SOUTHINGTON — The fourth annual Southington Bark for Life brought together dogs and their owners at the Southington Drive-In on Sunday to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
Modeled after Relay for Life, Bark for Life is in its infancy but growing in awareness, popularity and participation. It allows dog owners to show off their canines and support the American Cancer Society. Christina Husted, event co-chair, said dogs are not allowed at Relay for Life events, but cancer patients and survivors view their dogs as support. Bark for Life fills that void.
The event is open to someone who has lost a family member to cancer, cancer survivors, anyone who has lost a pet to cancer or a caregiver, Husted said.
The Southington Police Department’s Canine Unit put on a demonstration. It attracted a large portion of the crowd of several hundred.
During a dog pageant, owners paraded their canines across a stage, displaying obedience, showmanship and tricks. Dogs walked with owners around a makeshift track, raising funds based on pledges. Awards were also presented in various categories, including most laps completed.
Mike DeLuco of Southington was fresh off the pageant stage with his Siberian Husky, Jiboo, where he was showcasing the 12-year-old dog.
DeLuco has participated in all four Southington Bark for Life events, and is in involved with the Southington Relay for Life.
He was part of the team Foxy’s Paws for a Cause, representing Plantsville Elementary School.
“We have quite a few more vendors and booths this year,” DeLuco said, an indication of growth for the event.
The event also featured vendors and organizations such as Bikers Against Animal Cruelty.
Husted and co-chair Ashley Aleksinas of Bristol reported a 67 percent increase in registered dogs for this year’s event. Bark for Life raised at least $1,700, with more donations expected after the event.
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