Journey of 2 Dogs and 2,000 Miles Nears the End
(Photo courtesy of Penny Knobel-Besa)
More than two years have passed since Luke Robinson and his two Great Pyrenees dogs, Hudson and Murphy, started walking across the country for canine cancer awareness, so it’s understandable that the 39-year-old is ready for their journey to culminate in mid-June.
Robinson and “the boys,” as he calls them, spoke to Zootoo Pet News just outside of Mystic, Ct., with only 110 miles to go until their final destination of Boston, where hundreds of people from 16 states will meet them to walk the last, much-anticipated lap.
“We’re taking our time, enjoying the beautiful scenery,” Robinson said. “The boys are still doing great. But we are all ready – we think it is time for the walk to end. We’re at the point where we accomplished most everything we set out to accomplish. We talked, we spread the word and it is time to move on the next phase of this project.”
Robinson, Hudson and Murphy first set off on foot and paws, respectively, from Austin, Texas in 2008, two years after the death of his beloved dog and their brother, Malcolm. Malcolm, also a Great Pyrenees, died at the age of eight from cancer, and the loss, as Robinson then told Zootoo Pet News, “really shattered my world.”
The former business consultant subsequently sold his truck and gave up his job, all for sake of this journey, which he hoped could raise awareness for canine cancer, from which around 50 percent of dogs will eventually die, according to the National Canine Cancer Foundation.
Robinson’s trek seems to have accomplished just that, as he has gained substantial media attention and support from friends and strangers alike along the way, who routinely offered their homes and aid to the trio.
Megan Blake, actress and co-host for the PBS television series “Animal Attractions” was just one of the many to join Robinson on his journey. She and her two-year-old mutt, Super Smiley, accompanied him, Hudson, and Murphy for one week in mid-April on the East Coast.
Blake described the experience as “completely energizing,” in part because of the constant support that onlookers and followers from afar provided.
Their first night camping was “very, very cold,” the Los Angeles resident said, so she described the conditions on her Twitter account. Supporters instantly responded, soon showing up at the campsite with clothes for her and also for Smiley.
Everyone seemed to understand that she and Robinson were walking to raise awareness about canine cancer.
“People would stop and pull over, just to say, ‘My dog just got diagnosed with cancer, thank you for what you are doing,’” said Blake, who has had two dogs die of cancer.
Blake plans to meet up with Robinson again in Boston on June 19, to celebrate the culmination of the 2,000-mile journey. A host of events are planned for the occasion; more information on it and Robinson’s trek can be found at 2dogs2000miles.org.
Yet this is just the first part of the expedition for Robinson, as he now plans to write two books about his trip, one for children, and another for adults. He also intends to launch a foundation that will raise money for canine cancer research.
The 2,000 mile walk took longer than anticipated, Robinson says, as he and the boys eventually slowed from traipsing 10 miles or so per day, to 6 or 7 miles. Life on the road can be “tough,” Robinson says, but noted that he hasn’t missed the conveniences of “modern society,” he joked.
He doesn’t know where he will live, and anticipates it might be difficult to rebuild his life back from scratch. Yet Robinson says that he would do it all over again, for Malcolm or for either of his two other dogs.
“I didn’t imagine that it would reach this level,” Robinson said. “My job is to reach people to help them learn more about cancer and, but I live in the moment and I don’t think I will feel the full impact of this all until I walk the final mile, with people from 16 states around me. That will be a perfect testimony to the kind of grassroots effort we have built.”
For more information about canine cancer, pet owners can visit CanineCancerAwareness.org and WeAreTheCure.org.
Blake recommends that owners watch out for what she calls the 5 L’s as symptoms: Loss of appetite, loss of weight, lameness, lethargy, lumps or lesions.
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