Bark For Life Raises Money For Pet Cancer Research

POCATELLO, Idaho - Cancer is responsible for nearly 50 percent of deaths every year, not for humans, but for their best friends, according to the Veterinary Oncology and Hematology Center.

More older dogs and cats die from cancer every year than from anything else, but some local people are working to reverse the trend by supporting cancer research. They raised money for it this weekend by hosting the dog version of Relay for Life, Bark for Life.

Molly sat in the grass in front of the Pocatello Kennel Club agility course at Bark for Life on Saturday -- she was about to show off some serious skill. Weaving around the agility course, Molly is a reminder of why keeping your pooch healthy is so important, said Jane Guidinger with OD Mad Dog training.

"Dogs, like people, are getting overweight, and they don't do enough exercise. And dog agility is a great sport, not only for the dog, but for the person," Guidinger said.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54 percent of pets are overweight, and those extra pounds compound the chance for cancer.

Bark for Life event chair Melinda Johnson and Petco representative Curtis Penn said that's why they do this.

"This is a unification and a celebration of life, and the money raised here trickles down to dog and cat research," Penn said.

Bruce the Moose brought his owner, Kip Wilkins, out to support bark for life for AllState Insurance.

"To know that there's some research going to know that might be able to benefit pets, as well as humans, is really cool," Wilkins said.

And while Bruce does enough tail-wagging to keep himself healthy, Guidinger said any dog can learn agility, even pooches as small as Willow the chihuahua. And keeping Willow in shape will help keep her around longer.

"It adds anywhere from two to five years to their lifetime, and their lifetime is very short anyway, so lean is very important," Guidinger said.

Bark for Life happens in Idaho Falls this Saturday at Freeman Park.

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