Posts Tagged ‘comparative oncology’

If you’ve ever wanted to find out what you were made of, try organizing a charity event. For the past few weeks, I have been working pretty much non-stop on the 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk, since  I volunteered to be the Seattle City Leader. My little company, Tiny Growl*, has been pretty much put on hold for the cause.  In case you hadn’t heard, 2 Million Dogs was formed with the singular aim of eradicating cancer in pets and people and it will work towards that end by educating people about and investing in comparative oncology studies.”

Even though everyone agrees that this is a wonderful cause and have expressed interest in joining the walk on November 7th, I’ve not been too lucky finding volunteers to help me organize the event.  I realized that if this walk was going to happen in Seattle, it was going to be up to me to put in the hours sending emails, making phone calls and hitting the bricks. It’s hard work, but considering that this organization sprang from Luke Robinson’s 2300 mile, two year walk from Austin to Boston, this is a piece of cake. Quite frankly, distributing the posters these past two days forced to take a much-needed break from my “home office”.  While I was happy to get away from the computer, I really had no idea what an undertaking this task was going to be in a city the size of Seattle.

To begin, I had to find every pet-related business in the area, this included: pet supply shops, pet groomers, veterinarians and veterinary hospitals, dog groomers, dog walkers, dog trainers, doggie day care, dog kennels, dog parks and dog-friendly restaurants and bars.  List in hand, it was time to plot the best way to efficiently drive from one part of town to the next, figuring in all of the road closures, one-way streets, rush hour traffic and the rest.

Fortunately, I had the luxury of having my significant other chauffeur me on Friday, so at least I didn’t have to worry about wasting time looking for parking spaces. I’d like to say that things went smoothly, but aside from a few customary fights between pilot and co-pilot, I was completely taken aback by the number of stores that weren’t willing to put our poster in their window! I’m not so much talking about the owner-operated shops, I’m talking about the major chains.  These days, it seems it’s all about image.  God forbid their “brand” might be muddied by hanging a poster in their window or at the counter with a dissimilar font or color scheme.  (Whatever Barnes & Noble.)

With three weeks to go and plenty of posters and postcards left to distribute, I will have the help of a couple of people this coming week.  November 7th is looming, and there’s still a lot that I need to focus on, not to mention figuring out what costume Riley should wear for Dog-O-Ween this year.  Hmmm, maybe he wouldn’t mind wearing a 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk sandwich board?

*From now through November 7th, Tiny Growl will donate $3 from every ScooPup Pocket sold to 2  Million Dogs.

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There are a great number of animal advocates out there doing some amazing work. If you read my post on April 24th, you already know about 2 Dogs 2000 Miles, Luke Robinson and his 2000 mile walk from Austin to Boston to raise awareness about canine cancer. In 2006, Luke lost his beloved Great Pyrenees, Malcolm to metastatic bone cancer.

Today while on Facebook, I discovered that one of Luke’s fuzzy butts, Murphy, has just had a growth removed from his neck. With a little luck, it will turn out to be just a benign bump. Shortly thereafter, I read that one of Luke’s biggest supporters, Ginger (who was responsible for helping to get Luke and the boys safely across the country), is herself dealing with the news that her own sweet dog, Pete, has developed cancer.

Pete and Ginger, paw in hand

It’s heartbreaking, but one in three dogs will develop cancer. Of those affected, over half will die of the disease. And since dogs (and cats) are exposed to the same environmental risks as humans, they can develop most of the same kinds of cancers.

Somewhere between 4 and 8 million new cases of canine cancer are found each year, and are the cause of almost half of the deaths of dogs 10 years and older, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Faced with these frightening odds, what can we do?

Early detection is vital. Routinely examine your dog for any physical abnormalities. What dog doesn’t love a massage? This is great way to be aware of any new bumps they might develop. Check out any abnormal behaviors as well, and make sure your dog gets his regular veterinary exams.

Don’t expose your dog to toxic chemicals. While we still don’t know the underlying cause of many of the cancers in companion animals, the development of cancer can occur in any organism from excessive exposure to carcinogenic agents such as certain chemicals. So, just as you would do for yourself, avoid exposing your dog to toxins. Use only organic fertilizers, weed killers and pest killers around your yard. Believe it or not, I don’t even fill Riley’s outdoor water dish from the garden hose, as many hoses contain lead.

Feed them a healthy diet.

If you feed your dog kibble or canned food, it should be high-quality. By law, pet food labels must list their ingredients by weight. Look for a species specific meat or meal as the first ingredient, ie  turkey, duck, chicken meal, salmon meal. Species specific meats or meals all have high percentage of protein in the form of digestible, usable amino acids. Check the ingredients for protein content and stay away from fillers and food coloring. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient (vitamins, etc., excluded) probably best not to feed it to you dog.

And finally, get involved and/or make a small donation.  The people at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles would like to know if you have  a dog who has had or is currently fighting cancer. They are currently putting together their third  “Cancer Can’t Keep A Good Dog Down” Calendar. Starting by collecting photo and stories, which they will publish them online for everyone to see and read. Then the voting begins. Each vote is $1.00 and voting will last for several weeks. The proceeds from the 2011 calendar will again be distributed to university programs and comparative oncology studies, and to continue the educational goals of their own 501c3 organization, 2 Million Dogs.

Here’s how to enter:

Send 1 digital photo per dog. (You may enter more than one dog.) The photo must be a minimum of 500kb resolution. 1 meg resolution is ideal. They accept .jpg and .gifs.

Write a 1 paragraph story about your dog, 1000 characters or less.

Include the name of your dog, your name, and your email and send your submissions to: calendar2011@2dogs2000miles.org. The deadline is, July 31, 2010. If you have any questions, please email: erich@2dogs2000miles.org.

And remember, when dealing with cancer, indeed any kind of illness or injury that might happen to our dogs, remember that they live in the moment, with no fear of the future. It’s up to us to make each one of those moments as happy and as filled with love as we possibly can.

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Ok, it’s time to do a little math.  I know you were told there would be no math, but sometimes we have to endure a little pop quiz, or in this case, a poop quiz.  So, here we go.

If you’re like most people, you walk your dog at least once a day and at least once a day you need to pick up dog poop.  How many times a week do you walk your dog? And how many miles do you think you might cover? On a monthly basis, how much poop scooping do you think you’ve done? How far have you traveled in a month? In a year? Ok, I don’t really need an answer, but we all know that lots of us are covering lots of miles and that means there is a lot of poop scooping going on across the country.

Now imagine how much poop scooping you would be doing, if you and your dogs were on a 2,000 walk.

Luke Robinson is doing just that with his two Great Pyrenees, 4-year-old Hudson and 9-year-old Murphy.

Luke Robinson, on the road with Murphy and Hudson

Starting out in March 2008, from their home town of Austin, Texas, these three are heading for Boston, Massachusetts, 2,000 miles away. “I sold my truck, put my stuff into storage and Hudson and Murphy and I got on the road,” Robinson said. In the past two years, they have walked through 14 states. Their mission is to raise awareness and help combat canine cancer.

Robinson lost his beloved dog Malcolm to metastatic bone cancer, so he and Hudson and Murphy started 2 dogs, 2000 miles. He still carries Malcolm’s ashes in his cremation jewelry.

Biologically, the tumor cells in dogs is pretty much the same as cancer cells in humans,” Robinson said. It’s called Comparative Oncology, a relatively new field that he wants more funding for. Robinson says cancer research on dogs would help people as well.

Robinson created “Puppy Up”, where he sells merchandise to help fund his journey. He also wears a memorial shirt and for $25 you can add the name of your deceased pet.

Sponsors help pay for the dog food and veterinary care. Water is his main need, but he has drop-off points along the way where he gets supplies and volunteers who help him.

And how are the dogs doing? “They’re so happy, so excited every single day. They’re fired up when we wake up in the morning.” Robinson says.

They walk about 8 miles a day and at the end of their journey, he will begin fundraising for 2 Million Dogs, a non-profit he conceived of during their walk with the simple idea of getting two million dogs to walk two miles to eradicate cancer in pets and people.

“If two dogs can walk two thousand miles for cancer, surely we can get two-million dogs for cancer,” Robinson said.

So, how much poop got scooped along the way? Let’s try not to think about it. But let’s not forget to support Luke, Hudson and Murphy by pledging to become part of 2 Million Dogs when they roll out their cross-country campaign this year.

The ten-legged trio plan to end their journey when they arrive in Boston on June 19th.

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