|Four-legged friends set to ‘Bark for Life’
Some walk, some don lavish pink costumes and some donate their hair while others bark. Those who stand against cancer, accompanied by their furry four-legged friends, will participate in the city’s annual Bark for Life, a canine relay in La Plaza Park to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
The event began in Pottsville, Penn., in 2007 with the purpose of honoring dogs as caregivers as well as cancer survivors themselves, and arrived in Rohnert Park and Cotati in 2009. Themed teams will gather at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 21, beginning with a traditional Survivor’s Lap, followed by games such as a treasure hut and a “musical sit,” where dogs traverse from one point to another, pausing when the music does.
“I started because I lost my mom to cancer about 15 years ago,” says Pam Wittner, who has been co-event chair of Bark for Life since the beginning and involved in Relay for Life since 2005. “A friend invited me to learn more about Relay, I got the bug and have been involved ever since.”
Wittner and her husband, Brad, have three Beagles relaying this year: Gus, their mascot, Molly, and Maggie May. Their team, the Maggie May Marauders, will dawn pirate attire and partake in the one-mile non-competitive walk around the park.
“It’s about having a day in the park with your dog,” Wittner says, inviting anyone who is interested to join them.
Money raised will benefit the ACS in their combat against cancer and aid to those both fighting and in recovery, and the event is run completely on volunteer time. Special guests include Lobo the Seawolf from Sonoma State University, Paradise Pets, Cotati Canine and a general practitioner veterinarian to discuss pet cancer prevention.
During one’s time of need, aside from friends and family, pets are an important source of comfort, which is exactly what this dog-themed event is all about as sometimes support occurs in the form of a slobbery tongue and wagging tail.