Bark for Life honors pets, helps fight cancer

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Barbara Ferrell Roberts and her rescue dog Mimi


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, October 21, 2017

As an organizer for Bark for Life, Barbara Ferrell Roberts wants to honor pets who play a vital role in the lives of their owners while raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

Roberts, who is a two-time survivor of colon cancer, credits her Pug, Mimi, as being one of her caregivers.

“Mimi is a rescue dog, but in truth she rescued me,” said Roberts.

Roberts said during her second diagnosis Mimi was a constant source of support.

“The one thing that never leaves you is your pet,” said Roberts.

“After I was diagnosed I became involved with Relay for Life,” said Roberts.

Roberts has been involved with Relay for Life since 2005, and she has organized Bark for Life for the last four years.

Bark for Life will be held at Meyler Farms on Woodville Road in Hertford on Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., or preregister by calling Roberts at (252) 455-1600.

Roberts said the registration fee of $15 is only for dogs. People may attend the event for free.

Various contests for the dogs are sure to bring smiles to faces, as dogs compete for the best costume, best trick and an ice cream eating contest. There will also be a pet/human obstacle course.

“It’s all focused on things dogs like to do,” said Roberts.

Winners of the contests will receive special dog treats and toys.

“The reason we do Bark for Life is to shower our pets with the love and affection they deserve,” said Roberts.

Roberts said she enjoys watching children interacting with their dogs at the event.

“There is a lot of joy,” said Roberts. “The dogs know they are loved.”

Roberts said one of her favorite parts of Bark for Life is when she watches 12-year-old Mimi participating in the ice cream eating contest.

“Her face is precious,” said Roberts.

People may purchase breakfast prepared by members of Oak Grove United Methodist Church. There will also be a silent auction and raffle. Bloominaries may be purchased in honor or memory of a pet.

“Bark for Life is a fundraiser for the Pasquotank/Camden Relay for Life,” said Roberts.

Roberts has lived in Elizabeth City since she was five years old. She graduated from East Carolina University, and she has worked for Elizabeth City Children’s Developmental Services Agency as a medical billing officer for the last 13 years.

Roberts is a member of a cancer support group, Lucky Ladybugs, who also participates in Relay for Life. Roberts said the Lucky Ladybugs are cancer survivors and caregivers. Roberts said her husband, Ben, and the husbands and sons of the Lucky Ladybugs created their own team called the Stink Bugs.

For more information about the Pasquotank/Camden Relay for life, visit www.RelayForLIfe.org/PasquotankCamdenNC.