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This Easter egg hunt attracts participants on four legs

  • Written by Kelly White

Easter egg hunts are not exclusively set aside for children anymore.

Move over kids, make way for the family dogs.

The Oak Lawn Park District organized the first ever Dog’ Gone Easter Egg Hunt and nearly 50 pooches joined in on the fun of finding treat-filled colored Easter eggs that were scattered throughout Bailey’s Crossing Dog Park, 9910 S. Melvina Ave., Oak Lawn..

“I don’t have children, so my dog is my baby,” said Catie Fadden, of Hometown.

“Once we found out there was a dog Easter egg hunt, we were in right away,” said Steve Szymczak, 27, of Palos Hills. “Our dog is very energetic, social and loves the outdoors.”

The dog Szymczak was referring to was his 1-year-old golden retriever, Freedom, and a lot of other attendee’s agreed with Szymczak’s perspective.

“It’s different, something fun to do and it gets the dogs out of the house,” said Mike Dragon, of Oak Lawn, who brought his 3-year-old pitbull mix, Eddie, to the hunt.

“This is our first time participating in an Easter egg hunt for dogs, and we’re really excited about it,” said Tracie Marcosa, of Evergreen Park, who brought along her 8-year-old black labrador/border collie mix, Lucky.

“There is a large dog-loving community in Oak Lawn and its surrounding areas,” said Jacqueline Canty, special recreation and veteran services supervisor and front desk manager at Oak Lawn’s Oak View Center. “We felt that this event allowed for our patrons to celebrate Easter with their pet in a non-traditional way. It was very family-friendly and the dogs were able to have a little fun in the park. The event also provided exposure to the Oak Lawn Park District and Bailey’s Crossing Dog Park.”

The funds raised from the $5 registration were used to cover the event and buy necessary supplies, consisting of plastic Easter eggs, organic dog treats to stuff the eggs and prizes for raffles. Attendees were also asked by the park district to bring in food and toys to be donated to local animal shelters.

“We wanted to be sure to keep the event at a low cost for attendees,” Canty said. “We also wanted it to be a special event for dogs and their people in the spring. Our annual egg hunt for children is wildly successful, so we figured dog lovers would like this event.”

The annual children’s Oak Lawn Easter Egg Hunt has been taking place for over 15 years at Stony Creek Golf Course, according to Canty.

Owners were encouraged to dress their pets in a costume ranging from superheroes to butterflies. Some pet owners even decided to match their canine. Awards were given out to best costume to one small dog and one large dog, along with an award for being able to do the most tricks in 30 seconds. An award was also presented by the Oak Lawn Park District to a pet that completed the obstacle course

The best costume for a large dog went to Bacon, a yellow Labrador who was dressed as a yellow Easter chick. The owner, Elyssa Wolfe, 19, of Evergreen Park, could not be prouder.

“Bacon is a great dog; he loves the outdoors and being around people,” Wolfe said. “When I heard there was going to be a costume contest, we were in.”

Other than every dog being on a leash, there were no set rules in the amount of eggs a dog could sniff out. Park district officials were hoping for each dog involved in the hunt to find about six eggs each.

Five park district employees supervised the event. Afterwards, attendees were able to shop and gain information from local area vendors.