FONTANA — Breckenridge probably never gave Easter a thought before.
But the big, friendly malamute was gulping down kibble and treats from plastic Easter eggs April 13 as quickly as his owner, Megan Higgins of Williams Bay, could twist them open.
Higgins said she did not know if Easter was Breckenridge’s favorite holiday before a Dog Easter Egg Hunt held April 13 at Duck Pond Recreation Area.
“It is now,” Higgins said, laughing, as she twisted open another colored plastic egg and fed its contents to Breckenridge.
The canine Easter egg hunt was organized by the Big Foot Recreation Department.
Briana Sindahl, the recreation department’s assistant program coordinator, said she helped set up a similar previously in Janesville, but this was the first year in Fontana.
“I kind of wanted to do some different for the community and the dogs,” she said.
About 60 dogs and their best friends showed up for the hunt.
The weather was chilly, but the skies were sunny.
Many owners said they showed up because they normally walk and exercise their dogs at Duck Pond.
Verne LeNoble of Delavan brought her Cavachon named KC to join in the hunt.
“We’d thought we would check it out,” LeNoble said. “Duck Pond is one of his favorite places to be.”
Others said they were drawn to dog-centered events.
Also waiting for the starting horn was Joe Bishoff of Delavan and his two labs, Maverick and Shandy.
“We do anything for our dogs,” Bishoff said.
Lakeland Animal Shelter was there, as well, with Elaina, a well-behaved but sad-looking pit bull. Elaina was looking for something other than eggs — she was looking for a home.
All of the dogs were on their best Easter behavior. There was barking and some boisterous play, but no growls or snaps.
Sindahl said about 500 eggs were scattered about an open area of Duck Pond. Most were filled with dog goodies, but 18 of them contained tickets entitling the owners to Easter baskets filled with human goodies, too.
At 10 seconds before 1 p.m., Sindahl did a countdown and the hunt began, as dogs and humans raced across the fields to get to the easily-visible eggs.
Dogs claimed the eggs by sniffing them. The plastic eggs were too large and slippery for most dogs to pick up in their mouths.
And the dogs really did not want the eggs. They wanted what was inside.
As dogs and their owners drifted toward the parking lot to head for home, Kim Pufahl of Lake Geneva was feeding the last of the Easter goodies to Polly, a mixed breed whose tail could not stop wagging.
Pufahl said she loved taking her dog to dog events.
“Any dog stuff, I love it,” she said. “It’s good for her, and it’s good for everyone.”