A total of 22 dogs and their owners helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society during Relay for Life of Carroll County's 2017 Bark for Life event. (Submitted photo)

Mineral City, Ohio - Area dog-lovers and their canine companions are invited to join in the fight against cancer this Saturday during a special event this weekend at Atwood Lake Park.

Relay for Life of Carroll County’s 3rd-annual Bark for Life event is scheduled for Saturday, August 18, with a variety of fun-filled and canine-friendly activities and demonstrations scheduled throughout the evening.

Event lead Wendy Rainsberger says this year’s festivities will kick off at 6 p.m. with an hour of fun and games for the event’s human participants and their families at the Atwood Lake Beach. 

“The dogs are typically not allowed on the beach until 7 o’clock, but we will do fun and games with the beach-goers from 6 to 7. We’ll do some water games with the kids and so forth, and there’s going to be some vendors there.”

Rainsberger says officers from the Tuscarawas County K-9 Unit and their handlers will also be on hand from 6 to 7 to give a demonstration.  

Same-day registration for the event’s signature non-competitive walk for dogs and their owners begins at 7 p.m. 
The cost is $10 per dog for the first dog and $5 more for each additional dog, and the first 50 dogs registered will receive a free bandana and a bag of treats. 

Rainsberger explains that the walk will follow a format similar to that of the Relay for Life events with an opening ceremony, survivors and caregivers lap around the beach and a luminaria ceremony later in the evening.

“We’ll have an opening ceremony, and we’ll have a survivor cut the ribbon, and then we do our laps with the survivors [and] caregivers. Then our teams and everybody else joins in, so anybody else that’s there with their canines can take the walk.”

Unlike traditional Relay events, however, participants are not required to walk continuously and will instead have the option to leave the track to participate in activities, according to Rainsberger.

“The dogs get to do what they’re calling a Hot Dog Swim. There’s a section of the beach that they’re going to allow the dogs to swim in, and that’s at 7:30, and then we have a doggie costume contest at 7:45. After that, we do Dogs with Talent, and we do a little talent show.” 

The event will also include a silent auction and 50//50 raffle, with the winners to be drawn at 8:30 and announced at 8:45. 

Luminaries will also be available for purchase during the event and will be used to light up Atwood Lake Beach during a ceremony celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer and remembering those that have been lost to the disease. 

“We always conclude all of our events like the main event and this event with a luminaria service for us to reflect back on how individuals have touched our lives and remember those that we’ve lost,” Rainsberger says. 

As a special treat, participants in this year’s event will be invited to stick around following the ceremony for a showing of the movie “A Dog’s Purpose” on the beach’s floating screen.    

All proceeds from the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society to support life-saving cancer research and programs for patients and their families.  

Early registration for the event is available online at Registration forms are also available at the Atwood Lake Park Welcome Center. The park is located at 9500 Lakeview Road in Mineral City.

Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV

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