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Craig McGregor’s dog, Frank, enjoying playtime in the ocean

Pampered pups to paddle indoors at private pool in Vancouver

Almost two years after an E. coli warning at local beaches, pet owner to open an indoor pool for Vancouver dogs

By Ayesha Ghaffar , in City , on November 20, 2019 Tags: , ,

Vancouver has no shortage of services catered to people and their dogs — from dog walking to grooming to bakeries. 

But for local pet owner Ed Light, there was still something missing: a recreational swimming pool. 

Light is aiming to open the doors to his indoor pool for dogs in early December.

Even before he’s opened his new dog-daycare business with its unusual amenity, he said he’s already hearing from potential customers. 

Ed Light with his dog JJ (Photo: Ed Light)

“The word is already out and a lot of dog owners are excited,” he said.

“The response has been all positive and I have already hired my staff without even posting that I am looking for any.” 

Dog Swim Vancouver, located on Granville Street, will offer drop-in swim sessions to pet owners at a rate of $20 for 45 minutes. Light will also be offering daycare services for $600 a month. 

There are an estimated 150,000 dogs in the city, according to a spokesperson from the City of Vancouver, so there’s a lot of potential clientele to draw from.

There are currently close to 1,500 businesses that cater specifically to pets in Vancouver according to the city’s open-data portal. Light is confident there’s a space in the market for another.  

“Dog owners are very unique people. Dogs are part of our family. We do anything and everything we can to make dogs lives happier and especially water dogs,” he said. 

Pet owners at a popular dog beach wade in 

Vancouver already has several beaches where people can take their dogs to swim for free. 

Pet owners, canvassed on a Sunday afternoon at the Hadden Park dog beach in Kitsilano, had mixed opinions about having an indoor swimming option nearby. 

One woman was quick to say she’d be willing to pay for her dog, Oden, to swim indoors.  

“It is like taking your child to a form of entertainment so it would be worth it. It would be like a treat for them,” said Anne Marie Borland. 

Anne Marie Borland’s dog, Oden, at the beach

On the flip side, dog owner Craig McGregor says he couldn’t imagine paying to take his dog swimming when there are free options like the beach. 

He also prefers the idea of going somewhere where he can swim with his dog.  He refers to dog Frank as his personal trainer. 

“I’d rather go swimming with him too when I take him so, a dog swimming pool is probably not going to be good for that. To me, it seems like another excess of our society,” he said.  

Light knows that his pool won’t appeal to everyone but also knows the local beaches aren’t always an option. He said he actually got the idea to open a pool after taking his dog to a beach when there was an E. coli warning. 

“I said, ‘Good Lord! Why hasn’t anyone ever come up with the idea of an indoor swimming pool just for dogs?’” 

The city has already proven that there’s a market for dog pools. One Vancouver business, Aquapaws, already operates a hydrotherapy pool for dogs where veterinarians and trained therapists accompany dogs in private swim sessions. It has recently expanded and opened a second location on the North Shore.