Local dogs invited to paw-ticipate for a cause in Arlington event

ARLINGTON -- Calling all canines: Grab your leash and your human and go for a walk at the Arlington Recreation Park this Sunday during the inaugural Bark for Life of Bennington County.

A fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, the dog-friendly Bark for Life follows along the lines of the annual relay fundraiser in June -- just with more tail wags.

"It's an opportunity where we can honor our four-legged friends. ... They're both caregivers and survivors," organizer Donna Yost said. Luminary chair for Relay for Life of Bennington County, Yost described this weekend's event as a "canine event to fight cancer."

While the proceeds raised go toward the ACS and cancer research in humans, Yost and fellow organizer and relay fundraising chair Tiffany Lynn Briggs point out the research trickles down to canine cancer treatments as well.

Held nationwide, the dog-focused fundraisers were first organized in 2007 as an extension of community relays for the ACS, with the event both honoring the caregiving qualities of canine companions and supporting fundraising efforts.

Many relay teams will be participating in addition to a new, untapped segment of animal lovers.

Registration is $15 for one dog and $5 per additional dog in each group. Each registered dog will receive a purple Bark for Life bandanna and dog bone for their donation. Luminaries honoring canine cancer survivors will be sold for additional proceeds, which will be saved and lit at the Relay for Life on June 22.

The Bark for Life centers around a noncompetitive one-mile walk around the recreation park's trails. But "it's not just the walk," Briggs said, with the event also featuring music, vendors selling dog ice cream and themed cupcakes, displays by local veterinary practices including West Mountain Animal Hospital and Arlington Animal Hospital, and state police K9 unit demonstrations. The Bennington County Kennel Club will be providing micro-chipping services.

"Just come and have a great time with the community," Briggs said. And "if you don't have a dog, come anyway because (Second Chance Animal Center) will have dogs for adoption."

Briggs said the goal for the inaugural event was to spread the word and raise funds.

"Because ultimately we just want to finish the fight," added Yost. Committee members for the 2014 Bark for Life are already being sought.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and walk-ups are welcome. Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. with the event concluding by 1:30 p.m.

For more information search Facebook for Bark for Life of Bennington County, or visit www.relayforlife.org/barkbenningtoncountyvt. Alternatively, contact Donna Yost at (802) 447-3266 or Tiffany Lynn Briggs at (802) 379-0645 for more information.

Follow @Zeke_Wright on Twitter or email ewright@benningtonbanner.com.


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