When a Weimaraner was reported to be on death row at a high-kill shelter, Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue acted without delay. However, they were horrified to see a dog with such a large tumor on his underbelly that he could hardly stand when they got there.
His alias was Gilbert Grape. How he was able to live for as long as he did or how he went so long without receiving medical care is a mystery.
Keri Pink, a media relations volunteer with Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue (TPWR), told DogHeirs the story of Gilbert Grape. She describes how the lost dog was saved and how he is making progress toward recovery.
A male Weimaraner was picked up as a stray and taken to the county’s high-kill shelter by the local animal control officers on a typical Arizona summer day when temperatures topped 95 degrees, according to Keri. He was unable to stand or move because of the enormous, diseased tumor he was carrying. The dog was placed on the concrete floor of the isolation area of the shelter, where animals await their demise as a result of illness or aggression.
The county has a program that allows pre-approved, nationally recognized rescues to accept animals in under medical clearance, but the shelter’s protocol for strays is to store the animal without screening for 72 hours to allow an owner to claim it.
“Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue was notified by two dedicated shelter volunteers, and we immediately stepped in to help.
“We called him Gilbert Grape because of the enormous tumor that had the shape of a grape and hung from his chest. Gilbert Grape was brought to a 24-hour specialty veterinary facility, where it was determined that in order for their surgeon to attempt a life-saving operation to remove the tumor, he would require blood transfusions and intravenous catheter stabilization.
It was estimated that diagnosis, stabilization, and surgery would cost about $7,000. Saving the dog’s life was a no-brainer decision for the rescue volunteers and medical staff. However, there is a narrow line in rescue between what a private owner would’ve been required to do in order to give life-saving therapy for their animal and what a dog entering rescue might have and should be put through. Private pet owners choose their own pets, whereas rescues rely on government support.
Gilbert’s health status and precise age were unclear, however his blood testing was largely normal (save for just a high white blood cell count from the diseased tumor); his expected lifespan was around seven.
“We saw a spark in Flanagan’s eyes and wanted to give man a shot, but we eventually realised we’d need popular support.”
In order to choose the best course of action for the dog’s future, we sought the advice of a variety of veterinarians and surgeons. Funds started to pour in after we started a campaign and informed our Facebook followers about the problem.
Gilbert underwent a simple procedure and recovered quickly in the intensive care unit. He was discharged from the hospital two days later and has since flourished.
Gilbert’s 12-pound tumor’s pathology report revealed that it was simply a benign lipoma one week after his surgery, according to the report. Gilbert has long since been cancer-free.
The surgical staples in his chest were taken out at his follow-up examination, and he received a clean bill of health. Veterinarians claim that Gilbert, on the other hand, suffered muscle loss and physiological strain as a result of compensating while carrying the tumor for at least a year.
He is ataxic in his back legs and has very little muscle mass overall. His center of gravity is off, which causes him to walk awkwardly.
Gilbert will soon start a physical therapy program that includes water therapy, massages, and manipulations. Even though his physical health is still precarious, his charming and humorous nature is coming through to his foster father more and more every day.
“Gilbert’s narrative reached a substantial number of individuals, and some adoption applications were most likely accepted as a consequence.” He has a bright future ahead of him even if he isn’t quite ready for adoption yet.
A year after his rescue, Gilbert had been adopted and was flourishing in a “very loving and caring home.” His family has a pool where he can swim for regular water therapy despite having been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, and he gets along “brilliantly” with his new family.
The records state that Gilbert was saved in 2013. Since that time, Gilbert and other dogs in desperate need of assistance have been saved by Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue, along with others with special needs, sick dogs, and others. Visit their website and Facebook page for additional details and to see the dogs who are up for adoption.