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Wags and Waves is back at Hawaiian Falls in Garland for 2014

Huskies meet at the splash pool.
Huskies meet at the splash pool.
Steven Hensley

After two years on the Fort Worth side of the Metroplex, Wags and Waves is coming back to Garland this year on September 13, 2014. This year, the money raised from the biggest doggie swim event in the area will go to Cat Matchers, Dallas Companion Animal Project, DFW Rescue Me, Feral Friends and Legacy Boxer Rescue. As always there will be a costume contest, pet tricks, agility and retrieving contests. Also like last year there will be many vendors selling dog items and providing samples of tasty dog treats. The wave pool, the lazy river and all of the other pools will be available for the dogs. And this year there will be separate pool areas for large and small dogs.

These two guys were having a great time at the splash pool.
Steve Hensley

This is the Sixth Annual Wags and Waves in the Dallas Fort Worth Area. Attendance has grown from the first year when 200 people brought their dogs to the event to 2010 when over 2,000 people brought their dogs to Hawaiian Falls to go swimming. The event raises approximately $15,000.00 for animal rescue groups every year.

I have been attending this event with my own dogs for the last four years. I remember the first time I let my husky, K2 and my border collie Cody loose at the Hawaiian Falls Waterpark. K2 dove right into the first pool she saw and swam in right up to her neck in water to cool off. Meanwhile, Cody took off for the wave pool where he rode the waves like a real surfer dog, barking all the way. The entire park turned into a huge dog park where dogs were running and splashing everywhere you looked. Going to the lazy river, I grabbed a tube and dove in while my dogs paddled along behind me following the current. After a few laps around the river, they decided to abandon me for the excitement of the wave pool and all of the other dogs surfing the waves and barking.

Two years ago, I brought Kadie, my foster dog from Texas Husky Rescue along with me to Wags and Waves at NRH2O in North Richland Hills. Kadie, being a shelter pup, was at first overwhelmed by the expanse and the activity at this huge waterpark. She meekly followed my dog, Cherokee to the first pool. While Cherokee, my water dog, who spend endless hours swimming at White Rock Lake and at the pond at the Northbark Park in North Dallas, dove right in, Kadie shyly stuck her paw in the water and slowly entered the pool. After cooling off, Cherokee took off for the lazy river with Kadie in tow. Following the river the two dogs eventually found the large wave pool and joined a pack of dogs enjoying the waves. Kadie was a little bit afraid of the surf at first, but again after watching Cherokee and a group of water loving retrievers, she started riding the waves and was soon following the rest of the pack into the deep end of the pool. Then Cherokee took off again, and Kadie followed as he ran to the far end of the park to investigate the water slide. By the end of the day, both dogs were tired from all the swimming and exploring. Kadie has since left my foster residence for her forever home, but I'm sure she will remember that her first day at the water park.

Last year I brought two of my dogs, Nubia, a recent foster failure, and Cody the border collie, a veteran of many doggie splash days. This time, Nubie took off for the sand of the volleyball courts where a large pack of Siberian Huskies were chasing each other in the sand. Cody ran for the wave pool and joined a pack of border collies chasing frisbees and various other water toys being thrown about in the water. They spend most of the day running in packs with other dogs of their breed, stopping towards the end of the day to follow me down the lazy river.

I haven't yet decided which dogs I will bring to the next one this September. But I can't help but believe that my dogs have great memories from the times they spent exporing the waterpark.

Hawaiian Falls is at 4550 North Garland Avenue in North Garland.

Mark your calendar now for this end of the summer doggie splash event and watch this column for a full calendar of doggie splash events this summer.

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