Arlington's Bark for Life raises money for ACS | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — More than 50 dogs and their two-legged friends gathered at the Haller Middle School Stadium on Saturday, May 18, for Arlington’s first ever Bark for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

“Donations are still coming in but as of now the first annual Bark for Life has raised over $2,300,” said Caryn Brown, one of the event organizers.

Forty-nine “civilian dogs” visited the event, which hosted raffles, live music from the band Kaleidescope and Arlington High School senior William Hoover, nail trims for dogs with a suggested donation of $5, canine treats and accessories, demonstrations from several working dogs, purple nail painting and more.

“I would like to give credit to Team Gourdheads — the Cantrell family — who formed a team to walk in support of their grandfather who has passed away recently from cancer. They have raised $1,630 in memory of Ottis Cantrell,” said Brown. “They attended Ottis’ memorial service right after participating in the walk.”

Bark for Life is a fundraising event that is part of Arlington’s annual Relay for Life, and began as a way to honor canine caregivers. According to the ACS, canine companions demonstrate unconditional love, joy, security, compassion and no judgments of cancer survivors’ abilities or appearances.

Dogs donned purple Relay for Life bandanas and leashes, purple toenails and even purple doggie outfits to show support for the cause. Canine companions participated in doggie games including ‘Bobbing for Hot Dogs’ and a peanut butter eating contest.

Highlights of the event included demonstrations from working dogs. Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputies Brandon McCollar and Matt Boice brought K-9 Deputy Lydar, a 7-year-old German Shepherd. The crowd gathered to watch Lydar chase down and apprehend Boice, who was wearing a protective arm guard, to show how dogs can assist law enforcement.

“He was only 16 months old when I got him,” said McCollar. “We use him mostly to apprehend people who have fled from police during or after a crime — this is usually crimes of violence for the most part.”

Two dancing dogs performed with their owners, Corrine Lawson and Mitzi Jorgensen, as part of the K9 Freestyle group. Sage, a nose work dog, was a special guest for the event because she has active sarcoma after being bitten by a rattlesnake.

Perhaps one of the most impressive dog demonstrations included Springfield, a 10-year-old labrador who was able to sniff out a single human tooth placed beneath one of 10 planters. Her owner, Christina Bunn, explained how Springfield is a volunteer Snohomish County search animal.

“I just retired her, but I served with her in this county for nine years,” said Bunn. “She can find or try to locate old human remains, buried or on the surface, anything from a drop of blood to a whole body. Typically a cadaver dog is looking for recently deceased people, but what she can find is any sort of remains, even if it is old evidence. We’ve been asked to help on cases that were 15 years old.”

Josh Clark attended Bark for Life with his daughters, Madison and Emerson, and his 5-year-old rottweiler, Roman.

“My daughter Madison told me about this because her aunt is part of Relay,” said Clark. “We will certainly be back next year, it’s a nice event.”

Brown said that although the murky weather kept some visitors at bay, she plans to bring Bark for Life back again next year.

“I think for our first year we did really well,” she said. “A big thank you to Form to Function, City Bones, Dozen Flours, Save the Day Floral Design, and Smokey Point Starbucks for their donations and support in this event and to Alpentail Grooming for donating their time to offer nail trimming for the dogs.”

Arlington Relay for Life is hosting the Ron Stubbs Hypnotic Comedy Tour at President’s Elementary School on Wednesday, May 22. Tickets are $10 each or $35 per family and childcare is available.

For more information or to donate to Relay for Life, visit


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