Man and Dogs Go On 2,000 Mile Walk to Raise Awareness of Canine Cancer

To learn about the causes of canine cancer, one man's taken to the open road—with his two Great Pyrenees pals in tow.

Traveling from Austin to Boston on foot seems like a huge challenge—but maybe it’s a little easier if you’ve got four legs to stand on.

Two Great Pyrenees dogs, Murphy, 8, and Hudson, 2, along with their owner, 38-year-old Luke Robinson, are mid-way through a 2,000 mile trek that will take at least two years to complete. The three hikers are braving the hot sun and stormy weather, as well as a host of mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, to travel cross-country for a cause: to raise money and awareness for canine cancer research, and to find out why so many dogs are affected by the disease at younger and younger ages.

Robinson was inspired to embark on the adventure after the death of his first Great Pyrenees, Malcolm, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 6, and died two years later. Robinson had loved his pet, and was crushed by Malcolm’s death. But Robinson’s personal tragedy also led him to a question: why?

“Why are so many dogs dying from cancer? Why are so many dogs dying at younger ages? What are we doing wrong?” he asked the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “Is it diet? The environment? Pesticides?”

Robinson, who ran a successful high-tech consultancy firm in Houston, couldn’t stop thinking about cancer, the disease that had claimed his dog’s life, and had affected many people in his family. He believed that if he set out to raise awareness of canine cancer and help fund its research efforts, he might be able to help discover the causes of such cancers—which could also aid researchers to find cures for the cancers that kill so many people every year.

“Manufacturers don’t want to know if their products are responsible,” Robinson says on his website. “Because of that, virtually no money is spent on studying the cause of canine cancer.  If they won’t pay for the research then it’s up to all of us - the parents who have [lost] loved ones.”

While on their “2 Dogs 2000 Miles” walk, Robinson, Murphy, and Hudson are stopping for visits in many cities to work with animal shelters, meet with veterinary oncologists to discuss possible causes of canine cancer, and meet with reporters who are interested in their story. And, of course, there are plenty of treats and head scratches for the dogs, wherever they go.

Want to know if you can catch Robinson and his furry friends walking through your town? Visit their website to check out the upcoming schedule.

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