About The Walk

On March 1st of 2012, we embarked on a journey across America. 

We walked with our dogs, Max and Grace, from Lewes, Delaware to San Francisco, California to promote pet therapy, animal rescue, and the positive impact that a fulfilling relationship with animals can have on our health and quality of life. In total we walked 3,088 miles across 12 states. Along the way, we made animal assisted therapy visits at over 45 facilities: Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other places where a dog’s love and positivity were needed.  This gave Max and Grace, both adopted from a shelter as adults, a chance to show what adopted dogs are capable of.

Day 1 at the Atlantic Ocean in Delaware

In this fast-paced modern world, our dogs are our connection to the natural rhythms of life.  When we travel with our dogs they bring us a deeper connection to the places we visit and the people we meet.  They see, smell, and hear details of our world that we otherwise would look right past.  Our dogs constantly remind us to appreciate quiet beauty of taking things slowly, and to enjoy the world that is right in front of us.

Whether we are at home or traveling, we are always amazed at how our dogs connect us to people.  When people see dogs walking down the sidewalk, their faces light up.  When we have the dogs with us, we always seem to find ourselves in a conversation with someone that would otherwise have walked right past us.  In these connections, we see the real value of our dogs – the connections they help us forge with the people around us.  And they have an uncanny way of picking out the people who seem to need a dog’s attention the most.

This is why we decided to get involved with animal assisted therapy through Pawsibilities Unleashed.  Pawsibilities Unleashed is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Frankfort, Kentucky that provides training, certification, and support for companion pets, therapy dogs, and service dogs.  They believe that a dog can drastically improve a person’s quality of life and they are committed to making the health and happiness benefits of a dog accessible to everyone.

(For more information about therapy dogs, see our articles about Pawsibilities Unleashed and Therapy Dogs.)

When we first began talking about walking across America with our dogs, we quickly realized that the project brought together all the things that are most important in our lives. Over and over again, we come back to love, service, animals, and adventure. And so, in 2012, we walked across America for pet therapy and animal rescue.

200 miles into the walk, on the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland

Kait, John, Grace, and Max walked the first 1,100 miles alone, with nothing but our backpacks and a pushcart.  But our team was destined to grow.  When we reached the Mississippi River and we hit the summer heat, our good friend Jon Slater and his dog, Old Brown Dog, joined us with a support car.

The support car

Then came Jenny #9, a stray that joined us in Iowa. She came out of a cornfield underweight and clearly in need of care, so we got her to the nearest veterinarian. Long story short, we ended up adopting Jenny. After finishing the walk to the Pacific with us, she came home for good. (Read about the day we first met Jenny)

 

Jenny and Kait, inseparable from the start

On March 17, 2012, after 3088 miles of walking and pet therapy visits at over 45 facilities, we walked into the Pacific Ocean in Long Beach, California and brought this incredible chapter of our lives to a close.

the final steps

We have a great deal to be thankful for. We came to the Walk on good faith that people would support and contribute to our journey with their kindness – and they didn’t let us down. Kind souls all across the country welcomed us, opened their homes and communities, looked after us, called friends and relatives, fed us, helped us, and cheered us on. We met people who dedicate their lives to enriching their communities, to looking out for each other, to helping animals in need. The world is full of conscious, considerate, community-minded people, all working for a brighter future.

We have said it before, and we mean it: We could not have done this alone. We owe a great deal of thanks to many, many people. We are thankful for each and every person that smiled or waved, slowed down or drove around us on the road, took us in, brought us lunch, or told their friends about our story. We are all in this together, and we are eternally grateful for your support.


For basic questions about the dogs and day to day details of life on the road, visit our FAQs page or Contact us.  We’d love to hear from you!

Click here to read our story from the beginning, one year before the Walk.

Click here to jump to the first day of the walk.
(The first few posts from the road were pretty rough, but we promise they get better.)

Dog Walk Across America was a sponsored project of MarinLink 501(c)(3).

13 Responses to About The Walk

  1. Sergey Kahn says:

    I love everything about this!
    You guys are awesome.

  2. Hey, y’all! I hope you are managing to contain your excitement as the Big Day draws nearer! I get so excited I could pee. Well…maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I do get really excited when I think about it.

    Love your blog and I nominated you for a 7X7 Link Award for blogging. Check out my latest post for an explanation and see where I tell the world how cool you guys are. Have fun with it!

  3. Ryno says:

    Super inspiring!

  4. kathy says:

    It was such a pleasure meeting you today. Kait, John, Max and Grace. Your journey is very inspiring. Thank you for visiting with us we enjoyed your company and your stories. May you have a safe journey. 🙂
    Gods grace be with you
    Kathy, Pam & Holly
    Beauty For Ashes

  5. Kathleen says:

    John & Kait, our Memorial Day was extra-special having you, Grace, and Max join our family. What a blessing to have our paths cross in this way. Sharing your dogs with those who need what they have to offer is truly a ministry of love. You’re an amazing foursome!

    God bless you as you continue your adventures,
    Lee & Kathleen

  6. Britainy says:

    As an animal rescuer, I think your “idea” is ok. However, as you yourself pointed out, I think you are asking far to much of your dogs in this unbearable heat. Why on earth would you do this to your dogs on molten hot asphalt? Is this REALLY about raising awareness? Or is it something you thought up, received backing for and now can’t turn back because a big deal has been made of it and you want to save face by not ending the walk before your goal is reached? It seems that its more about you and not about the well being of your dogs. We let our Border Collie Mix outside, just long enough to potty and then he goes back into the air conditioned house. I can not imagine having him out in this heat with the sun beating down on him walking down a super hot road. Just because your dogs are therapy dogs does NOT mean they are physically able to handle 20 miles a day just so their owners can proove a point. PLEASE, go home……get jobs and put your dogs first, not yourselves!

    • John says:

      Brittany,

      I am sorry our project seems to have upset you. I am not sure how much of our website you have read, but in recent posts and on our front page we made it clear that we now have a support vehicle that joined us at the Mississippi River. The only reason we are taking on the significant personal expense of adding a support car is so that the dogs have a safe place to be during the heat of the day. Now that we are into summer, we only ask them to walk in the mornings, before the road is hot. After that they ride comfortably in the car for the rest of the day, while Kait and I make miles. Considering that this project wouldn’t exist without them, their safety is top priority.

      As far as quitting the walk and going home, it is not an option – not because of sponsors or supporters, but because we believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing. When we take our dogs in to visit people, we see the joy and comfort that they can offer. We would never be so selfish as to keep them to ourselves, having seen the positive impact they are having on countless lives.

      Thank you for your concern. Your dog is fortunate that you have air conditioning – that is a luxury that many people in this country can’t afford right now. Thankfully, even the homeless strays out here in the farmlands and all of the digs living outside in people’s yards seem to be handling the heat just fine. Thank you for the rescue work you do, and if you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact us.

  7. Thank you so much John and Kait for taking the time during your long and impressive journey to visit Denver Children’s Home! It was an honor to meet you, Jon, Max, Grace, Jenny and Old Brown Dog. The children had a blast as they listened to your stories and asked their many questions. Since our children receive pet therapy here at DCH, your dedication to spreading the word about the importance of pet therapy did not go unnoticed. It was an important experience for our children to see and meet people in the community who are fighting to help give them the tools needed to heal and grow. Thank you for being a champion for abused and neglected children across America! We wish you enormous success in promoting pet therapy, animal rescue, and the positive impact that a fulfilling relationship with animals can have on our health and quality of life. Please keep in touch!

  8. Sally says:

    Copied from Facebook Dog Blog USA

    DogBlogUSA
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Denver-Childrens-Home/49893879735

    Denver Children’s Home
    Thank you so much John and Kait for taking the time during your long and impressive journey to visit Denver Children’s Home! It was an honor to meet you, Jon, Max, Grace, Jenny and Old Brown Dog. The children had a blast as they listened to your stories and asked their many questions. Since our children receive pet therapy here at DCH, your dedication to spreading the word about the importance of pet therapy did not go unnoticed. It was an important experience for our children to see and meet people in the community who are fighting to help give them the tools needed to heal and grow. Thank you for being a champion for abused and neglected children across America! We wish you enormous success in promoting pet therapy, animal rescue, and the positive impact that a fulfilling relationship with animals can have on our health and quality of life. Please keep in touch!

  9. Chris Weaber says:

    Greetings from Delaware – Enjoyed the opportunity to meet you guys and enjoyed 0ur time together!!! Glad to see you made it!!!! I know you will have stories to tell your children

  10. Malloy says:

    You guyses blog personifies one my favorite olde Irish proverbs: “Life is like A cup of tea; it’s all in how you make it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *