Indiana and I are back on the road from my brief jaunt up to the northeast to honor my yearly commitment to the folks who make Puppy Up the most successful grass roots organization evah! Madison CT won the contest last year and their 2014 walk was even bigger and badder, a trend they've been setting every year. From over 300 in 2012 to 600 walkers this year Valerie and her team did an incredible job and it was inspiring to be there although I like to joke that I brought the sunny 70 weather from the west coast.
Puppy Up Malvern
We also timed it so I could attend the inaugural Puppy Up walk at HOPE Veterinary Specialists in Malvern PA the week prior and damn glad we did. Despite the rainy frigid weather, droves of Phillyers? (Whats the proper demonym?) showed up for the walk and to celebrate the clinic's 10 year anniversary. Cheers to Kate Craig and Dennis!
Powerful the day's events but perhaps the most poignant moment for me was meeting two of the patients in a study we funded. Teddy and Bynx. They have a particularly nasty inoperable bladder tumor and both were given a prognosis of 1-2 months. The Animal Medical Center in Manhattan is working on a more effective delivery system to get chemo to the tumor site and early results are promising.
Teddy and Bynx have passed the one year survival mark because of this study and if it continues as hoped, Sloan Kettering will start human trials. Folks this is the crux of comparative oncology. You can learn more about the types of studies The Puppy Up Foundation funds here.
Puppy Up New Jersey
After enduring hurricane Sandy, Puppy Up NJ has had to change venues more times than Gov Christie has redirected traffic off the GW. Just like the boardwalk, our dear Jude has weathered some storms but she's still standing strong and this years event was held at Dusty's Dog House and I'm grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of their walk this year.
FYI Jude - next time please don't cry when introducing me cause there's nothing worse than a dude wearing a skirt gettin all weepy.
Santa Maria CA
It's sometimes hard to get perspective when youre deep down in it, risking all you have for a cause. And the west coast walk has put us to the mat many many times so a Puppy Up break was sorely needed.
I recently read that last year $18.5 billion was doled out by the federal government for renewable energy subsidies and recently $6.2 billion has been earmarked for the 'Ebola crisis'. The total budget of the National Cancer Institute in 2014 was roughly $5 billion, which has remained at that level for over a decade.
Last time I checked - 1/2 of all men and 1/3 of all women will develop cancer in their lifetime never mind the 2-4 million dogs each year. Talk about a government so disconnected and resolutely unconcerned with the most immediate threat facing its population.
Some mornings I just wake up shaking my head asking why? Why get out of your tent and keep going? I could tell you why I do but being a part of the Puppy Up walks says everything I need to say.
Have to give a shout out to Madison WI because Beth and Kai had the most awesome walk May this year and the perfect send off to our west coast walk. Thank you for the boots and I'll see you next year.