Dog owners head to Gonzalez Park for pet-friendly pool hours

September 9, 2018

The dog days of summer may be dragging on, but Brownsville dogs and their owners took the opportunity to cool off at the Paws at the Pool event at Gonzalez Park.

Over a dozen families were splashing with their pooches shortly after the pool opened. The pool supervisor said the facility had been closed to the public for about two weeks before it opened for the first-ever dog-friendly day.

The Brownsville Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Program partnered with the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center to offer adoption services at the event. A BARCC official declined to comment, citing an unwritten City of Brownsville policy that requires journalists to get approval from the City Secretary’s Office prior to interviewing municipal employees.

Mandy Barron and her two sons paddled around the pool with their Vizsla named Ranger, who was wearing a lime green swim harness that she said gave him a little buoyancy and allowed her to grab the dog if needed.

“ He usually loves swimming in pools and lakes and rivers,” Barron said, showing Ranger’s webbed feet. “Once I saw it pop up (on Facebook), I had it saved on there, and it’s something we can do with the kids that’s not so hot.”

Barron said her family has taken Ranger to Brownsville Animal Defense events and traveled to Edinburg for other dog-friendly festivities.

“ We’re willing to travel, but I would love to see more things for dogs in Brownsville,” she said. “And it’s a great thing for families to do.”

Natali Herfindahl and Bob Torres Jr. took their weenie-poodle mix Ellie and poodle Matilda for a dip at the pool. Herfindahl said the couple adopted Matilda from BARCC after the death of their 12-year-old poodle Frida.

“ I say they’re designer dogs. God designed them for me,” she said, adding that she hopes the city will eventually create a dog park that’s in a central part of town.

Torres said while he knows there are some health concerns, Brownsville needs more places that are pet-friendly.

“ The more places you can take dogs, the more will be adopted and the less will be in the shelter,” he said. I just want to let everybody know what a pet can do for your life. We have to be their voice.”


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