Our Beloved BART joined our family on May 21, 2013 and crossed the Rainbow Bridge on April 27, 2018.
May 21, 2013 was a long difficult day. My husband discovered a dog hiding under a tree at the boat landing along the river near our home. He observed him several times during the day before coming home to get me. It was obvious this dog was stressed and untrusting. He was a muddy matted mess who seemed quite unkept. I decided to cautiously crawl under the tree and sit by him. It was my hope to gain some trust and assess his condition. Poor guy was shaking and was hesitant to make eye contact, but I spoke softly to him. He finally turned towards me I could see the cloudiness in his eyes and knew he had cataracts. He had some greying under his chin, the rest of him was pretty much a mess. He looked thirsty and hungry so my husband rushed to the local neighborhood store and purchased some canned food. Hoping to entice him I began placing chunks of food between us. At first he refused to eat, finally he gave in and began eating everything I placed within reach. I continued feeding him and as he was distracted I place a leash on him. Much to our surprise…as soon as he felt the leash on his neck he stood up. Together we climbed out from under the tree and he was ready to walk. Slowly we walked the 1/2 mile along the river and up the hill to our home. Although he was a complete mess, he was now safe for the night.
The next couple days were spent having him examined by our veterinarian, Dr. Scott Callahan @ Cascade Veterinary Clinic. We reported him and made fliers to post, and we had him groomed. A large tumor was discovered around his anal area which required surgery. With no response to our ads we scheduled him for surgery with Dr. Callahan. During surgery the tumor was found to be quite invasive and involved his vascular system. However Dr. Callahan was able to remove the entire tumor and BART would require special recovery needs.
It was during these few days we fell in love with this little guy. My husband decided to call him BART and we showered him with all the love, care and affection we could. After 10 days the City of Springfield allowed us to adopt him and we officially licensed him. BART recovered from surgery and our family now included our first dog. However this wasn’t the final chapter…
BART was guessed to be about 8 years old, a mixture of Chow & Corgi. He was an attention getter with his black fur, black tongue, curled tail, short stubby legs and those wonderful Corgi haunches. He actually pranced when he walked. He was a very happy dog. Over the first couple years BART’s health became problematic and we soon realized he was a “special needs” dog. Although Dr. Callahan was our primary vet, he referred us to OVRA, Dr. Ashley at Allergy & Dermatology, Dr. Iverson at See Spot Run and we sought the help of a dog trainer regarding some aggression issues. A sudden bout of Bloat took us to the 24 hr. Emergency Hospital for 2 days, his eyesight began to diminish and his hearing began to fail. These were all challenges we were ready to meet, were devoted to BART and nothing meant more than his health and happiness.
BART’s first trip to the beach was unforgettable. We hit the sand, removed his leash and expected him to take off running. Instead he stood faithfully by my side. So my husband walked down the beach a short distance, I motioned BART to run and that he did. He ran straight to my husband, the wind in his ears looked like angel wings helping him to fly. It was the best moment ever. It looked like he felt freedom for the first time in his life. Our first big purchase was a Yak Bob Cart so I could pull him behind my bicycle on rides. Once again BART loved it, I believe he loved the feel of the wind in his ears and I swear he smiled. We loved traveling but knew kenneling BART was not something we would ever do. So we made the decision to purchase a motor home. Best decision ever, we traveled with BART as often as possible.
BART’s absolute favorite thing in the entire world was his daily walks. We were fortunate to live close to a river and park area. BART loved his 3-4 walks a day. My husband retired in 2016 and it was the best thing. He and BART became inseparable, they were quite a pair, everyone in the neighborhood knew them by sight and always stopped to talk. BART was always so patient.
In time BART’s physical strength began to weaken. Our stairs were now difficult, our hill was harder and riding in the bicycle cart was hard on his legs. We purchased a wagon which made all the difference. We now pulled him up and down the hill saving his energy for his walking and sniffing. We carried him up and down our stairs and off our back deck into the yard. As his hearing loss continued I began using hand signals to which he responded well. His eye sight lessened and often it was difficult to know if he was sleeping or awake as his eyes remained open when resting.
Finally in October 2017 we decided to sell our large home on the hill and purchase a single story house in the flat lands. BART now had fenced front and back grassy yards and no stairs. Walking became less important to him, walking down our driveway to just in front of the yard seemed to satisfy him and he would want to turn around again. Around New Years 2018 BART suffered his first seizure. Although he showed no adverse reactions after we began watching closely. After his second seizure 3 weeks later we took him for evaluation. We began to monitor his breathing, energy, sleeping, and eating. His blood pressure suddenly spiked so medications were prescribed. X-rays indicated development of congestive heart failure and somewhat enlarged liver. BART was slowing down in all areas, his blood pressure was not coming down and he had another seizure. This was the beginning of a very difficult week for us.
We decided to make a bucket list of BART’s favorite place and take him. We went to the coast, pulled him along the river in his wagon, let him walk through a field of daisies, and finally took him to visit his favorite girlfriend, Abby. It was absolutely wonderful to see BART and Abby together. We spent the night and woke the next morning to realize BART was shutting down. We called Dr. Callahan and agreed to make the drive home immediately so he could examine him. By the time we arrived at his office BART was exhausted and lethargic. It was so difficult to imagine our time with him was up.
The one thing we promised BART in the very beginning was we would never ask more of him than he could give…so now that time had come. We told him it was okay to be tired, it was okay to rest and let go. BART crossed the Rainbow Bridge in our arms, knowing he was completely loved and safe.
We had BART cremated and he is home with us again. It is our intention to spread some of his ashes in his favorite spots knowing he is running free. It has been an emotional time for us…loosing our little buddy has been so hard.
BART was part of our family for 5 years, those 5 years brought us such joy and changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined. We know we gave BART everything possible but most of all we gave him the life he so deserved.
In Memory of our Beloved BART,
Steve and Becky Northrop
A donation was made in Bart's memory and the memorial was created on June 13, 2018.