Troy’s Splash Bash lets dogs get social amid COVID-19

Even the best of good boys need some space during the pandemic.

Luckily, the City of Troy’s recreation center held its annual Splash Bash at the Daisy Knight Dog Park Saturday morning as planned to mark the end of
an unusual summer. Employees set up little dog pools, splash pads and sprinklers for canine friends to jump through and kick around. The large space allowed them to chase each other in the open field.

The times were split between small dogs and big dogs, with 18 owners signing up.

It is a popular event for Troy. Splash Bash is usually at Troy’s Aquatic Center, which allowed dogs to swim in a large, outdoor pool. At a typical bash, there would be 60 dogs for each weight class. However, the center was closed because of COVID-19.

Morgan Trasher, Troy’s recreation supervisor, said they adjusted the event to follow CDC regulations. The dog park was open, it was outside and reservations were made to have
people there.
The recreation center is usually engaged with the community, but most events have had to be virtual and it has been a “hit-or-miss” on what people would attend, Trasher said.

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Splash Bash is important because even the dogs need to get out there. Husband and wife Michael and Amanda Russo, sponsors of the event and owners of Longview Boarding and Grooming, said a lot of puppies and cats have been adopted since March. There have been worries that new owners would get frustrated with their new puppy’s behavior and return them. Other owners may live in small homes or apartments and may not have space for them to run or socialize.

That’s where community resources and local businesses come in handy, the Russos said, emphasizing looking for a dog park near them. There are a lot of places out there, Michael said, that residents may already pay for through taxes.
“Just take it a day at a time, especially with
little furry ones cooped up,” Michael Russo said. “Do your best to get them in front of as many new people as possible, (with) social distancing, of course.
“And always, always, always get that dog tired. Tired dogs listen better … so if you’re trying to train them, get them tired.”
Some dogs can also get separation anxiety. One of the vendors, Mike Palmer of Premier Pet Supplies, said because dogs are used to being with their families all the time during quarantine, they may feel like they are being punished once owners go back to work. He said some owners may need to leave their cats, dogs or other animals alone a few hours at a time so they can acclimate to the change.

One new dog parent during the pandemic is Troy resident Karen Flores. Flores said she and her husband got a Corgi named Ruby in March when they started working at home.

“I was like, ‘I think we should probably get a dog. Because we’re gonna be here for a while,’ ” Flores said.

Ruby loves people and the park but is scared of playing with other dogs. She was seen barking sharply and scampering away when other dogs got near her. But slowly, Ruby got used to them.
“I just wanted her to be social with other dogs,” Flores said. “Usually it is not crowded at all, so she has the whole park for herself. I think that’s why she gets so scared with other dogs.”
Longview has been sponsoring the event for years, says Amanda Russo. She has owned Longview
for a year now, but the business has been around since 1956.

But the pandemic has dealt a blow to Longview. Its boarding had lost 100% of its income during Memorial Day weekend and spring break. However, grooming appointments had boomed during the summer.

“The city, the metro area, the state – it has so much to offer. We’re happy to be business owners in Michigan. I’m not sure if we would have done this anywhere else,” Michael Russo said. “And I really feel like the state has stepped up to the plate.”
Premier Pet Supply is also a local family business that
has been serving pet owners for 28 years. Palmer recently opened a store in Troy on Maple at Coolidge in February, which has …
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