Dogs help fight cancer at fundraiser
By RANDY GONZALES
Saturday's "Bark for Life" fundraiser for American Cancer Society not only was fun for dog and owner alike, but also was educational.
Johanna Musgrove, Hays, has been a dog trainer for approximately the last 30 years. Communication is key when training your pet.
"The quicker you let your dog know if you like what they did, or didn't like what they did, then they start to figure out if this was a good thing or a bad thing," Musgrove said. "There are different ways of communicating with your dog.
"A lot of times, it can be voice, praise or with food rewards. With some dogs, it's toys."
Musgrove set up an agility course at Saturday's event, which was at the grass parking lot next to Gross Memorial Coliseum. She has a course as part of her Hays Recreation Commission class she's taught for the last five years.
Dogs literally ran through hoops, as well as tunnels. There also were hurdles, a teeter-totter, as well as a tire and a series of poles for the dogs to run through.
Brandt Brooks and his wife, Charis, took their dog Julip, a Labradoodle, to Saturday's event. They won a musical chairs contest, in which each dog had to sit when the music stopped playing.
"She's been through some training, but she's a ball of energy," Brandt Brooks said.
Julip also tried out the agility course.
"At first, she was a little timid, but she caught on really quickly," Brandt Brooks said.
Julip had her picture taken with her owners, and getting her nails painted also was something to do.
"We're having a blast," Brandt Brooks said. "Julip is really a social dog, and she really likes to have fun with other dogs."
Another dog was having fun playing fetch. Mud, a Great Dane mix, would jump high into the air time after time to catch a red ball and bring it back to his owner, Heather Morgan.
"He had to learn by watching another dog retrieve in water," Morgan said. "He wanted to play so bad; he didn't know how to swim. When he jumped in, he did that typical doggie paddle. Once he finally figured it out, he was instantly attracted to fetch.
"If he wasn't so tired, he would be doing compete flips. It's just a natural passion."
Mud was wearing a purple "Bark for Life" bandana.
"We did buy a bandana, not because he's ever had cancer, but we know some dogs with cancer," Morgan said.
When Brandt and Charis Brooks heard about the fundraiser Friday, they knew they wanted to attend.
"My father is battling cancer right now, and my wife's brother is a cancer survivor," Brandt Brooks said. "It hits home to us; we definitely wanted to support it."
Amanda Steinle, a junior from Lucas, chose the project in her leadership studies class at Fort Hays State University for much the same reason.
"Everything goes toward the American Cancer Society," she said. "I wanted to do this because my family has a history with cancer. I thought doing this for a class, might as well do it for personal reasons as well."