Bark for Life event in Sevierville raises funds for American Cancer Society

Jun. 24, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

Sevier County held its first annual Bark for Life at the fairgrounds Saturday.

Organized by Walmart Heroes team leader Earl Gibson, Bark for Life began with walk for dogs and their owners and provided dog owners an opportunity to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Bark for Life events are held nationwide.

After becoming a new dog owner in December, Gibson decided to organize the local Bark for Life. His St. Bernard/Labrador mix, Roxie, was the event's top earner, bringing in $890 in donations.

In addition to the walk, the event offered awards for the smallest, biggest and best-looking dogs, and a silent auction was held inside the barn.

One of the event's sponsors, Leslie Hoostel from Sweet Pea's Posh Pets, travelled from Atlanta, to be a part of Saturday's event.

Sweet Pea's Posh Pets offers handmade and custom collars, leashes, harnesses, outfits and "anything and everything for pets," Hoostel said.

"Earl has done a wonderful job for this to be the first year," she added. "I hope next year's event will be even bigger and better. It's a great cause, and I'll definitely come back next year."

Pets Without Parents, a nonprofit no-kill shelter in Sevier County, was one of a number of organizations that hosted booths at the event. Shelter representatives brought several dogs that are up for adoption.

Rachel Hawkins Gilliland travelled from Maryville to attend the event. Since her own dog was too sick to attend, she brought her friend's dog instead.

"Dogs are a big part of my life, and I have friends with cancer whose dogs are a big part of their lives, too," Gilliland said. "We have to find a cure."

jfrye@themountainpress.com