Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Home Stretch

Now that we're back on the road, here's an updated schedule:

San Luis obispo November 12
Pismo beach November 13
Santa Maria area* November 14
Santa Barbara November 22
Ventura November 25
Oxnard November 26
Malibu November 29
Santa Monica December 1
LA Area (leaving) December 8
The Final Mile December 14

Planning for the final mile is underway so we'll post it here soon

Monday, November 17, 2014

puppy up 2014

Indiana and I are back on the road from my brief jaunt up to the northeast to honor my yearly commitment to the folks who make Puppy Up the most successful grass roots organization evah!  Madison CT won the contest last year and their 2014 walk was even bigger and badder, a trend they've been setting every year.  From over 300 in 2012 to 600 walkers this year Valerie and her team did an incredible job and it was inspiring to be there although I like to joke that I brought the sunny 70 weather from the west coast.  
Puppy Up Malvern

We also timed it so I could attend the inaugural Puppy Up walk at HOPE Veterinary Specialists in Malvern PA the week prior and damn glad we did.  Despite the rainy frigid weather, droves of Phillyers? (Whats the proper demonym?) showed up for the walk and to celebrate the clinic's 10 year anniversary.  Cheers to Kate Craig and Dennis!

Powerful the day's events but perhaps the most poignant moment for me was meeting two of the patients in a study we funded.  Teddy and Bynx.  They have a particularly nasty inoperable bladder tumor and both were given a prognosis of 1-2 months.  The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan is working on a more effective delivery system to get chemo to the tumor site and early results are promising.  

Comparative Oncology

Teddy and Bynx have passed the one year survival mark because of this study and if it continues as hoped, Sloan Kettering will start human trials.  Folks this is the crux of comparative oncology.  You can learn more about the types of studies The Puppy Up Foundation funds here.  

Puppy Up New Jersey

After enduring hurricane Sandy, Puppy Up NJ has had to change venues more times than Gov Christie has redirected traffic off the GW.  Just like the boardwalk, our  dear Jude has weathered some storms but she's still standing strong and this years event was held at Dusty's Dog House and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of their walk this year.  

FYI Jude - next time please don't cry when introducing me cause there's nothing worse than a dude wearing a skirt gettin all weepy.


Santa Maria CA


PostScripts 1

It's sometimes hard to get perspective when youre deep down in it, risking all you have for a cause.  And the west coast walk has put us to the mat many many times so a Puppy Up break was sorely needed.  

I recently read that last year $18.5 billion was doled out by the federal government for renewable energy subsidies and recently $6.2 billion has been earmarked for the 'Ebola crisis'.  The total budget of the National Cancer Institute in 2014 was roughly $5 billion, which has remained at that level for over a decade.  

Last time I checked  - 1/2 of all men and 1/3 of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime never mind the 2-4 million dogs each year.  Talk about a government so disconnected and resolutely unconcerned with the most immediate threat facing its population.  

Some mornings I just wake up shaking my head asking why?  Why get out of your tent and keep going? I could tell you why I do but being a part of the Puppy Up walks says everything I need to say.


Have to give a shout out to Madison WI because Beth and Kai had the most awesome walk May this year and the perfect send off to our west coast walk.  Thank you for the boots and I'll see you next year.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scenes from the Roadside 5

Yesterday was the 5 month anniversary of the west coast walk & thought I'd celebrate it with some of the as yet unseen pics - some stunning, some curious and kooky, some downright inexplicable and the rest creepy.  

From today near San Gregorio - yet another dismembered doll which calls into question the sanity of these folks

Tenting amongst moss.  

I dunno but imagine seeing this from a sidewalk in Daly City in the middle of the night.  Should've busted him out dammit

Ohhhh the symbolism.  There's some crazy sh*t in San Francisco 

Uh huh.  Moving on...

Angelica doesn't think Indy's a boy. But does she know the glasses don't match her ensemble?

Well we could've taken 'The Unifried' bus the rest if the way

These had to have been placed here right?  Someone's messing w me

Moo cows on the mountainside

I poop on marlboros says this marsupial who must smoke kools 

The sea ranch chapel

West coast girls can't hold their pee (or pickup the TP) I've seen this phenomenon all over in this state & nowhere else

Sleeping in the cuffy cove cemetery for Druids 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Final Five

We've walked about 1100 miles in 5 months and only 500 miles remain between the Bay Area and San Diego the finish line.

Cell Phone Hell

This is the place that we've been consigned to for the better part of 3 months and 600 miles. 

First my apologies to all of you.  I thought I'd done sufficient due diligence on this west coast walk especially as it pertained to cell coverage.  I surveyed the ATT coverage map & thought we're all good.  

Bollocks... I might as well have been carrying a pocketful of sand in my kilt rather than my iPhone because it's been almost as useless.  We finally made it to the Bay Area but what got lost is months of photos, stories, and video sharing.  Never mind the fact it put us at serious risk - there were times I had to ask strangers to contact our team to let them know we were safe.

I'd like to say we're thru it but of that I am unsure.  The coastal mountain range hasn't left us or rather we haven't reached its tail end; Santa Barbara, they say, is where the state flattens out but that's still 300 miles away. 

And forget about Wifi - the drive thru coastal motels we stay at from time to time may as well be using 128k dial up.  I guess I'm past the point of kvetching but you've missed a third of the walk and for that I'm deeply disappointed.

In silence still we walked on.

The Bay Area

There's still 500 miles of PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and lots ahead and little time for reflection now.  I've been to San Francisco before to walk the final mile with our good friend John Stalls and it's bittersweet to return.  For new folks to this story it was when and where Murphy's nose began bleeding again and my descent into doubt that the radiation shrank his nasal tumor.

But I said my goodbye to him on the Golden Gate Bridge and like that iconic symbol of this state, the fog lets go of its fleeting grasp and and the sun shines through. 

The City of Skinny Jeans

Indeed I've made many new observations and that's the first.  Clearly I'm not making any fashion statements with beaded braids, pleated skirt, and giant wooden staff but most nearly everyone here is sportin them and I didn't want to be the bearer of bad news that they're about as sexy as bell bottoms.  


One final thought before we get back on the road and grind out the final 500 in 60 days... When we reach the Mexico border the total distance I will have walked combined with the 1st, 1/6th the circumference of the earth for this cause. Put that in a pipe a smoke it. 

Next up more scenes from the roadside

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hudson's Cancer Is Back

Hudson's cancer has returned. Two-fold it seems.  Last week two tumors were taken off him; on the base of his tail the other on his ear.  Path lab report indicates that the former is a neurofibrosarcoma, the latter a grade 2 mast cell.  

And while it's preliminary pending further testing and consultation with a few oncologists contingencies must be made.  What has made it even more difficult for me, other than being thousands of miles away from him, the lack of cell service on both my AT&T & verizon phone.  The path results were texted to me and I had to use the landline of a grocer in elk CA to learn its scope.  

The walk may be postponed once we reach San Francisco.  As we're within 130 miles of the Bay Area and planning a few events there, we're committed to them.  After that, what we learn this week will make a determination.  

What's particularly disconcerting to me is that there was a 95% probability of no recurrence or metastasis within two years.  It's been less than one.  

We've been tried and tested the entire time on this journey in ways I didn't foresee, perhaps even unforeseeable.  But what matters now is Hudson.  Indy and I are back on the road tomorrow unsure & uncertain what comes next. 

Monday, September 8, 2014


Just like the Super Bowl half time is all about the sponsors so I wanted to take a few to thank all of ours who have help make this journey possible.

TAGG the GPS Pet Tracker

TAGG has saved our fuzzybutts on more than one occasion.  The best example of this was when I walked highway 20 from Corvallis to Newport OR solo.  I took one of the trackers in case of an emergency and on the very first day I ran into a bit of a crisis. We had made water drops along the 50 mile stretch and my supply was down to less than half a liter.  As I neared the first drop I saw a man in a John Deere mower cutting the grass on the highway shoulder.

I sprinted up to him and asked if he found 2 jugs of water in the area he recently cut and he said he had and that one of them may have escaped the blade of the mower.  It didn't.  The temp in wilamette valley was already soaring up to the 90s and the next drop was down the road another 10 miles so i was in a bit of a pickle.

Ginger was able to tag me and then find a nearby store using Yelp.  TAGG - not only great for your dog but Yer Big Dog too!  I've gotten to know the trackers intimately and the folks behind them and I can't say enough about them. The fuzzybutts will be wearing them even after this walk.  

 When you purchase the trackers at their website and sign up for the service, enter the promo code 2Dogs they're generously offering a 10% discount and donate $25 to the Puppy Up Foundation. Also you can track Indy and me as we walk the west coast at www.2dogsagainstcancer.com It's been a little confusing because we're staying with more host families and sometimes we're tagged after we've been picked up and off the road.

We'd also like to thank our other walk sponsors: Hollywood Feed for providing the dog food for the walk.   P2 Collars and Toki Poki for the awesome corded collars and leashes.  Everlasting Memories for the beautiful infinity ring that holds Murphy's ashes. Orijen for providing the 6 Fish food for Hudson.

Rudy Green's

Karla, proprietor of Rudy Greens and chef extraordinaire to the dogs, just sent this hilarious video a few weeks back and it stars Teh-De a pit bull we met on our first walk and cancer survivor.  Check it out!


Also, Karla has been nominated for Martha Stewarts American Made awards - please share on Facebook and Twitter http://www.marthastewart.com/americanmade/nominee/88599/food/rudy-green-incrudy-greens

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Scenes from the roadside 3 or 4?

Monterey Cypress grove. Westport CA. 

The 3rd and last time we cross the coastal mountain range

Pitching a tent on a promontory.  Westport CA

One of the great mysteries of this walk. Why poop on the white stripe?  Kid you not - all of the scat on hwy 1 is on or near it

Chipalope... Unsurprisingly Found only in the pot country of Humbolt

On the road there is no clean. Only degrees of dirty. Washing my shirt in a hotel sink

Meet Dave. He lost his Indy to cancer & every year takes Indy's favorite toy - a gorilla - on hikes in the redwood forest. Meeting ppl like him makes it all worthwhile

Josie's a beautie. She has cushings from a tumor on her pituitary gland

Autumn in August?  Never seen the leaves change so early in all our travels. Ferndale CA

Indy getting a little ass in Fortuna CA

Now that's irony

Etched in the sands of time

That's right Ella - you tell em

The glorious Trinidad beach... Breathtaking

Miss my Hudson but we must walk on!

Scenic route. Trinidad CA

Hey it gets lonely on the road... Indy's all about the girls from Cali 

An elk bull.  I was just 20 feet away when I took this pic. Powerful 

The south slope of the 101 mountain from crescent city was so dangerous that we walked on this narrow retaining wall. Frikkin crazy

Curious sea creatures that wash ashore on the west coast.  Like a mini Portuguese man o war found on the Gulf of Mexico 

Hudson's last days with us on the west coast

Chef big dog, tho otherwise occupied, is still in the house! Tex mex cuban sammich w chorizo spicy pickle roasted peppers bacon marinated pork chops and a chipotle mustard sauce

We enjoys having our friend and nutmegger Valerie join us on the road for a few days.  

The drive... Err... walk thru tree

Klamath river

Jimmy at the log house.  He walked from garberville to fort Bragg with me

Halfway Home

Yesterday I completed a 145 mile 13 consecutive day stretch from mckinleyville to fort bragg and man I'm beat and taking the day off to rest and relax on the beach. And catch up on the story telling part of this adventure.  So so much has happened and we've met lots of cool coastal kind of folks that this post won't even come close to recounting them all.  


As I posted in a previous blog I had a tough couple of weeks after Hudson got off the road.  Unsurprisingly I took it hard and a dark, deep vein of sadness set in.  But he made it to Memphis safely and is now with ginger courtesy of our good friend Hope - thank you ma'am!  

Indeed, the stretch from crescent city to Klamath was exceedingly tough and it took all my focus and energy but it was therapeutic and though Hudson's absence is felt with every step, Indy and I have a mission to complete.

The Rhythm Of The Road

The first half of this journey has been a series of stops and starts while we were trying to determine the problem with Hudson's pads.  Now that's been resolved Indiana and I have been able to grind out the miles. We walked 9 consecutive days together to garberville and it's inspiring to see the grown up puppy he's become.  Truly a champion.

God it feels good to finally reach the rhythm.  

Amongst Giants

Expounding my experiences in the famous humbolt redwood forest would require pages and pages at a minimum.

The avenue of giants, the main road through the park, spans 32 miles of old growth forest with sequoia redwoods reaching over 350 feet in height and 50 feet in circumference and dating back to the Age of the Vikings. 

Aww that's a small moosey

On the One

Once we arrived at the end of the avenue in garberville a nice couple we met in eureka picked up lil nanner for the rest of the week while I continued on.  The downside of the forest was that it pushed us inland again into the Eel River valley where temps get up to the 90s and the sun burns off the fog by 9am and is punishing.

So my goal was to get down to leggett ca, pick up 1, cross the mountains for the last time and get back to the coast where weather conditions are much more amenable for Indiana. 

Only in reflection will I admit that it was bittersweet leaving the 101 after we'd shed so much blood sweet and tears on it but da-yamn it was time to get off it.  

YBDs Notes 1: Adjusted Schedule.  We're behind a few weeks and trying to make them up now but our target date to San Diego is the second week of December.  From fort bragg I estimate 160 miles to the Bay Area then 500 more to the border.  

YBDs Notes 2: companions on the road.  We've had an incredible couple of weeks made even more so by people who have walked with us.  From eureka to scotia we had someone with us.  And our good friend Valerie from CT walked with us the previous week.  And then jimmy from Fortuna walked with me on the brutal stretch from garberville to fort Bragg - thanks man. Helluva time & thanks for the native knowledge 

YBDs Notes 3: #%?@!!!! Cell phones.  From Waldport OR my ATT iPhone has been very little more than just dead weight.  This is why I can't post more pics more often and why I have people helping me with social media.  

Folks I met in Oregon kept telling me that cell phone reception wouldn't be a problem in Northern California.  We go days and days without reception and it's tiring disappointing and downright lonesome.  But it's inspired a whole comedy routine I've recorded. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

How do you like them apples?

Walking a higher road

I've spent a few days walking, talking and scouting walk routes with Luke. Wow.

Day 1- "Danger Luke Robinson".
These roads are just downright scary. The route 101 highway from Oreck to Patricks Point was a part of the route I walked with Luke. The hills, the narrow "shoulders"- more like fingers in my opinion, are just dangerous. Combine the hairpin curves with speeding traffic, distracted and well, rude drivers that won't move over create a hazardous scenario for our fuzzybutt friend and his Papi.  "zigging and zagging" along the road, yep, I get that now.  Luke is cautious and protective of his kids and from what I've witnessed, I think he would risk his own life to save theirs.

Day 2-The choir
As we walked from Patricks Point state park to Trinidad, we were serenaded by the beautiful sound of sea lions in the fog. We were off of route 101 and walked along the coast.  I felt fortunate to hear the sea lions singing, but sad that I couldn't see them through the thick, dense fog. Oh and yes, more hills, up and down and back up and then down.

The Digs
I actually enjoy camping out as it reminds me of my youth, when my family would go on camping adventures in our 1972 Chevy station wagon, loaded up with gear!  Those were the days.

I have mastered setting up and breaking down my tent in record time. (Actually, I think I'm quicker at it than Luke). What I bring to the campsite- lights, fun and purposeful battery operated mini flower multi colored string lights. They seem to be the funnest thing our fellow campers have seen.

My sleeping bag, pillow (yes, I brought my pillow from home), sleeping pad- not nearly thick enough as I can feel every stone, root and etc through it. The downside-the dirt factor.

Trust your instinct.
Believe what you see is real. Example, if you think you have just seen a bear on the other side of the campsite across from you, then trust that you have.
If your gut tells you to go right vs left, listen to no one. Trust your gut. And yes, I did spot a young black bear and when we walked down to check him out, we noticed his sibling/friend with him. Climbing trees for apples and not caring about us as we marveled at the peaceful coexistence.  2 black bears, 2 young bucks, 2 fawns and a few doe. The bucks, standing stoic as they protected the fawn and doe, and yes they were more cautious of us, than the black bears.

Believe in yourself.
You CAN do what you put your mind to. Walk at your own pace.  Focus on you and your goals and let the naysayers kiss your keester when you finish.

Note: the days I cranked out some miles walking with Luke were for my bestie, Kate, who has terminal cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, which spread to her bones in her spine and skull. She's in pain. As I walked with Luke and Indy, I thought of Kate. I dismissed the aches and pains felt while walking and post walk because, well Kate has aches and pains on a daily basis. I know Kate will continue her fight and stay strong. I am hoping next year, we can do our cross country adventure and kick up some dust along the way. Just like old days.  

Papa K.  This walk and trip has also inspired me to plan a cross country trip with Papa K.  He is living vicariously through me on this trek and wants to see the sights before his days are up. I will be part of that wish for Papa K.  Perhaps he joins Kate and I!  It would be a blast  for us driving across country in an RV, at our own pace, visiting anywhere we want. Papa K- wants Vegas to be part of our trip. And I can't wait to see him taking in the sights of Sin City, the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. 2015 will be a defining year. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


August 13, 2014
Franklin, MASS –
“Her name was Magic,” says 13-year-old Kimiya Kim.
“We were best friends. It was devastating when I lost her to cancer. One day she was active and playing around with me. The next day, she wouldn’t eat. She didn’t want to walk. We took her to the doctor’s office, and she never made it home.”
Kimiya’s beloved 8-year-old Bichon Frise succumbed to kidney tumors almost overnight—a senseless loss that affected Kimiya deeply.
Canine adenosarcoma is a rare, but incredibly aggressive form of cancer that affects a small percentage of dogs over the age of 8. The tumors grow rapidly, causing weight loss, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Diagnoses of all types of canine cancer, however, are growing at an alarming rate: statistically, fifty percent of older dogs now face the world’s deadliest disease.
In November 2013, Kimiya’s 7th grade teacher challenged her class to pick individual projects as part of a class effort to enhance community service. “Some people did a recycling project. Some made cards and went and visited the children’s hospital. No one had ever done a project related to animal cancer, so when I presented my idea, the class was very excited.”

Kimiya’s search for a project led her to the place most people go when faced with a helpless situation: the Internet.  “I just became determined to help other people who have been affected by cancer, and who have had pets they’ve lost to cancer. My uncle was diagnosed with lung cancer, and he fought it–he’s in remission. I found the Puppy Up Foundation website and knew it was right for me.”
The Puppy Up Foundation funds a unique area of cancer research that has recently delivered critical information in the fight against cancer: comparative oncology. This specialized and woefully overlooked area of cancer research humanely studies the disease in dogs and how it is similar to cancer in humans. Since dogs get the same cancers as people, information about treatments and methods of prevention is applicable to both species.
In other words, a cure for dog cancer almost certainly ensures a cure for people cancer. Kimiya spent time reading the articles at Puppyup.org, and ultimately decided to host aPuppy Up fundraising walk in her hometown of Franklin, Massachusetts. What began as a seventh grade class project will culminate in some fifty people (and their dogs) walking to end cancer in two species. The walk will happen August 23, just days before Kimiya starts the eighth grade, and she’s the keynote speaker for the opening ceremony.
“Several people in my life have had cancer. I did this for them.”
Make this the best class project everClick here to donate to Kimiya’s walk now, or register to walk with her on August 23 at Franklin Town Commons. You may also join the fight against cancer in pets and people here.
Puppy Up Foundation Links
Puppy Up Foundation on Facebook
Puppy Up Tweets
Puppy Up Pins

Monday, August 11, 2014

One Photo to Save Them All - Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down

Cancer doesn't have a conscience. It takes precious things from you and leaves a dark aftermath. I figured that out when Malcolm exited this world. For months I stood in a deep pit of sadness with so many unanswered questions. It didn't take long for me to look around and see others sitting in that dirt right beside me.

To honor the great undaunted spirits of our friends taken by cancer, I started a calendar back in 2009. It was a simple and beautiful way to make some sense of these dark experiences, and the goodness just keeps growing. People write to my foundation (Puppy Up) with their stories and pictures every year. Puppy Up publishes the calendar and uses the proceeds to help fund major comparative oncology studies. It's an overlooked but critical area of cancer research that can give us endless information. 

My own Murphy appeared on one cover. If you want to tell us your story and join the fight against cancer in people and companion animals, I've posted the rules below.

Every single story helps, and we appreciate anything you can do.

Welcome to the 2015 Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down Calendar Contest!This contest gives you a way to honor your canine cancer hero while helping the Puppy Up Foundation raise funds for cancer research to benefit pets and humans.
How Does It Work? 
Register your dog. Simply upload your dog’s story and photo. For best results, use the best high-resolution digital photo you have. Please also be prepared to submit a high resolution digital photo of the same image (minimum of 500kb) upon request for reproduction in the calendar. Then provide a brief summary of your dog's story. The more you show your dog's personality, the more votes you will receive!

Who Can Enter? Anyone with a dog who currently has or has had cancer (living or passed) can enter, including dogs who have entered in previous 2 Million Dogs/Puppy Up calendar contests.
Get started right now. Or for more info, keep reading.
Voting Begins As Soon As You Enter
Your $10 registration becomes the first 10 votes for your dog.
To add more votes, share your dog's page on your favorite social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and encourage everyone to vote for your dog. (The first vote is $5. All subsequent votes are $1 each.)
The 13 pets with the highest number of votes will win a Dog of the Month slot on the calendar. ALL photo entries will be included in our 2015 Calendar Photo Gallery. 
Your participation helps fund vital cancer research for dogs and humans. 
Begin here and follow the directions. Be sure to write down and remember your user name and password! 
For questions about the contest, please contact Erich Trapp at erich@puppyup.org.
Where Do My Voting Dollars Go? 
Your voting dollars go to fund cutting-edge research in comparative oncology, that branch of research that benefits both companion animals and humans in our fight against cancer.
What Makes a Puppy Up Calendar so Special?
Puppy Up Foundation uses our annual calendar as an educational tool about a critical and often overlooked area of cancer research called comparative oncology. There are important clues in the connections between human and canine cancers, especially since the resulting treatments benefit both species. One of the best ways to call attention to the need for this research is by telling your stories and showing your photos. It also helps transform our losses into information that helps fight the world's deadliest disease.
Why Do I Need This Calendar (when it's published)?
First, every dog entered appears in the calendar. No one gets left behind. We have a whole section of gallery photos dedicated to all of the dogs entered into the contest in addition to our winners who are featured as each month's "model."  We also include regular ‘people’ holidays and special dog holidays like National Puppy Day, Pet Theft Awareness Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, World Animal Remembrance Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, etc.
Each calendar is a one-of-a-kind keepsakes.
Start right here today: look for the Register Here button on the left of the page. Click it and follow the directions.

Have fun and good luck!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Pyr Paw

To me it's always been a symbol of strength and solidarity.  Just open your palm and it's there.  It's loyalty, allegiance, and at times a lean-to, the late at night shelter in the wilderness of uncertainty.

Murphy used to paw me so much I called him Pez and I was the dispenser for whatever he needed and wanted.  

Today is the 3 month mark of our west coast walk and from my experience with Murphy I learned that the pyr paw sometimes means it's time to tap out.

Hudson cannot continue forward on this walk.  Paw problems have plagued him from close to the outset and to our damnest extent we've tried to figure out why and exhausted all solutions. The cold damp climate?  Non stop licking causing chronic inflammation and infection?  Some say there are microscopic sand burrs on the coastline and a whole host of other speculations.

But like any other father, still in the absence of a reason or a solution, a decision has to be made.

Hudson is being picked up today and transported back to Memphis.  Indiana and I will continue on with sadness in our hearts and the longing to be reunited will drive us the rest of the way. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scenes from the roadside 3

Of course there's a zombie foot on our travels.  This was on the sidewalk in Florence OR

Curious moss covered listing ship in rogue river bay

Ummm did someone contact the marketing dept before putting a spout on the company van grill?  

The head shed?  Ok