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Friends of Valley Stream Dogs celebrates sixth annual pool party

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While the world’s humans might be stuck wearing masks for some time yet, their furry, four-legged canine companions have no such restrictions, and so on Sept. 8 the Friends of Valley Stream Dogs annual Doggie Pool Party went ahead as planned, continuing a tradition now in its sixth straight year.

Each September, the event invites Valley Stream’s dogs, and their owners, to the Hendrickson Park pool complex children’s pool, where for one afternoon they are free to frolic through its water jets and sprinklers before it is emptied for the year.

Friends of Valley Stream Dogs, is a canine-centric civic organization that originally formed to lobby the village for the construction of its dog run currently located on the Village Green. Now, it holds a handful of charity and social events throughout the year, including the ever-popular pool party.

Mike Powers, operations coordinator for the group, said he had approached Mayor Ed Fare with the idea for the party while food shopping one day at King Kullen. Although incredulous at first that it could be done, Powers recalled, Fare reached out to another village on the Island that Powers heard would occasionally open its municipal pool to dogs.

After discovering it was a relatively simple task, involving a day or two without adding chlorine to the water and filtering out the fur as the pool is drained, Fare gave the go ahead.

“It was that easy,” Powers said.   

While coronavirus fears drove down turnout this year, Fare said it was important to keep the tradition going, especially during a pandemic that has put such a strain on social interactions typically taken for granted.

“Dogs are a uniter,” he said, noting that his own dogs had been a great comfort to him during the worst of the pandemic.

Typical for most of the parties, some of the dogs enjoyed the water while others stayed out of the pool, Powers said.

All enjoyed each other’s company in a change of venue, but this time, Powers joked, it was the humans that were muzzled.