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  • South Central Wisconsin
  • April 2015
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From grief to good: The story of Puppy Up!

The process of mourning the loss of a loved one can take time. Initially our grief is sharp and painful. Over time the edges of our feelings wear down, and soften into warm memories. No matter where you are in the grief process, it is comforting to be in the presence of others who have felt the pain of a loss. You can see people who have healed, see people who are in the process of healing and meet others who are experiencing that sharp pain of a recent loss.

Helping others is a very powerful way to put our grief to good purpose, and working for good in the memory of those we have lost is an important way of honoring our loved ones. Join me in honoring our pets and people whom we have lost on Sunday, May 3 at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg for the annual Puppy Up! Walk. The founder of Puppy Up! started the walk as a way to heal his heart after losing a pet to cancer.

Luke Robinson made a promise to his dog Malcolm that he would raise awareness of canine cancer after Malcolm died from this horrible disease. Luke and his two dogs walked 2,000 miles from Austin to Boston, raising awareness one mile, one city and one person at a time. 2 Million Dogs was formed with the belief that if 2 dogs can walk 2,000 miles to bring awareness to cancer, then 2 million dogs can walk 2 miles. Through the Puppy Up! Walk, we are building the largest pet and people cancer community in the world; from business people to artists to scientists and humanitarians, a partnership is forged with the purpose of ridding the world of its deadliest disease.

People and dogs all suffer from bone cancer, breast cancer and bladder cancer. The 2 Million Dogs Foundation is committed to discovering the common links between canine and human cancers through comparative oncology research. In January the Puppy Up Foundation donated $92,000 to Princeton University to continue the study of mammary tumors, bringing us one step closer to a cure for breast cancer in humans and our canine companions.

Madison broke the records last year and raised over $86,000. We had 700 walkers and 400 dogs and were the No. 1 fundraising city in the United States! This is the second year of the walk and our goal is to raise $100,000. Please join me and hundreds of other fellow pet lovers who have lost a pet or person to cancer on the Puppy Up! Walk. It is a wonderful way to connect with folks who have experienced grief and loss, and are honoring those who have gone by fighting cancer.

You can join a team, start a team or sponsor a team by going to Many teams are accepting members, including my team, the Journeys team. The walk is being held Sunday, May 3 at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg. Details of the walk are on the website.

Let’s all put our grief to good and fight cancer together!

Katie Hilst, DVM

Dr. Katie Hilst founded Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia LLC, a mobile veterinary service for the Madison area and surrounding communities. She offers compassionate, gentle euthanasia for families in the privacy of home. She specializes in pet quality of life consultations. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from UW-Madison in 2002, is certified in Pet Loss and Grief Companioning and is a member of the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care and the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. Reach her at 608-347-1897, or visit

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