There was a whole lot of sniffing going on Saturday at the SpokAnimal Dog Park at High Bridge during the second annual Easter egg hunt for dogs. They came by the dozens, heads hanging out of open rear car windows, ears flapping in the breeze.
Hundreds of plastic eggs were hidden in the dog park. Most were filled with dog treats, but a few included slips of paper entitling the finder to an extra prize. The prizes included Costco cherry pies, giant ham bones, dog biscuits and other assorted treats. Before the egg hunt began, some dogs frolicked together off leash while others still on leashes managed to get themselves tangled up while making introductions.
“Dogs like Easter, too,” said SpokAnimal director of development Shelley Sharp. Last year about 50 dogs turned out for the first egg hunt, an amount that doubled this year. “It was a lot of fun,” she said. “There’s such a sense of community around dogs. It also brings people out to the dog park who haven’t been here.”
It costs between $5,000 and $6,000 per year to run the park. Proceeds from the egg hunt and other special events are used to run the park, Sharp said.
Dogs and humans alike roamed the dog park looking for the hidden eggs. More than a few children were there as well, eagerly searching.
Brytany Vansant brought her black pit bull mix Zephyr and tan Labrador mix Starla wearing brightly colored tutus. “I made them for Easter,” Vansant said. “I make one for every holiday.”
She attended the first dog hunt last year. “It’s fun,” she said. “I think it’s cool to have something for the dogs.”
Tiny six pound Spencer, a mix of Dachshund and Yorkie, was hanging out with 90 pound Labrador-Husky mix Guard. The two are regular walking buddies and their owners brought them to the egg hunt for some extra fun. “They have a lot of fun,” said Guard’s owner, Gail Caldwell, as she fed her massive dog yet another treat pulled from a plastic egg. “I love it. This is great.”
It was their first egg hunt and Spencer’s owner, Leilani Weaver, said she’d be back. “It’s fun,” she said. “Even the gathering beforehand. All the dogs were really well behaved.”
Janessa Courser sorted through a grocery bag filled with plastic eggs with her two daughters, looking for an elusive prize slip. “I think we did pretty good,” she said. “Buddy is in dog treat heaven.” Last year Courser won a basket of dog treats and toys, but this year she was out of luck.
“I won a cherry pie,” shouted her friend Kelly Garrett as she also picked through a bag of eggs. Her golden retriever mix, Lenny, largely ignored the treats. He was focused on a tennis ball, whining as he hoped someone would throw it for him to chase.
“He just wants the ball,” said Garrett as she sorted. “Oh, we have another winner. Sweet.” Her second win was a bag of dog treats for Lenny. Perhaps he would be in the mood for them after he chased the tennis ball a few times.