WARNING: THIS ARTICLE INCLUDES GRAPHIC IMAGES SOME READERS MAY FIND DISTURBING
It was a heartbreaking sight when animal rescuers saw a Weimaraner dog at a high-kill shelter. What made this dog stand out was the enormous 12-pound (approx. 5 kg) tumor protruding from his body. Rescuers were soon faced with a touch choice: put the animal to sleep or carry out an operation that had a slim chance of success.
In September 2013, volunteers from the Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue (TPWR) heard that a 6-year-old stray Weimaraner had been taken into a kill shelter in Arizona and was being kept with all the sick and aggressive dogs.
A note from the dog’s shelter read, “Dog has XL mass connected at base of sternum, multiple small masses over body, pale mucous membranes, cold to touch,…difficulty walking due to mass and is severely emaciated.”
The volunteers knew immediately that they had to act fast and asked the shelter if they could retrieve the dog that night but were told that they needed to wait until the following morning.
When they picked the dog up the next day, volunteers sent him to the nearest veterinary hospital for an examination, where they learned the dog had a 12-pound tumor hanging down from his chest and several other tumors around his entire body. Moreover, the huge tumor had made it impossible for the dog to walk; thus, he dragged it between his feet, causing his skin to tear and become infected.
“The tumor was so large he could barely stand under its weight,” Keri Pink from TPWR told Caters News.
During the dog’s examination, volunteers noted the gentle nature he had even though he was in much pain. He wagged his tail the whole time and looked hopeful, so volunteers started to call him Gilbert Grape.
Gilbert’s prognosis was not good. Rescuers were soon faced with a difficult decision on whether to have Gilbert undergo surgery or not. It was not clear if the tumor was cancerous or if doctors would be able to remove it all. They didn’t know if Gilbert “would be strong enough to survive anesthesia” either.
After much consideration, they decided Gilbert should have the operation to give him a fighting chance.
TPWR initiated an emergency fundraiser online for Gilbert’s operation and recovery expenses and managed to raise enough within 24 hours.
Gilbert later underwent a successful surgery to remove the tumor.
“He was a real trooper though and after the surgery he recovered really quickly,” Pink said. “To compensate for the growths [sic] mass, he lost a lot of muscle and it took awhile for him to get his strength back.”
Before Gilbert was put up for adoption, he was sent to physical therapy and rehabilitative care for months to learn how to live without his massive tumor.
Gilbert was later adopted by Scott Roberts and now lives a fulfilling and carefree life. What a happy ending for this Weimaraner dog!
Watch Gilbert Grape swimming without his life vest for the first time in the video below:
Abandoned dog thinks he’s done wrong when he’s led out of shelter. But then, he sees what’s waiting