Park to host first Bark for Life event

AUBURN -- Gwinnett's annual Relay for Life event is the most successful in the world. And Saturday morning, local pets will be chipping in for the first time.

Auburn's Little Mulberry Park will serve as host to what is hoped to become the first Bark for Life event, a canine-friendly version of the yearly American Cancer Society fundraiser.

"It's a new thing, but it's actually going to be an annual event," said Michelle Erste, one of the event's coordinators. "Some of the other local Relays have done them, I think DeKalb and Roswell. It's a relatively new event for the American Cancer Society as a whole."

With registration beginning at 8 a.m., Bark for Life will have all the elements of the human version -- an opening ceremony, games, entertainment, fundraising opportunities and a lap around the pond.

Participants and their dogs won't be pulling an all-nighter though. The event is scheduled to end at noon.

"Rather than being all night like Relay is, it's just a couple hours to be able get the dogs involved," Erste said.

Fun canine-friendly events will include bobbing for tennis balls and paw painting, Erste said. Local dog-related businesses will also have tents set up.

The goal, Erste said, is to have 100 dogs there raising $5,000 for cancer research.

For more information, go to www.relayforlife.org/barkgwinnett.