Bark for Life event to be held March 22

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Special to the Citizen

On Saturday, March 22 from 10a.m. – 2p.m., the Humane Society of Morgan County and the Morgan County Relay for Life Queens will host the second annual Bark for Life event at Heritage Park in Madison.

The event is a fundraiser for both the HSMC and the 2014 Morgan County Relay for Life to be held May 9, and it serves as an opportunity for those who love their dogs and who want to support the fight against cancer to gather and spend fun time together as a family, according to event organizer and cancer survivor Beth Bradley.

“Because Relay for Life doesn’t allow dogs, Bark for Life is the time when cancer survivors and caregivers can celebrate with their four-legged friends,” Bradley explains.

This year’s event is free to all human beings, but if a human wants to bring the family’s canine friend, early registration is $20, and $25 at the gate.

With paid registration on or before March 12, ticket holders receive a specially designed Bark for Life T-shirt, a bandana, a raffle ticket and a ticket for a pet picture in the HSMC photo booth by animal photographer Celia Horvath.

Those who register after March 12 will get all the same goodies, except for the T-shirt, Bradley says. This year, the event will feature contests for owners and their dogs, including: best trick, obedience, best dancer, oldest and youngest dogs, owner and dog lookalike and best dog costume.

Medals will be awarded for these winners. Any dog at the event is invited to participate in these contests. Hungry humans can purchase hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, cotton candy and delectable baked goods throughout the day.

From 10a.m. to 12:30p.m., there will be demos from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and their drug dog Duke, Cindy Wiemann, Madison Animal Control Officer, talking about keeping dogs cool during the summer, Mary Leslie and her search and rescue dog, and dog trainer Linda Lethbridge showing off training techniques.

The afternoon will end with a demonstration by local reptile expert David Burke. DOCK 103 will be spinning tunes all day, and Bradley and her team of lovely ladies will be raffling off specialty items and services in between events.

For the canines, UGA vet techs will help with canine mani-pedis, without nail polish, of course. In her work with Relay for Life, Bradley says she encounters many people whose dogs were by their sides through their experiences; Bark for Life is for anyone who believes dogs are family and who wants to honor the fight against cancer with their beloved pet by their side.

The traditional Relay lap will be a special part of the morning’s opening ceremony, so Bradley encourages families to come early and stay the day. “Dogs are caregivers, too,” Bradley says. “They wag their tails at us every day when we come home.”

For more information on Bark for Life or to register for the event, visit the HSMC website at www.humanemorgan.org For questions or to donate product or services for the raffle, contact Beth Bradley at 770-377-9244 or HSMC Director Belinda Bell at 706-343-9977.

To order a T-shirt without registering for the event, visit the Humane Society of Morgan County at 1170 Fairground Road, Madison. All money raised will be divided between Relay for Life and HSMC.

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