BELMAR — The Monmouth County SPCA’s 2nd Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge to raise money to help support the thousands of homeless animals cared for by the Eatontown shelter will be held the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26 at D’Jais, 1801 Ocean Avenue, Belmar, said Barbara Lovell, MCSPCA Associate Executive and Development Director.

The plunge is always something she wanted to do and last year it just all came together with the help of a great team behind her.

1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
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“They said, hey Barbara if you jump into the ocean, we’ll build it. I never renege on a promise. They built this incredible event that so many people enjoyed. So, I got wet and we made a ton of money for all of the animals at the SPCA. But more importantly, we gained a lot of new friends, and I think this is going to be a favorite for many years to come,” Lovell said.

She said this is a good time of year to hold the plunge because it’s just after Thanksgiving and families and friends are already together, getting into the holiday spirit and wanting to do something special.

On the day of the plunge, there will be a pre-plunge party from 10 a.m. until 12 noon with awards to follow. At 12:30 p.m., the doggy paddle polar plunge happens, and then at 1 p.m. is the after-plunge party.

1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
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There will be a big heated tent outside with a bar and activities.

The polar plunge is dog-friendly but dogs are not allowed to plunge, Lovell said.

“We’re asking people to have their dogs stay on the beach and stay dry while they go in. The dogs are the cheering section,” she said.

The dogs usually sit there, acting proud of their owners who are raising money for homeless animals, Lovell added.

1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
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Dogs up for adoption at the MCSPCA will not be at the plunge but some pet therapy team members will be on hand.

“It’s really a day to celebrate our guests and their dogs. We get to meet a lot of new friends who are bringing their dogs and their family so we always like to spend time with them,” Lovell said.

For those who want to support the animals but don’t necessarily want to jump in the ocean, there is a “scaredy cat” entrance for them, she said. Perhaps one of these people can act as a designated “Bark Squad” member and hold someone else’s dog while they go in the ocean and plunge.

Last year, the air temperature was 36 degrees and those standing on the beach were bundled up, while the plungers enjoyed a water temperature of a balmy 55 degrees, she said.

1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
1st Annual Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge (Photo Credit: MCSPCA)
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For those interested in plunging, register here.

All registrants will receive some cool freebies. That includes food, water, T-shirts, and commemorative pins, Lovell said. But also, if someone fundraises alone or with friends and family, there are fun prizes such as bathrobes, beach towels, and even a kayak if you reach a certain fundraising level.

She encourages teams to get together, too. Groups of up to 10 people will be accepted.

“The group that fundraises the highest will be invited back to the shelter for a “pizza party with puppies,” Lovell said.

She is looking forward to seeing a lot of new faces next month.

Last year, the debut of the Doggy Paddle Polar Plunge drew in 300 people and raised more than $100,000 for homeless animals.

Lovell hopes to see both numbers increase with this year’s plunge.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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