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Denver area residents fight pet cancer on two fronts

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FIGHTING CANINE CANCER - Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation. Denver-area groups are doing their best to fight the disease.

On Sunday, more than $17,000 was raised to benefit the American Cancer Foundation in the fourth annual VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk at Washington Park. Approximately 200 people and their dogs took part.

Well-known Denver veterinarian Kevin Fitzgerald and his dog Yoda were the grand marshals, Both are cancer survivors.

The American Cancer Foundation(www.acfoundation.org)is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer through research in comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in pets and people. Since 2007, VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance) has raised nearly $200,000 to benefit the foundation.

On June 22, a walk of another sort will be held to fight pet cancer. Morris Animal Foundation, based in Denver, will hold a "virtual pet cancer walk." This is an online fundraising campaign in which participants pledge to take their pets for a computerized "walk" and make donations. Information:(www.morrisanimalfoundation.org).

BLACK ANIMAL ADOPTIONS - On Friday the 13th, Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden will offer free adoption for all black pets. This is part of the shelter's effort to win $100,000 in the ASPCA/Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. This will go to one of 50 shelters nationwide showing the greatest increase in adoptions over the previous year during June 1-August 31. Eight full days into the Challenge, Foothills had saved 335 lives through adoption and reuniting lost pets with their owners. More information: (www.FoothillsAnimalShelter.org).

PENNIES FOR PETS - The students of Leroy Elementary in Northglenn selected the Cat Care Society(www.catcaresociety.org) in Lakewood as one of two organizations to receive proceeds from their "Penny Harvest" project this year. In turn, the society recently received a check for $900 “harvested” from pennies collected by the Leroy students from family and friends during the past school year.

The students also collected and brought in $250 worth of cat food and litter to the shelter as part of their project

. A national program of the Young Philanthropists Foundation, Penny Harvest started earlier in the school year when the Leroy students voted on the areas of focus for their project. They picked animals and military. Next, a round table of third through fifth graders researched possible charities and came up with seven that came to the school, made presentations and answered questions from the students.

Afterward, they voted again to select the two winning charities: the Cat Care Society and Pets for Patriots.

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