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Bark for Life: Canines join fight against cancer

September 4, 2018 GMT

Grab your leashes, because Bark for Life, a pet-friendly fundraiser for the American Caner Society hosted by Mason County Mutts, is coming on Saturday.

The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Central Bark Park in Ludington and organizers are hoping for a successful second year, with the goal of turning Bark for Life into a yearly benefit.

“It’s like Relay for Life, but with dogs,” said Sara Lutz, president and co-founder of Mason County Mutts. “We did it last year, this year’s going to be even better and we hope to make it an annual event.”

Combining an animal focus with a cancer fundraising benefit is a natural fit according to Lutz, who said that animal welfare and cancer, in both humans and their furry companions, are causes that frequently overlap.

“For people who have cancer, a lot of times their dogs and cats are their companions. And a lot of us who have pets have had a pet who’s passed away from cancer,” Lutz said. “It’s a chance to raise money for the American Cancer Society and to celebrate the pets you’ve had that have passed away from cancer.”

The Mason County Mutts team will be celebrating Storm, an abandoned Husky picked up by Mason County Animal Control and taken in by Mason County Mutts Vice President Theresa Swist.

Storm had to be euthanized after Swist found that he had untreatable rectal cancer, but before the end he was embraced and became part of the Mason County Mutts family.

“He’d been sick a long time, and someone just didn’t care enough to take care of him or euthanize him,” Swist said. “So I took him home to my house and I loved him.”

Lutz said Storm had a good life in the end, thanks to the intervention of Swist.

The Mason County Mutts team is walking in Storm’s memory, but people are encouraged to come and participate whether they’re pet-owners, or simply people with loved ones — canine, feline, human or otherwise — who have been affected by cancer. Lutz stressed that Bark for Life is for everyone.

Registration is at 10 a.m. with the walk starting at 10:30. Contests will get underway around 11 a.m. and participants who raise the most funds will be recognized.

Read the full story in Tuesday’s Ludington Daily News print and e-Editions.