Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:43PM - 136 Views

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At 60 years old, Carol Marino of Wilkes-Barre Township has already fought a battle with breast cancer. The survivor has gone through treatment, had a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery and uses her experience to help others who are going through the same thing. Recently, cancer touched an important part of her life, one she never thought would have to be privy to the disease.

"We lost Casey on July 23," Marino said of her Jack Russell Terrier. "He was 13-and-a-half years old. It's bad enough that cancer hits human beings, and poor innocent children, but to see it happen to a pet is just awful."

Marino noticed that Casey was acting strange, so she took him to a doctor for a check-up. For a month she and her husband tried to keep Casey on prescribed medication, but it didn't help. During the next visit to the vet, Marino got the news that her beloved furry friend was full of cancer.

"We took him home, gave him the medication the vet prescribed, and just tried to be with him," she said. "He lasted for about a month until he passed away. I'm just glad we were able to give him a home, and that he was a part of our lives."

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, canine cancer affects one out of every three dogs. Of those, more than half of them will die. Cancer is actually the leading cause of death in dogs, and cats, after they are 10 years old.

In order to raise awareness about this disease, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society is holding Bark for Life, an event whose funds will go towards Relay for Life. This will be the first time a Bark for Life fundraiser will be held in Luzerne County.

"Dogs are a part of the family," Relay for Life regional manager Desiree Thorne said. "We understand that, and we wanted to do something that was dog-friendly, since many of our Relay events aren't."

Thorne understands the importance of the event, as she lost a dog to cancer two and a half years ago.

The main portion of the event will be a loop down in Nesbitt Park that dogs and their owners can walk as many or as few times as they like. Registration for the walk starts at 8 a.m. and is $15 for the first dog and $5 for each addition pup. There will be a dog sport demonstration at 10 a.m. and a pet memorial ceremony at 11 a.m. to honor those pets who have gone on due to cancer.

If you go

What: Bark for Life

When: 9 a.m. to Noon tomorrow, dog registration begins at 8 a.m.

Where: Nesbitt Memorial Park, Kingston

$15 for registration of first dog, $5 for any additional dog. For more information call 562-9749.

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