Dog owners and their costumed, four-legged friends turned out for the Bark For Life fundraiser at West Creek Park in Santa Clarita on Saturday.
“The reason we do this is because we believe in our hearts that our canine companions are fabulous caregivers while cancer patients are going through treatment,” said event co-chair Kathleen Pavard.
Settled in the park, the event featured individual games and activities like hoola hoops and an agility course for dogs to let loose and play, as well as group activities for the teams registered to participate in, including the pet parade, the costume contest and the peanut-butter-licking contest.
Participants also could stop by various vendors situated around a stage, including the Castaic Canine Camp and the Canine Country Club, both of which have sponsored Bark For Life since the beginning, Pavard said.
“We want to honor them for those qualities and also because of the fact that we do our major, annual Relay For Life toward the end of May, we don’t allow our dogs on-site because our cancer patients are going through a fragile state with their health while they’re in treatment, so we want to keep the dog dander away. and also make sure the dogs don’t run in front of them in case they’re not stable,” she said.
Keelee the basset hound was one of the event’s winners. Dressed, with a pipe included, as Sherlock Holmes, she won the large dog portion of the Dog Costume contest.
“It’s going to go in her brag book,” laughed her owner, Amy Archambault. She’s got one going.”
While Keelee was not a fan of wearing her costume, Archambault made the decision that she’d wear it again following a recent basset hound gathering last weekend.
“She’s not crazy about it,” she said. “So I tried to put it on (her), as last minute as I could, and take it off as soon as I could. But yeah, she’s such a sweetheart, she’s such a good girl. She’s been a great dog.”
Following her win, Keelee sat down by Rachel Randall, another guest who brought her beagle Snoopy. Because he was registered to participate, Snoopy wore his blue Bark For Life bandana – “Doubled as his cape,” Randall said – before participating and winning the peanut-butter-licking contest.
“I knew he could do it,” said Randall. “He loves peanut butter. I’m sure he’s happy too.”
They won several items, including a small bag of Purina dog food, a “food scooper,” a squeak toy shaped as a happy face, a T shirt, a laminated award and “bark bucks” to buy from items from the vendors. A regular participant over the last several years, it’s an event easily worth going to, she said while looking at her 11-year-old beagle.
“There’s all the usual things, which is great,” she said. “Usual is great, it’s always been a really fun event. He hasn’t won a contest before, so that’s been really good. I guess in that sense it’s different. He has a good time every year.”