Sunday, May 31, 2009

Murphy Sammich

Murphy turned 8 this past Sunday, May 31st and I had this idea of making something really special for my little snowflake.

We've been through a lot together - he was rescued from an abusive home and came into my and Malcolm's lives as a wee lad. And with a whole host of behavioral problems, too! He used to run around my townhome peeing in a continuous stream like writing in cursive and he hated my wallpaper, preferring rather the rustic look of shredded sheetrock.

Malcolm helped him through these issues and years later, Murphy became the loyal brother to Malcolm as he went through cancer, amputation, and chemotherapy. Murphy's strength helped me deal with his loss..

This is his second birthday we've celebrated on the road and I wanted it to be Murphy's very best and that means one thing - Food! His favorite being, of course, The Honest Kitchen and that became the inspiration behind the Murphy Sammich...

Step (1) Purchase two pizza pie crusts in a package like Boboli. I used Kroger brand - it's thinner and didn't have seasonings.

Step (2) In a bowl, take 2 cups of the Honest Kitchen's Embark (that's what Murphy loves but you can substitute it for Force, Verve, etc.), add 3-4 cups of water, then stir thoroughly. You want it a tad watery since it'll be baked. Spread on the bottom pizza crust.

Steps (3): Add cheese - I think I used 10 slices of American cheese.

Step (4): Cook 8 strips of bacon in a microwave and after they've cooled, tear them up into pieces, placing them on top of the cheese.

Step (5): Place the second pizza crust on top making the 'sammich' and put it into a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Step (6): Let it cool then decorate with Cheese Whiz. Like a dunderhead, I tried to cut it with a pizza cutter first and the result was pretty much as you'd expect. Not much to look at but boy, was it a hit at the birthday party! Then again, I'm a walker not a baker! Enjoy...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walking Plan

My team has finalized the dates and destinations for the remainder of the walk (Read - they've given me my marching orders) Love you guys!

Some of these, like DC are hard dates, the others 'ish'ish. We're planning a march across the Potomac to Capitol Hill on September 18th to talk to legislators about committing more funding to comparative oncological studies. Some of that trillion dollars should go to canine cancer, don't you think?

Since we've made some changes to our route and it's a tad different from our map - I'll try & update that soon. If your city isn't on our route, the cool thing about walking through New England is everything is two hoots & a holler away. Contact for event information.

Pittsburgh PA -June 30th
Leesburg VA -September firstish
Washington DC -September 18
Baltimore MD -End of September
Harrisburg PA -Mid October
Allentown PA -Early November
Philedelphia PA -Thanksgiving
New York City NY -Christmas Week
Hartford CT -February
Providence RI -April
Boston MA -Mid May

Since we'll be on the road for another year, we've got to take some time off for maintenance. My Osprey pack needs some repairs & that'll take a couple of weeks. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, Hudson is getting snipped.

All of us have been waiting for the opportunity to present itself and it has now. I know I've explained why Hudson's still intact ad nauseum and I apologize for the repeat but as I volunteer at animal shelters, the reason is important. When Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer I regretted having him neutered. I had this romantic notion that after we crossed the country, I'd sire Hudson out and continue his line and legacy. But after spending so many hours in shelters and meeting so many awesome dogs that need good homes, I'm a changed man. Kinda like Hudson next week!

While all of that takes place, I'm going back to Texas to see my mother who has Alzheimers. I try to call her every Sunday and when we talk she always asks when I'll be home. "Next week, Mom" is how I answer and I'm happy that'll be true this time. I'll also get to meet my new niece, Sarah Elizabeth, who was born last November.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thank God for Rudy Greens!

Back in Somerset Ohio Murphy took ill. He must've gotten into something he shouldn't have which is not surprising since he's a stomach on four legs. He awoke me at 5am trying to get out of our tent to vomit.

Several days later he still was a little gacky and I made the decision to put him on a strict diet to clean out his system. Thank God one of our supporters is Karla Haas, CEO of Rudy Greens! She delivered a case of her awesome frozen meals for Murphy and in no time, he was back in full form and ready to return to the road..

I've had the great benefit of meeting and talking with many thought leaders in the animal community and veterinarian oncologists, too and without exception all believe that nutrition plays a key role in canine cancer. An all natural diet will be increasingly essential for keeping your dogs cancer free and Rudy Greens food fits the bill.

Thanks for caring for Murphy, Karla, and treating him as he was your own!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stories from Ohio

Chasing Spring

We've been walking on Highway 22 on a North-North-East heading over the past two months, witnessing spring unfold around us; first the forsythias then the azaleas all abloom, and the pink and white dogwoods and weeping cherry trees.

The fields of winter wheat amidst which we've sometimes slept are almost ready for harvesting and the barren buckeye tree for which this great state is known has finally blossomed... I've never experienced anything quite like it and indeed it's like we've been caught in time, chasing spring...

Photos: Top Right taken at our hosts, Signe & Greg's place in Circleville. Left and Right photos taken outside of Lancaster OH.

We found this Alpaca farm near New Holland. Never seen an alpaca before but we camped out at a Llama farm outside of San Gabriel, Texas and boy were they mean. They put the owner in ICU for a couple of weeks with a kick. These alpacas, however, seemed like sweethearts and as always, Hudson wanted to make some new friends.

"God Hates Mobile Homes"

Signe has another place she's let us stay at in Reynoldsburg and when the fuzzybutts and I were there alone one Friday night, a wicked storm clamped down on us. I turned on the Weather Channel and it indicated that funnel clouds had been spotted in Whitehall OH. Having no idea where that is, I got on Google maps and discovered it was just west of us. Then the red, flashing subscripted alert for Reynoldsburg came across the screen, "If you're in a mobile home evacuate now." No doubt about it I was worried but dragging the boys out in torrential rain and flash flooding didn't seem that smart to me either. And then I remembered something Jeff Foxworthy once said, "When are you people going to learn, God hates mobile homes!" I laughed and got the boys on the couch with me. Thirty minutes later, the worst had blown through and as we have been so many times before; spared.

Masterson Vet Clinic

The inclement Spring weather didn't spare us entirely though as Murphy took ill last week with vomiting and general malaise. He's never been that sick before and it was a real mystery what was ailing him. While on the road when it happened and miles away from a vet, we were fortunate to have a team who stepped up and already had contacts and contingencies in the area.

Mary, an administrator with the Lancaster Police Department, got us to her vet, the Masterson Clinic, and we ruled out my greatest concern - bloat. Everyone there was so helpful and generous due in large part to Dr. Masterson's daughter, Danae (just center in the Photo left), whom we met earlier in the day...

Somerset Elementary School

We were invited to speak at the local elementary school while passing through Somerset Ohio. It was an amazing experience from both the turnout (a few hundred students) and their knowledge of geography (most knew where Austin and Boston are) I only knew where the snack cake vending machines were..

I love talking to kids about our journey because they ask the most clever questions. One of them asked me if I've ever lived in a house, another whether I've bathed before.

Still, despite being homeless and stinky, we received this email from a mother of one of the kids, Cecilia, about our visit to the school.

"Just wanted to let you know that my son met you at somerset elementary on may 5 he was excited with meeting you and your boys he got to ask you a question and pet the boys now when he grows up he wants to travel the world thanks so much for what you are doing."

You know, one of my favorite quotes as a young man was by T.S.Eliot, "We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Memorial Shirt 4 Is Here!

OK, I'm so excited, I could (as Hudson would say) just pee. Memorial Shirt 4 has come back from the printers and is now available. Ginger says the shirts are 100% cotton but already pre-shrunk, so keep that in mind when ordering. You can order them through Click and Pledge here.

You’ll see a picture of a guy wearing just a plain blue Tee-Shirt with no lettering. That’s the COLOR of our shirt -- stonewashed blue (the shirt has white lettering), but for a look at what the layout is on the shirt, check out the picture of Luke with The Boys.

Ginger is already filling orders. If you have any questions about Memorial Shirt 4 please email her at

Mutts & Co Meet & Greet

Luke, Hudson, and Murphy will be in Dublin, Ohio this Saturday, May 16th from 11 AM to 2 PM at Mutts and Co. for a Meet and Greet. Mutts and Co. is located at 7549 Sawmill Road, Dublin, Ohio. For more information, please give them a call at 614-792-MUTT (6888).

If you’ll recall, that’s where Luke took Hudson and Murphy to get delightful baths. Well, Hudson thought so – Murphy wasn’t real keen on the whole idea. Murphy is of the opinion that if you’re a dog you should SMELL like a dog. Luke says Hudson has a more Metrosexual attitude. He’s convinced that smelling good and being well groomed will attract the ladies. I personally think both Boys are right as neither of them seems to have trouble attracting admirers!

Here's a bit more about the great things Mutts & Co. does:

Mutts & Co. offers self-service dog grooming. They will also do bathe your dog(s) for you if you call ahead: "Washing your dog shouldn't mean cleaning the bathroom, scrubbing the tub and doing laundry. Avoid the mess and reduce the stress at Mutts & Co. - a fun and convenient place to get your dog clean for a price that can't be beat. If you want to avoid the mess altogether or run some other errands while you wait, use our professional grooming services. Call ahead for an appointment today! (614)-792-MUTT (6888)"

They also "offer a full line of ultra-premium dry, wet and raw foods, plus gourmet treats made with human grade and organic ingredients. We also offer a great variety of supplements to further encourage optimal health."

Additionally, they have some "uber-cool stuff" for your dog to play with and use -- really neat toys, grooming supplies, leashes and harnesses, and beds.

And finally they have a rescue partnership. "We believe in doing all we can for animals in need as our furry family members have given us so much. In that spirit we have partnered with local rescue organizations. Our hope is to lighten the financial burden they carry in their effort to help homeless, abandoned and abused animals. We hope that you will join us in giving back to these great organizations." Please visit their site to find out more.

So stop by on Saturday, May 16 from 2 to 4 PM, meet Luke and The Boys, and check out all the great things that Mutts & Co. offers for your best friend.

Argh! TICKS!

We're in Eastern Ohio right now about 100 miles outside of Pittsburgh suffering from one of the worse tick seasons in anyone's reckoning. Hudson & Murphy are tagged by 10-20 a day. It's so bad that they crawl on the mesh trying to get into our tent. In the south we have fire ants and I'm really starting to miss them!

Dealing with ticks has become a big part of our daily routine so I'm kind of a pro now in removing them. I just came across this great blog at Dogster and wanted to share it with you. However the absolute key in pulling ticks out alive and with the head intact is keeping the the tweezers horizontal to the plane of the skin. Essentially, you’re backing it out - not pulling up. Hope this helps!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Recipe for Migas

Sometimes I make Migas for the host families we stay with but unless you're from Texas like me, chances are you have no idea what Migas is or even how to pronounce it (Me-Gahz). It's a traditional Mexican breakfast made from leftovers so there are tons of different ways you can make Migas but here's my recipe:

Take a coupla tortillas & tear them into strips. Fry them in oil with some minced garlic until they start to look a little like George Hamilton. Add a half dozen eggs or so & a can of Rotel. I season it with cumin and cayenne pepper or if you really want some heat, throw in some jalapenos. Cumin is a must though.

About cheese. You can use cheddar but come on, Jack's the cheese of choice with Migas. Monterey is fine but Pepper Jack kicks it up a notch.

Now, when I made Mommy's Day Migas yesterday the host family didn't have tortillas BUT they had Tostitos Multigrain Chips. I added them at the tail end and I must admit they worked just fine. I think Migas actually means crumbs (like leftover tortilla scraps) - how appropriate!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

We tricked Papi!

Gas to get to Bowling Green = $75.00
Custom Tee-Shirts = $15.00
Punked Papi = Priceless

Today in Pictures – May 2nd – Bark For Life

On May 2nd, Luke, Hudson, and Murphy attended the Bark for Life fund-raising event in downtown Sunbury, Ohio. Luke said the event was great, Sunbury was great, the people were great … well, you get the picture. He was excited that all three of them got to be part of the event. Here are some pictures.

The American Cancer Society Canine Bark for Life honors the life-long contribution of our Canine Caregivers. It presents an opportunity for people to be empowered through their canine companion partnerships and to contribute to cancer cures through the mission of the American Cancer Society. Canine Caregivers are Canine Companions, Guide Dogs, Service Dogs, Rescue Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Cancer Survivor Dogs, Diagnostic Dogs, and family dogs, who, with their owners, joined the American Cancer Society as relay teams and participants to celebrate cancer survivorship, to honor people lost to cancer, to raise funds in support of cancer research, education, awareness, patient services, and advocacy, and to help eliminate the suffering that cancer causes worldwide.

Speaking of honoring service dogs, May is National Guide Dog Month. Did you know it takes over two years and $40,000.00 to train one guide dog? A potential guide dog puppy is raised with a trainer for 18-20 months, and then the dog is given to the school for formal guide dog training, which consists of actual guide dog work with a harness. This takes another 4-6 months. Then the dog is matched with a blind person, who is sent to the guide dog facility to learn how to handle the dog, and this training takes 28 days. Guide dogs are given to the blind for free.

The National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU), a division of the National Federation of the Blind, is the oldest and largest organization of the blind in the United States.

Sunbury Ohio Remembers Its Fallen Heroes

Tomato Warnings

Friday night, May 1st. The Boys were in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, chillin’ out in a mobile home owned by Signe, one of their hosts. They were hoping for a quiet evening – a chance to relax after a long time on the road. Watch a little TV (maybe, thought Hudson, catch a glimpse of his new BFF Ellen DeGeneres), do some work on the computer, have some dinner, snuggle snuggle.

So much for best laid plans.

About 5 PM a warning crawled across the bottom of the TV screen … Tornado watch for the following areas … . A few minutes later the weatherman broke in and anxiously announced there was a tornado warning and that a funnel cloud had been spotted in White Hall, just west of Reynoldsburg.

If you’re in Reynoldsburg in a mobile home, evacuate now!

The weatherman looked right at them. He was insistent. But the weatherman was miles away in a studio with thick brick walls. Luke, Hudson, and Murphy were in a trailer with nowhere to go and no way to get there. The Boys had no transportation so they couldn’t drive away.

By now, Ellen was the last thing on Hudson’s mind. He could hear the thunder rolling towards them and he was visibly shaking. He wasn’t at all sure what tomato warnings were or why anyone would need to be afraid of a funnel. But he’d seen The Wizard of Oz at least a half dozen times and knew exactly what happened to dogs when they got sucked into a storm. He wasn’t having any of it – no yellow brick road, no Munchkins, and no man behind the curtain for him. So he twittered a worried tweet to his friends: Dere Dairy, big storm. whether said tak covr watch for tomatoes. Lots of noise. I was shakin. Will nevr lok at a tomatoe again! Murphy, the smart one, wasn’t too pleased either. He knew vegetables weren’t about to rain from the sky, and that Papi would never let them get sucked into a storm, but he wasn’t convinced that a trailer was the best place to be. Being the smart one, he’d heard that God hates mobile homes, and he wasn’t about to put it to the test.

The rain was coming down in torrents and the wind was kicking up. Hudson was shaking. The trailer was shaking. Even Murphy was shaking. Luke had leashes on the Boys in case they needed to make a fast escape. But where would they go?

Where WOULD they go?

They wouldn’t go anywhere. They’d hunker down and face their Fate. They’d Puppy Up!

And that’s just what they did.

Luke held Hudson under one arm and Murphy under the other and gradually they calmed down. The funnel clouds never formed into tornadoes – or tomatoes – and eventually the trailer stopped shaking too. In 30 minutes the rains had slowed and the weatherman came back on and cheerfully downgraded the alert to a thunderstorm.

The trailer stood its ground and so had The Boys.

And this time – this time – God had looked the other way.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Prankin' Papi

There's something going on, some secret plan, some mysterious plot, some hush-hush caper unfolding between Hudson and Murphy concerning Luke. Murphy has taken the tweeter-thingie away from Hudson because he was about to spill the beans all over the Internet. Murphy is planning to prank Papi and Hudson is practically bursting at the seams to give it all away. He's been tweeting about "a stricket" (that's Hudsoneese for 'secret') and Murphy made him surrender the tweeter and "back away" before he blows the whole thing because they know their Papi reads their tweets on the QT. All I know about it (Murphy's keeping this pretty close to his chest) is that all will be revealed tomorrow afternoon on Twitter. Hudson did tell me we should follow their tweets tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon if we wanted to find out what they were up to. But that's all I could get out of him before Murphy confiscated the tweeter-thingie.

So check them out at: HudsonandMurphy!

And if Hudson does blab before tomorrow, well – just try and keep it to yourself.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today in Photos -- Columbus by Night -- May 1st

While Luke and the Boys were recently in Columbus for the Celebrity Chef event, he had a chance to snap these two photos of Columbus at night. He said the city was all aglow in pink in preperation for what they call "Pink Week."

The Susan Komen for the Cure organization has been active in Columbus, Ohio since 1993. Events are held year round to lead up to the race and to help support women, men ,and family members who are dealing with breast cancer. 2009 marks the 17th year of the Race for the Cure in Columbus, Ohio.

As you may know, the national Susan G. Komen Foundation was founded by Nancy Brinker, who started the foundation as a promise to her sister who helped others while she herself was dying of breast cancer. Nancy started the foundation in 1982. Since its start, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has raised approximately $1 billion toward education and a cure for breast cancer. Since the Columbus branch started in 1993 it has, "Raised over $13 million -- 75 percent of that money stays in its 23-county service area and is used to conduct breast cancer education, screening and treatment. The Columbus branch is one of the leading affiliates in the national organization."

What you may not know is that Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine also participates in events. They have their own "OSU College of Veterinary Medicine Team" and will be there Saturday, May 16, 2009 at 8:00am, following the scenic route with other participants and groups through downtown Columbus and finishing at the Statehouse.

Pink Week is May 11-16 and OSU activities are being planned for the week leading up to the Komen Race, including lectures on a variety of topics: genetics, oncology, and veterinary research. They are even hosting a survivor panel. For more information please see their web page.