BAKER — Despite cold weather, event organizers are pleased with attendance of this year’s Bark for Life, a Relay for Life fundraiser that benefited the American Cancer Society.
Attendance for Southside Animal Hospital’s event, which took place at the Baker Recreation Center, was down from last year, but participants still helped raise around $600 for cancer research, organizers said.
Around 45 people attended Bark for Life, according to Vanessa Hehl, the Purr-fect Pacers’ team captain and Southside’s receptionist, said.
"Our numbers were down from last year; I honestly think it was from the weather," she said. "But it was $600 they (ACS) didn't have."
Last year's event collected nearly $1,300 for the ACS.
Dogs of different sizes and breeds, from boxers to poodles, were brought to the event. Even some cats, which were up for adoption from the Pet Welfare Adoption center, braved the barks.
While some attended for the second time, this year's event was a first for others.
"This has been fun, I have enjoyed this," said Margie Palanas, who brought both her daughters and the family’s dogs, Duke and Junior.
"This is good for them to be around other dogs," Palanas said.
Crestview resident Becky Davidson brought her American bulldog, Bella, to the event.
"We came to the one last year and had a great time," Davidson said. "We just have fun with all dogs and the kids — a lot of good entertainment."
The event had several activities for pets and kids. While dogs were encouraged to run through the training course, or get their nails trimmed by Southside staff, kids could jump around in a bounce house or have their faces painted.
Bark for Life is one of many events that Davidson attends to support cancer research.
"They are all for a good cause; hopefully, one day they will find a cure," she said, adding that she has lost a family member to cancer and two relatives are cancer survivors.
The animal hospital organized the event after a coworker at the veterinary clinic had a close call, Hehl said.
"We kinda had cancer hit close to home with Kim (Hathcock); luckily, hers was benign," she said. "We started seeing a lot of our good clients battling cancer.
"It’s just all for a great cause no matter what," Hehl said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.