Monday, November 24, 2008

Warm and Toasty Wish List

Hudson here. I'm probably not supposed to be playing around on The Bloginator's computer, but if I have Murphy vacuum off all the white hairs and dog prints, and squeegee the screen where I kinda slobbered, I should be pretty safe. And, after all, what The Bloginator doesn't know won't hurt him.

Look, this is the thing. You may have noticed that our Papa, Luke, has skin, not fur. And he's going into cold and snowy weather, which Murphy and I like (pretty much) but which could freeze Papa's not-so-little tootsies off if he doesn't have the right stuff for the trip. And if he freezes his not-so-little tootsies off, he can't walk, and if he can't walk then we can't walk, and then where will we be? So, we put together a "Wish List" for our Dad and went down to this really cool store in Memphis called Outdoors, Inc. and had stuff put on lay-away. Yes, stores are doing lay-away again after all these years. We understand from The Bloginator (who is really really old in dog years — heck, he may even be mummified for all we know) that law-away is something people used to do all the time when he was a kid and the Earth was still cooling. Instead of charging something, people put it on law-away and paid for it on time until it was all paid for, and then they could cart it all home with them. Aren't humans clever?

Anyway, I digress. Murphy and I put together a list of some of the things Papa needs to walk this winter without freezing his bum off. With the assistance of some pretty nice humans at the store called Outdoors, Inc. we have some great things put on lay-away to help Papa stay warm while he's walking in the ice and snow and wind and sleet and blizzards and avalanches (well, maybe not avalanches) of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and, well, wherever we're going. (OK, I can type but I don't read maps. That's why we have Papa.) But we need your help. While Papa feeds us really good, and hugs on us a lot, he doesn't give us any allowance (can you believe that?), so we need help buying these neat things to help keep him warm. You see, if he's warm, we're warm. Does that make sense? Murphy said it would.

So here's the list (it's called "Luke Robinson's Lay-away Items") and the phone number to Outdoors, Inc. is 901-722-8988, where you can call and help us pay for the lay-away stuff. You can talk to a nice lady there named Robin — she knows all about the lay-away stuff — and she can help with any amount of money you'd like to give to help pay for the stuff Papa needs. If Robin is not there, you can ask for Rachel or Callie because they know about the lay-away stuff and they're very nice too.

So here’s our List called the "Luke Robinson's Lay away Items" from Outdoors, Inc. in Memphis:

(1) North Face Red Point Jacket - size XL - price is $170.50. (That is with the nice 15% discount they gave us because we're really nice dogs). This is a great jacket with a hood and is water resistant. Murphy did some research and learned that layering is the way to go for people without fur. So Papa can put this over the shirts he wears and stay toasty warm.

(2) North Face Venture Pants - size XL - $59.50 (with our doggie discount). Papa really does already have pants, but these are water resistant and will help him keep dry in the rain and snow.

Papa also has a neat Registry on-line for other things he will need along the way. So if you’d like to see some of these things, you can follow this link.

Any dehydrated food packs for Papa would be great. Vegetarian please. While Murphy and I eat meat, Papa is really a plant eater. Gross, I know. But he likes veggies. You can find a list of the veggie packs he likes on the registry. But maybe you could take it easy on the stuff with beans in it? We have to sleep with him in a very small tent.

Oh, and if you'd like to help Murphy and me, since we might need some extra warmth too, Papa has put up a link on the registry for some warm and toasty fleece dog warmers we'd really like to have, if you'd be so kind. You can see them here and read all about them here. Murphy would like a size XL in green and I would like the size X in red, please. Not only will we be nice and warm, but we will look very stylish!

Oh, please remember — if you do help buy the lay-away goodies (any donation, big or small, will be greatly appreciated) please email our friends Ginger at or Lori at and let them know who you are, how to contact you, the amount you donated and for what stuff. Lori would like to be sure and send you a thank you card (she is very thoughtful), and Ginger needs to keep track of how much is donated and by whom (because she keeps track of things like that).

We would be thankful for ANY donations to Papa’s list of stuff. He has a great sleeping bag and other things for the trip, but he could really use the jacket and pants to keep him warm and dry. And of course, he doesn’t eat Honest Kitchen food like we do, so he could use some food packs. He’s really a good cook, but it’s hard to cook on the road, especially in the cold and sleet and wind and ice and blizzards and avalanches (OK, Murphy said enough with the avalanches).

Thank you very much for your help.

Your friends,

Hudson & Murphy

2,000-mile trek focuses on canine cancer

Activist uses grief over stricken dog in a positive way

FRANKLIN — Dog owners know that their pups like going for walks. But for Luke Robinson and his two Great Pyrenees, this just might be going a little overboard.

Robinson and "the boys" — Murphy, 7, and Hudson, 2 — are walking more than 2,000 miles from their home in Austin, Texas, to Boston to combat canine cancer.

Still less than halfway to their goal, the trio was passing through Williamson County when they stopped at Winstead Hill, the Confederate overlook during the Battle of Franklin in 1864. The symbolism wasn't lost on Robinson as his two big, white dogs took a breather at the picnic table.

"A great battle happened here a long time ago. But when we started this walk in March, this became our own personal war," Robinson said.

Personally, Robinson knows the sorrow of losing a pet to cancer. His Great Pyrenees Malcolm was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2004 and passed away two years later. To use his grief in a positive way, he decided to spread the word to those who had never heard of canine cancer.

"Our goal is to get the message out about the canine cancer crisis," he said.

Robinson opens his jacket to reveal a T-shirt decorated with names such as Marshmellow, Tango and Duchess written across the front.

"I'm a walking memorial. These are 160 names of the pets touched by cancer. They are my walking angels," he said.

To accompany him on the long hike, which is known as "2 Dogs 2000 Miles," are playful Hudson and the more stoic Murphy. Robinson calls himself — the leader of the pack — "The Big Dog."

Memories made

Robinson was very impressed with the Williamson County topography.

"I've got to say, this area has some of the most beautiful landscape and most unique terrain I've ever seen," he said.

An unseasonably cold wave that gripped the Middle Tennessee area this week didn't bother the dogs. They enjoy walking in cooler temperatures, Robinson said.

Usually, the trio hikes eight to 10 miles each day. The dogs wear booties to protect their paws from rough pavement. And Robinson walks closest to traffic just in case he needs to quickly push his traveling companions out of the way of danger — a scenario that's happened several times on this trip.

During their travels, Robinson also has been mistaken for homeless and for "some dead guy on the side of the road." And there was that time he and the boys battled a brown recluse spider infestation in a way station in Texarkana, Ark.

These adventures and more can be found on their blog. (Visitors to their Web site also can buy merchandise.)

But mostly, he's impressed with the generosity of those he's met. One woman who had lost her dog to cancer drove hundreds of miles just to meet The Big Dog and the boys.

They plan on completing the journey when they pull into Boston, probably in May or June.

"We're not even halfway there. And I can't tell you all the colorful characters and wonderful adventures we've had.

"I used to watch that show with the crab fishermen — The Deadliest Catch — and think they were fearless. But now, that's nothing," Robinson said.

Thanks to Bonnie Burch and The Tennessean for writing this article.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On The Road in Franklin, TN

The Williamson Herald newspaper just published a great article and photo about The Boys as they passed through Franklin, Tennessee. Written by Mindy Tate, Williamson Herald Editor, the article, entitled "A Man and his Dogs," reprinted below, tells a bit about the Boys and their journey so far.

By Mindy Tate, Williamson Herald Editor

It might have been Luke Robinson’s idea to walk 2,400 miles across the United States with his two Great Pyrenees dogs to call attention to canine cancer, but in fact it is Murphy and Hudson who are walking Robinson, not the other way around.

Robinson is making his way across Williamson County this week and will visit Happy ReTales in Brentwood’s Creekside Crossing off Old Hickory Boulevard Saturday, Nov. 22, from 2-5 p.m.

He’s en route to Boston with his two “boys,” whose combined weight is close to 180 pounds. They left Austin, Texas, in March with a mission — to raise awareness of canine cancer and raise funds for the first-ever nationwide epidemiological canine cancer study.

For Robinson, it is personal. He lost “his boy” Malcolm, another Great Pyrenees, to osteosarcoma in 2006. Robinson was working a 90-plus-hour work week when Malcolm was diagnosed as the founder and head of a high tech and life science business consulting firm, but when the dog became sick, his perspective and focus changed.

“I rarely left his side after that,” Robinson said in a break from the road. “It was truly a life defining experience and one that’s made me re-evaluate my place in the world and what my contribution can be.”

Murphy, who is about 7 years old, and Hudson, just a pup at 2 years old and 55 pounds or so, are the real celebrities of the walk, Robinson said.

“I am just the guy carrying the luggage,” he said. Each of them is armed with a backpack, although the ones carried by the animals contain mainly their snacks and supplies while Robinson is carrying a tent and things to sustain the trio along the road.

They set out from Austin in March headed for Boston, which is Robinson’s home. They expected to be further along the route than they are, but as fate would have it, Murphy had his own brush with canine cancer and there was some recovery time spent just after the walk began.

Robinson remembers mosquitoes “as big as sparrows” while walking through the Arkansas Delta in July. They hit Memphis in late August and have stopped along the way to volunteer at different shelters or humane associations to volunteer. Each time they do, Wagatha’s Extraordinary Biscuits for Dogs donates a 10-pound bag of treats to those shelters.

Those days volunteering has also given Robinson the chance to interact with animal lovers, experts, caregivers and those doing research into canine cancer and perhaps only deepened his resolve to get a national dialogue started.

“Definitely it has made the experience richer and fuller after hearing all of the stories,” he said. “It has helped to tighten the focus of the mission. People want to know what is causing canine cancer and we have found that canine cancer is a crisis. Not only is cancer significant in dogs, but it is also hitting them at a younger age. It is so prevalent that some dogs are having their life spans downgraded.”

Malcolm was only 6 when he was diagnosed, Robinson said, and 8 when he was given what Robinson describes as rest. He is making the trip with the trio though, as Robinson wears one of his claws and some of his ashes in memorial around his neck, and carries a St. Francis medal in his pocket given to him by his mother, herself a breast cancer survivor.

While walking, people often stop and talk to Robinson about what he is doing or offer to let him stay in their homes. But be forewarned, the three come as a package. If they dogs aren’t welcome, then Robinson will choose to camp out with them.

“When we are walking, we are working,” Robinson said. “When I get on the road with them and they get a rhythm, we work well together…the first 15 minutes, they are just pulling me.”

They average eight to 10 miles per day and at that pace won’t make it to Boston on their original timetable. Instead they will brave the winter months and hope to arrive to a celebratory event sometime in the spring.

Robinson’s Web site,, has a lot of information regarding the walk and “puppy up” products you can buy to support their walk and the mission of canine cancer research, but there are things you can do if you see the trio on the road.

“If they lost a companion pet, we have a memorial shirt,” Robinson said, showing a shirt with the names of animal’s lost to canine cancer. “Whenever we have to dig deep, all I have to do is look at my shirt to know there are angels walking with us.

“Another thing people can do is stop and give them hugs,” Robinson said of the dogs. Hudson greets all visitors by standing on his hind legs before throwing his paws around your neck.

“We are fine with pitching a tent on the side of the road, but we are also looking for safer places to stay,” Robinson said of church yards or halls, private homes and other facilities that allow the dogs to stay with him.

“Last and most important is to help get the message out there of canine cancer,” Robinson said of the things that people can do.

Thanks to Mindy Tate of the Williamson Herald for covering the story.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Tripawds Connection

Another guest blog here, this time from Jim and RenĂ© of – Jerry's place for three legged dogs and their people ...

Hudson and Murphy party with Jim and JerryThe bonds we share with our animals strengthen even more when they become sick.

Only people who have been through the battle with cancer in their dog can truly understand how strong this bond can be. In turn, they easily develop tight bonds with others who have shared the same experience.

Case in Point: The Tripawds / 2 Dogs connection.

We met Yer Big Dog online after receiving a comment from him on our three legged dog videos of Jerry – our own canine cancer hero. After learning about Malcolm and the 2000 mile walk Luke is undertaking to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research, we bonded immediately.

But let us step back a bit ... Jerry was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the fall of 2006. After his amputation we decided to sell our home and business to travel the country with him. He was given only about three or four months to live and we wanted to spend all that time with him.

Three legged dog Jerry reaches the AtlanticWe hit the road in our RV, exploring the country and spreading the word that it's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four. We traveled from one coast to the other while Jerry continued to amaze us, outliving all the doctors' expectations, and developing a community of support along the way through his Tripawd Discussion Forums.

After reaching the Atlantic ocean in Maine, and spending time on a farm in Florida, we were headed back west when we heard of the launch date for the 2 Dogs 2000 Miles walk from Austin to Boston. A launch party was in order.

What a pleasure it was to meet Luke and the boys in person (and in dog). We gathered at a park where a handful of three legged dogs joined us for food and fun times.

Tripawds team meets Big Dog and the Boys

The next week, Hudson and Murphy would lead Yer Big Dog on the beginning of their amazing journey. But not before we produced a video interview and had a major sleep-over party – three people and three big dogs in a 24' trailer.

Soon we were both on the road. Each heading our separate ways – but both crossing the U.S. – with a common cause. To spread the word about the scourge that is cancer in dogs. Granted, we have it a bit more comfortable in our trailer, while Luke hikes and sleeps on the ground. But he does have Hudson and Murphy to keep him comfortable.

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Jerry on October 3, nearly two years after his amputation. But our hike shall go on. And we will continue to support the efforts of everyone here at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles.