Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming Events for Week of March 29 - April 5th

Upcoming Events in the Mt. Vernon, Ohio area.Friday 4/3:

Luke will be the guest on "AM Knox County" talk radio show with co-speaker Dr. Barry Reppart, DVM of Harcourt Veterinary Clinic, and host Adam Taylor, on WMVO-AM 1300 radio station in Mt. Vernon . Luke and Dr. Reppart will be live, on-air from 11:15am - 12:00 noon to talk about canine cancer, the 2dogs2000miles organization and cross-country walk, promote the local events scheduled for the weekend and take call-in questions from listeners.

Saturday 4/4: Event at 1:00 pm at Harcourt Veterinary Clinic, 999 Harcourt Rd., Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Luke will talk and give a PowerPoint presentation and Hudson and Murphy, of course, will meet with all their fans.For more information on the Harcourt Veterinary Clinic see . And this link it will take you to information on a K9 Lymphoma Clinical Trial they are doing http://www.vschv.%20com/newsletters/%20lymphoma.%20php

Sunday 4/5: Meet & Greet at 2:00 PM at Wolf Run Bark Park on Yauger Road, just east of Upper Gilchrist Road in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. We will meet up at the enclosed dog run by the parking lot and then go for a walk on the park trails through the woods with members of the community and their dogs. There are many deer and other critters, including some nesting bald eagles in the park along with lots of beautiful trails, ponds and a scenic outlook with a 12-mile view. (Everyone must stay on the trails and all dogs must remain on-leash whenever outside of the enclosed dog run area.) It should be a great time for everyone!

Friday, March 27, 2009 Needs Your Help!

For those who may not know, Tripawds is the three-legged dog blog Jim Nelson and René Agredano started when their dog Jerry was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in late 2006. Once they launched the Tripawd Discussion forums in early 2008, it quickly grew into a leading resource for those faced with difficult decisions about canine cancer treatment and amputation for dogs.

For the past couple years Jim and René alone have maintained this growing website and covered all costs to keep it going, even after saying goodbye to Jerry last October. Traffic to, however, has now increased beyond the capabilities of their current shared hosting plan, and website performance has been affected.

With a mission to maintain Jerry's legacy and determined to keep Tripawds up and running at peak performance, Jim and René are moving the website to a new dedicated server. But this is a costly upgrade and they can't do it alone. They have therefore just announced the first Tripawds fundraising campaign ever, to cover the cost of migration and the first year of managed hosting.

Please consider showing your support for canine cancer survivors and other three legged dogs by helping with a small contribution. Gifts sent through the ChipIn! button are safe and secure. This blog post at tripawds includes complete details. Thank you for your consideration.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We walk with Hudson, Murphy and Luke

Following is the list of names we have for Memorial Shirt 4. If you have a companion listed on the shirt, please check to make sure his or her name is spelled correctly.

If you find an error or if you would like a last name initial added, please email Ginger at ASAP. Thank you.

It is sad indeed to see so many new names added to the Memorial Shirt. With each new name our conviction grows to find the cause of this terrible disease.

It is an honor to have your loved ones walk with us.

Augie A
Barkley B
Barkley V
Bentley M
Bentley P
Billy Budd
Bismarck P
Bonnie B
Boomer L
Boomer U
Carlos S
Casey C
Cassie W
Chance M
Chase M
Chase R
Copper M
Daisy K
Daisy L
Dusty Topper
Echo Dawg
Fridge Kitty
Gymmie S
Griffin K
Hero Hobbs
Humphrey M Kitty
Jack S
Jackie O
Jake N
Jonah Bear
Kailey R
Katie T
Lily L
Little Boy
Lucy M
MariBeth P
Maggie E.
Maggie G
Maggie L
Mary Kate
Max B
Max R
Mayor Junior
Mini Girl
Momma Dog
Nestle K
Parker M
Princess Daisy
Pup Pup
Rudi B
Rudy Green
Samantha B
Seamus W
Shadow L
Sir Galahad
Sloan H
Teddy Bear
Wesley M
Whitney L
Winston C
Winston L
Zachary M
Zeus T

The back of the shirt reads:

Puppy Up!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Meet Us At The Pet Expo

Coming up March 27 through 29 there will be the Everything Pets Expo at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. From their web page they tell us: “The expo offers everything under one roof for your pet: from manufacturers, retailers, groomers, veterinarians, hobbyist groups, humane rescue organizations, boutiques to bakeries, behavior specialist to training, pet food to boarding and day care, aquariums to cages, bedding and so much more. Exhibits include educational live animal demonstrations, a children's area, entertainment stages and a pet adoption center.” Please note that the organizers request that “Due to the indoor location and large number of visiting and adoptable animals we ask that attendees not bring their pets to the expo.”

2 Dogs 2000 Miles will have a booth there with lots of goodies to sell and information about the walk and the cause. Luke, Hudson, and Murphy are planning to attend on Saturday afternoon, and will be there to visit with folks, tell them about 2Dogs and its mission, and tell stories of the journey thus far.

For those of you in the Cincinnati area who didn’t have the opportunity to meet Luke, please come out to the Everything Pets Expo, make a day of it, and stop by our booth, meet Luke and Ginger (who will be driving all the way from Memphis to run the booth – thanks, Ginger!!), and get a 2 Dogs Puppy Up! T-shirt or some of the other cool 2 Dogs goodies we’ll have there.

Look for our booth, number 129, next to where the Flyball games will be played.

Please check the Everything Dog Expo website for the entrance fee, location and hours.

1st Year Anniversary Event a Success

The Year-on-the-Road Anniversary Celebration, Monday, March 16, 2009 6:00 at the Fairborn Community Park East in Fairborn, Ohio was a success thanks in great part to Karen Bocko and her daughter Tracy Spitler, who worked hard for weeks to get everything ready for The Boys. Friends from Columbus, Cincinnati, the Dayton area, Florence, Kentucky, and Tennessee were in attendance.

To start off the occasion there was a meet and greet and delicious cake was enjoyed by all. There were also paw print chocolate suckers for people, and cupcakes (would those be pupcakes?) for the dogs. Luke and The Boys were especially taken by Gringo, a Blue Heeler, who was in a baby carriage. Poor guy had recently had surgery on one of his legs and was recovering from that. He also had only one eye. He was with his people and their two other Blue Heelers. Best wishes to Gringo for a speedy recovery from his surgery.

After everyone enjoyed the treats and had a chance to visit, there was a ceremonial walk. As it was nearing twilight, the small but enthusiastic crowd was quite a sight, making their way from the pavilion to the amphitheater, purple glow-necklaces lighting their way through the lengthening shadows. When they reached the amphitheater, everyone got comfortable and Luke gave a brief presentation followed by the reading of all the names from the Memorial Shirt – all the Angels who walk with The Boys – ending with a moment of silence. Among those in attendance were friends Jamie and John Rose who lost their beloved dog Chase recently to lymphoma. Our sincere condolences go out to them.

The evening’s event ended with a number of the participants enjoying dinner together at a local restaurant. Again, our grateful thanks go out to Karen and Tracy who were terrific at making the event happen and all the people and pups who came from near and far to be a part of the festivities.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Join Us for A-Year-on-the-Road Anniversary Celebration!

When: Monday, March 16, 2009 6:00 PM (actual event starts at 6:30 but please arrive early)

Where: Fairborn Community Park East, 461 E. Dayton Yellow Springs Road, in Fairborn, Ohio 45324

Luke, Hudson, and Murphy will be at the Fairborn Community Park East in Fairborn, Ohio to celebrate the anniversary of their first year on the road. One year ago March 16th, The Boys set off on their remarkable journey to spread awareness about the critical nature of companion animal cancer. Since then they have walked over 1000 miles and touched the lives of thousands of people, both in the States and abroad.

The event will start Monday evening, March 16th, at 6:30 PM at the Fairborn Community Park East in Fairborn, Ohio, which is near Dayton. For a map of park's location, which also includes the current local weather, please follow this link: .

We will gather at one of the shelters at the park where there will be delicious cake for people and dogs to enjoy. Glow necklaces will make the twilight walk to the amphitheater more festive. We'll walk to the amphitheater for Luke's presentation. There Luke, Hudson, and Murphy will meet with other celebrators where Luke will give a short presentation on the mission of 2Dogs2000Miles. After that there will be a video and Luke will read the list of names of those companions who walk with them -- the Angles who are on the Memorial Shirt he wears as he walks.

Following the presentation Luke is hoping everyone will go out to eat and have a chance to mingle and celebrate together.

For more information, please call Ginger at 901-619-2286.

Of course, leashed and crowd-friendly canines are welcome!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking With Angels Part 3

Hi. Shadow here.

I watched Channel Five news last Friday night. They showed my friends Hudson and Murphy walking across the Purple People Bridge in Cincinnati. It looked like there were forty or fifty people, many with dogs, walking with them. Of course Luke was with them too.

I wish I could have been with them, but after taking them to Rabbit Hash to meet Mayor Lucy Lou (a red and white Border Collie) on Wednesday, I thought it was time for others to “walk with the angels.”

Our trip to Rabbit Hash was fun. Both Hudson and Murphy seemed excited to meet Lucy Lou. When we got to Rabbit Hash, Mike and I got out of the car and were immediately greeted by the Mayor. She seemed glad to see us, but seemed to know that Hudson and Murphy were the honored guests.

Lucy Lou looked at me, wagged her tail a couple of times, growled (I think because I was in her way) and headed for Luke and Hudson. I was a little disappointed that she didn’t want to talk to me, but I understood.

When Hudson and Murphy got out, Lucy Lou went to them, checked them out, and took off. She had other Mayor duties to do. Apparently one of her duties is to pick up sticks in the picnic area next to the General Store.

I thought she wanted to play “fetch” so I told Mike to throw a stick for her.

He did.

Lucy Lou caught the stick in mid-air – and took it to the other side of the picnic area and dropped it. She then brought Mike another stick, dropped it, and took off to find more sticks. I still don’t understand that move.

Meanwhile, Mike decided he wanted to take pictures of Murphy, Hudson, Lucy Lou, and me. It was a good idea - I guess – but Lucy Lou didn’t think so. She told her people person Dave that she had too much to do to be wasting time taking pictures. Besides, she said she was having a “bad hair day” – whatever that is.

Anyway, Dave had to hold her while Luke and Murphy checked her out. I just sat there like I was asked. I must have been too far away though since all the pictures left me out.

I did get Mike to take a few pictures of me with Hudson and Murphy (and Luke). They turned out real good.

We got to Rabbit Hash about an hour before the General Store was scheduled to open. Luke wanted to see the store so I had plenty of time to talk with Hudson.

He told me more about his adventure. He said most of the time the walk is fun and that most people and dogs they see are very friendly. But not all.

He said that two weeks ago they were almost attacked by a dog pack. The pack circled them and made threatening growls. Luke and Murphy explained what they were doing and the dogs backed off, but Hudson says it was scary for a few minutes.

Almost as scary were the nights that they slept outside and had a bunch of snakes try to get in their sleeping blankets with them. Hudson doesn’t like snakes.

He doesn’t like spiders either. He told me one of the places they slept had so many spiders that he thought they were having a convention. Still, Hudson says it is fun.

While they sleep outside much of the time, more and more they have been offered a place to sleep indoors. A lot of times these people who as Murphy says “take in strays – us” will pick Luke and the guys up and take them home for a nice meal and a warm, inside, bed.

Then, the next morning their new people friends will take them back to the exact place they stopped walking the day before. In fact, a lot of times, the same people person will give them shelter and drive them back and forth several days in a row.

Luke calls these new friends “Trail Magic Friends.”

Hudson just says “wow” - or “bow wow” in dog-speak. He told me the people in Southern Indiana were great. They were able to stay almost a week worth of nights with Mike and Jan near Madison. Jan had seen them sleeping along the side of the road one really cold and nasty morning. When she found out what they were doing she invited them to stay with Mike (not my Mike) and her the next night – and the next – and the next.

As their journey took them to Vevay and beyond a new “Trail Magic Friend” (Marsha) took over. Each day, for several days, Marsha picked them up, took them home for a good meal and a warm place to sleep, and then took them back to resume their journey.

I met Marsha the day we went to Rabbit Hash. She was really nice.

Anyway – back to Hudson. He told me that while he really enjoys the people he meets along the way, the real “Trail Magic Friend” is Luke. He told me Luke has had several opportunities to sleep inside on a warm bed but has stayed outside and slept in the cold with Murphy and him.
Luke says they are a team. They all stay together. They all sleep together. If there is no room in the house for the dogs, there is no room in the house for Luke.

Hudson says it is this bond that he hopes will show people what can be done if you stick together. He said the while he, Murphy, and Luke are getting most of the publicity; he hopes everyone remembers the purpose is to make everyone aware of canine and feline cancer.

And – he wanted me to remind everyone that while he “walks with the angels,” in a very special way – we all have angels we can walk with – or for. -- Shadow

Thanks to Shadow and his person Mike Cooney. Mike writes the column "A Stones Throw" for the Switzerland County (Indiana) Newspapers. Mike has been writing a weekly column for the past four years. He lets Shadow write it for him once or twice every two months or so.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Visit to the Animal Friends Humane Society

On Wednesday, March 11, 2009, Luke and the Boys will be guests of the Animal Friends Humane Society located at 5225 Trenton Road, Trenton, Ohio 45067 (513) 867-5727.

From Animal Friends Humane Society's press release:

"Luke will be joining Animal Friends Humane Society as he passes through Ohio on his way from Austin, TX to Boston, MA. 'We are honored to be a part of Luke, Hudson and Murphy's journey and look forward to spending a memorable day with this special trio,' says Meg Stephenson, Executive Director for Animal Friends Humane Society. Luke will begin, without the assistance of Hudson and Murphy, by helping the morning dog walkers walk every adoptable dog at Animal Friends Humane Society. A break to visit the new shelter site is in order before spending the rest of the afternoon assisting with the day to day tasks at the shelter. A meet and greet will be held that evening from 5 PM - 7 PM at the Animal Care Center in Fairfield. Luke, Hudson and Murphy will be present to share their story and receive words of encouragement as they continue their incredible journey."

The Animal Friends Humane Society is the largest, oldest non-profit animal shelter in Butler County, Ohio. On a typical day they house 200-300 animals. Local support helps the 7,000 animals they serve a year.

One of the ways they help raise money for the shelter is through recycling. Drop your newspaper, pop cans, and inkjet cartridges at the shelter. Help the environment and the animals!

For more information on Luke's visit and the valuable services AFHS provides, please visit their web site. We hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Bridge Is Awesome!

The Purple People Bridge Crossing on Saturday, March 7th, from Kentucky into Ohio was a resounding success. Luke and The Boys were accompanied by members of The Buckeye Bernese Mountain Dog Club and their beautiful dogs; Meg Stephenson, Executive Director of the Animal Friends Humane Society and her yellow lab, Monkey; Tim and George from KISS 107 FM and their friend Allie; Stephanie and Ray from Red Dog Resort and Spa; Marsha, one of The Boys' hosts from VeVay; and Carla from Rudy Greens, who came up from Louisville to be part of the event. Radio, newspaper, and camera crews and a host of other friends and their dogs also joined Hudson, Murphy, and Luke, who estimated there were between 30 to 40 people all told.

The Boys had arrived early, having made excellent time covering four and a half miles in about an hour and a half. Luke said the road to the bridge was all down hill and they had a good wind at their backs, so they made quick work of getting to the bridge ahead of schedule. As good fortune would have it, there was a restaurant on the Kentucky side of the bridge, and the trio stopped to rest on a bench nearby to wait for the others to arrive. One of the servers, Tim, came out to see what they were all about. Tim turned out to be a dog lover and he and Luke had a chance to talk a bit before he had to go back inside. But not before he said he’d like to make sure Hudson and Murphy had a special treat from the restaurant before they crossed the Purple People Bridge. About 10 minutes later the restaurant manager, Shannon, came out to talk with them (seems the whole staff of Brio’s Italian Restaurant are dog lovers) and before Luke knew it, there were two heaping plates of food for Hudson and Murphy – grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies! Murphy hoovered his portion in seconds, and the photo of his Cheshire grin, taken right after he ate, says it all: "I fooled Papa! I got chicken!" Hudson also enjoyed the delicious food, but, as he is much more the refined gentleman, he didn't suck down his food in one gulp like his big brother. While The Boys enjoyed their meals, Shannon spoke with Luke and invited him to come back after the walk and have lunch.

About ten minutes to noon the crowd started to arrive. Luke suddenly found himself with cameras and microphones in his face. When one of the press asked him about the walk, Luke told the story of the man he'd met in Arkansas who was in total disbelief than anyone would walk half-way across the country for a dog. "Son," the man assured Luke, "dawgs is dawgs. You don't mean to tell me you're walking across the country for a dawg?" "You're damned right I am!" Luke said.

After speaking with the press and visiting with some of the folks and dogs who had gathered to walk with them, it was time to cross the Purple People Bridge.

So off they went -- Hudson and Murphy in the lead, Luke holding tight to their leashes, dogs and people, radio personalities and camera crews flanking them. It was quite a sight. When I asked Luke about the whole bridge experience, he said, "It was awesome!"

While the day was a bit cloudy, the temperature was comfortably in the 60s. And though there was a strong breeze, the structure is wide and there was plenty of room for everyone, so all arrived in Ohio safe and sound. No unexpected detours to Kansas.

After everyone had crossed the bridge and visited a while, taking pictures and enjoying the day and the company, they made their way back again across the bridge to Kentucky. About 20 people and their dogs stayed with Luke and The Boys to enjoy lunch at Brio's, who graciously supplied appetizers all around for free! Everyone enjoyed the extra time to relish the good food, talk with one another, love on all the dogs, and exchange stories. "A good time was had by all."

On his backpack, along with everything else he totes, Luke always carries the American flag and the flag of the state he's walking through. This time he had two state flags -- Kentucky and Indiana -- as the roads The Boys have been traveling have brought them back and forth between the two states. As he left Kentucky and crossed into Ohio, Luke carefully retired his Kentucky and Indiana flags and rolled out his flag of Ohio. This will be the 6th state flag Luke has carried with him, and it will be part of his gear until he reaches Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A View From The Bridge -- Almost

Friday, March 6th, 2009. As Luke, Hudson , and Murphy round the corner and head towards the Purple People Bridge, we can see it peeking at us from way off in the distance. This photo was sent using Twitter. Luke sent more but they got lost in the Ether of the Internet. We'll have to wait until later to hear "the rest of the story."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Walking With Angels -- Part 2

Hi. Shadow here.

Last week when I told you about the journey Murphy and Hudson were making with their people person Luke, I thought I was just telling you about a “feel good” story and about two incredible dogs (and one people) that I had the opportunity to meet.

Obviously, there was much more.

The ink wasn’t dry on the paper before I started hearing canine cancer stories.

The first came from one of Mike’s friends (I didn’t know he had a friend besides me – but I know I am still his favorite.) from the Philadelphia area – wherever that is – who wrote me and told me about his people friend, “Dave.”

According to Ernie (Mike’s friend), Dave is a Viet Nam veteran who was wounded three times. Several years ago when Dave was going through a “rough patch,” Ernie gave him a dog to be his friend. The dog was named “Bro.”

Bro quickly became Dave’s best friend – even better than Ernie.

Then Bro died. He died of canine cancer.

Dave has not recovered from his loss. Then after he read my column from last week, he told me he has regained his purpose. He immediately contacted He found that for a donation of $25.00 Bro’s name would be added to the next version of the “angels” shirt that Luke wears.

Soon, Bro will be one of the “angels” walking with Murphy and Hudson.

I don’t know Dave. I didn’t know Bro. But I do know Murphy and Hudson deserve to have another “angel” walking with them.

The story of Bro was just the beginning.

Mike told me about Tasha, his friend Jeff’s Samoyed dog that had been rescued. Tasha died of canine cancer. She was seven.

Then I got a call from “Mr.” Mr. is a cat. He lives in Canada with Janet and Rudi, two friends of mine. (Okay – they are really friends of Mike and Jade, but they play fetch with me when they visit here. That makes them my friends too – right?)

Mr. told me he lost two of his best friends to cancer. Feline cancer.

He told me he still misses “Raffty” and “Mokey.” He said he applauds Murphy and Hudson. He would like to join them, but then, cats don’t do very well on leash.

Still, he was happy when I told him that Luke and the guys were walking for awareness of both canine and feline cancer. Mr. said he wants to be Murphy and Hudson’s first Canadian fan.

Yesterday I received a card from Casey Turner. Casey is a Golden Retriever I have met on several occasions. When I saw that the card was from Casey, I thought he was going to comment on last week’s column.

I was right. And I was wrong.

Casey has cancer. He is only six years old and he has canine cancer.

So far, he is a survivor. Casey tells me he has been through two rounds of chemotherapy treatments. He told me he gets injections, pills, and IV’s.

I thought ivy was a weed that made you itch when you touched it. Casey tells me it is a needle the veterinarian sticks in him with a bunch of fluid that runs through the needle. He says the shots hurt, but so far he is starting to feel better. He knows he has to go through at least two more treatments.

He says he will survive. He is not ready to leave his people. He doesn’t think Rhonda or Kathryn or Billy Don can get along without him. He knows he can’t get along without them.

Casey wanted me to thank Murphy and Hudson for all they are doing for all feline and cancer victims – both those who continue to survive and fight and those who have lost that fight.

I told him I would. Then I started thinking about Mayor Jr. You remember when I wrote about him and his responsibilities as Mayor of Rabbit Hash. Mayor Jr. died of canine cancer last summer.

When I told Murphy and Hudson about Bro and Tasha, and Raffty and Mokey, and gave them Casey’s thanks, I also told them about Mayor Jr. and about Rabbit Hash. Murphy told me they would really like to meet Mayor Lucy Lou and meet with those who knew and loved Mayor Jr. I told them I would meet them tomorrow. At least I think it is tomorrow. I am writing this on Tuesday. I plan to meet them on Wednesday. You are reading this on Thursday. Does that mean I am meeting them tomorrow, or I met them yesterday? Sometimes writing for Mike gets confusing.

Anyway, I told them I would meet them, and since Rabbit Hash is not on their regular route they could ride to Rabbit Hash and back to their “walking location.” I told them they could even bring Luke with them if they wanted.

Now I have to talk to Mike and Jade and see if one of them will drive me and pick up Murphy and Luke and take us to Rabbit Hash.

Mike hasn’t taught me to drive yet. Maybe that comes next. - - Shadow

Pictured above are Murphy, Shadow, and Hudson with Luke at Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. Mike drove -- this time. Thanks to Mike and his wife Jade for getting The Boys to and from Rabbit Hash for their meeting with Her Honor, Mayor Lucy Lou.

Thanks to Shadow and Mike Cooney for granting us permission to reprint Shadow's interviews with Hudson and Murphy. Mike's "A Stones Throw" weekly column appears in the Switzerland County (Indiana) Newspapers.

Walking With Angels -- Part 1

On their travels, Hudson and Murphy are always meeting interesting dogs and their people. Recently they met Shadow, a German Shepherd journalist, and his Dad, Mike Cooney (also a journalist). Following is Part 1 of Shadow's 2 part interview with Hudson and Murphy.

Hi. Shadow here.

Last night I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Murphy and Hudson, two Great Pyrenees dogs, who along with their people person Luke are “walking with angels” in an effort to increase the awareness that cancer is not just a human disease, but also a canine disease.
Actually, it is not just a walk – it as a journey. A 2000 mile journey.

When I heard this, I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to talk to Murphy and Hudson to find out more. And I did.

Murphy explained the idea of the journey started when his brother and best friend Malcolm, another Great Pyrenees, was diagnosed with bone cancer. Amputations and chemotherapy helped, but not for long. Malcolm died two years after he was first diagnosed.

Murphy told me: “When we lost Malcolm, I didn’t understand. I thought cancer was a people problem. I wanted to do something for Malcolm. I wanted to do something for all the other dogs that have had or will have cancer. But what could I do? I decided I could walk. I knew a short walk around the block wouldn’t get anyone’s attention so I decided on a long walk. When I approached Luke with the idea he thought it was good. In fact he thought 2000 miles sounded about right.”

I asked Hudson what he thought about the idea. Hudson told me: “I thought they were crazy. Here I am a year old and this six year old dog and his people person want to walk 2000 miles. Not me. It was a nice thought, but I hardly knew Malcolm.”

“But then,” Hudson went on, “I started thinking. Maybe I should go along – not for Malcolm but for Luke and Murphy. After all, they had recently rescued me from an Animal Shelter. So, on March 16, 2008 we started our journey from Belton, Texas on our way to Boston, Massachusetts. (Belton is close to Austin. Luke likes to call our journey ‘Austin to Boston.’)

“It didn’t take long for me to second guess my decision to go. I was a puppy. I wanted to play. I didn’t want to be confined with a leash the rest of my life. And surely it would take the rest of my life to walk 2000 miles.

“And then disaster – or at least near disaster – hit. Murphy got sick. Or hurt. We couldn’t tell. Our walk was interrupted for several weeks while Murphy was treated by a Veterinarian. Luke feared Murphy had cancer. The vet thought it was a possibility. He didn’t. What he had was a stress fracture that happened during our journey. Still, it was hard to sleep each night not knowing if I was going to lose Murphy to cancer the same way he lost Malcolm.

“The second greatest day of my life (the greatest day was when Luke and Murphy took me home from the shelter and into their family,) was the day Murphy was declared cancer free. Now I understand the trauma a cancer family goes through each and every day.”

Murphy told me this was "good news and bad news. The good news is that Hudson now understands why Luke and Murphy need to take this journey. The bad news is that Hudson is now the first one up in the morning. The first one ready to resume the walk. And the last one ready to quit. Hudson has a lot of energy. He forgets I am 7 ½ and he is only 2 ½.

Hudson was quick to point out that he understands the age difference. Still, he is proud of their accomplishments so far – they have walked over 1000 miles – and proud of their mission to increase awareness of canine cancer.

And, as Hudson says, he tries to make sure Murphy does not over-do it. As he explained to me, “We start the day checking our backpacks for supplies. We use Luke as our “pack mule.” He has to carry about 100 pounds in his backpack and his hip pack. (He doesn’t like the word ‘fanny pack’ but it is the same thing.)

"Anyway, he carries the heavy stuff like our 7X7 foot tent (I wonder if that makes it a pup tent?), water, a sleeping bag for him, a fleece blanket for Murphy and me, water, clothes, repair kits and spare leashes, food, water, and miscellaneous stuff we might need. Did I tell you he carries water for us?

“He does!

“He carries about three gallons of water.

“But we help. You would expect Murphy and I could carry about 10 pounds of ‘stuff,’ but I carry some of Murphy’s ‘stuff.’ I have to make sure he doesn’t over-do it. Still, he carries our sweaters, some clothes, and our booties. (Don’t laugh – we wear booties for safety reasons.)

“Luke says Murphy carries around 6 pounds of ‘stuff.’ I carry about 12 pounds. I carry our water bowls, treats, waste bags, and more water.”

Hudson looked at Murphy and said, “Even with Murphy carrying the lighter load, I make sure we stop every hour or so to take a 15 minute break. We drink water on one break and get treats on the next. And we lie down and rest.”

Murphy just looked at Hudson, then at me and said: “Hudson, Luke, and I are family. We couldn’t do this without each other. And we couldn’t do it without ‘walking with angels.’ In fact, Luke wears a tee-shirt with the names of dogs that have died of canine cancer. These dogs and all the others who have suffered from canine cancer are the angels we walk with. The angels who make us safe.”

I think Murphy, Hudson, and Luke are angels. There is so much more to tell about their journey. They were in Vevay yesterday, and will be heading to Cincinnati on their way to Boston. I hope to tell you more next week.

Shadow's article comes from Mike's "A Stones Throw" column that he writes for the Switzerland County (Indiana) Newspapers. Mike has been writing a weekly column for the past four years. Shadow adds, "Mike lets me write it for him once or twice every two months or so."

Pictured here are two of Shadow's favorite pastimes --when he isn't filling in for Mike.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Meeting Mayor Lucy Lou

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, March 4th will see a meeting of the noses. Hudson, Murphy and The Big Dog will be meeting the Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, Her Honor Lucy Lou. Meeting a mayor is certainly quite a distinction in itself. But this mayor is different, as she has four legs and a tail and just happens to be a Border Collie.

From Lucy Lou’s DoggySpace Page, she writes: “Hi. My name is Lucy Lou. I'm a 2 year old red and white Border Collie, and I have the distinct honor of having been recently elected as Mayor of the historic town of Rabbit Hash, KY. As Mayor, my duties include promotion and fundraising for the preservation of our town, meeting visitors, TV, radio and newspaper interviews, and I act as the spokespet for the Northern KY Women's Center's Pet Protection Program. If you'd like to know more about a town that would elect a dog as it's Mayor, you can read about it at .”

Lucy Lou is not the first K9 Mayor of Rabbit Hash. Before her was Mayor Goofy succeeded by Mayor Junior, a black lab, who sadly passed away from cancer. So Luke wants to go to Rabbit Hash not only to meet Miss Lucy Lou but to also hear about Mayors Goofy and Junior and pay his respects. Of course, the reason Hudson and Murphy want to visit Rabbit Hash is a little more obvious -- as you can see from the pictures of Lucy Lou, she’s a knockout! Now, mind your manners, Boys!

But Lucy Lou wasn’t necessarily a paw-in for the position. The competition was pretty hairy. According to Luke, who studied up on the Mayor for their meeting tomorrow, Lucy Lou was in fierce competition against 9 other dogs, a cat (wouldn’t you just know it), and a donkey. (No surprise there – she must have felt like she was running for Congress.) There’s a great video by Bill Geist on YouTube who reported on the historic mayoral election.

Interesting too, Luke tells us, is you don’t even have to be a citizen of Rabbit Hash to vote. When voting time rolls around, you can vote in person or on-line and you buy votes – as many as you want. (I’m not even touching this!) Each dollar goes to the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, which is a good thing.

So, tomorrow The Boys will be in historic Rabbit Hash, located in Northern Kentucky, only a short distance from the Cincinnati Airport and Interstate 75, to spend some time with Mayor Lucy Lou, learn a little about being a mayor, and visit with the folks of Rabbit Hash.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Boys Return to the Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa

Sunday March 8th from 1 to 3 PM Luke and The Boys will return to the Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa for a Meet and Greet.

Luke, Hudson, and Murphy were recently guests at the Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was hosting a photo shoot to help the Cincinnati Bell Yellow pages and their search for 2009’s Cover Dog. Luke couldn’t say enough about this fantastic resort for dogs and cats, but here are a few of the highlights he mentioned:

3-acre members-only dog park – completely fenced with 24 hour access
24/7 on site professional staffing – always someone on the premises
A wide array of boarding options, including luxury theme suites with webcams
Daycare with dedicated indoor and outdoor play spaces
Indoor aquatic center
Grooming & spa services
Geriatric and special needs canine lodging
Massage and Healing Touch for Animals®
Retail Pet Boutique
Training and Behavior Modification

Luke spoke about the sound system throughout the facility, agility and play areas, a general use area divided for the smaller dogs and the larger dogs, special flat-screen aquarium scenes for the cats, even nap rooms! Luke mentioned the special needs section where he met a Corgi who had lost the use of his hind legs but was getting around just fine in his wheel cart. The Red Dog Pet Resort and Spa is definitely a state of the art facility. See their webpage for complete details and a list of their terrific facilities.

Red Dog Resort and Spa is located at 5081 Madison Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45227. Their phone number is (513) - RED - DOGS.

Luke and The Boys hope to see you this coming Sunday!

Luke & The Boys at Cincinnati Canine Companion Center

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009, at 7:00 PM, Luke, Hudson, and Murphy will be at the Cincinnati Canine Companion Center to give a presentation and tour the facilities.

They will be the guests of owners Vince Alvarez and Mary Jo Gentile, who are professional dog trainers and have had over 30 years of personal experience of handling, owning and competing our dogs. We offer a diverse range of dog training classes for the entire family. We provide 10 levels in Obedience, 3 levels in Agility, Confirmation, Flyball, Frisbee, Rally and Tracking. Come and join us in a day of training with your dog.

The Cincinnati Canine Companion Center is located in Loveland, Ohio at 529 Loveland-Madeira Road. For more information call: 513-489-6239 or write Ginger at "Your 'friendly' dogs are welcome to attend."