To answer the age-old question originally posed by 1990’s philosophers and Reggae group The Baha Men, cancer research fundraising let the dogs out. At least it did on Saturday.
The fifth annual Bark For Life walk brought out humans and dogs alike to enjoy a 1.5-mile trek along Lake Salinda to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
The idea to go to the dogs came about for three reasons: animals have long been shown to have a positive impact on cancer patients and others fighting lengthy illnesses, dogs can suffer from the same cancers and benefit form the same treatments humans can and, also, dogs are more likely to be willing to walk on a leash.
Along with the walk, dogs competed in a costume contest, a longest tail and a longest ear contest. A few humans even took part in a barking contest (won by Reid Purlee, 6).
But more than a walk and a fun event — this was about cancer research and recognizing cancer fighters who are struggling to beat this disease, like Sally Stith, who came with her dogs, Ramsay (AKA “Moose”) and Sophia and served as the walk's grand marshal.
“I’ve been going to Norton Cancer Center in Corydon since 2011,” said Stith. “I’m on my fifth bout with colon cancer. I’ve had a lot of surgeries. I’ve had radiation and chemotheraphy, but then my fabulous team at the Cancer Institute hooked me up with the FoundationOne study and they set me up with a medicine that’s best for my type of colon cancer, so it’s made for me.”
Along the way, she’s had various doctors and nurses, but only a few nurses with damp noses.
“I don’t know what I’d do without the support of my dogs,” she said. “When I started my battles, I had a little black and white mutt named Stitch, who was always there for me. He slept above my head on my pillow; when I was at home, he was always there. A couple years ago, he died, just after I got Sophia, so he left my care in her capable paws. She’s really good at it except when she chases the cats or tries to bite Ramsay’s back legs or wants to cluck her [toy] chicken at three o’clock in the morning. We’ve started taking that away from her.”
Organizer Janet Hinds said attendance wasn’t where she was hoping it would be, but in the end, the event raised around $3,500 for the American Cancer Society.