Bark For Life will take place at Riverview High School on Saturday, March 7.

By Gwen Rollings

Psychology Today reported that spending time with a pet can boost your health and happiness and have an immense impact on humans in need. Since science and medicine have caught on to the healing power of man’s best friend for cancer patients, the American Cancer Society invites you to Bark For Life on Saturday, March 7 on the front lawn of Riverview High School from 8-10 a.m.

Bark For Life will include a tribute walk, pet costume contest, K-9 demonstration, vendors, food and drinks, giveaway pet bandanas and goody bags, a bounce house and a silent auction.

Tammy Schoonover, senior community development manager at the American Cancer Society, said, “This is the first time that the American Cancer Society has hosted a Bark For Life fundraiser in the Riverview area, but all dog owners, dog lovers and especially dogs will have a chance to participate in many family and canine-friendly events.”

There is a tribute walk course in the shape of a dog bone that was designed by volunteer Charles Vin Coli, which offers long and short options for the mile walk.

If you or your dog enjoy ‘putting on the dog,’ a pet costume contest will be held at 9 a.m. with $50 gift cards awarded in each of five categories: 1) best homemade costume, 2) best themed group, 3) best pet/human duo, 4) best food/drink theme and 5) best celebrity/sports theme.

There will be a K-9 demonstration at 9:30 a.m. by dogs trained in homeland security measures and commands, and members of a local 4-H Club will be there to make a K-9 agility presentation.

Dr. Kim Tyson of Four Paws Veterinary Hospital, a proud sponsor of the event, has volunteered her time and talents in all aspects of Bark For Life, which includes obtaining additional sponsorships, coordinating volunteers and fundraising efforts. As a veterinarian, Dr Tyson said that she understands how important canine companions can be to a cancer patient’s recovery.

A registration fee of $15 per dog or $10 per additional dog(s) prior to the event is encouraged at relayforlife.org/barkriverviewfl, or call 590-2861 for more information. You and your leashed, people-friendly dogs are promised a doggone good time.