Friday, April 24, 2009

Eight Paws, Two Legs, One Incredible Journey...

In March 2008 Luke Robinson and his dogs Murphy and Hudson left their home in Austin for a walk. Over one year later, the trio is still going strong! Their destination: Boston. Their mission: Raising funds and awareness for animal cancers.

Needless to say, this journey is extremely personal for Luke and his pack. In 2004 another one of Luke's beloved Great Pyrenees, Malcolm, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma - an aggressive form of bone cancer. Malcolm's right front leg had to be amputated, but he adapted in no time. According to Luke, "Within two weeks, he had learned to balance his 120 pound frame without assistance and not too much later, it was if he was born three-legged."

Malcolm survived for nearly two more years before succumbing to cancer on January 11, 2006. The loss had a profound impact on Luke, and he vowed to honor Malcolm's memory by battling companion animal cancer. After months of preparation and research, plans for the 2,400 mile trek from Austin to Boston began to take shape.

The donations generated from the walk are helping to fund the first ever nationwide epidemiological canine cancer study through the Animal Cancer Foundation. Luke's primary goal is to identify the cause of cancer in order to spare dogs from the devastating diagnosis.

After making their way through Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, Luke, Murphy, and Hudson are currently traveling across Ohio. They average about 8 - 10 miles per day and frequently stop to volunteer at animal shelters along the way. At night, the trio either camps out or stays with volunteer host families.

They travel light and live frugally - meals of ramen and trail mix are typical - but the experience has still been worthwhile for Luke. Each day he wears a shirt listing animals whose lives have been claimed by cancer. On his blog he says "The Memorial Shirt is the most important part of my attire. This walk is for and about all of our beloved companion pets who have been touched by cancer. It is both an honor and a privilege to have them with us all the way."

It is the memory of these animals, including Malcolm, that keeps Luke and his pooches going day after day, month after month. During a pit stop in Tennessee, Luke explained his motivation to a local newspaper: "Whenever we have to dig deep, all I have to do is look at my shirt to know there are angels walking with us."

If you are interested in following this extraordinary team of walkers, check out the 2 dogs 2,000 miles blog. Luke posts regular updates from the road and shares great stories along the way.

1 comment:

VickiT said...

What a great idea. Four paws up for this team!