Paw Wars raises funds for Relay For Life

By BRITTANY FHOLER 
Cove Leader-Press 

Pups adorned in Star Wars costumes took over the South Park parking lot for the Relay for Life of Copperas Cove/Lampasas Bark for Life event held Saturday afternoon.
The event acted as a fundraiser and kick-off party for the Relay for Life of Copperas Cove/Lampasas, raising more than $900, with proceeds going towards the Relay for Life event being held May 4 at J.L. Williams/Lovett Ledger Elementary School to benefit the American Cancer Society.
 The theme for the Relay for Life event will be “May the Cure Be With You,” with the Bark for Life’s theme being “May the Bark Be With You,” according to Bark for Life organizer Rebecca Payne. 
“It’s just a day to honor our canine caregivers,” Payne said of the Bark for Life event. “They take care of us whether we’re funny looking from chemo treatment or sick. They give us unconditional love. They also get cancer too. And it’s touched everyone too, somehow, whether it’s pet related or a family member.”
Saturday’s event was Payne’s third time coordinating a Bark for Life event, with one being held at Pet Supplies Plus on Bus. 190 last November.  
Payne said the response from members of the community has been good. 
“A lot of people don’t know what we’re about and that we’re out here,” Payne said. “We don’t have a whole lot of this kind of thing in Copperas Cove.”
Payne mentioned that she volunteers with a Cocker Spaniel Rescue based in Austin, where dog friendly events are more common. 
“They have a lot more things like this and so it’s fun to bring them to the community because people don’t know that stuff like this happens,” Payne said. 
Vendors of all kinds set up their booths at the Bark for Life event, including consultants selling LipSense, Scentsy, Perfectly Posh and Lularoe; as well as Ruff Puppy Boarding and Training; Doggie Day Spa, who offered free nail clipping and ear cleaning for dogs; Gray Mutts Rescue and Sanctuary, who had a Puppy Kissing Booth for a donation and two dogs available for adoption; and Dafaney Doodles, which featured homemade dog treats made by Danielle and Josh Erb and taste tested by their dog, Dafaney.
Raising Cane’s offered lemonade for a donation, with proceeds going towards the total money raised from the Bark for Life event. 
Other booths were manned by different Relay for Life teams- Banking on a Cure; Paws for a Cause; Cancer Crushes; the event leadership team, which sold hot dogs and refreshments; and The Gladers, a team made up of high school students who are members of the H.U.T.S. Excel Club for homeschooled students. The Gladers sold cookies and brownies and offered a photo booth with props for a donation. 
At the registration table, people could also buy raffle tickets for $1 each for a chance to win prizes for themselves or their pets. 
The event featured games and contests for pups and their owners to participate in, such as Musical Sits, where dogs were walked in a circle while music played and had to sit when the music stopped. The last dog to sit was disqualified. Another contest was the Tricks Contest, where owners and their dogs showed off whatever tricks they knew. The Snack Catch Contest required one person to hold the dog’s leash while another person tossed treats to the dog. The dogs that didn’t catch the treat were disqualified while those that did stayed in and continued to compete, with the distance between the treat-thrower and the dog increased. The Rubber Duck race featured rubber ducks that looked like dogs in a kiddie pool. For $3, people could purchase their duck and include it in the pool to race. 
There was also a peanut butter pie eating contest and a selfie wall “Likes” contest. 
Payne said that the idea for a Bark for Life event was chosen to help bring in a different crowd. 
“People come out to Relay, they fundraise for Relay there, but this is a whole different crowd,” Payne said. “This is for dog lovers and that’s a whole different kind of people. You can’t bring your actual dog to relay. It’s an indoor event at J.L. Williams, so this is just an opportunity to include the whole family.”
Payne added that holding the event at South Park is also a way to bring some awareness to what South Park has to offer. 
Crystal and Javanti Robinson brought their 11-month-old Doberman Zeus, dressed as Han Solo, to the Bark for Life event after discovering it on Facebook. 
“I was just looking for things around Cove to do because we’ve had him only since December so we wanted to find some dog friendly things around town to do,” Crystal said. 
Zeus was one of two dogs remaining in the Musical Sits game when he lost, but he won the Tricks Contest. 
Robinson said she though the Bark for Life was a good idea. 
“Almost everybody I know has a dog, so people will come out here and support dogs of course and all the money goes to the charity,” Robinson said, adding that she plans on participating in the Relay For Life through her work. 
“I think it’s great because I’d rather stay in Cove to do things instead of having to go to Austin or to bigger cities,” Robinson said of the event being dog-friendly. “I know big cities are dog friendly, small cities you have to kind of search for things, so I like the fact that we can stay in Cove and do things with our dog here, like take him to City Park, to this park.” 

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