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Honoring dogs as caretakers for cancer patients

UTICA, N.Y.--For the seventh year in a row, the American Cancer Society held their annual 'Bark for Life' fundraiser, benefitting the upcoming Relay for Life.

Posted: May 5, 2018 9:31 PM
Updated: May 5, 2018 10:10 PM

UTICA, N.Y.--For the seventh year in a row, the American Cancer Society held their annual 'Bark for Life' fundraiser, benefitting the upcoming Relay for Life.

The relay event supports cancer research and survivors, but dogs are typically not allowed during the walk.

The Bark for Life event, held at Mohawk Valley Community College, is an opportunity to celebrate the animals who provide constant support to cancer patients.

There are contests, demonstrations and treats for dogs and their owners, and the event is sponsored by Staffworks. 

For the president of Staffworks, having a dog helped her through her own struggle with cancer.

"He traveled with me back and forth for my treatments and he stayed with me in New York City," Anita Vitullo said of her miniature pinscher, Thor. "He's 18, blind and deaf. They'll love you till your last breath and that's what we need to do for them in return."

For those battling the disease, dogs can provide motivation to keep fighting.

"He was thrown from a moving vehicle in a garbage bag," Lindsay Bonanza, a dog owner said. Her senior pug, Teddy gained a major social media following after his story of abuse went viral.

"He needed extensive rehab, extensive medical treatment. Recently, I lost a very dear friend of mine to cancer and while she was going through her treatment, she kept telling me that Teddy was a source of inspiration for her."

For those with a fight ahead of them, a dog's love is certain when everything else is unknown.

"Something that they seen through the blood, I have to go back in June for prostate," George Sabo, another dog owner said. "Bella's been sleeping in our king-size bed and has taken over that, and that's the reason why we bought a king-size bed. So I guess I went all out for her and that's the camaraderie that we have."

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