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Dogs Take Over Otsiningo Park for Breast Cancer Prevention

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The park is going to the dogs! Otsiningo Park in Binghamton was filled with more than 65 dogs Sunday. It was all part of the 14th annual All Paws for a Cause Dog Walk for Breast Cancer Prevention fundraiser held by the YWCA's ENCOREplus program.

Some are big, some are small, some are rough and some are dainty.

They say dogs are man's best friend. But today the dogs are showing step-by-step how they're also female's best friend.

And for breast cancer survivor Rosemary West, a dog is more than just a best friend. It's also a life saver.

When her mammogram was delayed in 2003, the dog that her family owned at the time was licking her right hand non-stop. And that's how she knew something was off.

"I kept washing my hands thinking that I had something leftover. So I told the doctor about it and he says, 'I think you better just not postpone it any further. And it turned out it was in the right breast," said Binghamton Resident Rosemary West.

And officials agree in the importance of not delaying breast cancer testing.

"One of eight women get breast cancer. And the statistics show that early detection is the best protection. And right now, we go by American Cancer Society, stating that at the age of 40 they should be getting them yearly," said ENCOREplus Program Coordinator Crystal Sackett.

West, who was joined by her family's current dog S'mores for Sunday's walk, says that being part of an event with these animals is a blessing.

"The two dogs, it seems like they're angels," said West.

Thousands of dollars were raised at the event which will help in supporting the ENCORE plus program with things such as breast cancer outreach, education and advocacy, as well as access to free annual mammograms, transportation and PAP screenings for uninsured women in Broome and Tioga Counties.