Bark for Life aims to lick cancer

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comApril 18, 2013 

Dog lovers and their canines spent some time in the park and raised money for cancer research Saturday morning.

The third annual Los Banos Bark for Life attracted about 40 people and more than 25 dogs to Pacheco Park.

The event is similar to the Relay for Life fundraiser that has been held in Los Banos for nearly 13 years.

"At Relay for Life you're unable to bring your dogs, so we thought we'd have a second event with our pets," said Peggy Oliver, Bark for Life spokeswoman. "Basically, we're trying to get our image out there. We are available for our survivors, caregivers, anybody that's interested."

While Relay for Life is an overnight event, Bark for Life lasted just short of three hours.

The event featured a parade for the dogs and their owners, a pet/owner look-alike contest, a musical sit competition, a Zumba exhibition and the Merced County Sheriff's Department's K-9 unit demonstrating the various ways dogs are used to fight crime.

Relay for Life Chairwoman Chandra Lee said animals have been known to have a positive impact on the morale of cancer patients.

"They give unconditional love," she said. "A lot of people out here have had cancer."

Ed Mentz, who brought his Scottish terrier Holly, said he had hoped to see a better turnout.

"I've had friends from work be stricken with cancer. I just came to show support, every little bit helps," Mentz said.

Employees from the Los Banos Walgreens stood out in red shirts with the company's logo.

"It's a chance for us to all get together with our dogs and bond," said Nadia Griffith, store manager. "It's a chance for us to be out here with the community and raise money for cancer (research)."

Griffith said not only would she like to see more individuals attend Bark for Life, but she would like more companies to participate.

The Bark for Life event raised about $400. Relay for Life will be held June 1 at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Pacheco High School, 200 Ward Road.

Relay for Life topped $95,000 in 2011. The money pays for cancer research, as well as some local programs that transport survivors to their appointments and others that provide wigs to those who want them.

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