Jonathan Hiskes

October 13, 2007

"So do they just jump in there? Is that the--do they just jump in?" A bookish man in a lavender shirt held a leash gingerly while his dog, a mutt of some sort, sniffed at the passing crowd, wrapping the leash around the man's pale legs.

He had asked me, the only person in sight not gripping a leash, or pulling at a collar, or chasing a dog, or watching one pursue a tennis ball in the swimming pool. For the final two days of the season, Bryan Park Pool was closed to taxpaying city residents but open to dogs. The annual "Drool in the Pool" attracted some of Bloomington's most cheerful dog owners, people who didn't seem to mind sweating on shade-less concrete, stumbling over leashes, or brushing against the wet fur of dozens of strange dogs.

I nodded to the man, who unfastened the leash and watched his mutt bolt through a landscaping hedge toward the shallow children's pool, where a few dogs swam willingly and others clawed at the ground as their owners dragged them into the water. Like most involuntary attendees here, the mutt had no apparent interest in the main Olympic-size pool, where a scattering of tennis balls bobbed forlornly. A German shepherd leapt after one and I stepped out of the way of its loudly cheering owner.

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