Bark for Life offers fun for furry friends

Chase Kirk and Christy Chandler play with their four-legged friends, from left, Nala, Tilley, and Kodi at the Mustang Dog Park, 520 West S.W. 59th St. The park will be the site for the Bark for Life! event on Saturday.

by E.I. Hillin

Once a year pet lovers get the chance to show off their furry friends and help find a cure for cancer at the same time. The third annual Bark for Life will take place 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Mustang Dog Park, located on S.W. 59th Street between Czech Hall and Mustang Roads.

Bark for Life is an extension of the annual Relay for Life event and all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. This is the first year the event has been planned by Mustang Public School staff instead of students.

Event coordinator, Candis Ryczkowski said all humans and dogs are welcome as long as they get along with one another.

“They don’t have to have any skill set,” she said. “They just have to be cute.”

Registration is available online or on the morning of the event at 9:45 a.m. The entry fee is $15 for the first dog and $10 for each additional dog. A dog parade is planned with a very special grand marshal.

Fundraiser competition categories include best dressed, best owner and pet costume, most original costume, best bark, longest ears, best tail wager, closest to the ground, farthest from the ground, guess the dog breed, best trick, and musical sit. There will also be an obstacle course with three categories for small, medium, and large dogs.

Eighteen dogs participated in last year’s Bark for Life and organizers are hoping even more will come out to support cancer research on Saturday. Ryczkowski said it’s important to show the connection between pets and humans, especially when they are dealing with cancer.

Event coordinator, Amy Feuerborn, knows the comfort a pet can provide while suffering through cancer treatment. While receiving chemotherapy she was given a compassionate care dog during her time at the hospital. She said it was a huge blessing.

“You pet the dog and kind of forget what you’re really there for,” she said. “It takes your mind off what you are going through.”

Dog adoptions will be on site from the Mustang Animal Shelter. Photo opportunities with pets will be available for a small donation. Hot dogs will be on sale as well as luminarias which will be used in the Relay for Life event on April 14 at Mustang High School.

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