Easter Bone Hunt

April 19, 2014 Easter Bone Hunt at Franke Park. A family friendly pet friendly event featuring easter eggs filled with dog bones and prizes.

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Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Margaret Metzler, left, and Mary Bartkiewicz with dog Rupert open eggs collected during the Easter Bone Hunt at Franke Park on Saturday.

Sniffing out some doggone eggs for charity

– Four-year-old Pabst didn’t seem motivated as he strolled among 9,000 neon plastic eggs scattered across the grass in Franke Park.

Perhaps it’s because the English bulldog has participated in the Easter Bone Hunt every year with his owner, Andrew Teel.

Or perhaps he saw how fascinated Teel’s 3-year-old son, Owen, was to fetch the eggs for him.

“He’s a lazy dog,” Teel said, laughing. “That’s why we got him.”

The sixth annual Easter Bone Hunt at Franke Park went to the dogs Saturday, and they couldn’t have been happier about it.

This year’s egg hunt not only allowed a couple hundred dogs to get their fair share of dog biscuits, but the proceeds will help shelter animals at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control find new homes.

For a $10 donation, owners and their dogs were allowed to sniff out 12 prize eggs containing a raffle ticket among a sea of plastic eggs filled with dog biscuits.

The prizes were Easter baskets filled with dog treats, new leashes and toys. There was also a dog-sized couch up for grabs.

Jennifer Pargeon, the owner of Happy Dogs Day Care, said the day care has raised nearly $20,000 for the shelter’s adoption and volunteer program by sponsoring the event for the past six years.

“People just love to get out and do things with their dog, so having something early in the spring gets people excited to come out,” Pargeon said. “If you don’t help the adoption program, then there a lot of dogs who aren’t going to get the homes they should be getting.”

With the additional resources, Pargeon said, the animal shelter is better able to meet the needs of its animals, making the adoption process easier for owners and their pets.

“I think people are starting to become aware that there are more options than going to the pet store,” Pargeon said. “You’re not helping to perpetuate the problem of puppies that don’t have homes. You’re giving a dog a good place to live.”

Adopted pets Max, 5, and Addie, 6, could barely be restrained once they began picking up the scent of dog treats carried by a brisk breeze.

Owner Barb Rumpel, after shooing Addie away from a nearby egg, said she thinks it’s important for potential dog owners to consider adoption shelters, but she said it requires research before taking on the responsibility.

“The minute we saw Addie, there was an instant bond,” she said. “These dogs you get from shelters are so grateful to have a home. They’ll do anything for you.”

Although the egg hunt was the coup de grâce, owners and their dogs were able to play games, including bob for the biscuit and rubber duck hunt, and gather around the water cooler dog bowl for some socialization.

Thirteen-year-old Spencer Kenens and his mother, Cindy, wanted to see how their 1-year-old English mastiff, Sally, would behave for her second egg hunt.

Last year, Sally was only 6 months old and barely a foot long. Now the gentle giant was just the right size for Spencer to recline on as she stretched out on a warm spot of grass.

She was partaking in her favorite sport, second only to the egg hunt – dog watching.

“She just loves being around the other dogs,” Cindy Kenens said. “This kind of event teaches them to get along with one other, and it’s always interesting to see the mix of different breeds interact.”