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Doggie Easter Egg Hunt has largest turnout in 10 years

MORRIS – Saturday provided the perfect morning for this year’s annual Doggie Easter Egg Hunt. Partly sunny and warm, the weather cooperated for once, and the owners were happy to be outside with their pets.

The dogs seemed even more thrilled.

“We usually get a wet, rainy, cold day,” said event founder Bonnie Latta of Bone-ifide Care. “This is the best weather day we’ve had for it in 10 years, and it’s the largest turnout.”

Latta said about 70 dogs participated in the 10th anniversary of the egg hunt, and 1,700 plastic eggs containing crunchy doggie treats were laid – also the most ever. The event was held at lower Goold Park in Morris.

“We bring Daisy almost every year,” said Karen McCluckie, of Morris, about her 10-year-old Beagle.

“She’s our family dog,” said Karen’s mother, Fran McCluckie. “I got her initially for my husband and Karen. It’s just something fun to do in the community, to get to know the other dogs and to socialize.”

“We come mostly for the socialization,” said Mary Ann Schaefer, of Morris, with her 4-year-old Chihuahua, Lucy. “I want her to get used to seeing lots of dogs. She’s by herself now. I think she likes all the different dogs.”

Latta said she loves to hold the event. A professional who cares for local dogs, she said she knew about 20 of the pups that came. It’s important for dogs to socialize with each other, she said. It keeps them wellbalanced and well behaved.

Again this year, the Morris local chapter of the Illinois Federation of Business Women’s Clubs provided pictures with the Easter Bunny. JoAnn Seeman, with the local club, said for $5 owners could have a picture of their dog taken with the Easter Bunny, with funds going to the organization’s scholarship fund that awards $500 college scholarships to Grundy County students each year.

“It’s a fun way to make money,” club member Fran Wilkinson said. “It’s better than a car wash or a bake sale, and it brings the community together.”

New this year was a “coffee with your canine” before the egg hunt, sponsored by Enjoi Bakery. The dogs spent time meeting and greeting each other. On the signal, the dogs, all on leashes, were allowed to explore for the eggs. Once an egg was touched with a nose, the owner was allowed to collect it and put it in a basket or bag.

Some dogs, though, figured out what was inside the eggs and cracked them open, gobbling down the treats before their owners could get them in the basket.

There were some moments of discovery at the event, as well, such as when Ginny Bellamy’s tiny Brussels-Griffon, Margot, met the largest dog at the event, a Great Dane named Smalls, with her owner, Kenel Behrens.

Little Margot showed no fear of the giant dog though, as the two dogs sniffed each other while wagging tails.

“She’s afraid of people, not dogs,” Bellamy said. “She was in a kennel before I got her.”

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