When Emily Veith’s grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer, her family was devastated.
With their busy lives, they couldn’t spend as much time with him as they would have liked, but Snoopy, a rescue dog, could.
Snoopy “never ever left his side. Even after he passed, she still stayed in the exact same spot in his bed.” — Bark For Life volunteer Emily Veith
Veith said Snoopy played an integral part providing her grandfather companionship and helping him fight lung cancer.
“His dog stayed with him through the entire thing, always was keeping watch over him,” Veith said. “She never ever left his side. Even after he passed, she still stayed in the exact same spot in his bed.”
Dogs Provide Unconditional Love
Veith said that because of Snoopy she understands the power of canine caregiving.
“They (dogs) don’t discriminate or even really care about the appearance or abilities of a cancer patient,” Veith said. They just give unconditional love.”
Bark For Life Event Is Saturday in Kerman
That unconditional love is what inspired the American Cancer Society to start Bark For Life. The event recognizes dogs with cancer and dogs who are companions to their owners who have cancer.
“With Relay For Life, we celebrate the cancer survivors and we support the cancer patients, but this is the other side in which we are actually supporting dogs that are there for us and that are a part of our family that get cancer,” said Veith, who is helping put on the event.
The event, which runs from 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, will be at Lions Park in Kerman. The cost is $25 per dog.
Denise Gulian, one of the organizers, said people can register Saturday at the park or by calling her at 559 288-4778.
Proceeds Benefit Cancer Research
Gulian said this is the first time the event is being held in Kerman and she hopes it spreads awareness that cancer is a plight that dogs also endure.
Gulian said the event will feature an obstacle course, a dog walk, games, contests, prizes, vendors, a costume contest and other activities. Owners are encouraged to keep their dogs on a leash.
Shannon Hill, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society, said the event is open to anyone, whether they have a dog or not.
“We just hope everyone comes out to find out about the American Cancer Society and our services,” Hill said, adding that 100 percent of the proceeds will go to cancer research. “This is all for an effort to help and support our cancer patients here in the Central Valley. It is us wanting to give back to them and letting them know that we are here for them.”
Hill, who lost her mom to cancer 13 years ago, said the event means a lot to her. She hopes it will offer others who are battling cancer some sort of refuge.
“To hear the words ‘you have cancer,’ is devastating, and you feel alone and alienated,” Hill said. “So to get that advocacy and to know that people understand and are going to help you on your journey, that’s truly priceless.”