The dog days of summer came a bit early to Saline as canines and their owners took over Saturday afternoon during the annual Bark for Life event at Henne Field.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes mingled and competed in fun games at the gathering, which preceded the primary Relay for Life event by several hours.
The nationwide relays, and their related activities, are the part of the American Cancer Society’s single largest annual fundraising initiative, and a “grass roots, community-based team event” according to the non-profit’s website.
A hay bale obstacle course and doggy-friendly information booths were available for early attendees, and once the crowd arrived, a procession of games and challenges commenced that tested the skills of both dogs and owners alike.
The first game involved a ring of hula-hoops. Music was played and the pooches had to stop inside of one and sit down as soon as the song was cut off.
The next activity had each owner fill a plastic spoon with peanut butter, stick the other end in their mouth, and have their dog lick the peanut butter off. The first one to clean the spoon was declared champion.
Dogs of many shapes, sizes and breeds participated.
Ziggy the Golden Doodle was there along with Odie the Brittany-Springer mix and Rocky, a small Schnoodle. All three were excellent with verbal commands.
Fuji, a Shibu Inu, appeared to be a very perceptive dog and seemed to enjoy the peanut butter quite a bit.
An albino Great Dane named Lola, who was sporting a pink boa, stole the show for sheer size, while a pair of Chihuahuas, who each probably weigh as much as an average cantaloupe, balanced the other end of the mass spectrum.
The Chihuahuas, Stella and Betty, are owned by Stephanie Sherson who took the reins of orchestrating the Bark for Life this year.
Sherson said she got the gig after seeking out ways to volunteer.
“My best friend is getting married in the fall and she is actually a bone marrow transplant nurse, and instead of wedding gifts they asked that people either donate to the American Cancer Society or the Humane Society, their two favorite charities,” she said, indicating she contacted relay officials about donating her time.
When told the previous Bark for Life organizer was unable to participate this year, and asked to step in, Sherson didn’t hesitate.
“I was like, ‘I’m a crazy dog mom, sure,’” she said with a laugh.
For more information about the Bark for Life, the Relay for Life, or other American Cancer Society events, visit www.acsevents.org.