May 222012
 

A pit bull takes a break. This “rescue dog” came with Dr. JT Vida and Keri Johnson, who sponsored the event’s contests. (Photo courtesy of Kathy Higgins Photography)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 16, 2012 –

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

It was a sunny, yet blustery, day on May 5 as about 70 dogs and their owners converged on Dave Vierra’s pumpkin patch in Southport for West Sacramento’s inaugural “Bark for Life” event.

This is the second year that West Sacramento is participating in a “Relay for Life” fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, but the first time for the dog-centric “Bark for Life” event.

“We had about 68 people who registered ahead of time, and another five or so in person, and we had over 70 dogs,” said organizer Julie Huber. “My husband, Rory Huber, designed a commemorative T-shirt and we gave that out and an event program. The mayor (Christopher Cabaldon) came out and did a welcome speech.”

  Then came the dog walk, on a track around the farm property.

“Next year, if we do it again at Dave’s, we’re going to have both a short route and a longer route. The bigger dogs want something more than a short route!” said Huber.

The registration fee was $10, and a lot of participants also collected pledges for the “Relay for Life” cancer-fighting fund drive. The event is more poignant this year, said Huber, because the founder of Relay for Life, Dr. Gordy Klatt, has himself just been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

“We raised over $6,000,” reported Huber.

The event featured vendors, a police dog demonstration by Officer Roger Kinney and “Zar,” a visit from firefighters, and contests such as “”smallest dog” and “best costume.”

On June 23-24, the local “Relay for Life” chapter follows up with a 24-hour walk-a-thon for teams of humans. The event was held its first year locally in 2011, at River City High, but it will move to the track at Our Lady of Grace School this year.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (center) accompanies dog walkers around Dave’s Pumpkin Patch on May 5, in a fundraiser against cancer (Photo courtesy of Kathy Higgins Photography)

“For the Relay, you commit to raising $100,” said Huber, who is a captain for one team. “If you have a team of 15 people, they expect your team to raise $1,500.”

Teams keep someone walking the track at all times for 24 hours straight.

“The theory behind ‘Relay’ is that cancer never sleeps, so we don’t sleep for 24 hours.”

Last year’s local “Relay for Life” event raised around $60,000. Other local events are held elsewhere around the country.

Sponsors of this month’s “Bark for Life” event included host Dave Vierra as well as Wag Hotels.

Youngsters & their friends take a break next to a visiting fire truck at 'Bark for Life' in Southport (courtesy of Kathy Higgins Photography)

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke