Guiding her pet pig around an obstacle course, Jody Jordan knows she can count on Smudge to handle the ramps and tunnels.
“He is very smart,” Jordan said. “He’s been doing agility (courses) for the past couple of years now.”
And it’s a real treat for six-year-old Dallis Delarge to get the chance to help Smudge navigate the course.
“She enjoys animals,” Dallis’ mom, Chantal Delarge, said. “Calms her down and releases all her stress.”
After what the family has been through over the past four years, any relief is welcome.
“Dallis was diagnosed at two years old with eye cancer in both of her eyes, so she has quite a few tumours,” Delarge said. “She’s received six rounds of chemotherapy.”
Tackling the obstacles on the agility course is all part of getting ready to celebrate Smudge’s fourth birthday, with a party to help raise money for an organization that’s been a big help to the Delarges and many other families dealing with childhood cancers.
“I really like Kids Cancer Care,” Jordan said. “It’s about putting smiles on people’s faces.”
Kids Cancer Care has provided opportunities for Dallis to enjoy activities like gymnastics and summer camps.
“It just gives us a lot of comfort,” Delarge said, “and builds strength.”
Four years after her diagnosis, the chemotherapy and other treatments are helping Dallis have as normal a childhood as possible.
“She’s stable as of now, so we just keep checking to make sure it stays stable,” Delarge said. “The cancer is not active at his point, which is great.”
Smudge’s Pig Birthday Party in the Park happens between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 at North Glenmore Park in southwest Calgary.
Along with the agility courses, the fundraising event will also feature a silent auction, a photo booth with the pigs and a chance to try painting with the pigs.