Wagging tails and yips of excitement should fill the morning of Saturday, Nov. 17, as a herd of dogs get one of the best walks of their lives at the second annual Bark for Life.
The Bark for Life relay is the awareness effort to support Austin County’s Relay for Life fundraiser for cancer research as well as for local pet shelters. It’s a kick off for the Relay as teams have already started fundraising.
“Mostly it’s something people who love their dogs can do together,” said Becky Jones, the organizer of Bark for Life, along with her daughter Katie.
The race will begin at 9 a.m. at Levine Park in Sealy with on-site registration starting at 8 a.m. Registration is $25 and can be done by contacting Katie Jones at (713) 906-2475 or emailing email@example.com for information.
Each registrant gets a T-shirt and a dog bandana.
All the money will go to Relay for Life 2013, and the fees can be designated for a specific relay team credit, said Jones.
Although Bark for Life isn’t a huge fundraiser so much as it is celebrating man’s best friend and raising awareness for Relay, last year’s event brought in about $2,000. The money contributed to making Relay the East Texas Region first place per capita winner and being named to the top 10 nationwide per capita fundraising list - which it has held for three years in a row.
All the dogs that come must have a six-foot leash (no retractable leashes) and records that their vaccinations are up to date.
The dogs and their human companions will be led on a three-mile route by Bruiser, the American bulldog who was named Top Dog last year.
Top Dog is named for the registrant that raises the most money by getting people to sponsor their walk. Along with getting to be the walk’s grand marshal, they also get a basket full of goodies and will be on the next year’s promotional fliers for Bark for Life.
If visitors don’t own a dog, they are welcome to watch and check out the booths that will be set up for food, local shelters an canine contests, including costumes.
There is always the option to borrow a dog, like Tracey Dorenkamp with the Shih tzu mix Lilly.
“It’s just a lot of fun. It’s camaraderie and they run a good program,” she said. “It was a dog run but there was something basic that everyone was there for.”
Her mother and close friend are dealing with cancer, along with 36,820 cases in Texas and more than 570,000 cases in the United States this year alone, according to the American Cancer Society.
“It’s a good time for all and it’s a good cause,” Dorenkamp said. “And there are all the different kinds of dogs.”