Take your dog to the water park … once a year. (Fundraising fun for water-loving pups)

Water parks for dogs should be a thing – I think there’s a business opportunity there.

Water parks for kids, well, people (let’s not pretend) have become incredibly popular in towns and cities across North American. Whether that’s a small splash pad or full on wave pool, heading to the waterpark on a hot summer’s day has become a family staple.

But what about our fur family members? Ok, cats would not be into it, but the dogs sure are! Once a year – the day after the last day water parks are open for the season – some water parks or splash pads lend (or rent) their facilities to local animal shelters and rescues as a fundraising opportunity.

Once a year, many water parks go to the dogs, and that’s a good thing.

In the more cool temperate climate were I live, water park end-of-season is the weekend after Labour Day – we don’t get much summer once September hits. Fortunately, this year the week after Labour Day was still fairly warm and the dogs loved the water.

First stop: Hamilton/Burlington SPCA Wiggle Waggle Walkathon

My dog Victoria had her best day ever on Sunday: We started at the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon event at the leash-free zone beside the animal shelter in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Normally, the event is a walk around Hamilton Bay (we go every year); this year the event was confined to the space in the dog park.

Nevertheless – Victoria loved it. She loved getting muddy and taking home a prize for ‘Most Beautiful Dog in the Park.’ I’m kidding. We won a prize in a random raffle, but that’s not what I told her.

Next stop: The fundraiser for the Kitchener/Waterloo SPCA at Kiwanis Park in Kitchener, Ontario.

The advantage of water parks is they are already fully fenced, so the Splash and Dash water park fundraiser for the Kitchener/Waterloo SPCA became an amazing off-leash romp – the type my dog is extremely fond of. I wasn’t sure how she’d take to the water, but once she discovered all the tennis balls lying around, it was game on!

My dog covets and collects balls everywhere and anywhere we go. Throw the ball into the water and off she went into the water – as far as she could still reach the bottom. Swimming isn’t her thing, yet.

Half the fun of being at an event like this is watching the pure joy of all the other dogs. When dogs are happy, people are happy, so a waterpark filled with dogs might be the happiest place on Earth (sorry, Disney). Labs, of course, took to water like, well, Labrador Retrievers; huskies bounced higher than I’ve seen huskies bounce; and Luna the Dalmatian celebrated her first birthday with two hours of non-stop water zoomies.

Here are photos of gleeful pups dashing and splashing to brighten your day.

Paws in the Park, Sept. 26, 2021, is the next fundraiser – though not at a water park – is the Stratford Perth SPCA Paws in the Park, September 26, 2021 10 am to 2 pm at 125 Griffith Road, Stratford, Ontario. It’s also a celebration to open the leash-free dog park. A $50 donation gets you admission, lunch and a swag bag – great deal! Of course, you can always donate more and additional benefits for that too – in addition to helping the animals.

UPDATE: September 11, 2022 – date of Dash and Splash 2022. Check out dogtrotting events for details.

If you know of any water parks open to dogs near you, please let us know in the comments below!


  1. […] pool pooch plunge was a markedly different experience than my dog’s water splash pad experience last year (see here). We’re heading back to the Kitchener splash pad next week. Running through the water she loves […]

  2. […] we’ve easily spent an hour or more in the SPCA ‘hill’ section, which is fully fenced and has a double gate entry. There is, however, no separate large and small […]

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