How many of you remember a man and his two dogs, Great Pyrenees, walking from Austin, TX to Boston, MA? Called “2 dogs 2,000 mile walk,” it took place in 2010. Well, I sort of remember it, and recently I got to meet the man behind the walk and find out how losing his best pal Malcolm to canine cancer led him on this path — bringing awareness to the epidemic of canine cancer through the Puppy Up Foundation.
Puppy Up Foundation — Fighting Canine Cancer with Comparative Oncology Research
Mission: “The Puppy Up Foundation is committed to discovering the common links between canine and human cancers and the causes of these cancers through comparative oncology research. Our organization will accomplish that mission in the following ways:”
- Education and Awareness: Because it’s so new, comparative oncology is an unfamiliar term. Puppy Up’s goal is to educate people about its potential through all forms of social media, strategic partnerships and speaking engagements.
- Empowerment and Mobilization: Through its Puppy Up! Walks the foundation is building the largest pet and people cancer community in the world all with the singular purpose of ridding the world of canine cancer.
- Investment in Research: By investing in research the foundation learns more about the links between human and canine cancer.
Many similarities exist between human and canine cancer that justify the need for more research including:
- Pets naturally develop cancer just like humans
- Malignant cells are biological comparable in humans and pets
- Pets and humans get exposed to the same environmental risks
- Cancer occurs in dogs in years compared to decades in humans and is more common in dogs than people
Veterinarian oncologists believe there are between 4 and 8 million new cases of cancer in pets every year. But most never receive adequate treatment due to the lack of research and poor results. By increasing research more pets will have access to the latest treatment while the research subsidizes the costs.
To date the Puppy Up foundation donated over $700,000 in research grants to leading U.S universities including:
- University of Missouri, Large B-cell Lymphoma, $97,000
- Purdue University, Cancer Therapy, $100,000
- University of Wisconsin Madison, Canine Osteosarcoma, $96,000
- University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Canine Osteosarcoma,$100,000
- Princeton University for The Canine Mammary Tumor Program, Canine Mammary Tumor, $172,000 to date
- Animal Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer, Urogenital Cancer, $80,000
- Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Osteosarcoma, $20,000
- Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Mast Cell Tumor, $20,000
- American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Education Conference, $5,000
- Most recently Purdue University
How did Puppy Up raise all of this money for comparative oncology research? From the grass up with their PuppyUp! Walks all over the country! It’s time to Puppy Up!
Join a PuppyUp! Walk to Fight Canine Cancer
I’m joining the Chicago PuppyUp! Walk to fight canine cancer on September 16th. PuppyUp! Walks are held all over the country, check to see if there is a walk near you.
Although I’ve not been affected personally by cancer, I have many friends, virtual and real, that recently lost their beloved dog to cancer. I’ll be walking for them, and for Dolly and Taffy of course, to have a chance if they ever develop cancer. I’m walking for:
- Country the Greyhound broke his leg in the backyard, taken to the emergency vet where they diagnosed cancer and had to say goodbye.
- Zoe the Collie came up lame earlier this year, gone by Easter.
- Rosie, a Wheaton Terrier rescued from a puppy mill and recently diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, her mom refused chemo and radiation, only giving her Predinsone to manage symptoms
- Sheba fought a brave battle with spindle cell sarcoma but after two surgeries cancer won but she lived the best life possible during her last year.
- Midge’s mom treated her cancer with chemo but the side effects took away her quality of life and the cancer took her life.
- Auggie didn’t stand a chance when the far advanced cancer was found while under for a different surgery.
- Sugar the Golden Retriever the toughest fighter of them all.
- Cosmo the Havanese showed signs of improvement during chemo but took a turn for the worse leaving a huge hole in his mom’s heart.
If I’m touched by this many dogs with cancer it’s easy to see what an epidemic canine cancer is and why there is a need for more research to find successful and affordable treatments for all pets.