BART'S STORY

Bart (AKA Mr. Bart) was our only little boy, and a
very typical little boy he was.  If there was trouble
to be found, he would find it, sometimes not even
intentionally.  If we were painting, he would be the
one who ended up with paint all over himself.  If
there was one little mud puddle in the backyard, he
would come in covered with mud.  After our move to
Florida, we had a fishpond in the back yard.  I can't
even count the number of times he fell into that.  
Bart had a chocolate fettish.  We spent three
Christmases in a row sitting in the emergency clinic
waiting for Bart to have his stomach pumped
because of his love of chocolate.  Before Shelly
moved to Florida, she visited us for the holidays and
decided to clean out some boxes we had stored for
her from her high school days.  In one of the boxes
was a 1-pound Hersey Kiss she received from an old
high school boyfriend.  You guessed it.  Bart found
and ate the whole 1-pound chocolate Kiss.  The
following year I made candy baskets for the people
I work with.  There were extra bags of chocolate
candy on top of the dresser.  Dusty was the only one
big enough to reach the top of the dresser, so she
must have been bribed by Bart to get them down
for him.  So, another trip back to the emergency
clinic.  Then there was the time Bart found a loaded
mousetrap.  All the other dogs left it alone - Bart
ended up with it attached to his tongue.  I could go
on and on.  So, life with Bart was always a promise
that something out of the ordinary would happen.  
But we loved him.

Bart was like his mother and sister when it came to
traveling.  I had a big green duffel bag that I
always used to pack the dog food, the treats, the
toys, the extra bedding, and anything else the dogs
would need for an extended stay away from home.  
The excitement that Bart displayed when he saw me
take out that bag goes beyond words.  I would
usually pack their bag the night before we left on a
trip and stand it by the door.  Bart would actually
climb up on top of the bag and sleep on it overnight
to be sure we wouldn't forget him in the morning.  
Bart kept us laughing throughout his entire life.

When Bart was about 5 years old he began to
develop the same type of back problem that
paralyzed his mother.  At least this time I was
prepared and had the knowledge of how quickly
action needed to be taken.  Sure enough, Bart
needed immediate surgery for calcified disks.  The
surgery was successful and Bart fully recovered.

The following year Bart needed additional surgery
to remove another disk.  A few months later he
developed problems in his neck and once again went
in for disk surgery.  A few months after that he had
to have surgery for kidney stones.  Each time he
bounced back with no permanent damage.

Then history almost repeated itself.  Over the
Memorial Day holiday in 1997 we drove up to
Michigan to help Mom with her move to Florida.  On
the morning of the second day of traveling, Bart was
obviously in distress.  It seemed to be his back once
again.  So there we were, halfway between Florida
and Michigan with a truck that was giving us engine
trouble and Bart with back trouble.  We made it as
far as Cincinnati when the truck finally gave out.  
We arranged to have the truck towed the rest of
the way to Michigan.  We rode in the tow truck
holding the paralyzed Ginger and Bart, who was in a
great deal of pain.  There was no room in the tow
truck for Tiffany, so she stayed in her crate in our
truck and was towed with the truck.  The truck was
dropped off in front of a dealership service area
and we called Jeff to pick us up.  This was the
Sunday night before Memorial Day.  Bart was going
into his second day of back pain.  He needed
surgery but we couldn't locate a vet.  Then we
remembered the emergency clinic in Oakland County
near where Mom lived where Ginger had her back
surgery.  We took him there on Memorial Day.  The
doctor in the emergency room examined him and
called in a specialist.  They did a mylagram and
found that a disk had ruptured and he was bleeding
internally.  Euthanasia was their recommendation.  
John and I both indicated to them that this was not
an option.  They told us he had virtually no chance
of ever walking or being normal again.  We told
them we already were dealing with Ginger's
disability, so we were prepared for whatever hand
was dealt, but we would not go home without him.

So surgery was done right away.  We were told that
without a doubt he would be paralyzed like Ginger.  
He stayed at the hospital for the entire week while
we were packing up Mom's things and waiting for
the engine to be re-built on our vehicle.  Finally we
were ready to begin the trip back to Florida.  We
picked up Bart who was hooked up to all kinds of
tubes.  Before we could get started, we had to make
one stop back at the clinic because Mr. B was being
his normal self and pulled out some of his tubes.

Upon our arrival back home, we took Bart to his own
vet.  He was disengaged from all the tubes and sent
back home to rest.  But the word REST is not in
Bart's vocabulary.  I was told that Bart's bladder
would also have to be manually emptied 3 times a
day just as we did for Ginger.  However, I guess
Bart didn't want to follow instructions.  He wanted
to go outside, so I carried him out and put him down
in the grass.  He started to attempt to drag himself
toward his favorite tree, so I picked up his back
legs and "wheelbarrow-walked" him out.  He went to
the tree and demonstrated to me that he did not
have to have me empty his bladder for him.  So much
for that.  I really got my exercise over the next
month or so doing the "wheelbarrow" walk around
the yard.

I guess Bart decided he wasn't getting around fast
enough by dragging himself and he never quite
mastered the "seal walk" his mother perfected, so
one day he was up on his feet again.  Within a week
he was trying to pull himself up to  walk again.  This
was quite astonishing since he basically had very
few disks left in his back.  From that day on he was
referred to as the "miracle dog" by his vet.  The
vet used him as an example and referred clients who
were facing similar tragedies to me so I could share
my experiences with them.

Bart continued to improve and within 6 weeks
walked almost normally with just a slight limp.  He
was even able to maneuver going up and down the
stairs in our family room.  He never had another
medical problem and was actually quite healthy for
his age (now almost 14).

Bart only recently went to Rainbow Bridge
(December 4, 2003).  His death was probably one
of the most difficult losses for me because it
happened so suddenly without any warning.  I
couldn't even say goodbye and that will haunt me
for the rest of my days.

On the morning of December 3 Bart was running
around the house playing with his toys while I was
getting ready for work.  John called me in the
afternoon and said Bart wasn't feeling well.  I told
him to get him to the doctor.  Blood tests were done
that night but didn't reveal anything abnormal.  The
next morning he couldn't even keep water down, so I
took him back to the vet.  He was examined and
found to be having a lot of pain in his stomach.  I
left him there for x-rays and returned to work.  
The x-rays didn't reveal anything so the next step
was an ultrasound.  I received a call in the
afternoon telling me that my Bart had died in his
sleep before the ultrasound could be done.  I
wouldn't allow an autopsy -- I just wanted to bring
him back home.

I will never know what happened to my baby boy.  
The blood test ruled out that he had found some
kind of substance that was poisonous.  But on the
other hand, my home is pretty well "doggie-safe" so
I wasn't expecting any problems in that area.  The
x-ray didn't reveal any kind of obstruction.  Could
he have had some type of internal cancer that we
couldn't detect?  We'll never know what killed him.  
I only know how much I miss him and how empty our
home is without him.

My "Three Musketeers" are once again together in
Heaven, all of them gone within five months.  Ginger,
Tiffany, and Bart were very special and will always
be remembered.
MY FOREVER FRIEND

I know it must be different
Now that I'm no longer here.
I realize how much I was loved,
And how all of you did care.

I know it will be hard at first,
When you look around for me.
Expecting to find me in my bed,
Or beside my favorite tree.

Someday you will begin to see,
Although it'll take some time,
The happy times you shared with me,
The memories are yours and mine.

I'll remember you, my family,
And how much you meant to me.
So please don't grieve and don't be sad.
It was just my time to leave.

           Author Unknown  
BART AND TIFFANY - 8 WEEKS
OLD
GINGER (LEFT), BART, AND
TIFFANY
BART AND TIFFANY
BART ENJOYED CHEW TOYS
JUST LIKE HIS MOM
BART AND SABRINA
BART (LEFT) TIFFANY, AND
MAGGIE
BART CHERISHED HIS STUFFED
TOYS
THE THREE PICTURES BELOW
WERE THE LAST TO EVER BE
TAKEN OF BART.  THEY WERE
TAKEN ONE WEEK BEFORE HIS
DEATH.  
GINGER, TIFFANY, & BART
THE GRAPHIC ABOVE WAS
CREATED BY MY VERY GOOD
FRIEND, MARIE, IN MEMORY
OF THE FIRST
ANNIVERSARY OF BART'S
DEATH.  PLEASE VISIT
MARIE'S BELOVED DOXIE
BABIES,
OLLIE AND LILY,
WHO I AM SURE ARE
PLAYING HAPPILY WITH
BART AT RAINBOW BRIDGE.  
THE FOLLOWING GRAPHICS
WERE CREATED IN MEMORY
OF BART BY MY GOOD
FRIEND, SALLY EVANS  
BART'S CHRISTMAS IN
HEAVEN
CLICK BELOW FOR MAGGIE'S
STORY