Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday's Grab-bag: BARK FOR LIFE!

This is Kacey. 

Kacey's mom is a melanoma survivor.  I had Kacey in English last year, and I had her older sister Jamie long enough ago that I'd rather not list the years. Jamie is pictured below, on the right, with Sarah on the left, also a former student. 

 And here's a close-up of Sarah's dog, Aussie.

What brought all of us together? The American Cancer Society had a Bark for Life in our local park yesterday. Kacey told me about it a few weeks ago, at which point I started badgering Luke and Kim to come with me and bring Leroy and Fanny.

Now, here's the thing.  I have never taken Wiley to anything quite like this before. Based on his history of total aversion to all things new, all wide open spaces, and all other dogs, I knew he would not like this. But since we have spent the last six months working hard on breaking him into the big wide world, I was determined to try this, especially because it was for such a good cause.

Hubs had some baseball coach duties to attend to, and so it was just Wiley, Leroy, and Fanny with me, Luke, and Kim. 

We were lucky enough to preregister (thanks Leslie) so Kim checked us in and got our SWAG (Stuff We All Get) bags and bandanas while I finished filling out the form. 

Then it was time to put the bandanas on the dogs. If you look at the picture of Kim dressing Fanny on the left, you'll see Luke's hands and phone on the right of that frame. On the right of the picture below is the photo Luke took about a second later!  Purely serendipitous but isn't it cute?

Once we got the dogs all done up, we surveyed the scene and came up with a game plan. Wiley's game plan was to flee, immediately.

He was extremely wary, as you can see in his wide and alert eyes.

There was quite a lot going on.

And dogs everywhere. I mean, I expected there to be lots of dogs at the Bark for Life, but Wiley was not sure which way to look. There was even a police dog there!

I saw this dog a number of times. It's so pretty!

We walked around the outskirts of the park, giving all the dogs time to settle in. Fanny was fine, but Leroy was a bit overstimulated. I mean he was a wild man. And Wiley, well, he was his neurotic self. He was actually fine when other dogs were near but when people let their dogs run right up to him (which I don't understand and I don't think is proper dog etiquette) he would flinch away. He did best when he was directly following Fanny and Leroy.

Eventually we found a somewhat quiet spot where Luke and Kim were hoping to get a family picture taken. However, Leroy was not quite cooperating. Luke gave him a stern scolding, which you can see in the 2nd picture of the collage below, and then said "Take a picture of me wringing his neck!" So I did. Now readers. . . if you read the blog regularly you know that Luke adores Leroy. He is not really wringing his neck. Luke does not think wringing necks is funny. Don't send me or Luke hate mail about this silly picture, okay?

 Meanwhile, Wiley continued to neurotically wait to leave.

The good news is they eventually got a good family photo, just not in this location.

We went over towards the pond, thinking it would be slightly quieter and thus there would be fewer distractions for Fanny and Leroy. 

That didn't go quite as planned, thanks to this guy.

Once Fanny caught sight of this duck it was all downhill from there. Kim had to use her nurse muscles to restrain her.

I know the light is a bit distracting in the picture below but I'm including it anyway.

 You can see Luke trying to calm Fanny down while Kim has her in a headlock. And in the bottom you can see Wiley, just looking on neurotically. 

Anyway, eventually someone with excellent photography skills (ahem ahem) was able to snap this:

Yay me! And in return, Kimberly took this picture of me and Wiley. Thanks Kim!

We let Leroy check out just a few more dogs, like this pretty Rhodesian Ridgeback:

and these two dogs who were just arriving:

We saw Wonder Dog!

And this big dog greeting this tiny wiener:

We checked out the stand from the Hillside SPCA, former home of Wiley and Fanny.

And then we ventured into survivor territory.

Wiley is a cancer survivor.

So is my mom. She is two years lung cancer-free.

 Interesting fact: this picture was taken the day before she had surgery to have her lower right lobe from her lung removed. I came up to church to surprise her, and we were dressed alike! haha. Total coincidence but I loved it.

Mom lost both her brothers, Bill and Jack, to lung cancer. They died within six months of each other.

Uncle Jack's wife, my Aunt Joan, is a breast cancer survivor. What can be said about cancer that hasn't been said already?
It's a scourge. There are too many losses and not enough survivor stories.  Luke lost his mother Lynne to pancreatic cancer five years ago.

That's why I'm so appreciative that he went with us to the benefit. It's easy to say we should support something like this, but it's a lot harder to do when it affects you so personally.

I think I can say with certainty that Fanny and Kim are probably the only ones who actually had fun yesterday. Luke and I were too worked up about Wiley and Leroy to relax and enjoy the moment. But I'm still really glad we went, and I will go again in the future. The Bark for Life was very upbeat and positive. Plus- take a look at all the goodies in our SWAG bags!

I know Wiley could be quite happy without all the extra excitement I force into his life, but at the end of the day, he did just fine. 

Many thanks to the American Cancer Society for putting this event together, and to Kacey for making sure I knew about it.  And if you've read all the way to the end of this long post, then many thanks to you as well! Don't forget we are always looking for your rescue stories. Email me at  

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