Dogs, owners participate in first Bark for Life event

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

AUBURN -- When cancer hit Judy Wilson's family, it hit hard.

There were decisions to make, surgery to consider, quality of life and money questions, as she and her husband worried about their baby -- their sheltie Wendy.

"It affects you the same way whether it's your pet or your sister. These are very much my children," Wilson said of Wendy and another dog Misty, as the two rested under a pavilion at Little Mulberry Park on Saturday.

Wendy, who lost half of her lower jaw to cancer four years ago, led off the first local Bark for Life event, a fundraiser that is part of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

About 25 dogs and several dozen owners participated in the event, raising nearly $500 with special activities such as bobbing for tennis balls paw painting and a "pupcake" walk.

Wilson attached ribbons to her dogs' bandannas for people they were walking in honor of, but she said the Bark for Life event was perfect for her since Wendy's cancer experience is the one that has affected her the most.

"The trauma of dealing with her cancer is the same," she said, adding that the family now has to make sure Wendy's water dish is elevated so she can get a drink. "It's a good cause to begin with and this is something I can do with (the dogs). ... I can connect to that."