Dog lovers in Menifee will have the chance to raise money for cancer during the first annual Bark For Life on Saturday, July 12 from 9 a.m. to noon. During the event, four-legged participants and their owners will walk a designated path through Wheatfield Park raising money for the all-important cause.
Organizer Kelly Carroll said the event is a great opportunity not only to raise money for the all-important cause but also for dog owners to come together and raise awareness of how pets enrich the lives of those who have them in their lives.
“The whole notion of this is to make everybody aware that our canine companions do so much for those who are suffering from cancer,” said Carroll, who has also served as the Online Chair for Menifee Relay For Life. “It’s really trying to get everybody to recognize that there is so much our canine companions do for us, not just those who suffer from cancer, the unconditional love that they give and the support they give, no matter what stage of the disease you are in, they love you no matter what.”
Currently there are nine teams with 20 dogs registered for Bark For Life, a spin-off of Relay For Life, but Carroll hopes to see the number closer to 50 dogs by the day of the event. The cost to participate is $25 for the first dog and its human companion. Those wishing to bring another dog to the event will be charged $10 for each of the additional four-legged participants. Dogs need to be current on their vaccinations to participate and each owner will need to sign a waiver to that fact.
“Every person has to sign the waiver whether they do it online or the day of the event that says their dogs are up to date on their shots and that they are liable should something happen, just like any other waiver for the American Cancer Society,” said Carroll. “Most people who take their dogs out in public have them up to date. I would never take my dogs out in public if they weren’t up to date on shots.”
The idea to host a Bark For Life in Menifee is not a new one according to Carroll who says it’s something that has been in the back of her mind for some time now.
“One of my teammates on my relay team, her boxer is currently battling cancer and we had mentioned doing this several years ago when Tank started his battle with cancer that we should do a Bark For Life,” said Carroll. “When one of the other committee members tossed it out as a fundraiser idea we raised our hands and said we’ll do it because we had been talking about it for several years.”
Most Bark For Life events are done as a fundraiser for the main relay event but this year the group is doing it as an event all its own.
“Next year we hope to use it as a fundraiser for the Menifee Relay For Life so all the proceeds will go into the Relay,” Carroll said.
The event will host vendors, demonstrations and contests in addition to the walk. On tap is a performance of flyball, a sport in which teams of dogs race against each other over a line of hurdles to a box that releases a tennis ball that the dog catches then returns to its handler.
“We have a flyball team that is going to demonstrate flyball,” said Carroll. “They are a new team forming in Menifee so they are going to come out and demonstrate what flyball is all about.”
Other vendors include a doggie paraphernalia company selling everything from leashes to dog food and a pho-dographer, otherwise known as an official dog photographer, who will sell all the photos taken at the event to every participant from a unique website after the event.
“All of the proceeds for that will come back to Bark For Life,” Carroll said.
Each of the four-legged participants will receive a goodie bag and is eligible for prizes in the event’s many contests including smallest dog, the largest dog, the best dressed and the most spirited team. Water will be available for all participants.
The event kicks off with a high energy opening ceremony at 9 a.m. followed by the Woof Pack Lap at 9:30 a.m. where all participants will complete a lap around the park. Vendors will be open from 9 a.m. until noon, exhibitions begin at 10:30 a.m. and a closing ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m.
“This will be a fun event,” Carroll said. “Dogs have so much they can offer to everyone, not just those who suffer from the disease, but especially to those who are battling cancer. That is why we are here to raise money for those battling cancer and to try and end this disease once and for all.”
To sign up visit www.main.acsevents.org and search for Menifee Bark For Life. To sign up as a vendor or for more information, send an email to Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org.