Start! Heart Walk:
Dogs and kids with heart disease
meet to raise public awareness
Walking with your dog is a healthy pastime for both dog and owner, no matter where the walk is held or how short or long it is.
IN April about 20 children with heart disease met their canine companions many of whom shared the same congenital heart defects who would walk alongside them in May, in the Central MA Start! Heart Walk. The meeting was held at an event at the Cummings School.
The children part of the Friends with Heart team, which aimed to raise $50,000 for the American Heart Association through the Walk met several of the dogs who would walk with the students, staff, and faculty of the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine's Heart Walk team. The Cummings School team, now in its second year, hoped to raise $2000 for the American Heart Association.
The children many of whom were identified by their red caps as survivors of heart disease met the dogs, whose red bandanas signified their own struggle with the nation's number-one killer, met in front of the Agnes Varis Campus Center at 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA.
Among the dogs who were to walk with the Tufts team were Boo and Tally, who suffer from Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA); Cordis, who has a PDA, aortic stenosis and mitral regurgitation; Hazel, who has a mitral valve prolapsed; and Ozzy, who has a ventricular septal defect, mitral regurgitation, aortic insufficiency and a PDA.
“It's a natural fit to support this worthy cause and at the same time raise awareness that heart disease can affect dogs just as much as humans,” said Lisa Freeman, DVM, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. “This is a show of solidarity with these brave kids who walk against heart disease and other problems, it's a lot of fun.”
The teams walked together at the American Heart Association's Central Mass Start! Heart Walk in May, starting at Worcester's East Park at 8:30am. Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, MA, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is known for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine. Five hospitals treat over 30,000 cases each year; and undertake ground-breaking research that benefits animal, public and environmental health.
Programs such as Start! Heart walk can be recommended to all dogs with heart problems as well as their owners, not just for the beneficial effects of walking but also because it means that problems are discussed between human patients and owners of canine patients and support is always readily available. It is hoped that the walk will be held again this year - 2010.