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Pet Brigade Spring Barbecue

Anyone else up for a picnic?

Proceeds to benefit base military working dogs

Published: 12:56PM April 17th, 2014

The children get eggs, the adults get a relaxing time outdoors, and even businesses sometimes see a boost around Easter time.

But what does Fido get? At Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Pet Brigade, plenty.

The Pet Brigade is holding its first ever spring picnic and Easter egg hunt from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday to give the family canine a chance to stretch its legs and sniff out a few treats in a pet-friendly environment. At the same time, kids get their own playfield to hunt down goody-filled eggs as their parents enjoy a picnic lunch.

New manager Jen McGrath said the idea came as employees talked about a special event to do in April. The Pet Brigade holds an event each month, but McGrath said she wants to boost attendance.

McGrath said employees will spread plastic eggs across one of the playfields off Pendleton Avenue for the “bone hunt.” Owners can guide their dogs on leashes as the canines track down the eggs. The owner can claim the egg as soon as their dog’s nose touches it.

McGrath said the eggs will have dog treats, gift certificates “and whatever other treasures we find” loaded into them.

After the hunt is over, McGrath said the Pet Brigade will open the field up for off-leash playtime. Children also can participate in games and crafts throughout the barbecue. McGrath said burgers, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks are on the menu, but families are welcome to bring their own food.

Extra donations are welcome too, she said. Blankets and canned pet food will go to the Humane Society.

Pet Brigade owner Regis Jackson said the cost is $15. All proceeds go to the nonprofit Military Working Dog Team Support Association, Inc., which directly benefits working military dogs at JBLM.

Jackson said the military doesn’t provide a lot of playtime or equipment to its working dogs. The association, online at mwdtsa.org, sends care and comfort packages to deployed or actively working dog teams.

At JBLM, care packages likely would go to military police and security force dog teams, Jackson said. The packages include things such as KONG toys, collapsing water bowls and other items allowed by the military.

“It’s a way for the Pet Brigade to give back to our military, because we’re grateful for what they do,” Jackson said.