Tuesday, June 30, 2009

2010 Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down Calendar II

Last year we published our first Cancer Can’t Keep A Good Dog Down Calendar. We received 82 submissions and because of its success, we were able to donate $1,100 to the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) in support of their Canine Cancer Campaign. MAF is one of the leaders in funding comparative oncological studies.

Going forward, we want to recognize other institutions and individuals who work tirelessly for the advancement of companion pet cancer research and this year, we've designated two that have played an important part in 2 Dogs 2000 Miles:

Tufts Veterinary School Harrington Oncology Program. Not long after Malcolm was diagnosed with osteosarcoma I spent months trying to understand canine cancer. I met two pivotal people at Tufts, Shelly Rodman and Dr. John Berg who not only provided me with the latest research articles, they gave me insight into how I could one day help.

While walking through Jacksonville Texas last year, we almost had another brush with cancer. Murphy was limping and we got a consult from Dr. Kenita Rogers an oncologist with Texas A&M Veterinary School. Thankfully it wasn't cancer but not only did the folks at TAMU take excellent care of Murphy but they shared their vision of their Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center

You can learn more about how to be a part of the 2010 Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down calendar here.

Come Walk With Us

You are invited to join Luke, Hudson, and Murphy Tuesday evening, June 30th, as they walk across the West End Bridge and head into Pittsburgh and PNC Park for Pup Night with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Luke and The Boys will be accompanied across the West End Bridge by a police escort and they hope everyone and their pups from the Pittsburgh area will join them. Folks are to meet at 6:15 PM EDT at the south side of the bridge, walk cross the bridge with The Boys, and enjoy Pup Night together.

Make sure if you plan to attend Pup Night after the walk across the bridge that your bring your dog’s proof of vaccination, as that will be checked where tickets are purchased at Federal Street ($20.00 includes one people and one pup).

It should be a great night of new friends, baseball, and more dogs than you can throw a stick for! We hope to see you there.

Should the weather look iffy, please check the Pirates’ web page to see if the game is a go or has been canceled. If the game is canceled, Luke and The Boys will not be crossing the bridge. (Murphy HATES water, remember?)

Let’s hope for great weather, lots of company, and a great game!

For some interesting info and photos of PNC Park, click here.

Batter Up … Puppy Up!

(Check out the photo Luke took of the West End Bridge -- somewhere amongst the clouds. A follower on Twitter posted the comment: The views from the Bridge are awesome. It's not that high, and not that long. Pittsburgh will embrace you! Let's just hope the weather holds!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Holland Working Dog Hospital

While on break I toured the new $15 Million Holland Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio TX.

Lackland has the largest of two training centers in the country for military and service dogs, with some 800 trainees at any given time and the hospital's charter is caring for them. Colonel Vogelsang, a vet surgeon who runs it, was kind enough to spend a couple of hours showing me around.

I've been fortunate in visiting many veterinary facilities while on the road and Holland is truly impressive. It boasts $3 Million in state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and their protocols are equally advanced. All female trainees being spayed receive prophylactic gastroplexy which essentially removes the risk of bloat.
Providing the best care for dogs seemed to be factored into every aspect in the design of the hospital and it should serve as a model for the entire animal community.

Following the tour, Colonel Vogelsang gave me a Challenge Coin from the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp. I'd never heard of these before but he said they're given in recognition of service and he wanted us to have it in honor of our mission for the betterment of dogs.
It was totally unexpected and I was so surprised I almost got teary eyed - how embarassing that'd been, me getting all weepy in front of a soldier. But it's a tremendous honor and this coin will travel with us all the way to Boston.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Okay, since Robin Williams' rant on golf was a little less than PG, I moved it to my personal blog, Midnight with Malcolm, http://midnightwithmalcolm.blogspot.com/2009/06/olgf.html

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Upcoming Events in Pittsburgh

Luke and The Boys will be back on the road soon and have three events back-to-back in the Pittsburgh area they’d like you to know about:

The Boys will arrive in the Pittsburgh area Tuesday, June 30th. They plan to walk across the West End Bridge to PNC Park (115 Federal Street) at about 6:30 PM where they will appear at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pup Night, Tuesday, June 30th. How cool is this?? And entire night of baseball AND you can take your dog. Look for Luke, Hudson, and Murphy there.

This is the 3rd Annual Pup Night with the Pirates. Before the game there are always great activities and things to do. Pup Night at PNC Park starts about 7PM local time (EDT) Tuesday, June 30th. It’s Pirates vs. Cubs. Enjoy a night of baseball and festivities with your pup on the Southwest Flight Deck! Watch the game, socialize with the other dogs and their people, visit the animal shelter booths, enter the doggie costume contest and raffles, eat ballpark food. (Yes, there is a special doggie potty area to keep your canine companion comfortable during the game. They also supply water for your friend.)

The $20 ticket includes your ticket and your dog's ticket (limit one dog per person) and a portion of the proceeds benefits Animal Friends and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. If you want to attend all six Pirates Pup Nights, the season can be purchased for $108 (one person, one dog, six games).

Proof of vaccination must be presented upon entry. All tickets must be picked up at the Pup Night table on Federal Street starting 2 hours prior to game.

Please be aware that Pirates homeruns and victories are celebrated with a small fireworks display.

They’ll then have a Meet and Greet the next day, July 1st, at Market Square from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. If you’re in or near the Pittsburgh area, please come out and meet the trio. There are some great restaurants in the area as well, so plan to make a day of it!

Additionally, Luke will be visiting with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society at the Mall at Robinson, Thursday, July 2nd, from 5:30 to 9:00 PM. You’ll find them at center court in the Mall.

A lot going on! We hope to see you there.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Toxic Twinkie Shock

"Everyone knows there are only two things that can survive a nuclear holocaust: cockroaches and Twinkies." Family Guy

Um, yeah, about that...

I started my morning the other day with a power bar, a shot of wheat grass, and a bowl of organic berries... Nah, just kidding. I'm on vacation so I picked up a coupla Twinkies at a C-store.

I snarfed the first down in mere seconds and it tasted a little off -chalky, crusty, a bit like aged sheetrock. But operating under the assumption that Twinkies are immortal, I didn't think anything of it. Upon unwrapping the second I was shocked to discover I had just eaten a rotten Twinkie. Take a look at the green mold on that little cowboy. Yikes!

I thought I'd encountered about everything on the road and then I ate the fetid Twinkie. I survived but just barely and I have to admit I've had nightmares about gigantic Twinkies chasing after me and Hudson and Murphy since. From here on out, I think I'll stick to hoo-hoos....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It’s Time for the 2010 Calendar Submissions to Begin!

2010 Calendar Submission Instructions

We’re collecting submission for the 2010 “Cancer Can’t Keep A Good Dog Down” Calendar. Here are the basics:

Where to send your submission(s): calendar@2dogs2000miles.org

Photo: 1 photo per dog. Please make sure the photo is at least a minimum of 300kb resolution. We will not be able to accept any photos under 300kb resolutions as these do not duplicate well on the final calendar.

The following file formats are acceptable: .jpg and .gif. Please do NOT send them in a PDF or Microsoft .doc or .docx file as we cannot use these.

Story: Preliminary story length must be limited to 1000 characters or less. That’s 1000 characters not 1000 words. Winners will be asked to write longer stories for the calendar, but for your initial submission we must limit you to 1000 characters because of the restrictions of Click-n-Pledge.

If you have more than one dog you’d like to enter into the contest, please do so! Same rules apply.

Deadline for submissions HAS BEEN EXTENDED to August 22 at 12 midnight EST.

If you have any questions, please email me at: erich@2dogs2000miles.org.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dogs 'puppy up' in canine cancer walk

Thanks to Linda Fuoco of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for this great article published June 6, 2009.

Two dogs are walking more than 2,000 miles from Austin, Texas, to Boston to raise awareness, and maybe some money, for canine cancer research.

Murphy, 8, and Hudson, 2, are expected to arrive in Downtown Pittsburgh June 30. They hope to make a grand entrance by walking across the West End Bridge to PNC Park, where they will attend a Pirates game. It's one of those really cool "Pup-Night" events in which dogs get to go to a baseball game with their people.

It would be hard to miss these two, for they are very large, very white Great Pyrenees.

Murphy and Hudson are traveling with their owner, Luke Robinson, 38. He conceived the Texas-to-Massachusetts trek after the death of a beloved dog "changed my life," he says.

"Luke and the boys," as their fans and followers call them, have been on the road for about 1,000 miles and 12 months. People follow their progress at www.2dogs2000miles.org and on Twitter. Mr. Robinson carries their sleeping tent and other supplies in a giant backpack. The dogs wear much smaller packs.

They walk 8-10 miles a day, when they're moving. The trio makes frequent rest stops, such as in Pittsburgh, where they plan to stay for two weeks. They've done volunteer work at animal shelters along the way, met with veterinary cancer specialists, and lined up "meet and greet" events to raise awareness about cancer research.

Their Pittsburgh schedule includes a meet and greet in Market Square 11:30 a.m. July 1 and an appearance with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society 5-9 p.m. July 2 at center court in the Mall at Robinson.

Mr. Robinson (no relation to the west suburban mall) also plans to walk homeless dogs housed at the North Side shelter, as if he hasn't done enough walking in the past year.

Malcolm, his first Great Pyrenees, was a healthy, active 6-year-old when he was diagnosed in 2004 with osteosarcoma. Mr. Robinson was devastated. He was also angry and puzzled because "no one could tell me why."

"Why are so many dogs dying from cancer? Why are so many dogs dying at younger ages? What are we doing wrong?" he asked in a cell phone interview from the road. "Is it diet? The environment? Pesticides?"

Osteosarcoma is bone cancer, and some of the large breeds of dogs seem to be particularly susceptible. Malcolm's cancer was in a leg bone. Amputation and chemotherapy prolonged his life for two years, but the cancer ultimately spread to his lungs, and he died in 2006.

"I sold my truck and put my stuff in storage and got in shape for this trip," Mr. Robinson said.

Born in Galveston, Texas, Mr. Robinson grew up in Austin. He operated a consulting practice for biotech companies first in San Antonio and then in Boston, where he moved in 2003. He put the business and the rest of his life on hold to walk with Murphy and Hudson.

"I'm just an average guy" not an athlete, he noted. "I had to get in shape for this trip. I'm 6-foot 2 and I was up to 250 pounds. When we started the trip, I was 195 pounds. I consume about 4,000 to 6,000 calories a day, and my weight has fluctuated between 184 and 215 pounds on this trip."

On the trio's Web site, visitors can follow their progress on a map, their blog or on Twitter, where "we have 1,800 followers," Mr. Robinson said. The Web site also includes a shop where you can buy a variety of merchandise, including canine cancer survivor T-shirts.

"This is not so much about raising money as it is about raising awareness," Mr. Robinson said. "We do accept donations to help defray the cost of travel," but he indicates they don't need much.

"When we get back to Boston, we will concentrate more on fundraising."

Kind-hearted strangers put Luke and the boys up in their homes. Other times they sleep in a tent. "I'd say it's about 50-50, sleeping in the tent vs. staying in homes."

The boys are having a great time.

"I think this may be the ideal life for dogs," Mr. Robinson said with a chuckle. "The biggest challenge so far has been ticks in Ohio. I counted 120 ticks that I picked off the boys. An upcoming challenge will be crossing the Appalachian Mountains."

High up on Mr. Robinson's wish list would be the chance to meet someone from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"I have a great deal of respect for your quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. I took a day off to watch the Super Bowl, and I thought, 'Wow! What a team!' I'd love to give the Steelers some of our 'Puppy Up' bracelets" for cancer awareness.

Tickets are $20 for you and your dog to attend Pirates Pup-Night. Part of the ticket price will benefit local shelters. The June 30 and Aug. 25 Pup Night games benefit Animal Friends in Ohio Township. The July 21 and Sept. 22 games benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. You must present proof that your dog is up to date on inoculations. To order tickets, call Kevin Roach at the Pirates, 412-325-4797.

To assist Luke and the boys during their Pittsburgh stay, e-mail ginger@2dogs2000miles.org. That's Ginger Morgan of Memphis, Tenn., a friend of Mr. Robinson's, who helps with their schedule and logistics. Watch the Post-Gazette for updates on their itinerary.

Pet Tales appears weekly in the Saturday Home & Garden section. Linda Wilson Fuoco can be reached at lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3064.