Posted 3d ago
Jules places a bucket of tennis balls for the dogs to play with (Image: Jules Shepherd
The incredible annual Dog Swim event at Saltdean Lido is back again for the fifth year running. The three-weekend event is set to see more than 2,000 dogs enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool in Brighton.
Last weekend, the event kicked off with 150 golden retrievers having a swimming session that sold out within three hours of tickets going on sale. More than 1,000 dogs and 2,000 people have enjoyed the event so far, with another two weekends left.
Jules Shepherd, director at Saltdean Lido CIC, said: “Last weekend was phenomenal, that's the only word for it. We had dogs come from all over the country including Sheffield, North Wales and Cornwall.”
The ‘Dogtember’ event isn’t limited to golden retrievers. New for this year will be a variety of specific sessions, including quiet sessions for the more intimidated dogs who prefer a more relaxed swim. There will be sessions for small dogs who weigh up to 10kg. And then there will be hearing dogs from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People joining.
150 golden retrievers kicked off the event for Weekend One (Image: Saltdean Lido)
The quiet and small dog sessions (Saturday, September 18) were a popular request last year and tickets have already sold out.
Julie said: “We’ve got a big batch of hearing dogs for the deaf. Last year we had to restrict numbers because of Covid-19 but we’re holding two quiet sessions for the more intimidated dogs.
“We’ve also got a session for small dogs, so we’ll have Chihuahuas playing in the pool and using our slide. We have a couple of Great Danes who are frightened of deep water.”
Dogs that attend have free reign of the 40m pool and can be accompanied in the water by their owners. Demand is so high, Julie says they can only allow up to 150 dogs and 150 people in the pool at a time which can sometimes leave others without a ticket.
Dogs that prefer a quieter swim can join the quiet session on Saturday, September 18
The annual event has grown in popularity year upon year with this being the biggest one yet. Julie thinks back to when it all began in 2017.
She said: “It started off with a group of golden retrievers who came over from Kent. They have their own group which was later extended to the Kent and Sussex golden retriever group because they had so many people enquiring. They usually book out a complete session.”
Five years later, the event attracts spectators willing to pay to watch the pups enjoy their swim. To join in costs £8 for a dog or human swimmer, and £3 for spectators.
Jules said: “Lots of people come down just to watch. One session last weekend you could see a line of people queueing to see it. The number of people that say ‘oh this is brilliant’. It’s the only time of year we see people walk in smiling and walk out grinning, it’s a really happy occasion. It’s a great fundraiser for us and it’s great fun for the dogs and their people.”
All profits from the event will go towards the Saltdean Lido renovation to the Grade Two listed art deco building. Julie and crew have been working on the project for 11 years and have just about hit their fundraising target of £7million pounds.
As if the event wasn’t good enough on its own, this year, your pup can be spoilt with a doggy ice cream after their big swim.
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