The American Cancer Society hosted Bark for Life on Sunday at the Canyon Country Community Center, which celebrated the leading role dogs can have in relieving stress and raising spirits for those going through cancer treatment.
Event organizers said it was styled in the manner of its Relay for Life, but with more pup-themed events. Abby Smith, development manager for ACS, said Bark for Life was special for a couple of reasons.
“One, because we know that dogs get cancer, too. But more importantly is that dogs are such great caregivers for cancer survivors,” said Smith. “When they’re going through their treatment, that emotional support of having that partner there is like no other and so we really want to honor dogs and thank them for their service and that aspect of an individual’s cancer journey.”
Brad Peach, chair of the event, said another reason for the event is because dogs aren’t allowed at Relay for Life. Cancer patients sometimes have vulnerable immune systems and can’t risk coming into contact with dander if they have an allergy. Bark for Life is meant to make up for that.
“We recognize the importance that dogs play as unconditional love caregivers. They don’t really care what your condition is, they’re there for you,” said Peach. “Also in the overall well being of people, people that are dog people, they just are better with the dog. So, the American Cancer Society set up this event just to honor the dogs themselves.”
Attendees, and their human companions, could participate in games and contests including a costume parade, peanut butter spoon licking and hot dog bobbing.
Mack Herrera, there with Basil, a yellow Labrador he was fostering for the day, said once he heard about the event and its cause, he wanted to support in any way he could.
“I think events like this are really meaningful to anyone that comes out, because it’s just one of those things that you do for the right reason and nothing else,” said Herrera. “It’s just for a good cause — trying to help solve cancer.”
Funds from vendors who participated in the event went toward ACS. Many of these vendors sold dog costumes, treats and food, or offered doggy caricature portraits.
Trevor Morgan covers community, culture, health and breaking news for The Signal. Before coming to Santa Clarita, he was the online editor for Cal State University Northridge's student newspaper, The Daily Sundial. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from CSUN and an associate's degree in music from Ventura College. Have a tip? Message him on twitter @trevorwmorgan or at [email protected]