Hundreds of dogs were unleashed at Nashville Shores this Saturday for the third annual Pooch Pool Party, which raised an estimated $7,500 for New Leash on Life.

New Leash on Life Director Angela Chapman said the proceeds will be used to care for animals at the shelter, adding that the intake is down slightly from last year because COVID-19 limited the number of people allowed in the park.

“I think it went really well,” she said. “We had a lot of people come up to us and say ‘this is my dog’s favorite day of the year,’ and the first-timers loved it too. We can’t do this without Nashville Shores and the support of our sponsors.”

Nashville Shores Director of Marketing Daniel Strobel said park decided early on when planning the first Pooch Pool Party to partner with New Leash on Life because of its presence in the Nashville area.

“Our main goal is to raise as much money as we can for New Leash on Life,” he said. “And if people can’t come out, it’s still an opportunity to raise awareness of what they do through social media and other outlets.”

Strobel said the event usually sees 600-800 people attend alongside their pets. Three attractions — the Kowabunga Splash Pad, Lazy River and the wave pool — were opened this year for the dogs to enjoy.

“We’re fortunate to have such a large outdoor space at Nashville Shores, and everyone is also required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing when possible,” Strobel said. “People are so excited to have a place with such a large space to take their dogs and socialize with other dog owners.”

One of those people was Hannah Lewis, of Nashville. She brought her dog Talulah to the park for their second year and spent the afternoon getting to know some new friends.

“She loves to watch all the dogs, and I like any event I can bring my dog to,” Lewis said. “It’s always so much fun to meet other dog lovers.”

Scott Stepp, of Hermitage, also marked his second year attending. He said his dog Riley’s favorite part of the day was playing in the Lazy River.

“Me, I love how friendly everybody is,” he said. “Everybody looks after each other’s dogs here, and it’s nice to bring your dog somewhere where there’s a bunch of other dog people and you can let them roam free. It’s all about them, and it’s nice to be able to let them off the leash.”

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