Two Dogs, Two Thousand Miles - A Search for a Cure

Pet lifestyle coach, Megan Blake, who hosts the PBS show Animal Attractions, and her dog, Super Smiley, have joined Luke Robinson and his two Great Pyreness (Hudson and Murphy) on their 2,000 mile walk across the United States. They aim to bring awareness to both the public and pet owners alike of the increasing incidence of canine cancer. 

Megan and her wolves


The research funded by the money from this walk, Megan says, will benefit both animal and human cancer. 

Like Luke, who was inspired by the death of his dog, Malcolm, Megan also suffered the loss of two of her dogs through cancer.  “One in four dogs over the age of two come down with cancer.”  Dogs are getting cancer earlier and earlier. They are our canary in the coal mine, telling us that what we are doing to our environment is harming them as well as us. 

The symptoms of cancer in animals is similar to those in humans – loss of energy, loss of appetite, lumps, lesions, loss of weight, lameness. 

Megan Blake and Super Smiley


Megan joined the walk in April, going from Baltimore, through New Haven, Connecticut, and then to Rhode Island.  In June, she will join Luke again for the final ceremonies in Boston. 

As a pet expert, Megan helps people integrate the animals into their lives.  “They are our teachers and healers.  It’s important, she says, to do research before you bring home a dog.  You have to understand how much activity he needs. How much time do you want to invest in the dog? Do you have the space necessary for the pet to exercise?  Do you have a back yard or are you going to be walking him twice or three times daily?  Are their owls or coyotes in your area?  If a dog is well trained, you can even have a big dog in a small studio. 

Megan Blake and Toute Suite Kitty


Traveling with pets is another concern.  There are many pluses and minuses as Megan learned traveling with Toute Suite Kitty for over 110,000 miles.  Her research was done courtesy of Continental Airlines. “You must make the reservation over the phone for the animal and if you are trying to do it on line, you must call the air lines yourself.  Often the reservation assistant will still be able to get you the on line price if you explain the situation.  And you never use curb side check in, so you must allow ample time for check in.”

“Get the dog or cat used to their box several weeks in advance by allowing it open for them to go in and out without causing them undue stress.  Leave an item of your clothing like a sock or underwear in the box so that they can identify with you.  Occasionally close it but then open it immediately. 

“The chaos at the airport upsets humans and it upsets animals even more, so you need to be organized and have a leash on the cat or dog at all times.  The worst possible thing is to have a frightened animals escape through the terminal! 

“Hold the animal close to you, facing out, so that he is looking forward.  Hold him as tight as you can without hurting him.  Cats wants to climb.  Don’t let her do that.”

Megan told several stories about how love overcame a frightened animal that was about to be destroyed because no one else bothered to understand what the dog, cat, or horse was going through.  Each time, she was able to tame the animal within hours of being told it was unstable. 

Megan and Starfire in Malibu



“Be aware of what your animal is telling you.”  Cats who don’t use their box could easily be having a problem of diabetes. 

Many times, the problem with the animal is just that they need structure.  Dogs and wolves run in packs and need good leaders.  Just positive reinforcement isn’t enough.  Make sure that the animal knows you are pack leader and if there are any behavior problems, go back to the pack structure.  “Dogs learn from every move you make and are always observing you.  For instance, a dog, who was a kleptomaniac was getting treats for returning the lost items, but that was only reinforcing the behavior.

Megan, Starfire and colt


In addition to this event, Megan’s dog, Super Smiley, has his own cause.  He is spokes-dog for Throw Away Dogs.  He hopes in encourage more humans to adopt from the shelters.  “It’s the coolest thing to get a throw away dog,” he barked. 

Megan's tea party family


Smiley has a special dance that he does for the public and he will be performing it at the Pet Expo in Valencia, May 1 and 2nd at 1 pm.  Megan invites all their fans to come join them and dance the Smiley dance with them. 

Watch out for Toute Suite’s new book about his adventures as a travel kitty. 

For more information go to  www.meganHeartsPets.com



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