NEWINGTON - The last evening of the season at Mill Pond Pool was reserved for residents with four legs.
Dogs of all shapes, colors and temperaments took to the water last Monday night at Newington Parks and Recreation’s annual Dog Days of Summer Swim.
There was Meghan Gustafson and Nala, who is only one year old but still very accustomed to swimming.
“She swims in our pool in our backyard all the time,” said Gustafson, pulling back on the leash as Nala tried to run inside the pool gate.
“She loves to swim and it’s the end of the year, so we figured why not let her have fun with all the other dogs?”
A pretty pug named Maybelline strutted along the pool deck and watched the larger dogs splashing before she stepped in.
“She comes every year,” Carol McGuiness said of Maybelline. “She loves the whole atmosphere. Although now that she’s getting older, I think she’s a little more hesitant to get in the pool.”
Caitlin Bramucci came all the way from South Windsor with her boxer Dublin to join her sister, who lives in Newington, at the swim.
“There’s never any events like this where I live that are just for dogs,” Bramucci pointed out. “We’re really excited about it.”
Dublin, wearing a magenta life vest, was outgoing and friendly upon meeting the others.
“It’s nice to come to a place that’s fenced off where all the dogs can run around and play,” Bramucci added. “And I love meeting other people as crazy about their dogs as I am.”
As Dublin took her first plunge in the deep end of the pool, an anxious laugh came from her owner.
“I’m a nervous mom,” she said.
A few dozen dogs made their way through the gate and into either the wading pool or the larger pool at the park throughout the evening.
The town’s human residents enjoyed their final summer day at the pool Sunday, before it officially closed for the season Tuesday.
“It was a wonderful season,” pool director Victoria Wright said. “We keep it open one more day just for the dog swim. It’s a fun opportunity for the community. Everybody has a good time.”
The star of the night was a tiny black Chihuahua named Abraham.
Newington resident Shaina Barnicle was all smiles carrying him into the pool area.
“This is his first time,” she said quietly. “I want to see how he does.”
Barnicle coaxed Abraham to the water’s edge as the other dogs - most four times his size - chased each other around the pool. She stepped in and held him up, skimming his paws along the surface. He didn’t seem to mind as a cheering section gathered around, human and canine alike.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.