On Sunday, Deering Oaks Park in Portland, Maine, welcomed around 4,000 visitors who helped raise money for the Animal Cancer Foundation. As well as being a fundraiser, the “Pet Rock” event was created to celebrate their canine companions and to raise awareness of the seriousness of dog cancer.
The park was graced by dogs of all shapes and sizes, from Labradors and Golden Retrievers to Hounds, Dachshunds, and mixed breeds.
With over 70 vendors, veterinarians, and rescue charities, the event was every dog lover’s dream, with the “Smooch a Pooch” booth being one of the most popular attractions. Set up to attract visitors to the veterinarian hospital tent, the booth was manned by a veterinarian, Richele Chatto, and her golden retriever Chamberlain, who was happy to lick every passer-by! The dog, who spends a significant amount of time at the Back Cove Hospital, was happy to be part of the event.
Chatto told reporters that “Chamberlain was a magnet”.
As well as the doggy kissing booth, there was a wide range of pet businesses, dog organizations, and trainers at the event, which was hosted by the sponsor’s Portland Veterinary Emergency and Special Care and Radio Station Rewind 100.9.
The president of Portland Radio, Phil Zachary, told reporters that attendance at this 11th annual event was around 4,000 and didn’t even include their dogs. He explained that it was an event where people could learn about dog training, socialize their dogs and pet nutrition, and enjoy food, drink, and live music. It’s one of the largest doggy meet-and-greet events of its kind.
Some people turned up to the event specifically to rescue a dog. Dog-lover Andria Botting, from New Hampshire, came to the event with her young daughter and was looking to adopt a dog from one of the shelters.
The executive director of the Animal Cancer Foundation, Barbara Cohen, told reporters that cancer was very common in animals, especially older dogs, with a staggering 50% of dogs over ten years old getting the disease.
She said that cancer diagnosis is more common among dogs because medical tools have advanced, making it easier to detect.
Cohen said there are ways to prevent the disease in dogs and one of the more effective ways is to ensure that they do not become overweight. Obesity is one of the leading causes of cancer, so taking your dog on regular walks and ensuring that you meet their nutritional needs is essential. Like humans, exercise and a balanced diet are good preventive measures. Cohen suggests speaking to a veterinarian for advice, as dog breeds have different dietary needs.
The director also mentioned that pesticides could be a factor in the increase of cancer and recommends avoiding walking your dog in areas treated with chemicals.
The more people know the risks, the better care they can give their puppies.