Source: Sherman Publications

News
Take a bite out of cancer: Bark for Life of Brandon/Ortonville

by Susan Bromley

April 24, 2013

Dogs will bark back against cancer at the 1st annual Bark for Life of Brandon/Ortonville.

The American Cancer Society’s canine event will premiere in this area from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, May 4 at the Brandon Township Community Park, 1414 N. Hadley Road. Bark for Life is a companion fundraising event to the Relay for Life of Brandon/Ortonville planned for June. All proceeds from both go to funding cancer research and support for patients.

“Bark for Life highlights the caregiving aspect of dogs,” said Suzanne Hock, who organized the event. “This honors the role of dogs in giving comfort and strength to cancer patients.”

Hock’s own dogs have offered solace to her parents, Miriam and Fred Best, as they battled cancer. She lost her father in 2007 to prostate cancer that metastasized into bone cancer. Her mother is currently fighting a rare, fast-growing tumor in her mouth and recently had surgery.

Hock, who has two labrador retrievers, Tanq and Koko, brings the dogs to visit her mother and they calm her and take her mind off the disease.

Tanq and Koko will be at Bark for Life, and other dogs can join in the fun for a $20 registration fee for the first dog from each family, $5 for each additional dog.

There will be three laps around the perimeter of the park during the event, including a first lap that will honor cancer survivors, a costume lap in which the dog dressed most creatively will win, and the final half-mile walk will be a remembrance lap.

Besides the walks, dogs and their owners can enjoy a variety of games, including musical sit and obedience baseball, a timed event in which dogs run to first base and sit, to second base and lay down, and then are called home from third base.

There will be an agility demonstration from 4-H Club members at Bark for Life, and for a $1 donation, attending dogs can try out the agility equipment. USA Therapy Dogs will also be present and children at the event can read stories to the dogs.

Vendors will cater to animals and humans alike.

“We want people to come and have a really nice time with their dogs and meet other people,” said Hock, who has a goal of having 100 dogs and handlers in attendance. “I am really excited, we are getting a ton of positive feedback and the community has been very supportive. Bring your dog to bark back against cancer.”

All dogs must be on a 6-foot leash. Pre-registration is encouraged. Details: www.relayforlife.org/barkbrandonmi or e-mail Suzanne Hock at

barkforlifebrandon@gmail.com.