Dog lovers will be hitting the trail at Sunset Park in Highland Park on Saturday, October 1 for the inaugural Canine Cancer Walk. The event aims to raise awareness and raise funds for canine cancer, the number one cause of death in dogs over the age of two. According to the American Cancer Institute, 50 percent of dogs over the age of ten die of some form of cancer.
“Dog owners truly view their pets as a member of the family and are universally devastated by an untimely loss of their trusted companion,” says Mimi Lutwak, event organizer and founder of Home at Last Animal Sanctuary. “Many dog owners are unaware how prevalent cancer is in dogs and the steps that can be taken to lessen the chance of contracting the disease.”
Lutwak speaks from experience. She started organizing the walk after losing one dog to cancer. In the past year, Lutwak has lost three more dogs to three different types of cancer. Along with working on the walk, she created Home At Last as a fund raising vehicle to help build awareness and raise funds as needed, whether that is canine cancer research or other animal-related causes.
“After my six-year-old Golden Retriever died of cancer, I talked with my vet and found out how common it is for dogs to get cancer,” says Lutwak. “When I learned that one in three dogs over the age of two develop some form of cancer, I decided that I wanted to do something to spread awareness and help raise funds for canine cancer research in Kozmo’s memory. I thought the walk was a great way to spread the word, help us educate and help raise funds for canine cancer research.”
You may register in advance online for $30 and the day of at the event for $35. Registration opens at 8 a.m. and the walk starts at 9 a.m. with events continuing through noon. Along with the walk, there will also be a raffle that features prizes for two- and four-legged friends that includes pet portraits, restaurant certificates, dog accessories and training sessions. Canine health advocates and vendors will also be on-hand to discuss canine cancer prevention, wellness, cancer research and treatment, and how dog owners can advocate for their pet’s health. Several animal rescue groups will also be at the event with some of the animals available for adoption.
“The percentage of dogs that die from some form of cancer is astonishing,” added Sara Grogman, DVM, Glencoe Animal Hospital. “This is why programs like the one at University of Wisconsin’s Veterinary School are essential in our battle. They are working towards better testing so the disease can be detected earlier and treatments can be more successful.”
The Canine Cancer Walk is hosted by Glencoe Animal Hospital, Lincolnshire Animal Hospital and Home At Last Animal Sanctuary. Go online to register or donate for the Canine Cancer Walk.