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It’s a ‘Dog Gone’ World

By Staff | Aug 31, 2010

Jim Toohey, a teacher at Hughesville High School, adopted Angel, a cancer survivor dog from the SPCA in 2005. She is the lead dog for the Tri-Town Relay for Life parade walk.

MONTGOMERY – The Hughesville Relay for Life is now known as the Tri-Town Relay for Life and what better way to support it than with a Bark for Life fundraiser held in Montgomery Park this past Saturday. “We have all three communities involved, Montgomery, Muncy and Hughesville,” said Mike Bieber chairperson for the event to raise money for the Cancer Society. It is the first one held in this area. Previously there was one in Jersey Shore and South Williamsport where committee organizers went to get ideas to present at Montgomery’s.

Organized contests for the morning included Doggie Musical Chairs, a frozen treat eating contest, a look-a-like contest, a sit and stay contest and a “catch me if you can.” Beginning with a catered breakfast from Station House Restaurant in Montgomery and registration at 9 a.m., about 25 dog owners, all sizes and all breeds, came to enjoy the fun and receive Survivor bandanas to wear for all to see.

Prizes and raffle baskets were given out and organized by participating sponsors that included the Canine Country Club in Pennsdale, Coddled Critters, Critter Creations, Janet’s Dog Grooming in Hughesville, Sam’s Club, Scot’s Low Cost, Target, Top Dog Grooming Salon in Muncy, TRA Electric Co. in Watsontown, Wegman’s, Weis Markets and Wolf Run Veterinary Clinic in Pennsdale. Individual sponsors included Dallas Stiger and Nancy O’Connor.

The Bark for Life trademark event started in Pottstown a few years ago according to Ellen Bokeko, Income Development Specialist for the American Cancer Society. “It is fairly new and it is being introduced statewide. One was held last April in South Willliamsport and the end of March in Jersey Shore,” she said.

A special guest at the event was Angel, a 16 year old Smooth Coated Chow owned by Hughesville resident and teacher, James Toohey. Angel was adopted by Toohey in 2005 at the SPCA where he was being held for six months. Toohey who does volunteer and fundraising work there said that Angel was at the SPCA waiting just for him. “She is a good dog and she is a survivor. She had cancer for ten years of her life,” he said. Angel was chosen to lead the pep parade walk for the Bark for Life and she is also the only canine allowed to go on the Relay for Life Track at the Hughesville High School Football field in June. Thus she became the official mascot of the Interact Relay for Life Team, a Hughesville Teen Community Service Club and part of Rotary International. She does one lap around the course.

Pet owners marched with their dogs during Doggie Musical Chairs. When the music stopped, the dogs had to go to the nearest hula hoop until there was only one remaining. Beth Schultz's dog, Jackson, from Muncy won the contest.

Angel suffered from ovarian cancer which Toohey discovered less than a month after he got her. “She was already christened with the name ‘Angel’ but I like to call her Bella which is Italian for Beautiful,” he said after relating a story about an Italian friend who wanted to give her that name. “She loves everyone, especially children.”

Alicia Myers from Muncy brought her pet Patch, a Boston Terrier who enjoyed participating in the Hula Hoops musical chairs contest. “I got a lot of great ideas for dog treats and recipes,” Myers replied regarding the morning’s activities. Beth Schultz from Muncy said her dog Jackson liked the games and he won the hula hoop contest.

After the doggy contests, Terry Lynn, Chief of the Montgomery Police Department brought an officer, Sgt. Wilcox, and a trainer to demonstrate obedience exercises with two German Shepherds that are used for police work in Montgomery and surrounding areas. Spring is a good time to train dogs they said as the heat of the summer is their enemy.

Another highlight of the morning was seeing the greyhound rescue dogs. Owners, Tara Bartlett from Montgomery and Colleen and Mark Johns brought 4 greyhounds rescued from Nittany Greyhounds, an organization that takes in the race dogs and puts them up for adoption and match them with responsible owners. “There is such a misconception out there about their personalities,” said Johns. “But they are very calm and laid back and don’t require a lot of exercise,” she said of the dogs who came from a Florida race track. “They are really 45 mile couch potatoes,” said Bartlett.

“We will definitely have this again next year,” said Doris Swartz, volunteer and organizer. “It was such a good time and a great success.”