2 Million Dogs – The Blog

Cancer. Touches. Everyone.

Posts Tagged ‘Luke Robinson’

Breast Cancer And Dogs: The Next ‘Canaries In The Coal Mine’?

Posted by Erich Trapp on October 12, 2013

By Lynne Peeples, Huffington Post

(Thanks to Lynne Peeples and the Huffington Post for this article.)

When his beloved Great Pyrenees Malcolm died of bone cancer at age 6, Luke Robinson resolved to learn why.

“I didn’t even know dogs could get cancer,” he said.

The nagging mystery would send Robinson walking over 2,000 miles from Austin, Texas, to Boston with his other two dogs to raise awareness for canine cancer. It would also inspire his launch of an organization devoted to finding an answer — through the discovery of links between dog and human tumors.

“Breast cancer was the first cancer we funded,” said Robinson, co-founder of the nonprofit 2 Million Dogs . “Under a microscope, a mammary tumor from a dog and from a person look the same.”

As the prolific pink ribbons seek to remind us this month, breast cancer’s grip remains strong and its reach ever-expanding. One in eight women in the U.S. will now face the diagnosis — a rise of 40 percent in just one generation.

Perhaps less well-known, however, is that most breast cancers are not hereditary and that cancer is the leading disease-related killer of dogs, with mammary tumors the most common type afflicting females. (Early spaying significantly reduces the risk of such tumors.) These facts, combined with mounting evidence of harm posed by certain chemicals used on carpets, couches, food bowls, squeaky toys and manicured lawns enjoyed by people and pets — has led some experts and advocates to recommend a shift in breast cancer research and funding.

Only about 10 percent of breast cancer research dollars are devoted to its environmental causes, according to a federal interagency report published in February.

Luke Robinson and his two dogs, Murphy and Hudson, peer from a tent during his canine cancer awareness walk from Austin, Tex. to Boston in 2008. (Marei Burnfield)

Luke Robinson and his two dogs, Murphy and Hudson, peer from a tent during his canine cancer awareness walk from Austin, Tex. to Boston in 2008. (Marei Burnfield)

“Dogs drink our same water, they are exposed to the same toxins,” Robinson said. “The logical assumption is that indeed there is an environmental basis for these cancers. But a lot of research and funding comes from pharmaceutical companies. And there’s no money in cause and prevention.”

Overall, growing interest in canine cancer has led to new comparative oncology research at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, with financial help from 2 Million Dogs. Investigators are treating shelter dogs that have developed mammary cancer, while gleaning information about the progression of the disease. The researchers hope to identify treatments that will benefit both dogs and humans.

Penn veterinarians previously studied dogs involved in September 11 search and rescue missions thought to be exposed to chemicals in the rubble. They found no elevated rates of major health problems in the decade after the attack.

To read the entire article by Huffington Post, please follow this link.

Posted in Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Non-Resectable

Posted by Erich Trapp on September 22, 2013

Photo from left to right:  Drs. Richard Goldstein and Allyson Berent; Luke Robinson, Founder of 2 Million Dogs; Chick Weisse; Kate Coyne (CEO of AMC); Ginger Morgan, Executive Director of 2 Million Dogs; Nicole Leibman and Ann Hohenhaus.

From left to right: Drs. Richard Goldstein and Allyson Berent; Luke Robinson, Founder of 2 Million Dogs; Dr. Chick Weisse; Kate Coyne (CEO of AMC); Ginger Morgan, Executive Director of 2 Million Dogs; Drs. Nicole Leibman and Ann Hohenhaus. Indiana and Hudson.

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

(by Luke Robinson)

“I’m sorry.  It’s inoperable.”

How many of you have heard these words? That diagnosis from Steve Withrow about Murphy’s nasal tumor still haunts my thoughts some two years post mortem.

2 Million Dogs is funding a two year, $80,000 drug delivery study with Animal Medical Center in Manhattan and Sloan Kettering.

The first phase of the study is urogenital cancer in dogs since, at the point of diagnosis, the prognosis is pretty grim.  Less than 30% of bladder cancer patients respond to traditional treatment and since surgical intervention isn’t a viable option, the need for target therapeutics is essential.

We all know that dosing chemo in dogs is drastically less than that in humans and if we can get the right drug directly into the tumor, we may achieve therapeutic drug levels at 40X the current regimen.  There are other potential benefits such as cost savings, but they are ancillary to our aims.

Speaking of… here’s my press release statement:

“It is an honor to work with two prestigious institutions in the fields of veterinarian medicine and cancer research.  2 Million Dogs’ scientific objectives in funding cancer studies are collaborative and comparative in both spirit and scope and this study is a shining example of that.  Cancer touches us all.  It is a cross species disease and now more than ever it is imperative for us work together to end this epidemic.”

More importantly, I’ve come to know the principal investigator, Chick, on a more personal level and I feel he has the vision, fortitude, and fire to make significant strides in the field of comparative oncology.

 

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Eight Ways to Get More Votes in our “Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” Calendar Contest

Posted by Erich Trapp on July 25, 2013

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“Now, let’s see. Charlie is dark green, Blondie is yellow, Desi is purple, Sundae is turquoise … no wait — Nestle is purple and Saffron is yellow… no, that’s not right either. Oh bother! There has to be an easier way to count these votes.”

(by Teri Mo)

Twice now, 2 Million Dogs has posted the running totals in our “Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” Calendar Contest.

If you haven’t heard of the contest, it’s Luke Robinson’s fun little brainchild. Once a year, we ask people whose dogs currently have cancer or dog owners who have lost a dog to cancer to send us their dogs’ stories and photos.

We compile the stories and let the public decide which pups will be in next year’s 2 Million Dogs’ calendar. The public votes HERE, and the proceeds support comparative oncology (cancer) research.

It’s still early in the contest, and a few of our pups — our sweet, big-eyed, adorable pups — have no votes yet. (Cue crowd going “Awwwwwww.”)

But don’t worry — there’s plenty of time to get votes! Here’s how to boost those numbers:

  • When we feature your favorite dog on our 2 Million Dogs’ Facebook page, share it on your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts, and use the words “vote and share!” Nothing helps you make your case like big, irresistible puppy-dog eyes.
  • Host a Puppy Up! Blitz on your lunch hour and invite your co-workers. Pick a dog for each co-worker. Whoever raises the most money for their dog by the end of the lunch break gets a box of fresh doughnuts the next morning.
  • Ask your co-workers to participate in a Give Up Your Daily Drink (soda or coffee) For Cancer Day. Everyone gives up his or her daily latte or soda, and the right to complain about it is “bought” by voting for your favorite pup with the money you didn’t spend on an Iced Calorie Bomb with three pumps of vanilla.
  • Not a social media person? E-mail friends and family asking each for $10.00 worth of votes for your pup. Avoid caps lock (SHOUTING), and keep the body of your e-mail short and sweet. (Feel free to use anything we’ve written here when explaining the contest.)
  • Write a silly or sweet song about your experience with your dog’s cancer, and post it on YouTube with the link to your dog’s calendar contest fundraising page. This is guaranteed to boost those numbers.
  • If your dog isn’t a contestant, pick your favorite underdog and dare all your friends to do their good deed for the day by bombarding that page with votes.
  • Tell your family and friends that the votes are a birthday gift to you. Tell them the only thing you want for your birthday is votes for your pup.
  • If your neighbors have dogs or they just miss your pup, get their e-mail addresses and share the contest with them.

This is all going to a good cause, so everyone wins. Save the puppies, save the people! Puppy up!

(Teri Mo is our resident social media guru.)

Posted in 2014 Calendar Contest, Fundraiser, Research, Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Orchard School 4th Grade Business Project Donates Generously to 2 Million Dogs

Posted by Erich Trapp on March 5, 2013

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Luke, Indy, Carly, and Hudson.

Recently, 2 Million Dogs received word that a generous donation was made to our Foundation, thanks to the efforts of Carly Levinsohn and the heartfelt appeal she made to her fellow classmates in a 4th grade business project at Orchard School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Below is her letter to her classmates, and a letter to us. Thank you Carly and everyone who contributed so thoughtfully to our organization on behalf of dogs with cancer.

We applaud the efforts of this young generation, and the hard work that went in to supporting a cause they believe in. Thank you.

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Carly presenting a check to Luke Robinson, founder of 2 Million Dogs.

Posted in Fundraiser, Research, Stories | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Us In A Nutshell — Thanks, Chicago Tribune

Posted by Erich Trapp on October 11, 2012

Up Close and Personal — Melisa Kottmeier makes friends with Indy, one of two Great Pyrenees dogs owned by Luke Robinson, founder of the 2 Million Dogs organization, who spoke to dog owners at FYDO Land in Elgin about links between human and pet cancer. (photo by Darrell Goemaat)

The Chicago Tribune recently covered the story of 2 Million Dogs and did such a great job, we’d like to share it here in case you missed it.

“It’s [the article] not just about 2 Million Dogs.” says Executive Director Ginger Morgan, “It’s about how people live with cancer every day. By sharing this article you could be helping someone realize that they are not alone in their fight.”

The article was written by Amanda Marrazzo, Special to the Tribune. Photo credit is Darrell Goemaat, with the Chicago Tribune.

If you’d like to keep up with the work of 2 Million Dogs, you can set Google to do a Google Alert. How? Follow this link for simple directions.

Now, here’s the Chicago Tribune article …
October 10, 2012

When his beloved Great Pyrenees dog Malcolm died from bone cancer in 2004, Luke Robinson was sad and angry.

Adding to his loss: Nobody could tell him why.

“I didn’t even know dogs could get cancer,” Robinson said.

Beginning in 2008, Robinson and two of his other dogs, Murphy and Hudson, walked from his home in Texas to Boston to raise awareness about cancer in pets and links to human cancers as well. With stops and starts along the way, and Robinson and the dogs camping or staying with host families, the journey lasted more than two years.

“Somewhere on the cross-country walk I had this dream, this vision of taking the two dogs, walking 2,000 miles and making that into 2 million dogs,” he said.

And so his life’s mission was conceived. After the walk ended, the not-for-profit 2 Million Dogs was founded with the hope that eventually that number of canines and their owners will participate in walks to raise awareness and money to fund research to eradicate cancer from pets and people.

Humans share no direct genetic link with dogs, yet each dies from the same types of cancers in astronomical numbers, he said.

Sadly, Murphy was diagnosed with nasal cancer less than a month after arriving in Boston. He died a year and three days later.

Losing Murphy further strengthened his resolve.

“I think dogs are the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “I think that they hold the answer. They drink the same water we do, are exposed to the same air, environmental toxins. I can’t help to think since we don’t share a genetic link, there must be something in the environment.

“All the cancers we get, they are getting too,” he said. “And that is strange. … We share no evolutionary line with dogs. We don’t come from dogs and dogs don’t come from us.”

Robinson recently visited the Chicago area with Hudson and Indy, his newest “fuzzybutt,” on what he named the “Summer of Murphy Tour,” a cross-country journey in his van that he began in September.

He visited with local veterinary oncologists and met with dog lovers in Elgin and Schaumburg.

Robin Massey, owner of FYDO Land, dog day cares in Elgin and Huntley, said she was so moved by the mission at an event she attended last summer she became a co-chair of the local group.

“Unfortunately, being in the business I’m in, I have lost a lot of four-legged friends to cancer,” she said. “It’s not only about fighting cancer in canines, but about fighting cancer in everybody. It’s an all inclusive group.”

Since 2010, through events called Puppy-Up walks, 2 Million Dogs has raised $270,000, said Karyn Vasquez, a dog lover and member of the board of directors of the organization. About a third of the money goes to research, with the rest going toward education and awareness.

“For me, just letting people know that our companion animals really do get cancer is a huge step in the right direction,” said Vasquez, who lost her own dog, Chelios, to lymphoma on New Year’s Day 2010.

Last year the organization presented a $50,000 grant to Princeton University to fund the school’s study of canine mammary tumor development and progression.

“Mammary tumors are the most common tumors in intact female dogs,” she said. “In humans, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Mammary tumors in dogs and breast cancer in women have many similarities, both in terms of risk factors and biology.”

Interest in the mission has grown.

In 2010 there were Puppy-Up walks in 12 cities across the United States. In 2011, there were walks in 27 cities, and this year there are about 32. So far, about 3,000 dogs and their owners have participated, said Ginger Morgan, executive director of 2 Million Dogs.

“We are still looking for many dogs and their owners to help us in our fight against cancer,” Morgan said, encouraging owners to bring their dogs to a Nov. 3 walk in West Dundee.

“When we hit 2 million dogs, we will still continue walking. We’ll walk until we find a cure, until we can find out what is causing cancer and how we can prevent it.”

Heather Neal, of Aurora, like Robinson, also believes that cancers, as well as other ailments, in both humans and canines are caused by the environment we live in, the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.

She owns Cadence, an 8-year-old standard poodle, who last year received treatment for osteosarcoma, a malignant bone cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, the amputation of her right back leg, a switch to a raw food diet and a daily cocktail of herbal supplements, Cadence is doing much better and today is cancer-free.

“She is vibrant, full of life, energetic,” Neal said. “Being on three legs has not stopped her at all. She is like a tornado.”

Neal believes humans have a spiritual connection with their dogs, and that dogs are the key to unlocking the mysteries of cancer.

“They are more than just pets to us; they are a family member,” she said. “Let’s do what we can to cure (cancer). It will be good for dogs and human beings.”

Dr. Tiffany Leach, a veterinary oncologist who works at Specialty Vets in Buffalo Grove, said there are cancers that behave the same in humans and dogs, and there are also treatments that work on both human and dog cancers.

For example, sarcomas behave the same in children as they do in dogs, and there are medicines that can be used to treat both, Leach said.

“Vet oncology is so important to us because we can take a lot of the human cancers and get information to use for dog cancers,” she said.

As a resident at Purdue University she worked on a study of bladder cancer. It was found that the same treatments used for human bladder cancer were effective when used to treat bladder cancer in dogs.

It’s also been proved that pediatric osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, displays the same behaviors in children and dogs. And doctors are able to use the same treatments as veterinarians in treating it.

Leach also believes environmental factors play a role in canine and human cancers. But she also believes certain breeds tend to be prone to specific cancers. For example, she said, a Bernese mountain dog is prone to histiocytic sarcoma, an aggressive cancer that begins in the muscle tissue.

Leach herself knows firsthand the pain of dealing with cancer on more than one level. Her grandfather suffered with prostate cancer, which first led her to studying oncology along with veterinary medicine.

In 2005, she was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, or kidney cancer. Though she declined to go into detail about her health, she has gone through treatments and at least two surgeries, and simply said, “I’m handling it. I’m still able to go to work and lead a pretty normal life.”

Then there are her two beloved Irish wolfhounds, which each have dealt with their own cancers. Gideon, 6, had a soft-tissue sarcoma. The dog has had surgeries and radiation and is in remission. Jiggs, 9, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a type of a bone cartilage tumor. Jiggs underwent surgery two months ago and seems to be in remission, she said.

All of these situations have confirmed that the profession she has chosen as her life’s work is exactly where she should be. She knows the struggles of cancer. She knows the heartache of a pet having a life-threatening disease. So when sitting with a pet owner and telling them their pet has cancer, she can honestly say she knows how they feel.

“You can at least genuinely say, ‘I’ve been through this and I understand,’ and you can really mean it on a level I couldn’t have had,” she said. “I’ve been lucky in that respect. I’m an undying optimist. I like to take the positive out of all of this.”

Robinson, meanwhile, is off to another city. His message is for all people, those with and without pets, and those who have or have not been affected by cancer.

“We are facing nature’s perfect enemy,” Robinson said. “No man, woman, child or companion animal is spared its killing field.”

A 2 Million Dog Puppy-Up will be held Nov. 3, at Randall Oaks Park, 1180 N. Randall Road, West Dundee. Registration is 10 a.m., opening ceremonies at 11:15 a.m., and a two-mile walk steps off at 11:30 a.m. Closing ceremonies will be at 12:30 p.m.

Preregistration by Nov. 1 is $20 per person (under the age of 14 is free). Day of walk registration is $25 per person. No limit on the number of dogs.

Dogs must be up to date on vaccinations and must not be on a retractable leash.

Posted in Events, Fundraiser, Puppy Up! Walks, Stories, Summer of Murphy Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thank You, Orchard Park School Students!

Posted by Erich Trapp on October 5, 2012

Luke with student Carley Levinsohn presenting a check for over $400.00 to 2 Million Dogs. (Photo by Make Corbin of WIBC)

As reported by Mike Corbin with WIBC, 93.1FM,  some enterprising Indiana grade schoolers led by one young lady are doing their bit for cancer research.

Students at Orchard Park School in Indianapolis, Indiana donated the $400 they raised to 2 Million Dogs Thursday.

Fifth-grader Carly Levinsohn heard about the group. She was on hand to present the check to Robinson and his dogs Indiana and Hudson outside the school (pictured).

As part of a class assignment to build a business, Carly and other students in her class chose to donate their profits to the group. Carly says she hopes the money helps researchers cure cancer in dogs and people. Robinson says the donation is important because it will help toward that end. He adds that raising awareness is also crucial. Robinson says many people don’t know that pets can also get brain, breast and other types of cancers and that the disease has a similar physiological makeup in dogs as in humans.

 

Thank you Carly and all the kids who Puppied Up! and made the donation happen.

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The 14th Of …

Posted by Erich Trapp on October 3, 2012

Ginger Morgan with Murphy, Luke Robinson with Hudson, and a multitude of friends and supporters walking the final mile together in Boston.

So Luke had this idea a while back.

If 2 dogs could walk 2,000 miles for cancer we could get 2 million dogs all over the country to walk.  On the same day and at the same time. I’m a very visual person and the impact of that would send shockwaves across the nation.  Literally – if we had a bunch of big dogs pounding the pavement in synchronicity.  

We chose the first Sunday in November for no reason other than auspicious weather in most parts of the country and out of respect for other walks.

This year, we have 25 cities walking on the exact same day (the others are rebels) but the Fuzzybutts can only be at one of them.  And this year, it’s the final stop on the first Summer of Murphy tour and I have something special in store and you don’t want to miss it. 

But it’s not up to me.  It’s up to you.  The city that raises the most money by October 14th is where we’ll be and you can click here to sign up for your local walk, start a team, and start fundraising. 

Posted in 2012 Puppy Up! Walks, Events, Fundraiser, Puppy Up! Walks, Summer of Murphy Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Please Come To Denver In September

Posted by Erich Trapp on September 17, 2012

By now you’ve heard that Luke and The Boys are on their whirlwind Summer of Murphy Tour. They even have their new wheels decked out and wrapped with our logo.

Well, they’ll be in the Denver area this coming weekend (September 22nd through the 24th) and if you’re in the neighborhood, they’d love to meet you. Here’s where they’ll be (all times are local) :

Saturday, September 22nd in Arvada, CO they’ll be at Street’s Fitness from 9 to 11:30 AM, 12520 W. 64th Ave., 80004. The event is “The Fuzzybutt Fight Club: Knock Out Cancer.” Join Puppy Up! Denver for a free boxing class at Street’s Fitness and make a donation to 2 Million Dogs. Stop by and meet Luke and the Fuzzybutts and learn about their unwavering fight against cancer in people and pets.

Sunday, September 23rd from 10 AM to 1 PM The Boys will be at the Barkly Manor Doggie Daycare, 5010 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver 80220. This will be a Brunch/Bark & Greet. Luke will be telling stories about his travels while on the road, and about the mission of 2 Million Dogs. And of course, the Fuzzybutts, Hudson and Indiana will be there to steal your hearts.

And on Monday, September 24that 6:30 PM they’ll be at Woof in Boots, Denver’s Premiere Doggy Daycare and Pet Boutique, 719 W. 8th Ave 80204, in Denver. This is a Bark & Greet and Luke will be speaking there as well. It’s also where you can sign up (early registration) for the Denver Puppy Up! Walk. (You can read more about the Denver Walk below.)  Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, browse the Art Gallery featuring the work of some of Denver’s best pet artists, share time with Luke and The Boys, and learn some of the latest things he’s discovered about cancer in pets and people.

Wendy and Deli are The 2012 Puppy Up! Denver cancer heroes. They are both breast cancer survivors and they will be leading the walk at Stapleton Central Park in Denver on November 3. Won’t you join them? Sign up today at http://puppyupdenver.kintera.org/

And don’t forget to visit Puppy Up! Denver’s page on Facebook where you can keep up with the latest news on their Puppy Up! Walk.

The Second Annual Puppy Up! Denver Walk will be held at Stapleton Central Park in Denver on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2012. Registration is 8 AM to 10 AM. The Opening Ceremony will be followed by a 2 mile walk and this event begins at 10 am. We will also be having a Puppy Up! Market and Festival that will include human and canine entertainment, food and drink vendors, pet related businesses and human and K-9 cancer related organizations.

Pre-register online at $30.00/person at www.2milliondogs.org > Click on walks > click on Denver

Day-of registration $35/person

For more information, please email Hope at: hope.puppyup@gmail.com

Posted in 2012 Puppy Up! Walks, Events, Fundraiser, Puppy Up! Walks, Stories, Summer of Murphy Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Puppy Up! Las Vegas Style

Posted by Erich Trapp on September 16, 2012

Up close and personal with Hudson.

As part of the Summer of Murphy Tour, there will be a Bark and Greet this coming Tuesday, September 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Luke, Hudson, and Indy will be there to see old friends and make new ones.

Event Time: 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM (all times local)
Event Location: Snooty Pets
Event Address: 8560 W. Desert Inn #D4, (Directly in front of Vons @ Desert Inn and Durango), Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A, 89117, (702) 396-5510

Learn about early cancer warning signs, share your stories, meet new friends and say hi to old ones. Each “fuzzybutt” will receive a free Snooty treat – handmade, with love, on the premises. See you there and … Puppy Up!

For more information, check out their page on Facebook.

 

And, if you’re a golfer, don’t forget about the Puppy Up! Open on the 20th at Boulder Creek Golf Course. You can read about that here and sign up for the game here.

 

And don’t forget about their Puppy Up! Walk, coming this November. Here are the details.

THE LAS VEGAS 2012 PUPPY UP! WALK
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Bruce Trent Park
8851 Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89128

On-site registration begins at 11:00AM
The walk begins at 1:00PM

PRE-REGISTER online $20.00/person at
www.2milliondogs.org > Click on Walks > click on Las Vegas
or: http://puppyuplasvegas.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1039471

Day-of registration is $25/person

VENDOR/SPONSOR/DONATIONS

Contact: Rhondda Stark Atlas
PuppyUpWalkLasVegas@gmail.com

Posted in 2012 Puppy Up! Walks, Events, Fundraiser, Puppy Up! Walks, Summer of Murphy Tour | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2 Million Dogs founder visits Denison, Texas

Posted by Erich Trapp on September 15, 2012

Jeri Waterloo, Luke Robinson, and Pamela Pyle.

As part of the Summer of Murphy Tour, Luke, Hudson, and Indiana were recently in Denison, Texas.

Here’s the article, written by Lynette George and published Friday, September 14, 2012 from the Herald Democrat.

When his beloved Great Pyrenees dog, Malcolm, was diagnosed with and died from cancer, Texas native Luke Robinson knew his life was changed forever.  He discussed that tremendous change recently when he visited Denison in support of the Puppy Up! fundraiser to be held Nov. 4 at Waterloo Lake Park.

Puppy Up events are held throughout the nation in support of Robinson’s non-profit 2 Million Dogs program.  The program was created in 2010, specifically to help fund comparative oncology research which focuses on finding the common links between canine and human cancers and their causes.  2 Million Dogs has already provided $50,000 for a study at Princeton University.  The study involved comparing cancerous mammary glands in dogs and those in women.  An upcoming study to be aided by 2 Million Dogs will involve comparative oncology studies which will be a collaborative effort between Harvard, MIT, Mass General and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Robinson says the hope in the relatively new world of comparative oncology is to find genetic markers between canine and human cancers which can lead to finding and possibly eliminating the causes of both, as well as finding cures.

“It’s like we are going on a fishing expedition,” says Robinson.  “If we fund enough of these comparative studies, we will find that big fish … I truly believe dogs hold the key to curing cancer in humans.”

Robinson continues, “Cancer is cancer.  It touches everyone.  Under a microscope, cancer looks the same whether it’s from a dog or a human.”

The determined Texan got the idea for 2 Million Dogs after making his own 2,000 mile trek across the country with his dogs to raise awareness of canine cancer.  It was an unexpected turn of events in Robinson’s life.

He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  While still an undergraduate, Robinson began a management consulting company, later honored with the prestigious “40 Under 40” Award by the San Antonio Business Journal in 2002.  He moved himself, his two Great Pyrenees dogs Malcolm and Murphy, and his company to Boston, Massachusetts in 2003.  The next year, Malcolm was diagnosed with cancer and lost the battle two years later in 2006.  It was during that time that Robinson began an educational journey to learn about canine cancer.  He discovered that cancer is the number one natural cause of death in dogs over the age of 2, and that dogs and humans get the same types of cancer.  He also learned that studying existing cancers in dogs can lead to developing better treatments for dogs and for humans, and that comparative oncology studies can help reduce the treatment costs associated with canine and human cancers.

In 2008, Robinson sold most of his belongings.  He, Murphy and his new Great Pyrenees puppy Hudson, would walk from Austin to Boston in an effort to raise awareness of the similarities between canine and human cancers and to promote comparative oncology research.  The walk lasted more than two years, the threesome carrying all their necessities in back packs, camping in a pup tent, and telling Malcolm’s story to anyone who would listen.  Along the way, Robinson also helped at animal shelters, met with veterinarians, and he was the topic of many publications and interviews.  He appeared with his two dogs on Dogs 101 on the Animal Planet in 2010, and was named one of the “Top Ten Not So Ordinary Pet People of the Year” in 2009.  He was also awarded the 2010 Humanitarian Awareness Award from Fetch a Cure and received the 2010 Caninatarian Award from the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in Atlanta, Georgia.  The walk resulted in the formation of 2 Dogs 2000 Miles.

“When I left Austin, I had maybe a couple of hundred bucks in my pocket,” remembers Robinson.  “Just when I’d be down to my last few dollars, somebody would always give me a $20 or something … The generosity of people’s hearts is amazing.”

At the end of the 826-day walk on June 19, 2010, Robinson was so encouraged that he came up with another plan.  If he and his two canine companions could walk 2,000 miles promoting cancer awareness, then why not have two million dogs walk two miles to continue the mission?  2 Million Dogs was born.  The urgency of raising public awareness was increased for Robinson about that same time when Murphy was diagnosed with cancer.  The faithful dog died in June of 2011.

To get the public involved, Robinson, in 2010, began Puppy Up! walks, not just to raise funds for comparative oncology studies, but to educate the public.  In November of 2010, the first Puppy Up! walks wer held in 12 cities across the nation.  In 2011, more than 25 cities, including Denison, hosted Puppy Up!, raising a total of almost $150,000.  This fall, nearly 40 cities nationwide, including Denison, are taking part.  It’s not as many as Robinson had hoped, but that doesn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the cause.

“I’m from Texas and we dream big down here,” says Robinson.  “I have a dream and it’s great to see it unfolding.  I just wish it would be unfolding a little faster … I’m an ambitious person and I had hoped we’d be having 500 walks across the country by now, but it hasn’t happened yet.”

Though Robinson’s continuing journey isn’t all tail-wagging good times, he continues on.

“It’s sometimes frustrating … My whole life is cancer.  People send me messages every day about their dogs having cancer … My life is already filled with tragedy … How can I just set on my laurels?”

Denison was Robinson’s second stop on his visit to 23 Puppy Up! locations throughout the nation.  He and his small crew, only one of whom receives a salary, were feted with a meet-and-greet at the Hickory House Restaurant upon their arrival Sept. 7, followed by a gathering in Sherman later that evening.  Robinson and his two canine companions, lovingly referred to as the “fuzzybutts,” also led the Bark & Paw Parade on Sept. 8.

 

UPCOMING — Denison’s Puppy Up! Walk takes place on Nov. 4 at Waterloo Park.

In addition to the Walk, the Denison Puppy Up! event will feature a pet adoption fair, live music, vendors, food, prizes and more.  For details, call 903-327-3081.

If you’re in Facebook, you can keep up with news of the Puppy Up! Walk in Denison here.

Special thanks to Jeri Waterloo and Pamela Pyle for their continued hard work!

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