Hi! My name is Bart. Well, officially I am known as CH Razn the Bar MH. The MH stands for Master Hunter and I am one of few 3-legged dogs to have earned this highest Hunt Test Title. Yes, you read correctly. I have 3 legs.
In June, 2008, I was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in my front shoulder. My vet, Dr. Abbey Huggins, found me the best vet team at Georgia Vet Specialists in Atlanta, including my own oncologist, surgeon and holistic nutritionist. My mom felt confident I would do fine on 3 legs, as most dogs do. But, my Mom knew that we could do more, and boy did we.
As soon as I was able, my mom took me on runs through our neighborhood in the early and cooler hours of the day. She told me I would feel better as I got stronger and she wanted to put some normalcy back into my life. At first I could only make it to the end of the driveway, but each day we went a little further, and pretty soon I could run (yes, that’s right, Run!) 2 full blocks. On special occasions, Mom even let me run and hunt for birds! Boy did that feel GREAT!
Now, all this time I was undergoing intensive chemotherapy to fight off any cancer cells. Luckily, the side effects were nothing we couldn’t handle. My Mom researched what would be healthiest on my system and decided to cook a homemade diet for me, including supplements that helped boost my body’s weakened immune system. My mom did everything she could for me and I love her so much for it.
Three weeks after chemo ended, my mom and I ran in an AKC Hunt Test. Before my amputation, I had 3 of the 4 “legs” towards my Senior Hunter Title and we were ready to go for it. Well, I finished my Senior Hunter Title! Hip Hip Hooray!! But, we would not stop there and the next day, we earned our first of five legs towards our Master Hunter Title leaving the Judges and spectators speechless! To make a long story short, after months of training, traveling, failing, passing and challenging peoples’ beliefs on what could be achieved on 3 legs and a whole lot of love, we did it! Accomplishing this title was such a fitting metaphor for all that my mom and I had overcome together! What a year!
June 12th was my “ampuversary” and I remain in remission. My mom continues to prepare me a specially tailored diet, proper supplements, lots of exercise, and a maintains a great sense of humor. I could not have come this far without her tireless commitment to my health and happiness and her undying love. We feel our lives have not been compromised by this event; instead, we believe we were handed this challenge for a reason. We believe we have the opportunity to become more than we were before, and we don’t want to waste any time becoming better souls.
It has not been an easy journey, but it continues to be a worthwhile one. One that I hope to continue for the best months and years to come. Osteosarcoma is a challenging cancer both emotionally and physically, but an effective reminder to live in the present and participate in our lives to the best of our abilities, whatever they may be.