First Posted: 11/21/2009
More than 20 dogs and their owners turned out on Saturday for the first Bark For Life held at Fisher River Park. The event raised money for the American Cancer Societys Relay For Life.
I didnt know what to expect, but Im really happy with the turnout weve had, said Giny Haynes, ACS community manager for Surry County.
Owners checked in their dogs beginning at 9 a.m., and then the event kicked off with a ceremony at 10 a.m. Cindy Taylor brought her dog Meggie, a cancer survivor, to be the grand marshal for the event.
Its been a wonderful turnout, and Meggie enjoys coming out and being the center of attention, Taylor said with a smile.
The canine event to fight cancer featured a dog walk, games, contests, demonstrations, and food.
Haynes explained, Its very much like a mini Relay For Life.
Judges were on hand to judge the doggie contests: cutest, best costume, most obedient, best dog trick, and best relay wear. Demonstrations were also given on the amphitheater stage by groups such as the Canine Kudos therapy group and the Mount Airy Police Department K-9 Unit.
Kim, Charlotte, and Lauren Phillips dog Pete won the best dog trick contest. Kim Phillips said they brought out Pete because he doesnt get to have a lot of interaction with other dogs. This family from Mount Airy got Pete at the Surry County Animal Shelter and have had him for more than a year.
I think this is wonderful, Phillips said of the event. We need to do this more often .. And its a great cause.
She said her favorite part of the event was the K-9 demonstration. Her daughter, Charlotte, said she liked watching the other dogs.
Cindy Simmons of Mount Airy brought a few of her dogs to participate in the event. She said, Its been nice. I wish thered of been a bigger crowd. The dogs have had fun.
Simmons hopes to make the event a ritual for her family of dogs.
Its a very good cause and its good that theyre incorporating dogs, because humans and dogs are so similar in their cancers, she said.
Heather Jenkins is a veterinarian with Healing Springs in Galax, Va., and she said around 30 percent of older dogs that come in to her practice are suffering from cancer.
While dogs have many of the same cancers that humans do, Jenkins said dogs dont respond as negatively as humans do to treatments. She said they handle chemotherapy very well.
I love treating cancer … Its a very important thing to do, said the veterinarian.
Two canine cancer survivors were present at the event in addition to Meggie, who is a survivor of lymphoma.
Taylor, Meggies owner, said, Cancer research is just so important. One in four people die of cancer, and one in four dogs die of cancer as well. Theyre very related.
Since dogs and humans are so related, Taylor said dogs can often serve as guinea pigs for treatments that may eventually help humans.
According to Haynes, Bark For Life should raise between $1,200 to $1,500 for the cancer society. The money was gathered from sponsors Mount Airy Veterinarian Hospital and State Road Animal Hospital and through registration fees and fundraisers held at the event by Relay teams.
The Cody Kirsch team for Relay For Life sold best dog-gone water at the event to raise money for their team. Cody, 6, bent down to share a hug with Meggie at one point during the event. Like Meggie, he is a cancer survivor. Cody lost one of his eyes to cancer when he was a toddler, but he has been cancer free since June 2005.
Haynes said Relay For Life coordinators will probably hold another Bark For Life next year, probably in the fall again. She was pleased with the weather at this years event.
Haynes described the event by saying, Its just another way to raise awareness for Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society … And its a way to honor our survivors.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.