In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we honor and celebrate all dog owners who have fought cancer by sharing their inspiring stories.
Almost one-third of all dogs more than seven years old will experience cancer at some point in their lives.
One in eight women in the United States will have breast cancer in their lifetime, and it’s estimated that 41,760 women will die from breast cancer in the United States this year.
So what does dog cancer have to do with breast cancer? Paws FUR Pink is a unique event that raises funds for both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Canine Cancer Foundation.
To raise awareness and money for the cause, Book That Event, LLC hosts Paws Fur Pink — a dog-friendly run/walk that benefits breast and canine cancers. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we chatted with Lisa Scolman, partner at Book That Event, LLC to learn more about the event and how dog-lovers can participate.
What is Paws FUR Pink and how did it get started?
When Book That Event, LLC was founded in 2008, Lisa and her partner, Jodi Hoose, were deciding what events they wanted to create. Scolman, being a dog person, suggested events where she could bring her dog.
“I am the dog lover in the group, so I said, ‘oh we have to do things where can bring our doggies to,'” Scolman said. “So we did the dog surfing event first — and we just celebrated our 11th annual this year.”
After a couple years, they thought of Paws Fur Pink. In February 2020, it will be their 8th year holding the event. “We started around Valentine’s Day because, you know, anyone who has a dog or just loves dogs knows they just love you unconditionally,” she added.
Connecting Breast Cancer and Dogs
In addition to being a fun, loving day with your pup, the event also helps raise money for Susan F. Komen Orange County’s programs and the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Since Paws FUR Pink’s inception in 2013, it has raised more than $85,000. For Scolman, the connection between dogs and cancer seemed like a natural fit.
“When you’re healing from something like cancer, dogs can give you support and love and just make you feel better,” she explained. “So we did that for the first five years, then three years ago we added Canine Cancer — another charity partner. So it benefits both canine and breast cancer.”
The run/walk isn’t timed and usually ends up being more of a walk for anyone with their dog. While it isn’t a race, there is a PAWsitively Pink Costume Contest, and Scolman’s favorite part is seeing contestants — dogs and humans — dressed head to toe (or paw) in pink.
“My favorite thing is seeing all the dogs come out and people. It’s super cute how people will dress them in any sort of pink,” she added. “Some people will put little pink mohawk on their hair, some dogs have little pink leggings.”
Scolman also loves meeting different types of groups and dogs that come to the event. She said she gets to know new breeds, and that she falls in love with a new dog every time she’s there.
If you attend the event in person, other activities include yoga/doga warm-ups, a 1-mile walk, and Paws PUR Pink awards.
What Should You Do if You Can’t Attend?
The event is close to Valentine’s Day every year, and next year it’s on February 22, 2020, in SoCal. If you can’t make the event, you can register for the virtual race.
“We usually do a virtual run as well for people who can’t join us,” Scolman explained. “Whether they’re not in California or can’t join us that year but have joined us every other year…they can still receive the medal, the t-shirt, and just still participate wherever they may be and still get some of the swag.”
A good way to participate virtually with your club or friend group is by becoming an AKC FIT DOG Club.
In the end, whether you can participate virtually or in-person, Scolman says it’s just good to get out and move with your pup.
“Just getting out there and moving and moving with your four-legged best friend is good for your health. It’s good for your mind, and it just brings you and your dog closer,” she said. “I mean when you’re doing it with a bunch of other people all doing it for the same cause it just brings the community closer.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Products for Dog-Lovers
A portion of the proceeds from every Breast Cancer Awareness item sold on AKC Shop will be donated to the organization Dogs Detect Cancer. An organization that has been dedicated to scientifically train dogs to detect early-stage cancer in humans for over 12 years.
With this Eddie Bauer fleece vest, you’ll be toasty warm and help support a good cause! This cozy vest will be your go-to for all your fall excursions and outings. Price: $70
This heather black or athletic heather, lightweight tee, is soft as a puppy. Made of 100% ringspun cotton jersey, they fit just right–casual without being sloppy. Price: $32
Emblazoned with an image of an exclusive pink AKC Breast Cancer Awareness logo and holding a generous 16 oz., this travel mug is a must-have for dog lovers. It’s constructed of stainless steel with the pink logo printed on a white waterproof insert, so it won’t fade or display the inevitable coffee drips. Show the world who you love with every cup of coffee. Price: $28