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Robin Zander of Cheap Trick Speaks Out Against Pet Cancer

We talk to the lead singer about the 12 Million Dog March in L.A. on August 5. Plus, we've got the lyrics to his rediscovered song!

 |  Jul 6th 2012  |   3 Contributions


The statistics on pets and cancer are staggering: A whopping 12 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with the disease each year. As someone who nursed two dogs through their brave battles with cancer, I can say from personal experience that it sure would've helped to have a community of fellow pet lovers to lean on when the going got tough. Thankfully for anyone whose best friend is fighting this disease, now that support system is there: It's called The Riedel & Cody Fund.

Founded on the belief that 12 million pet cancer diagnoses is "12 Million Too Many," the fund's mission is to help raise awareness of, and funding for, animal cancer treatment. Here's how they are spreading the word: With the 12 Million Dog March, a live and virtual event. If you can't make it to the live march on August 5 in Los Angeles, you can sign up today, right now, for the virtual march -- it's free! Need incentive? Blue Buffalo, makers of dog food, will donate $1 to the Riedel & Cody Fund for each new registrant.

Helping to spread the fund's life-saving message is a rockin' spokesperson -- literally: Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, the legendary band that's currently touring with Aerosmith.

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Robin Zander and his dog Buddha.

Since the 1970s, Cheap Trick's many fans have included musical luminaries Joey Ramone and Gene Simmons to Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And right now, the Cheap Trick tour bus is drawing new admirers as it proudly spreads the "12 Million Too Many" gospel across the country. On Sunday, August 5, Robin will perform at the 12 Million Dog March in Los Angeles, and he invites Dogster readers to come out for a good time. "It's going to be a lot of fun," he promises.

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Buddha and Daisy.

For the veteran rocker, stepping up and singing out on behalf of man's best friend was a no-brainer. 

"I've been a guy who has always had pets from the time I was born," recalls Robin, an Aquarius whose birthday is January 23. "I've known pets all my life, as a kid and as an adult, and now I have children, and they are pet lovers, too." His current four-footed kids are Daisy, a 7-year-old Bichon, and Buddha, a 4-year-old French Bulldog.

"They give me comfort, love, and companionship," he says. "I take them on the road with me -- these dogs in particular are just great to have around. They eat, sleep, and grunt! They really give you unconditional love, and that's something we all need, I think."

Every day is "Take Your Dog to Work Day" for Robin, whose best friends hang out with him on the road and in the studio. "They're with me all the time, even when I'm writing and recording at home," he says. "Sometimes they're part of the recording, because they make noises too, you know? I have to edit them out at times. But some day I'm going to think about writing a song around the dogs." And who knows, maybe one or both of them will score a vocal solo!

Robin became a staunch supporter of the Riedel & Cody Fund after a chance meeting with the organization's cofounder, Mark Tillinger, who writes a monthly blog for the Huffington Post. "I was in a hotel in Atlanta, sitting at the bar next to this fellow, and I overheard him talking on the phone," Robin recalls. "He was talking about animals getting cancer, so I asked him about it, and he told me about how he and his dog both fought cancer. This was around Christmastime last year. His story really affected me, so I thought, Wow, I'm going to help him out."

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Zander on guitar, Buddha on bark.

Robin's own Daisy recently had a close call with cancer. "She had a growth on her head, so they did a biopsy on her," he says. "It came back nonmalignant, and she had stitches in her head for a few days. The fur on her face had to be shaved off, so she looked like an owl! While it was growing out, she'd look in the mirror every once in a while, to check herself out," he adds with a laugh. "We were very lucky."

That experience inspired Robin to harness his creative powers, to help out the dog lovers who aren't as lucky.  

"I'd written a song called 'Every Dog Has Its Day' but I forgot all about the song until I went through a box in my closet," Robin says. "So I suggested performing it at the 12 Million Dog March on August 5, and the Riedel & Cody Fund loved the idea. The song was about myself, actually," Robin adds. But check out the lyrics below, and try to tell us it's not a perfect anthem for this worthy canine cause!

"Every Dog Has Its Day"

I’ve been put on / Put down / Couldn’t put my foot down

In a pair of sensible shoes / I’ve been kissed on / Kissed off /Ripped up and shipped off

Been a little ticked off too

I’ve been runnin’ like a stallion /And called a rat-scallion fool

But I don’t mind. / No I don’t mind

Cause every dog has its day / And it’s coming my wayI

I’ve been lost in the fog / But every dog / Has its day

I’ve been turned on / Tuned in / Dropping in and out again

From Monaco to Kathmandu / I’ve been that-ied / This-ied

Hare Hare Krishnaed / Yogi Maharishied too

My dogma got run over by my karma / What’s a boy to do

But I don’t mind / No, I don’t mind

Cause every dog has its day / And it’s coming my way

I’ve been lost in the fog / But every dog / Has its day

Looking back from here / All the tender years

All the sorrow disappears along the road / Nights I’ve spent alone Lonely streets I’ve roamed

Like a mammal looking for a bone / Trying to find my way back home

But I don’t mind / No I don’t mind

Cause every dog has its day / And it’s coming my way

I’ve been lost in the fog / But every dog / Has its day / But every dog has its day

Download the song on iTunes here

Do you have a story about pet cancer? Are you going to the 12 Million Dog March? Let us know in the comments!

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