Brentwood Relay For Life volunteers and participants recently hosted a potluck dinner to pat themselves on the back for their successful 2013 campaign, which brought in more than $140,000 for the American Cancer Society. But the fundraising isn’t over. Relay is going to the dogs.
Bark For Life is schedule for July 27 at The Streets of Brentwood from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Unlike the 24-hour Relay For Life fundraiser, Bark For Life is a fun-filled mini relay where families can bring their furry friends out for a day of advocacy and entertainment.
“Bark For Life is an extension of Relay For Life,” explained Bark organizer Sharon Joseph. “Relay is for the cancer survivors and their caregivers. It’s about celebrating their fight and journey. Bark For Life is a way to pay tribute to our dogs who are a constant source of comfort when you’re battling cancer.”
Joseph knows from experience. As she’s valiantly fought cancer, her dogs have been her companions and a great source of joy on the bad days. Joseph has also been on the other side of the situation as two of her golden retrievers died of cancer.
“Most people don’t realize that the chemo they use on humans is the same treatment administered to dogs,” Joseph said. “In the search for the cure, the benefits can be shared with humans as well as our dogs, and most dog owners consider their pets as members of the family.”
In its inaugural year last summer, Bark for Life was held at O’Hara Park in Oakley. While attendance was good, Joseph hopes that The Streets of Brentwood venue, which offers plenty of parking, will draw more people to the event. This year’s activities include a relay race, a costume contest, musical sit – the doggie equivalent of musical chairs, a photo booth and a kissing booth where a puppy will be waiting to offer gentle kisses to its many admirers.
Vendors will also be on site to educate visitors about services such as mobile dog grooming and emergency pet services. Local animals rescues, dog trainers and representatives from Guide Dogs for the Blind and Dogs 4 Diabetics, Inc. will also be on hand to discuss their services.
Joseph is hoping for cool weather, but since the late July sun can be unforgiving, there will be plenty of tents of offer shade and water and ice will be provide for the dogs and their upright companions.
As Bark For Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, participants are encouraged to register online individually or as a team and collect donations. Advance registration for dogs is $10 per dog. At the event, canine admission is $25. Humans are welcome admission free. The first 75 guests will receive a complimentary goodie bag.
“It’s going to be a fun day,” Joseph predicts. “Since this is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, we are going to have a memory garden for those who have lost a dog to cancer. But just like Relay, we’re going to remember our lost loved ones but celebrate everyone who is still with us, and we’re going to have a great time.”
At press time, 38 participants comprising 15 teams have raised $2,402 for the American Cancer Society via the Brentwood Bark For Life website.
To learn more about Bark For Life or to register a team, visit www.relayforlife.org/barkbrentwoodca.