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Hundreds gather for dog day in Norcross

Staff Photo: John Bohn Ranger, a German shepherd dog owned by Nancy Dwyer of Loganville , is a 6-year old rescued dog. On Saturday, Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation teamed with the American Cancer Society's Bark for Life for an event at Pickneyville Park featuring a dog walk and other dog related events.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Ranger, a German shepherd dog owned by Nancy Dwyer of Loganville , is a 6-year old rescued dog. On Saturday, Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation teamed with the American Cancer Society's Bark for Life for an event at Pickneyville Park featuring a dog walk and other dog related events.

NORCROSS -- From tiny teacup breeds to Great Dane-sized canines, the inaugural Bark for Life of Gwinnett brought out nearly 200 people who braved less-than-fun weather at the event.

Held Saturday morning at Pinckneyille Park, the gathering featured vendors, inflatables, concessions and face painting as well as a one-mile dog walk at 10 a.m.

Organizer Sheila Fowler said "it went great."

"It was a good time. We had a lot of dogs with a lot of families," Fowler said, adding that event organizers with the American Cancer Society plan to have the event again next year.

Fowler said the inaugural gathering had already raised $4,000 to go toward cancer research.

According to its website, Bark for Life is a non-competitive fundraising dog walking event that honors the care-giving qualities of canine companions and cancer survivors, both human and canine.

It's the four-legged version of the Relay for Life featuring an opening ceremony, the walk, games, entertainment and other fundraising opportunities.

Cora Bailey brought out her mixed-breed puppy for a walk Saturday. She said it seemed like "a good socializing opportunity for the six-month old Betsy.

"She's loving it," Bailey said, leaning down to scoop the dog up in her arms.

Fellow canine Layla stepped in stride with Betsy.

Dog owner Kim Green said her golden retriever, Layla, is always up for "a morning walk and meeting new dog friends."

For more information about the event, visit www.barkforlifegwinnett.org.