Dog days of summer: Pups make own splash as season winds down


Every dog has his day and more than 60 dogs had their day at the Seymour City Pool on Saturday afternoon for the second K9 Campers’ Seymour Summer Splash.

The event allowed pet owners to bring their dogs to jump in and swim for a few hours before the pool officially closed for the summer. It also raised money and awareness for the Jackson County Dog Shelter project.

Brittney Vetter, Seymour, and her husband Brandon, brought their two German shepherd mixes, Nala and Nuka. Brittney Vetter works for K9 Campers, a local doggy day care, and helped organize the event, but also brought her dogs out to enjoy the day.

“I love it,” she said while throwing a toy into the pool for Nala to fetch.

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The pair actually are a team in dock diving and are nationally ranked. Later this year they will compete at a national competition in Orlando, Florida, after earning a spot at a regional competition in South Bend earlier this summer.

For Nala, the event was the perfect opportunity to practice her skills, let loose and have fun.

Since the 2-year-old participates in dock diving, she is very comfortable and familiar with the water, Brittney said.

For much of the afternoon, Nala could be seen getting a running start and leaping from the side of the pool, snatching the toy in midair before splashing into the water and swimming back.

Even though she chased the toy a countless number of times, she never seemed to tire or lose interest in the game.

“She goes crazy for the water,” Brittney said with a laugh. “We’re having a lot of fun today.”

The doggy splash was a great way to help raise a little money and awareness of the need for a county dog shelter, she added.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said of the project. “There are an abundance of dogs out there and we need a shelter for them.”

Debbie Hackman, who has organized fundraisers and led the effort to build the shelter, attended Saturday’s event with her dog Trixie, a Shetland sheepdog.

Hackman said while the dog swim doesn’t raise a lot of money, it is still a great way to increase awareness about the need for the shelter.

“Every little bit helps,” she said. “It gives people a chance to ask questions about the shelter. They know where the money is going.”

The days are numbered for the county to be able to manage stray dogs through Red Sky Rescue, a shelter based in Medora, Hackman said. The county currently contracts with Ruth Riley, who runs the shelter with help from volunteers, to manage those dogs.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for her to manage between 60 and 80 dogs every day,” Hackman said.

In the spring, the shelter has a higher number of dogs because of the increase in puppies. The shelter does have foster homes for dogs, but Riley still has a significant number of dogs each day she feeds cleans and cares for.

Another reason the dog swim is organized is to provide a little recreational activity for dogs and their owners.

“Sometimes we just want to have fun,” Hackman said as Trixie calmly sat on her lap.

You can tell the dogs are having fun simply by watching, she added.

“I think a lot of dogs are raised in town and they don’t have the opportunity to play in water and even the ones raised in the country don’t have the opportunity to go swim and it’s in their nature to go swim, so they really have fun,” she said.

The Jackson County Dog Shelter committee is made up of about 20 volunteers. They began raising funds two-and-a-half years ago and recently surpassed $100,000 in donations, officially collecting $102,901.93 prior to Saturday’s event.

That gave those attending the Seymour Summer Splash a reason to celebrate, Hackman said.

The committee has until October 2018 to raise another $100,000 to break ground on the shelter. Hackman said she is confident that will happen because of the generosity of local residents.

“The people of Jackson County have voluntarily given us money for (this) project,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing and we’re over halfway there and feel like we’re on a downhill slide.”

The committee raised much of the money through its annual Fur Ball dinner and auction event held in March. Hackman said the event will continue even after the shelter is built to help cover the costs of operating the shelter.

“We want to help the shelter and support spay and neuter programs,” she said.

The shelter committee is organizing a benefit motorcycle ride and sponsored an ATV ride to help support its efforts. The committee also is planning an event where local people will be “put in the dog house” and require their friends, family and members of the public to bail them out by making a donation.

“It’s a neat kind of thing and you will start seeing people in the dog house soon,” Hackman said. “So if anyone receives a call that they’ve been put in the dog house, everyone needs to give them the money they need to get out.”

When enough money is raised, the dog shelter will be constructed behind the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown. Hackman said there are multiple reasons for why that location was chosen.

The jail is in the central part of the county, the dog control officer is based out of the jail and the county can save money by allowing inmates to care for the dogs, she said.

“They will be watering them, feeding them and exercising them in the facility,” she added.

The care the inmates provide he dogs will make them more adoptable, Hackman said.

“It’s a three-fold benefit,” she said. “It helps the dogs because they get more time spent with them individually, it helps the inmates have a (purpose) and it will save the taxpayers money because we won’t have to hire anyone to care for the dogs.”

Hackman said Sheriff Mike Carothers has developed a points system as an incentive for the inmates to care for the dogs and it will be considered a privilege to have that responsibility.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

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To make a donation to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter, stop by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, or call 812-523-4483.

For information about the dog shelter, contact Debbie Hackman at 812-525-9367, “like” Jackson County Dog Shelter on Facebook or visit


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