It’s a puppy pool pawty

By Stefanie Brazile

Have you ever wondered what Christmas morning would look like to a dog? More than 200 dogs experienced that bliss in early September at the Puppy Pool Pawty held at the Maumelle Aquatic Center.

Photos by Makenzie Evans

The annual event started about 15 years ago and continues to grow. The community and local businesses rallied around Maumelle Friends of the Animals to support its big fundraiser. It was sponsored by Coldwell Banker/RPM Group in Maumelle.

“We raised close to $4,000 and had the largest turnout on record,” said Katie Kornreich, president of the volunteer-led organization. “I love seeing the community come together on this. We had so many donors for the raffle—that was mind-blowing. The community really showed up for us.”

The dogs didn’t care about all the great items that were donated and raffled, or that their owners paid a nominal fee for them to swim—they just dove in! Each year, the Maumelle Aquatic Center pool closes after Labor Day. In the following days, all chemicals are removed from the water so it is safe for the pups. Historically, the Puppy Pool Pawty is held the following Saturday.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the city of Maumelle for giving us that space,” Kornreich said. “It is awesome! And when we leave, the pool is a mess. We appreciate the workers.”

Besides dogs, the pool is full of tennis balls. The dogs jump in to retrieve them and bring them back to their smiling owners. Some pet owners put life jackets on their dogs, especially older ones who may tire.

Maumelle Friends of the Animals is a nonprofit that promotes spaying and neutering to help reduce the number of animals ending up in shelters. They promote education and fund spaying and neutering for people who cannot afford it. They also help with the cost of placing chips in animals so if they are lost, they will more likely be reunited with their owner.

The group also works to support the city’s animal shelter and have donated 400 pounds of cat and dog food to it since the event.

Kornreich loves leading the organization because she likes to serve animals. “It’s so rewarding! They know that you’re helping them and that kind of love is unmatched.”

Two of her dogs paw-tied until they dropped that day. Both rescues, one is a golden retriever mix named Jack who is 15. She chose him from the local shelter three years ago. He enjoyed “sniffin’ and making friends” that day. The dog-mom describes Lafayette, her 4-year-old beagle mix, as a wild child who was crazy about swimming with other canines.

About 26 volunteers helped at the event, but the group averages 10-12 active volunteers and would welcome new faces. Besides this event, they have an ongoing fundraiser where fire hydrants are painted with cute designs throughout the community. They also promote adoptions from the shelter.

Every dog will have his day again next year. If you want to bring your pup out, pre-registration is preferred, and up-to-date rabies vaccinations must be shown. After that, you can turn your dog loose and watch them have as much fun as a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. Learn more at