An offshoot of the popular Relay for Life event, Bark for Life grew from the desire of dog owners for a similar day of fun and support that their pets could attend. The Scotland County Bark for Life event was begun in 2009 by Amanda Hagler of Laurinburg; Hagler is the daughter and stepdaughter of county Relay for Life co-chairs Carol and Stewart Thomas.
"We hope to build on last year's event by adding several new activities as well as continuing much of what we did last year," Hagler said. "Among the attractions will be a track where the dogs and their owners can walk around, treat stations, a picture station in which a framed Bark for Life photo of a dog and his or her owner can be made, an obstacle course, a tent where your pet's paw print can be painted, and more."
Another popular event, according to Hagler, will be "Every Dog's Dream", a contest in which numbered bones will be dropped from the air onto a painted area.
"Pet owners can purchase a bone which will be dropped from the air," Hagler said. "Whoever has the bone that lands closest to the target will win a cash prize."
An event titled Honoring Our Lost Paws, a tribute to pets that have passed away, will also be featured.
"Since Relay has its luminaries to honor loved ones who have passed, we thought it would be a good idea to have a similar way to honor pets," Hagler said at last year's event. "We will have a board set up, painted with a paw print. For $5 a dog owner can display a photo of his or her deceased pet, or for $3 we will post the pet's name."
Several activities will be new to the 2010 event.
"We will give several trophies at this year's Bark for Life, including awards for 'Best Costume' for those owners who would like to dress up their dogs, a prize for the winner of the best tricks contest, and a trophy to the winner of the 'Bless Your Heart' competition, also known as the 'so cute we can't not give him a trophy' contest," Hagler said, laughing.
The Scotland County Animal Shelter will conduct three separate "Adopt a Dog" parades at the event to showcase their animals.
Food for both humans and their dogs will be available for purchase.
"We will have hot dogs, nachos, snow cones, cookies, and more, and chicken bog by Academy Animal Hospital will also be available," Hagler said. "Homemade dog treats will also be sold, and a trick or treat contest for dogs and for children will also take place," said Hagler.
While the event is designed to be a fun gathering for all, the real reason for Bark for Life remains the fight to combat a serious disease.
"Since dogs can't be a part of Relay for LIfe, this will be a great way for your pet to join in the fight against cancer," Hagler said. "After all, dogs can be caregivers, too."
Prior to last year's event Nancy Adcock, the publicity chairperson for Relay for Life in Scotland County, expressed her pleasure at the addition of Bark for Life in Laurinburg.
"I am excited that Amanda will be adding Bark to Life this year as a part of the Relay for Life event," she said. "I hope that everyone will come out and participate, register their favorite dog and enjoy the day."
Bark for Life will begin at the James L. Morgan Recreational Complex on Turnpike Road with registration at 8 a.m. The event will be held from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. with registration available all day.
"For a $15 fee to register your dog, you will receive a t-shirt and a bandanna for your pet," Hagler said. "We hope that you, your family and your dogs will join us for a fun afternoon of activities everyone will enjoy."
To register, contact Hagler at 610-3295 or by email at email@example.com or register at the event.
Participants may also visit the event website at www.relayforlife.org/scotlandnc and click on Bark for Life for information.