BAKER — Residents and their dogs can support cancer awareness next month at Bark for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraiser.
This will be the second year that Southside Animal Hospital has organized the Relay for Life event, which is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 2 at the Baker Recreation Center.
Last year's event took place at Old Spanish Trail Park in Crestview. Event organizers decided to move the event to a slightly larger venue in hopes of expanding attendance.
"We did really good last year," Kim Hathcock, of Southside, said. "We had about 100 people attend.”
Still, “we are trying to get more communities involved in this event, including Baker and Holt,” she said.
In the new location, children can play in the facilities’ playground area.
They also can play in a bounce house and have their faces painted, among other kid-friendly activities.
Food and refreshments will be available, and gift baskets with gift certificates, event T-shirts and dog treats, will be raffled off at the event.
Several dogs from Eglin Air Force Base’s Pet Welfare adoption center will be available for adoption.
In addition, the event will feature games for dogs, including "weenie races" for Dotsons.
This year’s donations reportedly have surpassed last year’s; the clinic has raised more than $3,000 for the cause. Last year, it raised $2,200, $1,300 of which came from Bark for Life.
"We are just doing our part to help," Hathcock said, adding that the clinic also contributed some proceeds from rabies immunization clinics.
Participants can pre-register at the clinic on south Pearl Street during regular business hours.
Participants also can register at the event; cost is $10 per family.
Proof of rabies vaccinations must be provided to register.
Last year was successful for the clinic’s feline-themed team. The "Purr-fect Pacers," who have nearly 20 members, were named Crestview’s rookie team of the year.
The clinic’s staffers became involved with Relay for Life after noticing the impact that cancer had on several pet owners who have visited their facility, Hathcock said, referring to clients who died from cancer or survived the disease.
Those encounters raised awareness when the idea struck close to home for the dog groomer.
"I guess you could say that I proposed the idea of the event after I had a breast cancer scare two years ago,” she said, noting she has remained cancer free.