Boulder Dog Dayz, a highlight of the year for dog owners looking to refresh their pets over Labor Day weekend, won’t be returning this year, according to a rep for Parks and Recreation Facilities. Boulder.
Dog Dayz, usually found at Scott Carpenter Pool at 30th Street and Arapahoe Avenue, last met in 2018. The event was canceled in 2019 due to construction that took until in 2020 and then again due to the COVID-19 pandemic in an ongoing health and safety context. concerns. This year, however, the focus has been on allowing families to have the last dip in the pool in September, not pets.
“(We) are keeping the pool open to humans only this year,” said Jonathan Thornton, communications program manager for Boulder Parks and Recreation. “We try to do our best to keep operations open as much as possible for the community.”
Another factor impacting the event is the continued staff shortages facing the parks department. Positions across the department are struggling to be filled, meaning places like Scott Carpenter Pool would be without lifeguards, a potential risk to public safety.
Hiring lifeguards has been difficult in recent years for several reasons, including dwindling applications from high school and college students, more competitive salaries in the private sector, and gaps in lifeguard certification programs for employees, according to Thornton.
“We’ve had a hard time accelerating these programs,” he said. “For these reasons, we had to reduce these operations.”
Cutbacks included the closing of Spruce Pool last summer and no outdoor pool classes for members.
Boulder residents are disappointed with the news, including Amy Mueller, whose dog Maple cannot swim safely in the local fresh water. “Dog Dayz was one of the few times she could swim without a massive reaction,” she said. “(It’s) disappointing another year will pass without the event.”
Another resident, Caroline Bushnell, added that it was her puppy’s “favorite week of the year”.
All hope is not lost, however. The Parks and Recreation Department will have an increased budget to hire more seasonal staff in 2023, which could allow for a return of Dog Dayz next year. The Department of Parks and Recreation will have more conversations about whether to continue the event in the spring when the budget is in full effect, according to Thornton.
For now, the four-legged friends will have to find more creative ways to cool off in September.
“We know it’s popular and people love it,” Thornton said. “Maybe next year. We’ll see how things go.