Saturday, October 22, 2011

Second Annual "Puppy Up" Walks Brings Awareness to Canine Cancer and an Ode to Furpals Lost Battles

Luke with his boys Murphy & Hudson.
Come one, come all! It’s time to “Puppy Up” and join together 24 cities nationwide as a caring pet community to help in the fight against canine cancer by walking with (or without) your pets to support canine cancer awareness and comparative oncology research. Bring your furpal and join in a fun day of socializing and working together for a worthy cause. Visit the 2 Million Dogs website for information on walks in your area, registration times & fees, and festivities. The first 50 entrants receive a bandana and a 2 Million Dogs bracelet. Once registered, fundraiser will be able to set up their own personal online fundraising page to share with friends, family, and through social networking. Walkers who raise a total of $100 or more will also receive an Event T-shirt.
The Puppy Up Walks are in conjunction with the 2 Million Dogs Foundation, whose mission “benefits the study of canine cancer and comparative oncology.”
In addition to coming together for a good cause, it will be a festive day filled with two- and four-legged friends, vendors, and special appearances.
The boys resting along the way on "The Walk."
The 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 through education and awareness, empowerment and mobilization (such as the Puppy Up! walks) and through investment and research. The goal at 2 Million Dogs is to build “the largest pet and people cancer community in the world” and the foundation’s scientific objectives are, “Broadening understanding of the links between human and companion animal cancer, creating a cross institutional collaborative platform, developing new approaches to research, and funding translational cancer studies that benefit both pets and people.”
And just how was 2 Million Dogs created? It all began with one man and his two dogs. The man - Luke Robinson. The dogs – two Great Pyrenees Hudson and Murphy. Inspired by his late dog, Malcolm’s life and fight with the disease, Robinson, along with Hudson and Murphy, embarked upon a cross-country walk from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts that began on March 16, 2008 and finished on June 19, 2010. The walk was in memory of Malcolm, but actually kicked-off a nationwide grassroots movement to bring awareness to the plight of canine cancer. The trio walked from town to town for 826 days, sharing Malcolm’s story and educating people about the disease. While out on the road, Robinson had a vision. “If two dogs can walk 2,000 miles for cancer, then why couldn’t we get two million dogs to walk two miles for cancer awareness?” And the 2 Million Dogs foundation was born.
Within one month of walking that final mile in June, Luke once again received devastating news: Murphy was diagnosed with nasal cancer and he would need to help another of his beloved dogs fight the good fight against the horrible disease. Murphy underwent “aggressive treatments,” says Luke, including some groundbreaking therapies, but unfortunately Murphy lost his battle this past June, and was put to rest almost one year to the date they finished their cross-country walk to promote awareness of the very same disease he ultimately succumbed to.

Luke carring Murphy on their final walk together.
Stated Luke, "We apologize if the graphic nature of this photograph is disturbing to some. In a tragic, cruel irony, Murphy, who walked cross country for canine cancer, was diagnosed with the devastating disease just one month after completion of the journey. Though aggressive therapeutic measures were taken he succumbed on June 22, 2011. Like any loyal soldier, this photo is of me carrying his beautiful but ravaged body off the battlefield. Cancer is an unprecedented scourge and like this painful photograph speaks, we cannot turn away from the brutal reality that it claims millions and millions of lives in both pets and people every year."   
 It's such a devastating pain and sadness when losing one of our canine companions. Luke quietly reminisced about their lives together. “We had 826 days on the road together, side by side, not really spending any time apart from one another. I was extremely blessed to have that relationship with both Murphy and Hudson. It’s interesting though, because the flip side is imagine what it is like traveling with companions that closely…and then losing one.”
While Luke wasn’t ready emotionally for another dog, he says, “I knew having a companion for Hudson was very important. I was having a hard time with the loss of Murphy and I knew he needed a mate.” Luke thanks his many close friends for helping in the search for a companion for Hudson, which was found in a new pup named Indiana, a/k/a Indy, who hails from a humane society in Kentucky, one of the places he walked through with Hudson and Murphy. 
Luke, Murphy, and Indy will be joining walkers in one of the 24 cities that raises the most money by Midnight Oct. 22, before hitting the by-ways and highways of America to continue spreading the word about canine cancer and working on a book series based upon his experiences with the dogs and cancer. “It doesn’t matter where we are going,” says Robinson. “We are going to have a great time. My pack is packed and our adventures continue. And next year, it only gets bigger!”
Join Luke and thousands of others across the country in walking to spread awareness for canine cancer. So please visit the and check out the “Walks” tab. (The Poughkeepsie,  New York walk's facilitator is also a generous sponsor for our "Howl-o-ween" photo contest - Paw-ty Animals. Please be sure to stop by their website and tell them FiveSibes™ sent you!)
According to the Executive Director and President of the Board of 2 Million Dogs, Ginger Morgan, the hope is to, “raise over $100,000 this year with the Puppy Up! Walks. I’m hoping to double the amount of walks again next year.” 
So call your furpal, grab their collar and leash, and put on your walking shoes to get ready to “Puppy Up” and join in the fight against canine cancer.
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The FiveSibes™ and I would like to dedicate this blog to beautiful, majestic Bruno - a  Leonberger who hailed from the foothills of Spain's Sierra Nevada Mountains. Bruno and his Siberian Husky brother, Khumbu, loved each other and their hu-family, and embarked on many adventures together. You can read their stories in the blog, Tails from the Pack. Bruno had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer and had one leg amputated. He was starting to do well as a tripawd, but unfoturtunately after two chemo sessions, the vet informed his hu-parents that the tumors had metastasized and not wanting to prolong his pain, the heartwrenching decision to let Bruno go was made. Our hearts go out to Khumbu on the loss of his best friend and furbrother, and to their hu-family on their loss. Bruno, we were shocked by your diagnosis, cheered at your determination to succeed as a tripawd, and are saddened to bid you farewell. We never met you in person, but feel that we have come to know you and Khumbu. Run free now, Bruno, and climb those snow-capped mountains beyond the Rainbow Bridge.  

Thank you to our Saturday Pet Blogger Hop hosts Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume! Please be sure to stop by and visit some of the bloggers participating in today's hop!


  1. Can't believe it has been a year since the last Puppy Up walk already. Where does the time go? I sure hope they get lots of puppies walking. :)

  2. Wooo thank you so much for the dedication to my brofur Bruno. You have all been so kind my hu'parents cant find the words sometimes to express themselves but they are truly grateful for all the support they have received xx

    Lets hope lots of doggies and their hu'parents turn up for this great cause.

  3. What a beautiful story and post.
    I wish we could sign up, but our local (Minnesota) Puppy Up was held in May. And we didn't know about it. :(

  4. A truly beautiful informative post. Since 1988 we have lost five of our wonderful dogs to cancer. The most recent was our Tucker who lost his one-month battle with lung cancer on 8/2/11 after 4 chemo treatments. Paws crossed that a cure for this dreaded disease is found soon.

  5. Wow, great post! Thanks for all the info.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, COP

  6. what a great event and informative post!
    Benny & Lily

  7. Thanks for all the info -- so sad to lose doggies too soon. :(

    Woofs & hugs, <3

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

  8. Great cause and event. We noticed that we don't have a Puppy Up Walk here in Oregon....we will have to see about that!!

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  9. What a great post and event!

    Now we are wondering if we do anything like this in the UK? hhmmmm

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx