Cathy Burnett, co-leader of Relay for Life and the Bark for Life committee, has a very personal motivation for being part of those events and including furry family members in the fundraising.
“Dogs know when we are engaged in a battle, physically, emotionally, or spiritually,” Burnett said. “When my husband was battling pancreatic cancer, our dog, who was always attached to Jim more than me, stayed by his side. They are our caregivers when our days are darkest. We owe them this event that honors their membership in our families, and their unwavering faith in us.”
The Fourth Annual Bark for Life will be held at Beaty Park Field on Sunday, Sept. 22 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The fundraising event honors the caregiving qualities of canine family members as well as those canines battling cancer themselves.
“What could be better than a fun-filled day with your dog, while raising money to help fight cancer,” said Renee Tower, co-leader for Bark for Life. “Dog-lovers are a very special group of people with really big hearts, and Bark for Life proves that.”
Warren County’s Bark for Life event is one of a few held in Pennsylvania, according to Sonya Irons, Bark for Life co-leader. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Warren County takes place annually during the month of June. Dogs, however, are not permitted at that event.
Canines get cancer too. Humans benefit from the research and treatments received by dogs, and vice versa, according to Irons.
Unlike many other species of animals, dogs are susceptible to the same types of cancer as humans. Canine cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs 10 years of age and older.
This year, Bark for Life will be held in honor of Warren County’s two “top dogs”, K-9 officers, Conewango Township’s Nic and Dina, with the Warren County Sheriff’s office. The canine counterparts are scheduled to attend the event with their partners Officer Scott Neiswonger and Deputy Tom Kibbey.
The event will feature an agility course for pups to try, information on service dogs, basic pet first aid, grooming tips, and an opportunity to have furry family members blessed and/or photographed. There will also be techs from a local veterinary clinic on hand for nail clipping and to answer questions.
Representatives from Woofington Dog Park will be on hand to answer any questions about the dog park, proposed at a site in Starbrick. Many vendors offering a variety of services ranging from pet sitting, CBD for pets, painted pet portraits (please bring a picture of your pet), die cut creations (pet-related), and also ICYY Ink offering K-9 officer and cancer apparel.
Nancy Reynolds, from St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church in Youngsville, will have information regarding the pet food pantry. Anyone bringing pet food donations to the event will be entered into a raffle at no cost.
Many Relay for Life teams will also be selling food, baked items and items for sale. There will be information for those interested in creating a team for the 2020 Relay.
A variety of activities and prizes will be available for those who attend. Activities include a peanut butter licking contest, carpet squares (like musical chairs but your pup has to sit on a carpet square when the music stops) and many simple games that adults and kids can do to win a prize. Prizes will be awarded to the oldest/youngest, largest/smallest, waggiest butt, pet/owner lookalike, best behaved and possibly more categories.
There will also be a large raffle with items donated by local businesses and residents in addition to a 50/50.
Registration starts at 1 p.m. and the event runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cost to attend is a $15 donation per canine with each additional canine $5. Each of the first 50 registered canines will receive an ACS Bark for Life “goodie bag” as well as their choice of a Bark for Life exclusive colored bandana.
The Bark for Life committee requests that all dogs attending be current on their vaccines. All canines are welcome, however, aggressive dogs or those in heat should remain at home. While this is a canine event to fight cancer, they are not required to participate.
For more information contact Sonya Irons via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-708-8730 or contact Renee Tower at 726-2935 at The Critter Clipper.