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Dogs, owners bark for cancer awareness, raise funds

By: Ilaf Esuf, Special to The Placer Herald
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Out of the 80 million dogs in the U.S., 20 million will suffer from cancer, according to the Canine Cancer website. But there is a way to help. Grab your walking shoes, favorite canine companion and head to Johnson-Springview for Bark for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraiser. This event not only supports humans that are affected by cancer, but also recognizes the fact that dogs (and pets in general) also suffer and pass from cancer, according to Doreen Prado and Amanda Mellett, event co-chairs. But unlike the Relay for Life walk, which does not allow dogs to walk alongside participants due to the cancer patients’ sensitivity to pet dander, Bark for Life provides the opportunity for dogs and owners alike to walk and raise money through donations. Donations can be made before and on the date of the event, set for Saturday, Aug. 7 at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin. Those that do not have pets can still walk the course and enjoy the entertainment, Prado said. “Participants will enjoy ceremonies and each other’s company while walking on the short course lined out on the grass near the tennis courts at Johnson Springview Park,” Prado said. “(Later) we (will be) hosting pet competitions such as best costume and best trick … as well as a game called ‘musical sit’ – similar to musical chairs, but this time, for dogs.” Though this event may be a first in the Placer County area, the event has been popular throughout the state. It was held in Sacramento last year, which raised more than $5,000, according to Prado. Bark for Life organizers said they hope that the Rocklin event will be triumphant, and will hopefully gain the title of “most successful Bark for Life in the state,” but it can only be done with the support of the local community. “Cancer is the No. 1 natural cause of death in older pets (according to Veterinary Oncology & Hematology Center),” said Bark for Life participant Christina Breiner. “I encourage people to come out because not only will this be a fun event, but by participating they are helping the American Cancer Society find a cure for cancer as well as develop treatments. And the treatments used on people are often the same ones used on our dogs.” Bark for Life What: American Cancer Society fundraiser to help cancer patients When: 8 a.m. Aug. 7 Where: Johnson-Springview Park, 5480 Fifth St., Rocklin Information: www.relay forlife.org/barkrocklinca