By Lisa Capobianco
The American Cancer Society welcomes all dog lovers and their canine friends to the annual Southington Bark for Life next month.
Bark for Life gives dog owners an opportunity to raise money for the fight against cancer since Relay for Life prohibits dogs from participating in the walkathon. The event begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Southington Drive-in.
Robin Guzauckas, who serves on the committee for the event, said Bark for Life “celebrates the caregiving qualities of dogs.” Last year Guzauckas decided to adopt a dog after Bark for Life.
“People are crazy about their dogs,” Guzauckas said. “We are excited.”
For local resident Kristin Ferrarese, her dog DJ has served as a constant caregiver. When her childhood dog Buster lost his battle with cancer, Ferrarese said DJ was “by her side for weeks following as constant support.” DJ also provided emotional support for her fiance’s grandmother who also passed away from cancer.
“Dogs play an integral role in the support process for their human owners and canine friends alike,” Ferrarese said. “To me, a cure for cancer in humans would translate to a cure for pets and vice versa.”
Ferrarese participated in Bark for Life last year, as well as Relay for Life. She said she looks forward to walking with her dog again this year.
“This event is a great way to bring joy to such a fun community,” Ferrarese said. “The dogs and their owners have the best time, and hopefully the event will grow as big as Relay for Life.”
Last year the Southington Bark for Life raised over $1,700 for the American Cancer Society, with 50 dogs participating in the walkathon. Guzauckas said so far the committee has raised over $2,000 for this year’s event.
“We have enthusiastic participants this year,” Guzauckas said.
This year a dog pageant will take place at the event, so participating dogs will have the chance to win the title of king, queen, prince or princess. Pageant entry is free for all registered Bark for Life participants.
Beth DeLuco is the organizer of the pageant who said she looks forward to this new part of the event. DeLuco said the dogs will participate in three portions of the pageant: obedience, talent and evening wear.
Besides the pageant, the event will also feature police K-9 dogs along with special obedience demos, professional nail clipping, vendors, prize drawings and a costume walk. The top fundraising dogs will receive prizes.
Registration for one dog costs $20 and $10 for any additional dogs participating in the walkathon. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. All dog owners must keep their canines leashed at all times and must clean up after them.
Anyone interested in signing up can contact Robin Guzauckas at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.relayforlife.org/barkingsouthingtonct.