Bark For Life raises money for cancer research

Staff Writer Kate Wehlann

A young puppy keeps an eye out for anyone who might try to sneak up behind their human as she talks with others at the Bark For Life walk on Saturday, Oct. 6.

It's not news that dogs have our backs. Sure, other animals have fended off would-be attackers and dragged humans to safety when we've been threatened, but most would agree there's nothing quite like the loyalty and love of a dog.

This past Saturday, they were also hard at work (or play, depending on how they look at going for walks at a lake on a sunny morning) raising money for cancer research.

Dr. Kalen Carty, a cancer survivor, talked about the bond between humans and dogs, especially as humans go through illness.

Brain scans, she said, reveal that both humans and dogs have a neurochemical reaction to looking into each other’s eyes.

“They actually have studies to show that warm, fuzzy [feeling you get when you look into your dog’s eyes] causes a release of the love hormone … oxytocin. The dogs have that same hormone. You get that eye contact with your dog and they’re getting the love hormone as well. That’s a co-dependence, so to speak. There’s no question dogs, in my mind, were given to us by God for that purpose. They’re our companions and friends and that love we need and provide that healing power.”

She said her dachshund stayed right by her side during her battle with breast cancer.

“She was my lump by me in the bathroom floor, she was the lump by me in my bed, she was the lump by me in my chair,” she said. “My dachshund was always that lump next to me, giving me those big, brown eyes and warm fuzzies. Since that time, I’ve had the misfourtune of losing two dogs to cancer and I had a different experience in realizing our dogs are cancer victims as well. In fact, it’s a very big killer of dogs. Their work on curing dogs of cancer has helped cure humans of cancer."

For more on the walk, and to see how much was raised, see the story in tomorrow evening/Thursday's Salem Democrat!


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