LIHUE — From Shih Tzus to Shiba-Inus, a range of dog breeds were present for the seventh annual Bark For Life early Saturday morning at Hokuala.
Over 25 dogs and owners gathered for a family-friendly event to support the Kauai chapter of the American Cancer Society’s efforts to raise awareness and honor man’s best friend, all while raising money to help cancer patients on Kauai.
“I’ve had many friends and family members affected by cancer,” said Katy Britzmann. “The main reason I’m here is to support the American Cancer Society. That, and I love dogs.”
Britzmann was accompanied by her Shih Tzu, Moni. Many dogs, including Moni, were eagerly awaiting their morning walks as they jumped, sniffed and ran around the registration tables in anticipation.
And for the cranky dogs who weren’t used to getting up early for walks, there were events for them too, including contests such as best smile, pet owner lookalike, best costume, best trick, and fastest eater (big and small).
Tommy Tokuda, who has attended every Bark For Life for the past four years, couldn’t put into words how crucial events like this are for Kauai’s community.
“Why is it so important? You have to be involved in these types of events,” he said. “You need to be involved to help. We do it every year.”
Tokuda brought his Shiba-Inu (a Japanese breed) named Yuki to the event. Yuki was able to interact with other dogs of all shapes and sizes. One dog in particular was Lulu, a Cocker Spaniel/poodle. Her owner, Gwen Saiki, said she also likes to participate in the dog walks in Hanapepe.
“It’s about supporting the whole cause,” Saiki said. “I always go to the one in Hanapepe (Relay For Life), but this one is just like an extra one to help out with. This is for the dogs and cancer.”
More than just bringing Lulu for a bit of exercise and fresh air, Saiki said she has a responsibility to be active in the fight against cancer.
“Bark For Life isn’t just a terrific cause. I’ve had people who have been affected with cancer, close people to me,” she said. “But luckily, I haven’t had any friends whose dogs have had cancer, just people.”