Twenty-nine canines belonging to residents of Del Webb Woodbridge were entered in seven categories Tuesday in the community’s first-ever Dog Show & Information Fair.
The event at the age-restricted Manteca community for active adults ages 55 and older was held in part to raise funds for ovarian cancer, according to Joan Southwick, who is a Del Webb resident and vice president of the local Ovarian Cancer Alliance of California board.
Her daughter, Denise Southwick, died from this form of cancer.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t a test (for ovarian cancer),” Joan Southwick said.
Cancer detection dogs, however, have been able to detect cancer at or before stage 1.
Dierdra ‘Didi’ McElroy and Sandee Wall of California Canine brought their star cancer sniffing dogs to Del Webb Woodbridge’s Liberty Park for the demonstration.
Karma, the black Labrador, and the English bulldog Zeus are among California Canine’s current team of cancer detection dogs. The two are proficient in using their keen scent of finding cancer in urine samples, doing similar-type demonstrations in front of elementary school students, service organizations and hospital groups, according to McElroy – she also writes a regular pet column for the Bulletin.
Karma and Zeus were among the stars of her five-dog team that appeared on recent televised segments of Good Morning Sacramento and Fox 40 Live.
McElroy did come across one dog at Del Webb Woodbridge with cancer-sniffing potential. “Only 4 percent dogs have the drive and desire to do this,” she said.
According to John Babers, who is the activities director at Del Webb Woodbridge, the dog show was the brainchild of Joan Southwick.
“She had the idea – some of our residents liked it enough to run with it,” he said.
On top of that, a good number of residents in this community are dog owners, Babers added.
“We had many Woodbridge competitors and spectators,” said Southwick, who, along with Babers, was pleased with the strong turnout.
“They came out and endured the heat,” she added.
Local animal adoption groups including Pets & Pals Animal Shelter of Lathrop and police K-9 units were also in attendance.
Southwick, who wore a shirt in memory of her late daughter, also raised money for her Ovarian Cancer Alliance from the proceeds from the donated gift baskets and hot dog and baked good sales.
“This was a big success,” Babers said. “We’re looking forward to doing it again.”
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.