition with a surfboard or a paddleboard, and $55 for people who want to enter both categories. All the money will be donated to Canine Companions for Independence, a national nonprofit that trains assistance dogs, including service dogs and hearing dogs, and then donates them to people with disabilities.
Dogs of all sizes can enter the competition, and neither humans nor animals need to have previous experience surfing or paddling.
"It's just so the people can come out and do something with their dogs that normally they wouldn't be able to do, and for us to have fun and raise money and awareness," says Kienzle, who volunteers as a puppy raiser with Canine Companions for Independence.
In the surfing competition, participants will be judged in the categories of biggest wave, longest ride, best wipeout and funniest dog. Paddleboarders will race to buoys and back to the shore. Dogs will be organized by size, and owners by gender. Dogs and humans must paddleboard or surf together.
Life vests are required for dogs. The event will have a few vests to spare, but it's best to bring your own. Dogs and owners can also attend the event as spectators for free. No permit is necessary.
K9 Water Festivals
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1-2 and Oct. 15-16 at Castaway Island at T.Y. Park, 3300 N. Park Road, Hollywood. Admission is $5 per dog, plus the regular T.Y. Park fee of $1.50 per person. Call 954-357-881 or go to Broward.org/Parks/TopeekeegeeYugneePark.
The annual K9 Water Festivals will take place on two separate weekends. Dogs of all sizes can swim in Castaway Island's large pools for up to 50 minutes. Owners are not allowed in the water, but they can enter the park and play with their dogs by the pool.
"The event has been going on for about 15 years, and because it was so successful, we did add a second weekend a couple years back," says Deborah Battista, manager at T.Y. Park.
There will be a separate area for smaller dogs of 25 pounds or less. Proof of vaccination and a county license tag are required for a dog to enter a session. Dogs must be at least 4 months old and off-leash while inside the water park. Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center will offer low-cost vaccinations at the festival.
Waggin' at the Waterpark
9 a.m.-1:50 p.m. Oct. 1 at Calypso Bay Waterpark, 151 Lamstein Lane, Royal Palm Beach. Admission is $10 per dog, excluding taxes. Call 561-790-6160 or go to PBCgov.com/Parks/Aquatics/WaterParks.
Calypso Bay Waterpark will offer four swimming sessions of 50 minutes for pups throughout the day. Dogs weighing less than 45 pounds can swim at 10 a.m. and noon. Sessions for bigger dogs will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registration opens at 9 a.m. and 30 minutes before each session. Owners are not allowed inside the pool. Proof of vaccination is required, and all dogs must wear a color and a tag while inside the park.
Paws in the Pool
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Venetian Pool, 2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables. Admission is $5.50 per dog and $3.50 per person. Call 305-460-5306 or go to CoralGables.com.
Dogs and owners can swim together during the annual Paws in the Pool event at Coral Gables' Venetian Pool. The first session runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for small dogs of 30 pounds or less. Larger dogs will swim between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
Pups can be off-leash while in the water, but must be on a leash when out of the pool. Tickets will be sold at the door, and there's a max capacity of 200 dogs per session. Proof of vaccination is required to join the event.
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 8-9 at Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. Admission is $5 per dog plus the regular park fee of $1.50 per person. Call 954-357-5100 or go to Broward.org/Parks/QuietWatersPark.
Quiet Waters park will host a two-day event featuring activities for pups and children, including bounce houses, face-painting and a doggie marketplace. Dogs can enter a 50-minute session in the Splash Adventure water playground for $5. Their owners are not allowed in the water with them. Several pool sessions will take place throughout the day. The first session, at 8 a.m., will only be open to dogs of 25 pounds or less. Rescue and nonprofit groups will be at the event with dogs for adoption. Proof of vaccination is required.