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Easter Egg hunt for Calgary dogs is back, funds raised to support National Service Dogs

This Easter, it won’t just be kids that get to take part in the traditional Easter Egg hunt.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary nationally, and its 15th year in Calgary, the annual Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs put on by National Service Dogs is back.

Taking place on April 7, dogs of all sizes and temperaments will get to take part in either group or individual hunts for eggs full of doggy treats—all with the goal of raising money for NSD.

“My family, friends, and I, and volunteers, all stuff thousands and thousands of Easter Eggs—plastic eggs with dog treats—and they get scattered out across Calaway Park’s south field,” said Alison Archambault, the Calgary hunt coordinator and board chair for NSD.

“There’s space for little dogs to go hunting, big dogs to go hunting, bigger families to go hunting, or whatever everybody’s comfort level is on leash.”

Registration can be made online for $25 for the hunt, or $30 in person on April 7.

Interested participants can register online at nsd.on.ca/easter-egg-hunt-for-dogs.

Annual excitement for pooches

Each dog taking part in the activity will receive a gift bag, and there are additional opportunities to win prizes.

Archambault said that each year there are dogs that she can tell have taken part more than once because of how excited they are.

“I find that I can tell the dogs that have done this more than once because they they get out of the car and they see the eggs on the field and they know exactly what’s about to happen.”

“They run from egg to egg to egg, and they wait for you to peel the tape off of them and give them the treat. Some dogs are more enthusiastic and just grab the egg and crunch it.”

She said that each year they get between 100 to 150 families that show up. If families don’t have kids, don’t worry said Archambault, this is an event first and foremost for dogs.

Coordinators on site help each dog owner to determine which part of the field is best for their pooch, to give them the most pawsitive experience.

“If your dog loves being around other dogs, and is okay with that, we’ll let them hunt together. And if your dog isn’t okay, we have areas where we send people off to that are a bit more isolated.”

Money raised goes towards helping those whose need might not be obvious

All of the money raised from the event goes towards supporting children impacted by autism and individuals impacted by PTSD in getting service dogs—both often complex disabilities that are less obvious than what guide dogs assist with.

“I’ve been the board chair of NSC for 10 years and puppy-raised for a lot more than that, and it really is so inspiring to see the life-changing difference that service dogs can make,” Archambault said.

“I would say that raising and training service dogs is like dancing with angels; you get to be part of their life for a short period of time and then hand the leash off to another volunteer, another staff member who’s going to continue along their journey.”

When fully raised and trained, the certified service dogs then go on to families and individuals to assist them with their disabilities, Archambault said.

“In addition to having a great day with your dog, folks can rest assured that the money they raised through paying the registration fee, as well as raising pledges supports National Service Dogs work.”