The Fight Against Canine Cancer │ Puppy Up Foundation

The Fight Against Canine Cancer │ Puppy Up Foundation


The Fight Against Canine Cancer │ Puppy Up Foundation

Much like humans, companion animals are also at risk of developing various types of canine cancer – including breast cancer and lymphoma. 

Hundreds of pet parents across the country have unfortunately experienced losing a beloved companion pet to cancer. One of these people is Luke Robinson, the founder of the Puppy Up Foundation. 

He lost his Great Pyrenees, Malcolm, to cancer years back. To remember him, Luke and his two dogs embarked on a long cross-country walk. 

From Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts – they walked thousands of miles for two years, crossing 16 states and building a nationwide grassroots network of mourning pet parents who lost a companion animal to cancer. That journey sparked the start of the Puppy Up Foundation. 


The Colors Of Puppy Up Foundation

The Fight Against Canine Cancer │ Puppy Up Foundation

According to Luke,

“Cancer is a cross-species problem. It’s not just dogs and cats.”

The Puppy Up Foundation’s legacy was born from the story of a man who lost his dog to cancer. Luke aims to root the foundation around cancer research and education. He aspires to educate and empower.

The foundation has three main missions; raise awareness, empower through Puppy Up walks, and invest in cancer research. 

Puppy Up is committed to discovering the link between human and canine cancers. However, comparative oncology is still a relatively new field. The foundation made it one of its mission to educate pet parents about canine cancer through strategic partnerships, seminars, social media platforms, events, and other forms of media. 

Aside from educating, the foundation also focuses on empowering and mobilizing through iconic walks.

Puppy Up is working on building possibly the most prominent people and pet cancer community worldwide. One of its ways to get the message visibly across is by doing these long-range walks and raising awareness about cancer. 

Currently, the foundation has walked across over 30 states! 

The foundation’s last mission involves investing in clinical research. As Luke said, 

“We really focus on funding sort of clinical trials or cancer research and tries to understand why our companion animals are getting the same type of cancer that we are.” 

Puppy Up aims to broaden the understanding of the link between human and canine cancer and develop new approaches to research and treatment. 


Walking And Donating To The Cause

The Fight Against Canine Cancer │ Puppy Up Foundation

“One of the things we have not yet accomplished at the Puppy Up Foundation is trying to divorce the notion to the public that we have different types of cancers in this world.”

Like humans, companion animals can also suffer from cancer. Millions of dogs each year die from cancer. Failure to receive adequate treatment or care is one of the reasons for the high number of deaths and new cases.

Focusing on more comparative oncology studies can mean that more and more companion animals will have access to the latest treatment or drug. One of the foundation’s primary goals is clinical research and studies.

If you’re interested in Puppy Up Foundation’s missions and goals, there are multiple ways to get involved!

You can apply as a volunteer or donate to their cause. Additionally, you can participate in their events and upcoming walks! 

Just recently, on September 4th, they started their Walk 3, which will stretch for about ten weeks. The goal was to raise the Hudson’s Hope Fund that will be allotted to help pet parents pay for the veterinary expenses of their companion animals with cancer. You may check out more details about the event at their official website


There are more upcoming walks to look out for, so tune in to Puppy Up Foundation’s website

Luke also has a podcast called Fuzzybutts and Friends! Give it a listen if you want to hear about his crazy adventures with his Fuzzybutts (Grayson and Indiana)!  

Have suggestions for who we should interview next?

Send us a message at [email protected]!

Luke: I’m Yer Big Dog and you’re tuned in to The Animal Innovations Show.

Chris: Awesome, Big Dog, so tell us, who are you and how are you innovating and helping animals?

Luke: So, I lost my first Great Pyrenees, really my first adult dog, Malcolm, and—from metastatic bone cancer.

We started a foundation, the Puppy Up Foundation. We have a wonderful executive director, Ginger Morgan.

And sort of the four pillars of our foundation are awareness and education of companion animal cancer and also what we call one cancer.

What we call empowerment of pet parents, through our Puppy Up walks, we have like Susan Komen-style puppy up walks all around the country. I think we’ve had walks in something like 35 or 37 states.

And that’s really how our foundation raises money for the last pillar of our mission, and that is cancer research.

So, with our One Cancer approach that— we really focus Chris, on funding sort of clinical trials or cancer research that tries to understand Chris, why our companion animals are getting the same type of cancer that we are.

Cancer is a cross-species problem. It’s not just dogs and cats. We have bears, grizzly bears.We have rattlesnakes, rabbits, a whole host. It’s just a shared species problem.

We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this cause and we’ve met so many wonderful pet parents all across the country that have been afflicted by this deadly disease.

So, that’s our story.

Chris: Wow, so, Luke, I’m curious. What’s your background? Have you been in the cancer background?

Are you a scientist, doctor or anything like that?

Luke: No, nothing like the sort.

Now, I have a BBA in finance and accounting. Before I got my BBA in finance and accounting, I spent some time in pre-med and pre-pharmacy part of the science piece to this equation.

But what I didn’t have before my first walk was the backpacking component. I had absolutely no idea. 2300 miles is a tremendous challenge.

Prepare for it, get ready for it, and more importantly, do it, because it took over 22 years and it was quite a commitment and a journey.

But— fortunately, we walk with angels and we got there safely.

Chris: So, what do you tell people through that education process? What’s the call to action, what should they do?

Somebody that’s listening and going, “This is shocking.” What actions can they take?

Luke: Well, on our website, we have the 10 Early Warning Signs Of Cancer. And that’s a good first step.

And start, like— again, start six months, really just start doing it. And the 10 early warning signs, we call them the L’s. It’s like limping or lameness, lesions, bleeding lesions.

But those are a general guide for you to just when you spend time with your companion, always have your hands on them, always be looking at them, smell their breath, like breath. Really, really bad odor is— it could be a sign of/or an indication of oral melanoma.

So, educating yourself as early as possible would be step number one. Talk to your GP, your general practitioner. Make sure your general practitioner, your veterinarian, because that’s the go-to person, right?

And that starts with the puppy. Start talking about cancer with your veterinarian and make sure that they’re well-versed.

So, those would be the two top things that I would recommend off the top of my head. Research and discuss it with your general practitioner, because that’s— also your portal into the veterinary oncologist which that would be my other recommendation. That would be a recommendation.

Chris: I want you to mention your podcast because you’re a fellow podcaster and you’re doing great things to raise awareness. So, tell people about it.

Luke: Yeah, we just launched earlier this year. We are Fuzzybutts and Friends. Our platform is kind of open right now, so, I think one of the things that I talk to pet parents the most about is how we value companion animals in our society, right?

Chris: Very well stated there.

So, Luke, as we’re wrapping things up, why don’t you tell people again, the website, obviously, the podcast, how they can get involved and learn more.

Luke: So, we’re launching the Hudson’s Hope Fund and you can track us at HUDSONRIVERWALK.ORG and from that website you can find out about the Puppy Up Foundation and all the great work that we’ve done there.

And you could also follow our walk that begins this September 4th and goes on for ten weeks.

Chris: Luke, I love the passion.

I love that this has now become your obsession, really. And given your background, it was nothing related to this. I’m really excited that you’re now dedicating your life to this. And it sounds like we have a lot of work to do.

So, we need people like you that are really going to be pushing the envelope and educating and getting people to take action.

So, as we wrap up the show here, this is where it begins, right? It always starts with someone like Luke that’s passionate.

They have an idea, they want to drive that idea, whether it’s a product or service, anything that’s helping animals.

If you’re someone like Luke or, you know, someone like Luke, that’s doing something that helps animals. We’d love to know about it.

Just go to INNOVATIONS.SHOW and we’d love to have them on the show. And don’t forget to sign up to be a Dooberteer at, where you can be a transporter, foster so, many different ways that you can help the animals get to where they got to be going. is where you can get involved with animal rescue.

So, Luke, thank you again for coming on. Thank you for your passion, your leadership, and this was really fun, I really enjoyed it.

Luke: Thank you, Chris safe travels to you.

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