When Jay B Sauceda, the Austin-based entrepreneur and podcaster behind “Texas Humor” put down his beloved Corgi, Carl, it wasn’t his first experience with osteosarcoma. In fall 2005, while a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, Jay B met freshman Willie Tichenor, who would succumb to the disease the following spring.
Upon meeting Willie, Jay B, a rookie coordinator for the spirit group Texas Iron Spikes, asked Willie if he had “any special talents.”
“He said he could sing,” Jay B recalls. “Then he stood on his chair and sang ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ in front of a bunch of grown men and we were completely blown away. It was totally a testament to who he was.”
In 2019, when Carl was found to have canine osteosarcoma, Jay B joined the fight against it, raising more than $10,000 for the Osteosarcoma Institute, whose mission is to identify and fund the most promising breakthrough osteosarcoma clinical trials and science. It was an easy decision for Jay B to support the Osteosarcoma Institute, as it was founded by Willie’s parents after their son’s passing. The organization also supports translational research to help better understand how to treat humans with osteosarcoma as well as dogs.
The Osteosarcoma Institute welcomes opportunities to help osteosarcoma patients on both sides of the leash and recently awarded a $400,000 grant to Daniel A. Valera, PhD, at the University of Minnesota to investigate a novel combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy in pet dogs. If successful, Dr. Valera aims to extend his investigation to children with osteosarcoma — an undertaking Jay B is honored to support.
A Final Farewell
When it was clear that Carl was suffering, Jay B knew it was time to let him go — impossible as it seemed.
“Carl was a super fun dog,” he says. “I always posted about him on social media; he’s on our website as our company CFO. When he got sick, I posted about his final weeks… there were a lot of folks who had similar situations with their dog. It was kind of crazy how viral the story went.”
On the day he said goodbye, JB posted a tribute on Instagram:
Carl left for the Rainbow Bridge a little while ago. Not before finishing an entire steak I cooked him (rare, just like he liked it) or saying goodbye. He laid with us in the sun by the front window where he’d wait for us while we were at work.
The massive outpouring of notes and DMs have been so uplifting. I felt a bit cringey when I first shared the news of his sickness, but have received hundreds of messages from y’all saying that his story was uplifting and provided solace. Thank y’all.
Hug those dogs. They’re pure love on four legs.
Click here to make a donation in honor of International Dog Day and OSI’s commitment to translational research.