Monday, September 29, 2008

Parrot Heads Part I

Some of you may remember back in Texas we met a feller named Jackie Bryant, the founding member of the North East Texas Parrothead Club, one of many around the country. Is that like the Order of the Bleating Sheep you ask? Your guess was as good as mine.

As I was soon to learn, Parrotheads are Jimmy Buffet fans but to say they're just that is hugely limiting. Their slogan is "Party with a Purpose" and man do they deliver on both promises. These guys are always finding ways to help organizations and have fun during the process and giving to charitable causes is a requirement. You can't even start a chapter without making that commitment. According to Wikipedia, they collectively raised $2.2 million for charities in 2005 and devoted thousands of volunteer hours, too.

Jackie connected us to the Memphis Club and outside of the animal lover world, I couldn't imagine meeting a more giving and good-hearted group of people. Mark and Brandy, one of the families we stayed with there were the most gracious of hosts. They introduced us to Karen (their President) and her husband, Russell. More to come on this cast of characters and some of the cool stories of our time together while in Memphis...

Even though they don't have a Parrothead Club for the Homeless, I consider myself a lifelong member and can't wait to meet more of them along our travels.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Haven't Received Your Wristband?

It has recently come to my attention that several people who have purchased our puppy up! cause bracelets have not received them. First of all, please accept my deepest apologies.

As you know, we rely completely on volunteers for the walk. While they've done an outstanding job and I am eternally grateful for the countless hours they've committed to the cause, we are in the process of resolving the problem and taking steps to ensure it won't happen again.

We'll be contacting everyone who has ordered the bracelets to make sure they've received them but you can contact me personally at in the interim should you have questions or concerns. I setup that email address so that I am always available and accountable for any problems that arise. Thank you for your patience and understanding. YBD

Memorial Shirt #3

The list has been posted to our website - please check for inclusion and accuracy! There are almost 140 names now on our shirt and I'm truly humbled and honored to have each and every one of them walk with us in spirit.

There have been challenges, some of which I'll never share with you guys, that I might not have been able to overcome if it wasn't for the names on my shirt. Thank you!

Please contact us at for omissions or mispellings. YBD

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our First Calendar!

2 Dogs 2000 Miles is pleased and excited to announce our first Canine Cancer Calendar. We hope YOU will be part of the process. Here's how --

PLEASE NOTE: The date for submissions has been extended to November 16th. Also, the size of the digital photo has been changed. Just submit the original digital photo to and our web master will work his magic and adjust the size accordingly! No need to crop, re-size, fold, spindle, or mutilate the photo -- just send it as it comes mysteriously out of your camera! We'll do the rest!

If you (or someone you know) has had or currently has a dog with cancer, you are invited to submit your dog's photo and brief story to 2 Dogs. We ask you to please limit your submission to one digital picture per dog, and limit your story to 1 to 2 paragraphs per dog. So, if you currently have or have had a dog with cancer, here is your opportunity to honor him or her in the calendar. If you have had more than one dog with cancer, yes, you may definitely submit EACH dog's photo and brief story. Please submit your dog's photo and story to: And, of course, give us not only your dog's name, but your name and contact email as well.

When does this start? Right now. The deadline for photo and story submission is November 16th at midnight EST (please note that the date has changed) , which gives you plenty of time to get those photos and stories submitted. You will receive an email notification of receipt of your photo and story. All photos will be available for viewing and voting on at our web site after the November 16th deadline.

How will we decide which dog represents each month? Well, here's where you come in again. EVERYONE gets to decide -- whether or not you've had a dog with cancer. Everyone gets to vote, so please pass the word to friends, family, and co-workers.

Here's how voting will work. Starting on November 2nd, after the last canine cancer patient's photo and story have been submitted and all photos are up on our web site, voting begins. With a small donation of $1.00 per vote, everyone gets to vote for his or her favorite dog(s). For example, if you want to vote 10 times for your best friend Speckles, you would donate $10.00 for Speckles and he would then get 10 votes. Or you can split your votes. If you like several dogs, you would donate X number of dollars for each dog you like and each dog would get that number of votes. Even better -- you can vote as many times as you want. This means you can vote multiple times for one dog, or one time for many dogs, or any variation thereof, and come back throughout the voting period to keep your pick in the running by casting more $1.00 votes. Voting will be open until the deadline. It's really very simple: $1.00 per vote and you can vote as many times as you want for as many dogs as you want. Voting will continue on our web site through December 1st. All money benefits 2 Dogs and the walk to increase awareness of canine cancer and the urgency to find the cause.

Now here's the other great news. No dog loses! While there will be only 12 dogs on the main calendar, each dog not chosen will still have his or her photo published in the back of the calendar. Every dog's photo submitted for the calendar will be published.

When will the calendars be ready? Calendars will be ready to purchase before the new year. These will make excellent gifts. Cost: $15.95 each.

OK, here's a summary:

(1) Submit one photo and one story (1 to 2 paragraphs) per canine cancer patient – submission of photos and stories is FREE and should be sent to:

(2) You are not limited to your submissions. If you have sadly had more than one dog stricken with cancer, you may submit each dog's photo and story. Photos may be of dogs who have passed or dogs who are still here fighting their cancer!

(3) Please be sure to submit a story with your photo. 1 to 2 paragraph limit, please. Don't forget to include your name and contact email. You will be notified when we receive your photo and story.

(4) Submissions begin immediately and continue through November 15th, ending at midnight EST.

(5) Photos of all dogs will be posted on our web site after November 16th, and voting begins at our web site 2 weeks after the last submission and continues through December 1st. Deadline for voting is December 1st, again at midnight EST.

(6) Each $1.00 donation = 1 vote. You may vote (and thus donate) multiple times! Please do! Please invite family and friends to vote as well! Votes will be cast at our website beginning November 2nd.

(7) Calendars will be available for the new year and cost only $15.95. These will make excellent gifts! Remember, each calendar will spread the important news about canine cancer, so please consider giving them as gifts to vet clinics, colleagues, groomers, your own favorite vet, as well as family and friends.

(8) ALL photos will be published in the calendar. While only twelve dogs will be chosen to represent the 12 months of the year, based on the number of $1.00 votes each dog receives, EVERY photo submitted will be published in the calendar. Pictures not included in the body of the calendar will be published in the back pages, so every dog's picture will appear.

This calendar will not only help get the word out about the seriousness and prevalence of canine cancer, but will also be a lasting tribute to those beautiful dogs who struggled with and are still struggling against this disease.

We hope you will be part of this effort. Send in your photos and stories, please pass the word to family and friends, and then, come November 2nd, vote, vote, vote for your favorite dogs!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


And if I go, while you are still here... know that I still live on, vibrating to a different measure, behind a thin veil that you cannot see through. You will not see me, so you must have faith. I will wait there for the time when we can soar together again, both aware of each other. Until then, live your life to the fullest. And when you need me, just whisper my name in your heart ... I will be there.

This weekend, Luke, Hudson, and Murphy are pleased to appear as special guests at the Second Annual Honoring the Animals Candlelight Vigil at Brown-Forman Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday, September 14, 2008, sponsored by Chance's Spot, Pet Loss and Support Resources, and will discuss 2Dogs2000Miles, their walk from Austin to Boston, our mission of spreading awareness of canine cancer, and our goal to find the causes.

The memorial service for the animals will be held outdoors at Brown-Forman Amphitheater located on River Road east of Tumbleweed. It will include musical selections and poetry-reading, as well as a moment of silence as candles are lit in memory of beloved animal friends. This event is free and will take place rain or shine. Those in attendance will be able to have their pet's name read out loud.

From their web site, Chance’s Spot writes: “The event will take place on National Pet Memorial Day. For a donation of $10.00 visitors can have their pet's name published in this year's official program. Programs will be reserved for those who can to attend and mailed to those who cannot."

For further details on the service, including driving directions and parking, please visit the Honoring the Animals Web site at:

About Chance’s Spot: “Chance's Spot was created in the fall of 1998 as a personal tribute to a beloved English Setter, Chance. In February of 1998 Chance was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma and on June 28 he died. The Web site has grown over the years and is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists grieving pet owners.”

“At Chance's Spot, we believe that pets are important and engaging members of the family whose loss results in the same grieving process as would losing anyone close to us. We understand that the feelings generated when a pet dies are real and deserve the same respect as if it were any other family member. Our mission is to advance this notion to the general public and to support an increase in the respect and reverence that is given to the topic of pet loss. Through education, support and information, Chance's Spot assists the public in understanding that the grief suffered when a dearly loved pet is lost is a heartfelt example of how genuine the human - animal bond can be.”

“Chance's Spot provides an online support group, publications on pet loss, hotline numbers, referrals and an online tributes page where pet caregivers can post tributes to their departed pets. Locally, Chance's Spot provides educational presentations on the topic of pet loss o pet caregivers, pet care professionals and rescue and shelter workers. Area shelters, veterinarians and rescue groups also receive support and information about compassion fatigue - the stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized animals on a daily basis."

“Our yearly fundraisers help educate and support pet caregivers to understand the grief associated with losing a pet. It is our intention for Chance's Spot to be the first and only organization in the country to provide a memorial garden, pet loss education center and trained staff available to veterinarians and their patients."

"Chance's Spot is founded by Gail Heller. Ms. Heller was Chance's caregiver for fourteen years. She has had several canine companions in addition to Chance and currently resides in Indiana with Moses, her pointer mix and Mazie, her Basenji mix."

"Ms. Heller has bred, trained and shown dogs and has worked as an animal control warden where she implemented a Responsible Dog Ownership Basic Training Program. She has also worked as a veterinary technician where she assisted in the care and treatment of sick pets. Her work at Chance's Spot has been featured in the Louisville Courier-Journal Newspaper."

(All quotes, pictures, and illustrations are the copyrighted property of "Chance's Spot" and are reprinted here under Fair Use, Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

III Down in the Delta

It's amazing what you can do when you dig down deep enough inside of yourself. The Arkansas Delta was the most physically challenging leg I've faced thus far. A hundred plus miles of mostly shadeless, shoulderless low lying farmland starting east of Little Rock on Highway 70. Punishing heat in triple digits with humidity hovering around 100%. At night, mosquitoes the size of swallows from all of the fish ponds and rice fields.

If you can lose all that - even briefly - you can appreciate the rich ecosystem that thrives there. Yeah, the mosquitoes are brutal and unrelenting. After four coats of spray I found myself still under constant attack. It was like they were systematically testing my defenses.

But if it wasn't for the abundant mosquito population there you wouldn't find one of the most brilliant array of dragonflies I've ever seen. Like an impressionist painting, some checkered in black in white, others in irridescent greens, yellows, and blues. And feeding off of them are red winged blackbirds, great blue herons, and other egrets indigenous to the area. Simply spectacular the diverse palette of life found in the Delta.

Including people. I was just outside Hazen searching for shade when I saw a sign for Murry's Restaurant. At last - A/C and some ice cold water but when I tried to enter the doors were locked. Open 5pm it said. It wasn't much past noon so I sat on a bench outside, opened my pack, and started snacking on my trailmix. Moments later, a man appeared, shirtless yet wearing an apron. He, too, must've been feeling the effects of the heatwave.

I asked for his permission to rest and repast on his patio. He invited me in and over a glass of sweet tea, offered to make me lunch. That's Stan on the left and he's the chef and proprietor. Should your travels ever take you to Hazen, stop by Murry's. Stan's food is second only to his life stories so make sure you ask him how he became a cook. And try his bread pudding.

It was my last luxury in Arkansas. I went to church that Sunday then walked for the next 24 hours, rested a day, then got back on the road and completed a 60 mile stretch in two days of walking through Crowley's Ridge and almost to West Memphis. One of the most fascinating sights was between Forrest City and Madison, which seemed entirely draped in Kudzu, a highly invasive Southern vine.

If you recall, my last best personal two day record was 41 miles. The Arkansas Delta was too dangerous to walk with the boys but being without them kept me highly motivated. And the heat index encouraged me to keep moving at night. But I couldn't have accomplished it without our host family in Lonoke AR, Larry and Linda. That's him on the left with his two Irish Wolfhounds, Twister and Kermit. We met them through their daughter, Ashley, whose husband, Trey, is over in Iraq. Thanks guys for transporting and providing support to us.

II The Spirit of Malcolm

After noshing at a C-Store grill in Glen Rose, I asked the cashier where I could find a safe place to pitch a tent for the night. Moments of uncomfortable silence followed. Like an RV Park I assured her. There was one a few miles down 67 she said. The sun was setting but if I scooted some serious boot, I could make it. And boy am I glad I did.

JB's RV Park was an unremarkable but welcome sight after being on the road all day and worth the $10 for a tent site. I had just slipped the cash in an envelope under the office door when a man and a boy emerged from a nearby trailer and greeted me. We exchanged pleasantries and I explained I had walked from Austin but being exhausted, left it at that. The boy wished me luck on my journey.

A secluded spot near a bayou beckoned me. I barely had enough energy to make camp and only minutes after I had done so, a truck drove up. What now? The passenger door opened and the boy appeared carrying a plate of food.

As I thanked him and turned towards the tent I saw a dog a stone's throw away staring at me. I must have been too tired to notice the goat pen on the way in but there across from me was a Great Pyrenees puppy. Six, maybe eight months old and covered in mud, he took to me like we were old friends and when I said goodnight to eat my dinner, he jumped into the swamp and swam around the fence line to my side.

Upon seeing this, an elderly man headed him off and after a gentle chiding, returned the Pyr to the pen. And I to my tent but he never left his spot across from me.

Perhaps from exhaustion, the selfless act of generosity a boy showed a stranger, or the spirit of Malcolm I sensed watching over me, I wept. They were tears not of sadness but awe and humility for how could I be blessed by a magical night like this?

And the following morning, I found that puppy exactly in the same spot... He never left my side...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Arkansas in Reflection I

"The Buzz Buzz Show" That's the title of the chapter covering the first stretch of Arkansas. That's me and Buzz - he was one of the two dogs at our host family's home in Texarkana. His big brown eyes and sweet disposition would melt the hardest of hearts.

Then there's his brother, Thatcher, a fifteen pound Schnauzer. Sure, sure he looks cute and innocent but this little guy was the fourth Reich. He told Hudson when he could eat his food, bossed Murphy around, and when the boys and I spent a night sleeping in their backyard, he terrorized our tent, pouncing and peeing on it!

Don't get me wrong - Scott and Sara and their terrific children Abbott and Shelby were gracious and generous hosts and they took good care of Murphy. Still, I'm not sure if instead I'll go with my alternative title to this chapter: Thatcher the Terrible.

All kidding aside, our deepest thanks to the Lawrences for being such a pivotal part of the story.


From all of us at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles, may God be with all the pets and people in the path of Gustav.