(Nov. 1, 2019) Animal lovers and their pets can help raise money for cancer research during the third annual Bark for Life, this Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at Windmill Creek Vineyard and Winery, located at 11206 Worcester Highway in Berlin.

Bark for Life is co-organized by Stephen Decatur High School’s Relay for Life team and Relay for Life North Worcester County. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the team’s fundraising goal.

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Nora Duke and her dog, Flex, pose for a photo during the second annual Bark for Life event last year held at Stephen Decatur Park in Berlin.

“It all goes to the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer,” Event organizer Dj Thompson said. “It’s giving more exposure to the disease and at the same time [acknowledging] it’s not just a human disease, it’s also one that our furry loved ones get as well.

“Dogs tend to really be great caregivers,” he continued. “That’s one thing we do, which is celebrate through American Cancer Society Relay for Life and Bark for Life, those people and dogs and animals that give back in a different way just by being there for us, giving us that unconditional love that we will need during the struggle.”

The cost is $10 admission for a dog to attend with its owner. If a pet owner has more than one dog attending, then the cost is $5 per additional dog.

Each participant will receive a goodie bag as a token of appreciation.

“Even if you don’t have a dog, it doesn’t mean you’re not welcome,” he said. “It is an open event for everyone just to kind of come out and enjoy some time together.”

Last year, the event was held at Stephen Decatur Park in Berlin in September. It was moved back to November because of a lower turnout due to nice weather.

“Last year we had about 50 people attend when the year before was around 100,” Thompson said. “We had moved it earlier hoping to bring in more people, but it was such a beautiful day that everyone was trying to get their last beach day in. That’s why we pushed it back to November.”

Windmill Creek Winery will be providing musical entertainment from 4-7 p.m. as well as food and drinks.

This year will be different as there will not be any vendors participating, although there will still be plenty of pooch friendly activities.

Dogs and humans can participate in a costume contest, which also includes the best look-alike contest.

Other games and activities include musical sit, a bone toss and a walk through the gardens and vineyards.

“The biggest thing comes back to our three words ... to celebrate, to remember and to fight back,” Thompson said. “So it’s a great opportunity for us to celebrate all the dogs out there, all the pet owners and just all the love we get from them while also remembering those that we might have lost, whether it be from cancer or not, but just lost in the past because we all hold our furry loved ones dear to our heart.”

Attendees must clean up after their animals. Event organizers require proof of rabies vaccination and leashes shorter than six feet long for all canine participants.

For more information, visit the event Facebook page at Bark for Life at Windmill Creek Winery.

Relay For Life is a community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society and many other cancer-related institutions, societies and associations.

The next Relay for Life event in Worcester County will take place on Friday, May 8, 2020, at the Frontier Town campgrounds in Berlin.

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