Bark for Life set

Published 5:35 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

Man’s furry, four-legged best friends get cancer just like humans do and are also good “caregivers” for their people fighting the disease.

That makes them just as worthy of recognition by the American Cancer Society, in the eyes of Suffolk’s Relay for Life officials.

Therefore, pups are getting their own Relay fundraiser this year. Bark for Life will be held on Aug. 22 at the dog park at Lake Meade Park.

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Dana DeFreeuw, who is in charge of the Relay for Life team sponsoring the event, Snuffin’ Out Cancer, said she heard about the event being done in another locality and brought it to the attention of Chelsea Peoples, Suffolk’s community manager for the American Cancer Society.

“Dogs tend to be good companions for cancer survivors,” DeFreeuw said. “They don’t care if you’re sick from chemo. Dogs are survivors.”

Like Relay for Life, the event will begin with a short walk and feature fun activities, including doggie photo shoots, contests for the longest and shortest tail, a parade of adoptable animals, a best trick contest, a costume contest and a bone drop. Concessions and treats for people and pets will be sold.

McGruff the Crime Dog will be on hand to remind folks to take a bite out of crime … and cancer.

Peoples said dogs do not have to be members of the Lake Meade dog park to attend on this day, but Parks and Recreation will be on hand to take registrations for those who wish to register.

“The city has been amazing with letting us use the facility,” Peoples said. “We hope by having the event there, we can help the city promote the park.”

DeFreeuw encouraged veterinarians and groomers to sign up teams. They might offer services like nail trims for donations to Relay, she added.

Although the event is a fundraiser for the fight against cancer, DeFreeuw said she doesn’t want anybody to be sad.

“We want to keep this day fun,” she said. “I don’t want anybody to be down.”

Registration is $20 per dog in advance and $25 per dog the day of the event. Each dog registered will receive a purple bandanna allowing it to participate in the day’s activities and will also receive a “wag bag.” It’s free for humans and dogs, but unregistered dogs won’t get to participate in the contests and activities.

All dogs must remain on leashes at the event.

Registration for the event starts at 8 a.m., and the event runs from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. The park is located at 201 Holly Lawn Parkway. Register your dog at

For more information, email DeFreeuw at