The sun was shining, tongues were panting, and tails were wagging. The first annual Bark for Life event was an exemplary success.
Jessica Ostendorf, veterinary technology program chair at the Minnesota School of Business- St. Cloud campus, was asked by the American Cancer Society – Relay for Life committee to head up this event, and after months of planning all the hard work paid off. By the end of the day almost $6,000 was raised to support cancer research and 75 dogs (plus 1 goat) participated in the event that was held at Wilson Park here in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The premise for the event was to show the importance and effect that canine companions have with cancer patients and those who are cancer survivors. Dogs (as well as other animals) create a bond with their owner. The animal can sense what you are going through and will stand by you. Having a pet by your side offers a level of comfort that is not always available with human interaction.
The event was kicked off with a moving speech by Janet Hansmeier, pancreatic cancer survivor and founder/owner of Lucky’s Place (feline rescue), followed by the one mile walk. After the walk, the rest of the event included face painting, a silent auction, costume contest, kissing booth, canine massage, and additional fundraising and informational tables. Enzo, the trick dog was also on hand to put on a show. Music was provided by Bullet Bob DJ Entertainment and MC’d by Grant Pulliam, MSB business student. “My favorite part was the pooch smooch [kissing booth],” said Pulliam. When asked about volunteering, he added “I wanted to get involved with the MSB community and this sounded like a great opportunity to get out there and help a great cause.”
Students and staff from the Minnesota School of Business were on hand with friends and family helping out where ever they could. Those that could not donate financially, volunteered their time for this great cause. “Volunteering is important and is always a self-rewarding experience,” said Denise Winkleman, veterinary technology student. Students helped register the canines, sold shirts, and if they couldn’t make it to the event they made sure to help contribute a basket of goodies for the silent auction.
“Many hands for a big project make light work for all,” added Ryan Veith, who helped with face painting and also built and donated a dog house for the silent auction.
The event was also made possible by additional sponsors: Companions Animal Hospital, Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Services, and Sam & Danni’s Pet Resort and Spa. We thank you all.
Big thanks to all who helped, volunteered, and donated to make this event such a success. Next year, look for the event to be even bigger.
About the Author: Neil Vig, MLIS, is a Campus Librarian at Globe University & Minnesota School of Business in St. Cloud. He has worked in the library field for over 17 years. Neil also has a B.A in English Literature from University of North Dakota. He has been the Minnesota School of Business for 10 years.