By Debra Bell
OF THE WEEKLY STAFF
One in four dogs in the United States will develop some kind of cancerous tumor in their lifetime.
Sobering statistic isn’t it? That’s partly because cancer is an ugly disease.
And while VPI Pet Insurance has designated November as Pet Cancer Awareness Month, but there’s something pet owners can do now to help bring awareness to people and pet cancer: Sign up to walk in the second annual Greater Bangor Bark For Life, held this year on Saturday, June 15.
Last year’s event brought together 230 people and 120 dogs, and 15 cancer survivors to walk the loop around the Hollywood Casino Racetrack. The walk was an offshoot of the Relay for Life event held yearly to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, a nonprofit that helps fund research and care for people dealing with cancer.
In its first year, the Greater Bangor Bark For Life raised $21,107.15. In 2013, they intend to up the ante: 275 people, 250 dogs, 50 survivors, and raise $30,000. The event will start with vendors and dog-related activities at 5:30 p.m. and the walk will once again be held at 7:30 p.m.
While the funds raised at the Greater Bangor Bark For Life go to fund people cancers, the event was the perfect place to learn more about cancer in pets. Research is being conducted in the world of pet cancers, but there is hope if your pet has cancer.
If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, get it checked out by a veterinarian:
• Lumps and sores that don’t heal and instead grow;
• Marked changes in the pet’s appetite and/or weight;
• Offensive smells coming from the pet;
• Bleeding or discharge from openings on the pet;
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing;
• Lack of interest or will to exercise and play;
• Ongoing lameness, stiffness or change in gait;
• Difficulty breathing or going to the bathroom
If you’re interested in participating in the Greater Bangor Bark for Life, the cost is $10 for cancer survivors and $25 for individuals. Dogs are included at no extra cost. The registration fee includes a T-shirt for people and bandanas for dogs. Register online through Facebook or by going to www.relayforlife.org then search for “Greater Bangor Bark For Life.”
In addition to being a BDN Maine special sections writer, Debra Bell is a professional photographer specializing in pet photography. She is owned by Olivia, a Maine coon Ccat, and Laura, a greyhound. Debra is the author of the “Critters” Blog located at critters.bangordailynews.com.