Thursday, December 19, 2013

Today is TSO

To explain the significance and importance of Trans Siberian Orchestra in my life, in this our story is pretty near impossible.  But I gotta try.  

It was the winter.  That winter.  A couple of fine folks in Colorado got me tickets to see them since I was there while Murphy was receiving care at CSU.  And it was my birthday.  

Being the music lover I am, I was sure I heard of them.  But even if I did, nothing could've prepared me for it...

An Angel Came Down was the first piece they performed and I was blown away. To put it into context, I've seen Pavarotti live, the three tenors, and Yo Yo Ma and even Kitaro... There was a hot, hot girl in a red sequined dress playing the electric violin that I still think about from time to time... 

Anyway, I was in rapture.  Pop culture has ruined the word 'awesome' but it was.  I was a kid witnessing the spirit of Christmas for the first time.  

And yet I hated it.  Because somewhere in a distant parking lot, alone and cold was Murphy.  He never left my side and the TSO concert was as far as I went from him.  We didn't stay for the second set because I couldn't. Even though thoroughly bundled up in the SUV.

And then after Murphy died, I was up in Bowling Green KY (heh, that's my TX roots showing - everything is 'up'), for two reasons.  To meet Indy for the first time and attend a fundraiser for their animal shelter.  It was the coolest of its kind - it was in a cave that Jesse James and his gang hung out in if my memory serves me well. 

Even amidst all the beauty, glamour, and glitz that I was graciously invited to be a part of, I didn't stay long, 30 minutes maybe, because I couldn't.  I left there and drove to a church parking lot and put my TSO CD in, listening to it for hours.  It must've been hours because someone called the police.  

The officer politely asked me why I was there.  I didn't know if he meant why I was in The City of White Squirrels, the parking lot of a church in the middle of the night, or asking a more theological question.  But I only had one answer.  

"I miss my son."  

He nodded and said goodnight.  I never asked his name.  

This is my Christmas story

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Leaving Loudoun County

I failed Art History which, if ya know me, it's kinda ironic.  But I didn't get an 'F' for lack of trying.  Quite the opposite actually.  I loved it but the course design was graded on writing not exams.  And I never turned a paper in.  I couldn't.  

Caravaggio was one of the topics and I became fascinated with him and I spent weeks researching his life and works.  And a five page essay became ten then twenty and then it was too late. 

Walking on the rails trails from Pittsburgh to DC was one of the most special times during the walk and I spent a few days in the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Potomac this weekend.  Its beauty indescribable just like that famous painting of Byblis

There's so much I haven't written about and I have hundreds of drafts on my blog and dozens of notebooks and journals still unpublished because, truthfully, I don't like most of what I write.  And so I throw things out there in pieces and parts most of which ends of confusing the hell outta people, even the ones that know me. 

But my weekend taught me one thing.  We're all busy, inundated, I hope, pursuing our passions and dreams and just trying to keep a sense of self throughout it all.  And my blog has sort of been one long continuous thread of stream of consciousness.  

I tried to separate and maintain several blogs but that became untenable and unbearable, especially since the adventure continues, so I've pared it down to just two now here and Chef Big Dog.

I have a lot to do and say but I realize now, I only have mere moments of your time to share this story with you and I'll try my damnest to respect them more. 

This weekend is already a long time ago.  Sail.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 35: 2nd Path Lab Results

Like I talked about on Day 16, I've been awaiting on the results of the additional prognostic and proliferation tests and today I finally got the path report.  

I took a pic of it with the ole trusty I-Phone and if you can't read the image, basically it's damn good news 

My decision is no chemo as I feel the potential downside exceeds any preventative or prophylactic benefit.  

Delivered on the eve of my planned departure, I can leave tomorrow to head back up to New England in good conscience and positive spirits.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Zero At the Bone

A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him,--did you not,
His notice sudden is.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.

He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,

Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun,--
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;

But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.

Truthfully, I've never been a fan of Emily Dickinson. 

I came down to Memphis to say goodbye to Murphy something I haven't been able to do.  But it's time.  

Murphy was Menschkeit.  Maybe he was the thing that made Malcolm so much of me.  And maybe that's why I miss him so.  

I've been reading Victor Frankl's 'Man's Search for Meaning' and in it he writes, 

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” 

I wonder if that's what Emily meant.  There is no more absolute than zero. 

The Nature of the Beast

"I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy." - Trent Reznor.  Nine Inch Nails

My time in the tent this past week wasn't spent sliding down spirit caves with power animals or searching for blue orchids, I worked.  Or to put a more fine point on it, I studied in solitary quietude.  

One of my lifelong friends, now gone, was a philosophy professor and he always said, 'Luke (That's how I was known back then before becoming Yer Big Dog I mean).  Life isn't about answers, it's about the questions you ask.'   

And now that I'm 3 for 3 for dogs with cancer, I have a lot of goddamn questions.   We all do.  

But being back in the tent again I couldn't help but wonder if I had missed something the first time.  And the second time.  So I need to start again.  With the first question.


What is cancer?

According to Withrow & MacEwen's 'Small Animal Clinical Oncology', there are two generations or iterations of our understanding of cancer.  The first, Gen 1 let's call it, was from a 30 year compilation of research published in 2000 by Drs. Hanahan and Weinberg called the 'Six Hallmarks of Cancer'.  

They were attempting to distill the down and outright differentiation, the lowest common denominator, the absolute zero, between a normal cell and a cancer cell and they accomplished something close to it - an approximation that became an early and important precedent.  

Before I begin with my folksy analysis of it, I encourage you to purchase this inestimable tome.  Most nearly all of the thought leaders and minds both past and future in comparative oncology contributed to it and I'm humbled even at an attempt to understand it.  

Heck the flow charts look like a John Madden schematic to me. But here we go.  


The Six Hallmarks of Cancer

1. Self Sufficiency of Growth Signals.  

This is the 'To Be or Not to Be', the Hamlet, shall we say, of the hallmarks.  Cancer is a genetic disease but not all predisposed or mutated cells become malignant.  Proto-oncogenesis doesn't presuppose oncogenesis.  

But once it 'Be', like Hamlet's ill-fated love for Ophelia, a cascade of events occur very few of which can stop the inevitable.  

2. Insensitivity to Antigrowth Signals.  

If only cancer was a cell on a homicidal steroidal rampage, unchecked and running amok, like Arnold Swarz... shit, the Terminator, well, we'd deal with it kind of the same way. We gave him the run of 80's action films, made him the Governator but, whoa, president and potentially the ruler of the universe?  

That's what Tumor Suppressor Genes, or the Kindergarten Cops, do and this is important.  

Back in the 1970s, before Arnold was clad in a loin cloth in Conan, scientists were trying to understand retinoblastoma* and in researching its heritable traits they discovered the existence of a tumor suppressing gene which in subsequent research yielded the discovery of p53 (more on p53 later).  

But the 'Terminator' will always be back.  Like what Michael Chrichton wrote in Jurassic Park.  'Nature finds a way'.  So does cancer and it found a way to suppress and/or inactivate the biochemical mechanisms and fool-proof machinery incorporated into your DNA to prevent tumor suppressor genes and p53.  

This is the point at which pink elephants come into the equation.

My friend, Pete, loved pink toys.  It made him happy. In nature, happy, is referred to as homeostasis.  It's the balance, the bad v good ballad that's part of the Dance of life.  

If only cancer was an aberration, a beefy Austrian bad actor named Arnold that defied all odds.  But it isn't.  And it only gets worse.     

3. Evasion of Cell Death. 

The Cell Cycle ain't complicated in a cradle to grave sense.  Cells procreate to sustain the life of tissue, organ systems, and ultimately self.  Left unchecked, hell, it'd become part of the Kardashian franchise but pre-programmed in a cell's genetic structure is a stop function called apoptosis.  

However, to quote the textbook, 'Cancer cells, through a variety of strategies, can acquire resistance to cell death and apoptosis.' I call this the Br'er Rabbit Effect.  

I'll stop here and continue with 4-6 tomorrow.  I'll start again.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sniffy and Donut

Back on the Summer of Murphy Tour last year we stayed at the home of Rob and Rhondda, the wonderful folks leading the Puppy Up! charge in Las Vegas and their young son, Owen or Cap'n Jack Sparrow as I knew him at the time, knighted Hudson and Indiana as Sirs 'Sniffy and Donut' respectively.  

It wasn't the same in the tent this week without 'Itchy Scratchy' and '12 short of a baker's dozen' (I can only guess that's what Owen meant), and I missed them during my fast but I'm back and we're back together and it's time for us to get back on the road.  

Tuesday we'll start making our way up to New England with stops in VA, MD, PA, NY for events and meetings. Stay posted...

YBD's Notes:  Got your card guys and thanks... indeed it is an adventure.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Stag

Tonight I bleat, I bay; my hooves I beat
  Under the rutting moon.

Autumn awakened my ancient beast 
  Unto the rutting moon. 

I clash and thrash; my rack defeats
  And reddens the rutting moon.

Fair fillies all shall fear; tonight I feast
  Beneath the rutting moon.

My savage silenced, I return to peace
  And await the rutting moon.

YBDs notes 1: Ed thinks that while my appearance is reminiscent of Walt Whitman, my poem isn't.  I was deeply inspired by the incredible encounter last night and spent a few minutes putting it to verse.  And perhaps it's why I chose this time to fast. 

YBDs notes 2: Or I may just be gettin ready for an audition on duck dynasty...

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Shhh Hour

I've pitched a tent in so many places I couldn't recount them all. But everytime it was just before night fall because we didn't want anyone to know we were there since we were literally trespassing on either private or public land either of which could end us up in the pokey or at the business end of a shotgun.

Once I got the boys in and fed it was quiet time... No barking, no talking, & definitely no lights. So I would lie in silence, motionless for hours at a time.  The goodnights were when I was so tired from the days walk i fell asleep swiftly, the tough ones were when my body ached too much to slumber.

I think about that tonite on my 2nd night of fasting and that it probably was the vast repertoire of music in my head that kept me at peace.  tonite I'm listening to Bach prelude in G.

I'm grateful that ginger loaned me her iPhone power booster so I can journal about this adventure as I won't have much time to after its completion next Thursday. 

Today was productive - I read through chapter 7 of small animal clinical oncology, came up w some new product concepts for chef big dog, started the process of prioritizing my 2014, and then i sat by the riverside basking in the fleeting warmth, shed a few layers & wrote poetry for the first time in years.  It was a good day...

Back to Bach and sleep soon I hope as the third day is when the hunger pangs crescendo

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Puppy Up!

Before I head off for a week for my fast I wanted to share my speech from the Chicago walk with you.  I had intended to post it when we arrived in Memphis but that Monday kinda threw a monkey wrench into my plans with Hudson's diagnosis.  
But here it is.  

I wrote on Facebook awhile back as response I made to one of our supporters who said, 'You sure have started a great organization.'  

'I didn't found an organization', I replied. 'I started a family.'  

And at every Puppy Up! walk we've been to these past four years that's precisely what I've felt.  A simple pride not only for all of the people a part of it but how 2 Million Dogs has effected their lives, too, and the pleasure it gives me when a city organizer, or PUPP as Ginger calls them, puts on a successful walk.  

Two years ago back in San Antonio, one of the participants in the walk there said, 'I've been to a lot of these dog events but none of them had an energy like this.'  Well said.  

As we continue to grow this great grass roots movement of ours, my Chicago speech was about the meaning of 'Puppy Up!' since I'm the knucklehead who came up with that rally cry prior to my Austin-to-Boston walk back in 2008.  And I still get questions about it.    

I hope the speech finds you well on this special day and forgive the Ray Charles like swaying.  I was freezing my bollocks off.    

Happy Thanksgiving.  Now Puppy Up and Chow Down!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blue Orchids


It's Thanksgiving week and family is foremost in my thoughts.  

I was supposed to spend this week in Texas, pitching a tent on the beaches of South Padre Island as I had for so many years of my youth.  Fishing on Triangle Island in Laguna Madre.  

When I close my eyes, the taste of brine is still on my tongue and my skin sand beaten by so many memories.    

That's how we spent Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.  And while there's a lasting and longingness in my lustful though now grey and grizzled, bearded self to return there, I know I cannot.  

There's no return trip.  

I remember on our walk Savage Mountain, the highest peak on the Great Allegheny Trail and I was having a shitty day.  I mean the kinda day when you ask yourself, 'Why am I doing this?'  

And then you push through the mountain and you can see for hundreds of miles and it all becomes clear.  

There is no glory without the grind.  There are no blue orchids.  And there is no going home whatever and wherever that place is when you close your eyes.  

But there is Thanks.   

And whether that's a start or a finish to a sentence, to a friendship, to a journey, and to a love, this is what we celebrate this week.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 16: If You Don't Think Good...

...Don't think much.'  Ted Williams

'True.  But that's precisely when you should be doing your research!'  YBD


I feel quite confident now that I have a firm understanding of Mast Cell Tumors (MCT) and I wanted to share some of that with you.  

First off, I searched extensively for the most thorough though lucid account of this type of cancer from a microbiological and immunological perspective.  And that follows:


A normal mast cell is part of our immunologic defense systems against invading organisms. Mast cells are meant to participate in the war against parasites (as opposed to the war against bacterial or viral invaders). They are bound within tissues that interface with the external world such as the skin, respiratory or intestinal tract. They do not circulate through the body.

The mast cell possesses within itself granules of especially inflammatory biochemicals meant for use against invading parasites. (Think of these as small bombs that can be released). The mast cell has binding sites on its surface for a special type of antibody called IgE. IgE is produced in response to exposure to antigens typical of parasites (i.e., worm skin proteins, or similarly shaped proteins). IgE antibodies, which are shaped like tiny "Y"'s, find their way to a tissue mast cell and perch there. With enough exposure to the antigen in question, the mast cell may be covered with Y- shaped IgE antibodies like the fluff of a dandelion. The mast cell is said, at this point, to be sensitized.

As said, the IgE antibodies are Y-shaped. Their foot is planted in the mast cell while their arms lift up hoping to capture the antigen for which they were individually designed. When the antigen comes by and is grasped by the IgE antibodies, this should indicate that a parasite is near and the mast cell, like a land mine, degranulates releasing its toxic biochemical weapons. These chemicals are harmful to the parasite plus serve as signals to other immune cells that a battle is in progress and for them to come and join in.

At least this is what is supposed to happen.

A mast cell, coated with IgE antibodies, is exposed to pollen and degranulates, releasing its biochemical weapons of destruction.

The problem is that we live in a clean world without a lot of parasites. What unfortunately tends to happen is that the IgE/mast cell system is stimulated with other antigens that are of similar shape or size as parasitic antigens. These "next best" antigens are usually pollen proteins and the result is an allergy. Instead of killing an invading parasite, the mast cell biochemicals produce local redness, itch, swelling, and other symptoms we associate with allergic reactions.

As if the mast cell isn't enough of a troublemaker in this regard, the mast cell can form a tumor made of many mast cells. When this happens, the cells of the tumor are unstable. This means they release their toxic granules with simple contact or even at random creating allergic symptoms that do not correlate with exposure to any particular antigen.

There's additional info on diagnosis, grading, treatment etc. here.


To Chemo or Not to Chemo

Now that we have received the initial pathology report as a Grade II with a low mitotic index, some of the oncologists with which I consulted have recommended a 'Wait and See' approach with quarterly re-checks since we had wide surgical margins.  

However, since some Grade II  tumors don't always behave predictably, others suggested two additional tests. The first is the mast cell tumor panel that consists of two proliferation markers - PCNA and Ki67.  It has been demonstrated that dogs that have more rapid rate of cell proliferation are more likely to have an aggressive form of MCT and chemotherapy might be warranted.  

The second is know as the c-kit mutation.  It's been shown that about half of grade II MCTs have mutations in the proto-oncogene, c-kit, and were more likely to recur after surgery and metastasize.  


Mac and Me

Hudson's tumor, affectionately known now as Mac, has been sent out and we're awaiting the results of both tests. By Monday, hopefully, as that effects the decision I make about his treatment plan.  For now, more waiting.  And waiting. But having completed my research, I guess I can go back to not thinking much. 

I've compiled in excess of over fifty pages of research, links, etc. that I'd be happy to share upon request.  Email me at  Some of the information is repetitious but for me, that's just a way I make certain I retain it.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slack Tide

There's a nautical term I'm thinking about tonight from my days of sailing.  It's the time between high and low tides, the ebb and the flow.  When the seas don't pull or push yet sit quiet for a second or two.   

It's the flux between the coming and going of gravitational forces that's almost entirely theoretic and a scientific impossibility since nature knows no true homeostasis and if it did, only fleetingly so.  

But It's the question we wake up to every morning but don't know how to go to sleep with every night. 

We all search for the Slack Tides of our existence.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day 9: Name That Tumor

Though initial path results were favorable, we're going to do some additional analysis just to be sure, thanks to the advice of our good friends.  

Since the tumor is traveling about now trying to find out who and what it is, it seems a decent thing to give it a name other than, 'Haired skin and subcutis'.  

BTW - Toomey and Poly are taken.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day 8: The Last of the Couch Potato Kidz

Buddy, Murphy both lost to cancer.  Hudson is the last remaining of that sacred cabal we formed back in 2011.  

I suppose that's why I'm taking this so hard.  Or one of the reasons.  As Fiorello LaGuardia, the famous chubby bad hair mayor of New York City (way before the dictatorship of Uncle Mike) once said that if a sparrow dies in Central Park he felt responsible. 

I do, too.  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 6: Pathology Report

We got the pathology report back today: Mast Cell Grade II. Dr. B's a bad ass diagnostician so it was as we expected.  Now I have to determine how to proceed.  

As I previously wrote, with wide surgical margins Hudsito's prognosis is favorable. Here's a pretty good article about grading MC tumors, treatment options, etc. from Washington State.

Had Hudson's tumor been grade I, my decision would've wait and see for recurrence.  I'm not so sure now so I'll be conferring with a handful of experts before I determine what, if any, the treatment plan is.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Day 5: The Mighty Mississippi

I forced myself to return here today.  

This blog will break your heart. Not because of Hudson - we didn't get the lab report in today and although that does cause some consternation, we suspected as much.  

It'll break your heart because of what the Mississippi River represents to this cause of ours for two reasons.  

1. Back in August 2008, we stopped at the juncture of I-40 and I-55 because, well, there's nowhere else to go.  Or to get across the river.  There are no pedestrian bridges and since Hudson and Murphy are hydrophobic, no chance of swimming across either.  

About and around this time, we met Ginger who was the Executive Director of the Humane Society and when I shared our plight with her, she suggested we cross via her boyfriend's boat moored in Harbortown:  pina coladas, pink umbrellas, and perhaps a seersucker suit for myself.  

Problem was, that's not my style. I didn't walk 600 miles to Memphis to play fancy.  50% of all watershed in the US flows down the river to the gulf and there was no way I wouldn't meet her mighty maw.  

I asked Ginger to find another way and she contacted the mayor, police chief, and a congressman and all said 'No.'  There was no way to cross the river they said. Maybe upstream somewhere.  

Well for those of you who know me, the phrase 'It can't be done' doesn't really translate or process in my brain.  

Clearly I-40 was impassable unless the whole city, county, and state shut down the bridge and they weren't doing that for dogs.   But after scouting out I-55 I felt there was something, possibly a utility bridge.  Turns out, my instincts were spot on & against all odds, Hudson, Murphy & me walked across the mighty Mississippi.  

2. The second time I was on the banks of the Mississippi when I was saying goodbye to Murphy in 2011.  He and I were there late at night all alone, listening to the passing barges signalling for safe passage.   

That night, I, too, sought the same.  

But because I couldn't save him, I wanted to walk him down to the rocky shore to the swift and certain currents that would drown the two of us together and ultimately spit us out in the the Gulf Coast.     

'Oh No, H2O' was why I didn't.  Murphy never liked water and that's why I couldn't.  Or at least I told myself that at the time.

I don't know how to give up.  And the four forces of the universe don't permit me to either.  Malcolm, Murphy, Hudson, Indiana.

Day 4: What Song Dog?

We hope to get the biopsy report today and while I've been gnashing at the bit, I'm wondering what song personifies Hudson.   I've bandied a few ideas with a dear friend of mine but I remain uncertain and as my ear buds abound with possibilities, I ask you:

What song is your dog?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day 3: Wish You Were Here

I've made it through the worst of my existential crisis in large part due to the outpouring of support.  For that I am thankful.   

Hudson is convalescing well though he's still hopped up on Tramadol and feeling no pain.  Hopefully we'll get the results back from the lab Friday so we can know what we're up against. Everything is on hold til then.  As most of you know, the waiting is excruciating especially for my personality type.  

Dr. Blackburn feels like he got clean margins which is good news and from my preliminary research even if it's a grade 2, the prognosis is pretty promising. There's a lot of hope to hold on here.  

I reintroduced Indiana to Hudson for the first time today and he played the dutiful little brother role perfectly.  Except when he tried to pull Hudson's cone off which was cute.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where's Your God Now?

Ricky Gervais must be laughing his ass off.  

As a humorist, friend to animals, and self proclaimed atheist, I've poked and prodded and kidney punched him here a few times about the apparent dichotomy: how can one love animals and not see God?  

Well, the second of the 2 dogs that walked cross country just got diagnosed with cancer like the first.  As a man of faith it must be fitting in some cruel Biblical irony.  

But I don't and won't believe it is.  My mission was God given.  After all, a stripper from San Antonio started it all.  

*Disclaimer - not all animal loving atheists post Sharpie outlined moob Selfies on Twitter.  Not Safe for Work.  Not Safe Ever.  Sorry.  

Day 2: Big Bad Bill

Big Bad Fuzzybutt

He was always sweet William.

Day 1: Do Over

So many nights on the road I woke up not knowing where we were or when we were.  That same dazed disorientation has descended upon me since Hudson's diagnosis yesterday. 

But I'm starting to work my way through this mad, miasmic maze to the stone cold stark reality that Hudson has cancer.  

Shit, didn't I just give a speech about this the other day?  

'Oh woe is me' is the pity party we throw ourselves sometimes but it's absolutely essential. It means that you care enough to take it on 100%.  200%.  1,000%.  I'm not good with math so I'll stop here.  

I made many mistakes with Murphy's cancer and they haunt me still but I own them. There are no 'do overs' in life.  

There's only today and tomorrow.   Tomorrow is Day 2.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Highway 40

Just as I was driving to Dr. Blackburn's vet clinic this morning, I was thinking of a funny way to punk everyone about Hudson's lump on his rump.  I intended to write, 'Well, it's bad news for Hudson.  The vet informed us that he's really a French existentialist with a penchant for Clove cigarettes, berets, beatnik poetry, and menage-a-trois. 

After aspirating the tumor and examining it under the microscope, Dr. 'B', as he's affectionately known, returned to the room and said, 'I'm 100% sure...' and I was about to do a 'Whew' until he continued...'It's a mast cell tumor'. 

Hudson has cancer and is under the knife as I write, to remove it.  Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as there is a chance, ever so slight, that when the tumor is excised, the massive release of histamines from the agitated B cells can be fatal it seems though I'm still trying to process the unprocessable.   

But what we do know is that we won't know until it's biopsied what exactly we're up against nor what the plan is for four or five days.  

I will not be on FB or reachable here at the earliest until the results or back.  Ginger will keep you updated probably here and the 2milliondogs fan page.  However, my blog will chronicle every aspect of Hudson's cancer.  

I have to go now and learn everything there is to know about mastocytoma.   

I wondered why I've had nightmares recently about Highway 40. 

I am inconsolable

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Couch Potato Kidz

Bittersweet to be back in Memphis even if for a little while.  It was 2 years ago that I was here to live out the lives of both Murphy and Buddy as both had terminal cancer.  

The two of them plus me & Hudson had a helluva time in Ginger's living room back then in the final stages of their lives. 

I posted the nearby note on her living room door,as though we were members of an exclusive club, and around these parts we notoriously became known as the 'Couch Potato Kidz'.  

2 years later, Ginger still has the note I posted on the door to the living room, pictured nearby.   Only Hudson remains.

It's hard to return here.  To see this.

John Donne wrote, 'Thy firmness makes my circle just and makes me end where I begun'.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

This Is

Here are pics from our recent travels...

This is Dr. Sue the cancer vet lovin her some fuzzybutts...

This is Hudzers hammin it up and a toeheaded kid playing paddy cake on his belly

What Price Fame?  This is Hudson on day 4 of the conference.

At the Mall of America, this is?????

These are the Puppy Up! ladies of Des Moines.  From L to R, Julie, Chris, and Brooke (whose dog Gunner has cancer).

This is Beth in Madison whose beautiful Pyrenees, Czar, has metastatic bone cancer and one of the calendar boys in the 2014 Cancer Can't Keep a Good Dog Down calendar.

This is where the fat cats (again, sorry for feline references) sit above everyone else in Madison.  It's a law - no structure can be higher than the capitol.

This is Yer Big Dog dancing with Lil Nana.  Yep it gets lonely on the road... and FYI - he can two step.

This is the beautiful Memorial board that the folks in Ann Arbor created from their recent Puppy Up! walk.

This is Indiana pooping on a Church bush thereby damning his soul to an eternity of reruns of Garfield and Squirrel infomercials.

The Murphy Mobile Rides Again

It's great to be back on the road again educating and raising awareness of cancer in pets and people and promoting the cause that we all so passionately believe in.  

Two weeks ago, the Fuzzybutts and I drove from Newport RI, crossed the Berkshires, transversed upstate NY on into Erie and Northern PA, down to 80/90 to the Twin Cities to get to the Veterinary Cancer Society Conference in Minneapolis.

From there our travels took us to Des Moines IA onto to Madison WI then horseshoed up to Grand Rapids MI and did a slingshot around Ann Arbor MI back to the Chicago area for the upcoming Puppy Up! Walk next Saturday, the 2nd.

The only reason I bring up geography is that, when added to the 12,000 plus miles of the Summer of Murphy Tour last year, the Murphy Mobile has pretty much circumnavigated the Continental US, except for a few swaths here and there.

Next blog... 'This Is' -  Pics from our travels!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Press Release from AMC

AMC Awarded Research Grant From 2 Million Dogs Foundation

(New York, NY – September 17, 2013) 

The Animal Medical Center is proud to announce that it has been selected to receive an $80,000 research grant in comparative oncology by the 2 Million Dogs Foundation, an organization committed to discovering the common links between canine and human cancers and the causes of these cancers through comparative oncology research.

In dogs, transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is the most common tumor of the urinary tract.  TCC typically presents at a very advanced stage and the majority of dogs diagnosed with this tumor are euthanized due to failure to control the local disease within the urinary tract.  Current therapies include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical debulking but none are able to consistently produce lasting remissions.

The AMC research study being conducted in affiliation with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will be led by Dr. Chick Weisse, head of Interventional Radiology Service.  This study will compare systemic chemotherapy levels experienced by a canine patient following intravenous (typical route) versus intra-arterial (image-guided) routes of chemotherapy administration in the same patient.  

“At The AMC, recent advancements in interventional radiology techniques enable us to administer different drugs into the arteries feeding the actual tumors via minimally-invasive approaches - in order to achieve very high regional drug concentrations within the tumor - without the systemic side effects that would occur had these levels been administered  intravenously,” said Dr. Weisse.  The investigators hope to demonstrate higher achieved levels of chemotherapy within the targeted tissues as well as improved tumor remissions in canine patients with naturally occurring transitional cell carcinomas of the urinary bladder and urethra.

“2 Million Dogs is proud to be working with the Animal Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, two of the most prestigious institutions in comparative oncology,” said Ginger Morgan, Executive Director and President of the Board of 2 Million Dogs Foundation.

About 2 Million Dogs Foundation

2 Million Dogs Foundation is committed to discovering the common links between canine and human cancers and the causes of these cancers through comparative oncology research.  The organization will accomplish that mission through education and awareness, empowerment and mobilization and investment in research.  For more information:

About The Animal Medical Center

The Animal Medical Center (AMC), located on the Upper East Side in New York City, is a non-profit veterinary center that has been a national leader in animal care since 1910. As an academic veterinary hospital, The AMC promotes the health and well-being of companion animals through advanced treatment, research and education. The AMC staff is comprised of over 100 veterinarians who utilize an interdisciplinary team approach combining expertise across specialty areas and services to care for your pet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information:

YBD's Notes 1:  Chip Weisse, the principle investigator provided us with a Power Point Presentation that I wanted to share with you.  However, how to convert it  and post it here has been a serious pain in my arse, hence the delay.