TRIPAWDS: Home to 24376 Members and 2166 Blogs.

How Baron Beat Bone Cancer in the Skull

When osteosarcoma strikes dogs and cats, it usually occurs in the leg bones. Rarely does this malignant bone cancer originate in other places and when it does, it’s only natural to feel all alone. For anyone who is in this scary situation, we hope you are inspired by today’s story about Baron, a ten year old German Shepherd who beat the osteosarcoma odds after a tumor appeared in his muzzle near his brain.

Baron, canine osteosarcoma hero

His parents, Rose and Major Glen Porter of Southern California, never gave up when vets relayed the bad news about Baron’s osteosarcoma skull tumor. Their persistence, love and dedication paid off: thanks to the skilled team at Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center who performed stereotactic radiation therapy on the tumor, and Baron’s regular vet, Dr. Huber at Desert Veterinary Specialists in California, Baron beat the canine osteosarcoma odds for 16 beautiful months. We had the honor of meeting this heroic pack last year in Colorado and instantly knew that although Baron wasn’t a Tripawd, his battle would still be an incredible source of hope for our community.

Sadly, just two weeks ago Baron unexpectedly passed away after a happy day doing what he loves best. He’s an angel now, but his life story will always be a legacy that gives anyone the courage to fight a pet cancer diagnosis no matter what the odds say. Here is his story as told by his dad, a decorated Vietnam war hero, shortly before his beloved pup became an angel.

When we received Baron’s diagnosis, we were devastated to say the least.  Our vet, Dr. Norm Smith is a 30-year family friend and a fellow pilot.  We had initially treated Baron’s problem as a persistent nasal infection.  When the lump started to appear we thought perhaps it was a dental infection and Norm referred us to Dr. Yee, who is Dr. Huber’s wife and the local Dental Surgeon.  Then we got a call that our appointment had been switched to Dr. Huber who is the Cancer and Orthopedics Surgeon (at Desert Veterinary Specialists).  We were terrified at this point because we knew what the change meant.

When we met Dr. Huber he put us at ease very quickly.  We discussed Baron’s case and that we only had a few options and the percentage (5%) for success was not very good.  In part I think the 5% call was to see just how serious Rose and I were about treating Baron’s cancer.  We discussed how difficult an OS was to treat in any bone but nearly impossible in the muzzle.  On the other hand, we would not cure him, but if we were serious about treatment, we might be able to keep him comfortable for some time.

Dr. Huber said there were only two place with the equipment (sterotatic radiation) that could treat him.  One was CSU the other Florida State.  We told him that we would be ready to go shortly, get us an appointment at either location and we are going to buy a new motor home for the trip.  I think he was initially a bit awe struck at our response and had a hard time taking it seriously.   A few days later we announced that we were ready to go and the new motor home was being prepped for delivery.

Baron on the road to Colorado State University.

Now that Huber knew we were serious he set about convincing CSU that we were real.  The standing joke become “we had to buy a motor home…the family jet was down.”  No we don’t own a jet, but one of Huber’s other clients threw their furpanion in the family jet and headed to CSU.

First we did a bunch of tests to make sure that his cancer had not spread.  Several trips to Palm Springs for tests then two trip to San Diego for a CT Scan and Baron was otherwise clean.  We had just enough time to load the motor home, close the house down and hit the road.  We arrived at CSU on the afternoon before his first appointment.

CSU did not hold out much hope for Baron due to the location of his tumor.   The conversation kind of went that treatment was expensive and there were no guarantees.  Generally  we got the idea that we should make him comfortable and enjoy our remaining time with him.  I told him Baron was a “trust fund puppy”, and that cost was not an issue.  He likewise told us the chances were very small as the tumor was close to his brain. We said if we can keep him comfortable and his quality of life remains high, we’ll take 5% and run with it.

We just passed Barons 15 month anniversary of completing his first radiation therapy program.  That’s 15 months on being thrilled with new toys, going new places, enjoying new experiences and for us learning new things about Baron.

Life is a gamble.  If you don’t try you’ll never know if the doctors were right or wrong.  If I were asked by another parent facing the same type of furpanion cancer I would highly recommend they give treatment a try.  It’s expensive, but if you have the means, that life is far more irreplaceable that some cash.  But that also is dependent on how the treatment facility views the attitude (do they have the will to survive?) of the furpanion or are they simply present and accounted for?  The same goes for the parents, they have to demonstrate a willingness to follow through and complete the treatments and stay with the aftercare program.  If either part of that formula is short I don’t think that an animal would be accepted into a program where doctors and treatment space and time are at a premium.

I think the eyes and tail say it all…Baron is thrilled every time Rose or I come home.  When the pack (his family) is short, he constantly looks for where they are.  When he gets a new toy his eyes light up…the tail goes into motion and you can see his enjoyment with the fact that he despite the odds is alive, comfortable and thrilled that he has seen a new day.  So I think his comment would simply be,  “thank you, I am so glad that I came to join this family.”

Life is a gamble. Had we simply accepted their concept of keep him comfortable and enjoy the remaining time with him, Rose, myself and Baron would have missed out on so many adventures, and finding out new things about each other. That would have been terrible!

Baron, always our hero.

Recommended Reading

Read more about Baron’s cranial osteosarcoma fight in the Summer 2014 Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center Newsletter PDF download.

Sharing is Caring!

5 thoughts on “How Baron Beat Bone Cancer in the Skull”

  1. Thank You One and All!

    I’m truly sorry that I have waited so long to express our appreciation for all of your wonderful comments. Unfortunately, this grizzled old Major just got to emotional every time I sat down to respond. Rose and I have been married just over 47 years and Baron was our once in a lifetime furpanion.

    We rescued him from an abusive breeder in Palm Springs, CA via German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County. He was under weight by about 15 pounds and only 4 months old. He had been kept in a small kennel box and had a hard time getting his rear in the up position. But it was love at first sight!

    Baron walked in the door of his new home and explained to Sasha, our white GS that he was now the boss. Looked at the cats and had no idea what to do. We also had a pot bellied pig at the time and it scared the bejibbies (?) out of him. It’s like he came with a program. One or two days and he had all of the rules down and was from that day on a perfect gentleman.

    Should you ever need specialized care for your furpanion, please consider Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center. Which is a deceiving name as they do everything from holistic to heart medicine. And everything in between. Prices are very reasonable and the staff is somewhere beyond outstanding.

    Again, thank you one and all, Rose and I are so thrilled to have had Baron in our life. We hope that each and everyone of you will have the pleasure of a Baron to share your lives with.

    Glen Porter, Major
    U. S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

  2. I have known Glen and Rose for some 39 years or so. Met Glen when we were both elevated to the exalted rank of Warrant Officer in the U. S. Marine Corps. Glen and my family were stationed together as fairly new Warrant Officers in Yuma AZ. After that we were not stationed together again although Glen did become my oldest sons Officer In Charge after Steve Jr. joined the Marines.

    Glen first told me about Baron during their last visit to CSU. As long time parents of a number of dogs, cats and horses Melissa and I really relate to how hard their fight had to be and how much our furry friends are a part of our family. We are great supporters of Best Friends in Kanab UT and know just how important such organizations are to our family. We too have lost furry members of our family to cancer and other illness. Like Glen and Rose we always try to make their lives as comfortable and enjoyable as we can.

    One important thing Melissa and I have learned throughout our lives is that we can never replace those we lose, but we can find new friends who also become a part of our family and live happily.

    While reading about Baron there were many tears in my eyes and a great deal of empathy for Rose and Glen. Not everyone who have the privilege of a family member such as Baron treat them with the respect and care that they earn through their love for us. From those toys we give them to the romps all over the place.

    Baron’s story is a wonderful story and I trust he is happily looking down at Rose and Glen as he thanks them for a wonderful life.

    Steve & Melissa Hulland
    Capt USMC Retired

    • Capt. & Mrs. Hulland, thank you so much for taking time to read about Baron and sharing your own experiences at pet parents. As you already know, Baron and his people have a magic that will never fade, but grow stronger in time as more animals come into their lives who need the kind of love and companionship that Glen and Rose are able to give. Like you two, their care and compassion is changing the world one animal at a time. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Yes indeed. Thank you so much for sharing Baron’s story and your journey together with us. What an inspawration! Celebrating Baron’s amazing life tonight! And sending his pawrents TONS of tripawd love and support. You did everything you could possibly do to give Baron the best life ever. Baron will always be your hero and he will always be a hero to the Tripawds Nation. <3 <3 <3

    Codie Rae and the Oaktown Pack


    The commitment, the devotion, the determination, the inspirational positive attitude, the LOVE…astounding!!!

    Baron is definitely a teacher…a true Professor…on so many levelsI I guarantee each physician Baron has come i n contact with has been transformative in their re-evaluation of what a “5% chance means”!

    This post is loaded with so many “pearls of wisdom” and gives us insight into a beautiful dog surrounded bynthe attitude of “will to live”…POWERFUL!!

    Thank you so much for sharing this miraculous story of inspiration and hope! Keep on soaking up the loving and spoling Baron…your humans are putty in your paws!!!

    Standing ovation to Baron and his pack…topped off with a dose of love!!

    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle too!


Leave a Comment

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tripawds is brought to you by Tripawds.