Dozens of dogs splashed around an outdoor pool during Saltdean Lido’s ‘Dogtember’ swimming sessions earlier today.
The event, which spans four weekends in September, marks the end of the summer season at Saltdean Lido, a 1930s Art Deco venue just outside the seaside town of Brighton.
Dogs are invited to enjoy water fun, such as fetching balls in the water or taking turns going down a slide in a paddling pool in what is billed as the UK’s largest dog swimming event.
“Dogtember is probably one of the craziest but most fun events we do at Saltdean Lido,” said Deryck Chester, one of the directors of the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company, which currently holds the lease for the venue.
Around 8,000 dogs and people from across the UK are expected to take part during the month, Chester added.
An owner swims with his bulldog in the pool at Saltdean Lido’s Dogtember event
Dozens of dogs splashed around an outdoor pool during Saltdean Lido’s ‘Dogtember’ swimming sessions earlier today
A dog shakes off the water after a dip in the pool during the Saltdean Lido Dog Swim 2023 event
A dog jumps into the water in the coastal village of Saltdean, near Brighton
Dogs of all breeds are welcome but some events are also breed meetings such as the “Gold Rush” session for golden retrievers.
Kelly Wilkinson came with her dog Ziggy, a mix of cocker spaniel and springer spaniel, who she says is a “water dog.”
“He loves swimming, so we bring him here so he can live his best life,” she told AFP.
Jeff Stanbridge said his eight-month-old puppy Vinny was feeling a little “overwhelmed” and was staying out of the water for the time being.
“But he loves running with other dogs and I think it’s a good thing to do,” he added.
Another dog owner, Jenny Knight, said it was her third time participating in the event, which runs this year until October 1.
“We try to come every year because it’s fabulous, it’s like dog heaven,” Knight said.
The event also raises funds for the restoration of Saltdean Lido, which first opened to the public in 1938.
Owner holds on to her two very wet dogs as they compete in the swimming event
A dog comes out of the water after having fun in the swimming pool
A dog warms up in his bathrobe after a swim at the lido
Nervous dog clings to his owner in the swimming pool
The venue was forced to close in 1940 with the start of World War II, during which it was used as a water tank for the National Fire Service.
After the war, the changing rooms inside the main lido building – resembling the front of a cruise liner – were used for church services and a Sunday school.
It only reopened as a swimming pool two decades later in 1964, restored by the local council.
In 2010, a former tenant wanted to redevelop the site, but it was saved thanks to the efforts of the local community, which led to the creation of the Saltdean Lido Community Interest Company.
Dogtember is now in its sixth year and is on course to raise more than £60,000 this season, according to Chester.
“The revenue generated from dog bathing actually supports human bathing throughout the season” and helps restore the building, Chester said.
He added that many of the people involved are volunteers, who “believe in the Saltdean Lido restoration project as well as being dog lovers”.
“There’s a really community-inspired atmosphere here,” he said.
“I don’t know who likes it more: the dogs, the swimmers, the volunteers, the humans. Everyone smiles.
Excited dog jumps into pool to join owner at Saltdean Lido
A dog paddles in the water during the Dogtember event