Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloggin' With Bob

Today we have another very special guest blogging with us. You may be familiar with his blog, "Daisy and Bob's Blog." Bob has a unique perspective on the world, and we hope you enjoy our conversation.

How did you get started writing a blog? I kinda just inherited The Blogging Business when my BFF Daisy passed away. She wouldn’t let me help her because she said I was too dumb to write a blog, but after she passed away, a lot of my friends thought I should have a chance. I was so scared in the beginning and lots of time I am still scared when I have some real reporting to do, but I think I am doing a pretty good job.

Why would a dog write a blog? For the same reason that two-legs write a blog. Daisy (and now me) want to share our stories with you, and all our other friends.

How do you manage using the keyboard? Fortunately, I was able to watch Daisy in action and I got lots of lessons from her, even when she didn’t think I was listening. Daisy really did think I was – in her words: “dumb as a stump.” I don’t actually use the keyboard, I just think things into my Mom’s head and she uses the keyboard for me.

The title of your blog says “Daisy and Bob’s Blog.” Who is Daisy? This is sort of complicated. My 2-legged Mom is named Patti and her 2-legged daughter is named Lydia. So technically that makes Lydia my 2-legged sister. Daisy was the four-legged daughter of my sister, Lydia. This made my Mom into Daisy’s Gram and technically this made Daisy my niece. But normally nieces are younger than their Uncles, right? So I just thought of Daisy as my own sister and most importantly as my BFF.

One time Daisy sent a letter to Regis & Kelly because she wanted them to help her be on The Bachelorette (this was a long time ago, when Daisy was just a sweet young thing). This is how Daisy described herself:

"My name is Lewsen’s Princess Daisy Dawg and as you can see from my photo, I am an English Bulldog. I am very talented and I am a good writer. I know you are familiar with other famous bulldogs, and perhaps you know of that Zelda dog who has a lot of costumes? She is not a good writer, and I am. That is why I am a princess and she is not."

How did you hear about We heard about 2dogs2000miles from our dear friend Tracie Hotchner. Lydia got to be on one of Tracie’s radio shows and Luke got to talk a little bit before Lydia got to talk and Tracie thought that Hudson should be running for President of our Country and maybe Daisy should be the Vice-President.

Tell me something about yourself that you’d like to share with readers. I know they can visit your blog, but perhaps tell them something special about yourself they may not have learned from your blog. I am very proud of my four-legged Mom and Dad. People only hear bad things about us (Pit Bulls) all the time, but my Mom and my Dad were National Weight Pulling Champions. They trained very hard to compete and to let other people know that Pit Bulls could compete in the right kind of championships. It takes a very, very special Pit Bull to do this, and that would NOT be me. I hope my Mom is as proud of me as I am of her even though I don’t want to pull heavy weights.

Sometimes Pit Bulls can be very misunderstood. What would you like people to know about Pit Bulls? Pit Bulls are by nature very kind and very gentle. The way people think about me after they read my Blogging is what I truly am and what most of us really are.

Why do you and your people support 2Dogs2000Miles? Who would not support you after they learn about you? Oops….. Mom says that sounded smarty pants. Sorry.

We support you because “We Have a Dream”. We believe that there will be a CAUSE for Cancer discovered because of all of Luke and Hudson and Murphy’s thousands of miles of walking. And we believe that when the CAUSE for Cancer is found, then the CURE for Cancer will come racing right along behind.

Our Daisy-Girl had an awful tumor on her heart and this caused her to cross The Rainbow Bridge much sooner than she would have. If I --- me --- Bob ---- can do even one tiny little thing to help with our dreams coming true, then I will use all of my stubborn side to do it. Soon.
Who is Lily? After Daisy died it was very sad in our home. I did feel like I had lost my bestest friend ever and I didn’t know what I was going to do. My Mom said the loneliness was pouring out of our houses and then we found out about Lily. And the sunlight started coming back. Since Lily is (like Daisy was)…. The 4-legged daughter of my sister, Lydia, then that makes her my Niece. I really do feel like Uncle Bob this time, because Lily is so small and I am almost two years old so I am all grown up and ready for that responsibility.

Lily is 9 weeks old and she is an English Bull Dog. She was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia and her true name is Lewsen’s Lily of the Valley. She has a full set of very sharp baby teeth.

Your people have been some of our best donors to 2Dogs and we really thank them. Why do you think they do this? We want to help however we can, and since we aren’t on the Walking Trail, we thought some money would come in handy to help the research. If we were closer to where Mr. Luke is walking, we would come and walk with him. I really like Hudson and Murphy and I would like to meet them sometime. And also when we donate to help this cause, we also have a way to remember all of our wonderful clients who passed away. We try to help get their names onto Luke’s shirts.

You sent us some wonderful pictures. Who is the person who took your pictures? Our wonderful photo grapher (that's what Daisy called her -- a picture taking person: photo grapher) is Bev Hollis and her web site is You should take a few minutes to play with your Mouse Person, get him in a good mood and then ask him to help you look at Bev's photos. You can look at the Puppy Series section under my name (me -- BOB) We would like it very, very much if you added our Miss Bev (who is also a vet doctor) to our Circle of Friends. I used to be her Main Man until Baby Lil came along. Poor me, tossed aside for a prettier face.

I know dogs are very philosophical beings. Do you have a particular philosophy about Life you’d like to share with our readers? My goal in life is to have friends and to love them. My goal is to take care of my family of four-legs and my 2-legged family too. My goal is to learn to Dance and then never to stop dancing. Maybe I didn’t think this philosophy up all by my self, because if you ask your Mouse Person to put two-words (Keep Dancing) into the Google Machine, you will see how many writers and other people use those words to encourage others to always move forward even when times are hard. But maybe your readers don’t understand that dogs can dance, and that we believe in the really, truly meaning of those words! I wonder if I can get a bracelet that says “Keep Dancing”?

From a dog’s point of view, if you could make people understand one thing about cancer, what would it be? Because you are people and have two legs and opposable thumbs, you have the ability to STOP cancer. Maybe not in my lifetime, and certainly not in the lifetimes of all the wonderful dogs who currently suffer from this awful thing -- but soon. Everyone who is doing research needs to start working together and getting along with each other. If all of the research people would forget about the prize and think about the reason they were doing the research in the first place, I think the solution would come much faster.

If you could make humans understand one thing about dogs, what would that one thing be? Dogs have the basic nature and ability to get along with each other unless people teach them not to do that. Too bad people are not more like us.

Very special thanks to Patti Best for her help in translating Pit Bull to English. Please visit Bob, Lily, Princess Daisy, and Patti at:

Thanks, Bob! Puppy up!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yummy New Flavor at The Honest Kitchen

One of the things I first personally learned about fighting my dog's cancer was to improve her diet. At the time my sweet Linga was diagnosed with leukemia, I had never heard of The Honest Kitchen, and neither had my vet. But, as many authorities on nutrition will tell you, a good diet for our animals is one of the best ways we can help to protect our companions and keep their systems healthy, and a healthy diet is an integral part of cancer treatment.

Recently I learned that The Honest Kitchen, one of 2Dogs' very first sponsors, has a new product they're offering. If you've never checked out The Honest Kitchen's line of products, please do. I know Hudson and Murphy absolutely love their Honest Kitchen food. Anyway, the company has just developed a new product for those of us on a tight budget, without sacrificing the quality and high standards they're known for. Their newest product is called "Keen" and if you'll follow the link you'll see all the good things that it's made with. All their foods are human grade, and Keen is made from hormone-free turkey, organic oats, potatoes, organic flax, carrots, cabbage, alfalfa, organic kelp, apples, honey and garlic. (OK, now I'm getting hungry!)

If you're like many of us, you've probably thought seriously about making your own food for your animals. And I'm sure some of you do. But for many of us it's rocket science, trying to figure out portions of this, servings of that, what vitamins to add, etc. And if you're out in the boonies, it's often impossible to get hormone-free anything.

So, if you're interested in good nutrition for your companion and are looking to try something new, please check out The Honest Kitchen. They even offer trial sizes, so you can be sure your best buddy will like it before you place a large order. Take a look around their site – they have an interesting history and believe in giving back to the community. Especially interesting is "A Day in The Honest Kitchen" and "Who We Are". Oh, and yes, they do also have a product for cats too. And, of course, they carry treats and other goodies. So, if you're looking for a quality, high-grade alternative to the food you now feed, please check out The Honest Kitchen!

Pictured are: Luke fixing The Honest Kitchen for Hudson and Murphy, and Hudson showing how delightfully happy his tummy is after his Honest Kitchen dinner!

"Keen" photo is copyrighted by The Honest Kitchen.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Home for Buddy

[For the video on Buddy, please visit YouTube.] Ginger of tells us a bit about Buddy: Buddy came to the Memphis Humane Society right after Katrina hit New Orleans. He was heart worm positive. For a while he had a foster home who kept him through the heart worm treatment, but they couldn't adopt him. He then was adopted and stayed with that family for several months. However, they had to return him to us because their living situation changed. He was with us at the Humane Society for a couple more months and then adopted out to a lady with two small children. Buddy lost his balance one day and knocked the younger little girl over and she was afraid of him after that so he was returned again. In between all the returns to the Humane Society we all fell in love with him, so he became my office dog.

Last November, I started bringing him home with me at night because he would stand at the front door of the HS and watch me as I drove off. I hated seeing his face at the door so he joined my "pack" at home.

He is terribly afraid of storms. I guess it's because of Katrina. I have to either get on the floor with him and hold him or we get in the bed together and I hold him until the storm is over.

We are not sure how Buddy lost his foot. A vet told me that it looked like Buddy had gotten it stuck in something and chewed it off as there are no surgery scars. As you can tell from the video he doesn't let it keep a big dog down! However, I do have to pick him up to get in the bed, unless of course there is a storm -- then he will jump on the bed with me!

At last, Buddy has his forever home, and now is an official member of the 2Dogs family. Welcome home, Buddy! You have that true Puppy Up! spirit.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

“Excuse me, Sir. Are you homeless?”

This was only the start of the questions Luke and the Boys got the other night while they were resting along the side of the road on their way to Mousetail Landing Park. Apparently two college girls had a sociology assignment, and part of that assignment was to find homeless people and talk to them. Seeing Luke and the Boys was all the excuse they needed to pull their little Geo Metro over to the shoulder, get out, and offer him some candy. Huh? Candy? Yup. Poor Luke apparently looked like he could use a handout so they offered him some candy. (I guess they didn’t have any dog cookies on hand for the Boys.)

After he finally convinced them he was not in fact homeless and did not need their candy, but thank you very much, Luke patiently explained that he was on a walk from Austin to Boston to spread awareness about canine cancer. Oooooh! Gee, Mister! He talked with the girls, explaining to them about the walk, the cause, the Boys. And he was doing a fine job too until yet another car pulled up alongside the group. This guy was not so pleasant and wanted to know: “Hey, this guy botherin’ you?” Yes, machismo is alive and well, if not just a little misdirected, here in the Volunteer State. I guess this guy was volunteering to rescue the Metro-damsels from the funny man with the two big white dogs. Or maybe HE wanted some candy. So, once again, Luke had to explain the mission and convince the guy that he, Hudson, and Murphy were not a danger to society or the state of Tennessee. What a night!

OK, there’s more. No, really! Luke and the Boys stopped again some time later to catch their breaths and once again settled down just off the road. In the meantime, some other well-meaning Volunteer State good person called the police convinced there “was some dead guy on the side of the road.” (Get ready for this, Luke. Tennessee is full of well-meaning volunteers!) The cops showed up, discovered he was in fact NOT dead, and wanted to know what he was doing. (I guess the days of being left peacefully alone to pursue your own interests are long gone. Good thing there were no Metro-girls with candy or macho-macho men or well-meaning police during the days of the Pioneers or the settlers would still be making their way out of Jersey.) Luke finally convinced the cops he, Hudson, and Murphy were neither dead nor a danger to society or the state of Tennessee. What a day!

Despite all the delays, Luke and the Boys did make it to Mousetail Landing State Park where they settled down for the night. They headed out again on Highway 100 this morning, and are going to try for about 5 to 6 hours of walking, then find a place to camp as we’re expecting rain and storms for the next two days.

Luke did say he’d been taking some great videos of the area (and the area around Mousetail is quite beautiful with its tree-covered hills, beautiful river, and valleys of dense fog). And of course the Boys love the cooler weather. Luke calls it their “frisky weather.”

So, there you have it. Luke and the Boys, deep in the heart of The Volunteer State.

More soon. Until then, Puppy Up!
Erich & His 4 Pack

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Hoody for Hudson

Hudson is modeling the sweater he got from a friend in Texas who lovingly knitted it to protect him from the colder weather he, Murphy, and Luke will be encountering soon on the road. Notice it even has an attached Tuque! Luke writes: “It's a smart looking sweater that he can wear underneath his pack and he'll need it. Unlike Murphy, he doesn't have the thick undercoat to keep him warm. I considered for a brief time shaving my back hair and having it woven but this'll look much nicer, dontcha think?”

Yeah, Luke – much nicer!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Conversation with Wagatha's Norman Levitz

I had the opportunity the other day to speak with Mr. Norman Levitz, one of the founders of Wagatha’s organic dog treats . We’re very pleased that Wagatha’s is one of 2Dogs’ sponsors.

Our conversation began when I asked him how he learned about 2Dogs2000miles and Hudson, Murphy, and Luke.

I came to know of Luke’s efforts from a mutual friend, Tracie Hotchner. Tracie actually lives a few miles from us down in Bennington (Vermont). She told me about Luke’s efforts and I thought it was just a fabulous idea. I just thought it was great. I’m totally supportive of what he’s doing. There needs to be more of this kind of a thing going on.

I noticed on your web page that an important part of your philosophy is to give back to the community. One of the things that Luke has told me is that for every shelter that he visits, you send them 10 pounds of Wagatha’s Treats.

That’s correct. … The products that we make are 100% organic, we manufacture everything right here in Vermont. Most of our ingredients are domestic and the ones that aren’t are either from Central America or Europe. Everything we do is human quality. We want our best friends to have the best.

You’re the developer of the biscuits yourself?

Yes, my wife and I started making these biscuits about 30 years ago when we were in college, so there’s quite a lot of history behind them.

Can you give us a little bit of the history? Why did you start making dog biscuits?

Well, here’s the thing. Like I said, about 30 years ago my wife and I started making these biscuits in college because we had a lot of friends and family who had dogs and … you know, on a college budget, there’s not a whole lot you can do at holiday time. So we decided to try making dog biscuits. The dogs loved them and it became an annual tradition for us. About 15 years ago we had a bakery in Rhode Island and we started making these biscuits at the bakery just as an aside. We sold a lot of them. I always wanted to do this as a business but the timing just was never right. Then I finally got together with my present business partner [Neil Reilly] who thought this was a fantastic idea and here we are, 2 years later.

So you got started in 2006?

2006, yes that’s right.

Right from the beginning we wanted to be 100% certified organic and we do not do anything that does not fit that profile. We’re also kosher. We didn’t want anyone to have any barriers to why they couldn’t bring Wagatha’s into their lives.

As a professional chef and as a culinary educator, you obviously understand the issues of good nutrition. Do you see a connection between nutrition and the higher incidence of cancer in animals?

Yes, I do. I see it in people too. You are what you eat and your body can only fight off and deal with so many chemicals and artificial ingredients and things of that nature before it begins to rebel. Even more of a reason for us to be completely organic … every ingredient in our treats is there for a reason. Most of the treats are very high in antioxidant properties to help fight cellular damage.

What drew you personally to the issue of nutrition in dogs in particular?

I think it was a number of things. One of the things is, as a culinary educator, nutrition was a big part of what I had to learn and teach to my students. So, to me that really made a lot of sense. And then, the more I researched commercially available pet products and pet foods, it was horrific what I found. I knew if I was going to get involved in this business that everything we did had to be nutritionally sound because I didn’t want to be part of the problem. I wanted to be part of the solution.

I understand that Hudson and Murphy especially like the Tuscan Tomato and Herb Biscuits. Do you know what your best selling product is?

The best seller is our Breakfast Biscuit. In the South we found that the Tuscan Tomato and Herb is the number one seller. In the North it seems to be that the Cranberry and the Breakfast go neck and neck, and on the West Coast is seems the Breakfast is number one. I think it just depends on people’s life style, eating habits … we haven’t found a dog who wasn’t partial to these biscuits!

In the years ahead, do you see your company expanding into dry food, because there’s certainly a need for that?

We are actually doing research into that – whether it’s going to be dry, wet, or raw or some combination of the three we’re not sure yet, but we’re really working hard to find the right direction to go; but no, we’re not going to be just a treat company. We are looking to extend our philosophy beyond the treats.

Do you see yourself moving into less of the canine boutique or on-line ordering and maybe getting out there to mainstream your product?

We’ve really built our business so far on supporting the independent retailer. Once you cross the bridge into the mass market there are a lot of problems that go with that and we really want to maintain the integrity of our brand. So, independent is where we’re staying. But our treats are all available on our web site, you can purchase on-line, and shipping is very reasonable – over $50.00 shipping is free. And we ship almost immediately – we usually ship that day or the next day FedEx ground.

Do you see your company, even as new as it is, leading the way to a new philosophy of thinking about feeding animals?

I think we understand the difference between right and wrong and understand what the health requirements are for animals and I think that we are just reflecting changes in the way people are starting to look at animal nutrition. We’re supporting that in everything we do. We try to get that message out to everyone we interact with -- that by feeding Wagatha’s they’re feeding their dogs the best available products that they can find. We put a lot of research and time into our biscuits and stand behind what we do.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about Wagatha’s and your interest in 2 Dogs?

I think that what 2 Dogs is doing is fantastic and I think raising awareness about canine cancer is really important. I think that grass-roots efforts will raise the awareness of people’s choices when they go into the store and buy what they buy. It seems that every month there’s another food recall, whether it’s pet or people … and why take that chance? For the majority of people, their pets are the center of their lives -- why subject your best friend, your family member to something you don’t have to subject them to? There are choices. And they’re not necessarily any more expensive.

Mr. Levitz, thanks for speaking with us. And special thanks for donating to the shelters Luke goes to.

It’s my pleasure. We live in a world where we all really have to help each other out … reaching out to our neighbors and friends is really what we have to do.

Wagatha's name and logo are the copyrighted property of Wagatha's. Their logo is used with permission.