Bow-wow-water dogs set to take over the lap pool at Old Town Hot Springs |

Bow-wow-water dogs set to take over the lap pool at Old Town Hot Springs

Loren Parsons tosses her dog Zephyr into the lap pool at the Old Town Hot Springs Poochy Paddle a few years back.
Ben Ingersoll

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The water at the Old Town Hot Springs will be going to the dogs this Sunday as the ever-popular, Poochy Paddle makes a splash at the downtown Steamboat Springs fitness facility.

“Every year, we have about 200 dogs come down to the pool, and it’s a really great opportunity to get people who don’t normally come down to the pool in the door,” said Mark vonSchondorf, operation’s director at the historic pools. “Dog parks are so popular, so we were just really trying to give people an opportunity to get their dogs out and about, especially people who like to bring their puppies and young dogs because they don’t know if they can swim yet. That’s always the most entertaining part for us, usually.”

This year’s Poochy Paddle will be held in the large lap pool that will be closed to the less-hairy public at noon. The paddle is slated to run from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. The pools on the hot side will remain open to those with fewer than four legs, but the waters on the other side will be limited to man’s best friends.

“We do have a life guard on hand just in case,” vonSchondorf said. “You never know.”

He said most dogs are excited to get into the pool, but admits the concept of using stairs to get out is, at times, lost on the dogs. He said the lifeguard is there to help the dogs get out.

Also on vonSchondorf’s to-do list Friday was finding dog wranglers who can chase down a few furry friends that seem to adventure out from the confines of the large lap pool. He said watching dog owners and wranglers try to chase down their pets who would rather soak in a hot tub or tour the garden can also be very entertaining.

The cost of the event is $5 per dog in advance and $10 per dog at the door on the day of the event. The first Poochy Paddle was held at the Old Town Hot Springs in 2009 and has continued twice per year in the fall and spring since that date.

VonSchondorf said the Poochy Paddle is normally held in conjunction with the closing of the pools for bi-annual cleanings. He said all of the pools will close at 4 p.m. Sunday, and crews with power washers and brushes will work cleaning the pools through the week with the re-opening expected by May 6. 

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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