Miraculous recovery: Pit Bull with a tumor the size of a volleyball receives life-saving surgery and goes home forever

Libby arrived at the shelter lugging a volleyball-sized lump on her right shoulder. The 5-year-old pit bull drew dire concerns from the staff at the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County, who feared it might be bone cancer.

Yet, somehow, it came as no surprise that the pit bull with a “loving spirit” would find happiness and a new forever home with one of their own.

Libby was found by a good Samaritan in Tacoma, Washington, and on Aug. 17 Tacoma Animal Control brought her to the team at the shelter, where X-ray scans confirmed their fears.

Libby, the 5-year-old pit bull brought into the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County on Aug. 17, undergoes surgery to remove a mass “the size of a volleyball” from her shoulder. (Courtesy of The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County)

After sending out a press release about Libby on Aug. 21, the Humane Society announced that her “story spread through the community” and “hundreds of caring donors sprang into action, unable to sit idly by as the sweet pit bull suffered.”

Thanks to gifts and charitable donations, the organization was able to collaborate with expert veterinarians at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital, and vital surgery was performed on Libby.

“Due to the degree of discomfort Libby was experiencing and the size of the tumor, a right thoracic limb amputation was completed,” Ms. Heaney told the newspaper. “Libby’s front leg and the 10-pound mass, which is nearly a quarter of her body weight, that caused her so much agony, were amputated.”

Libby, now renamed Wiggles, after her leg amputation. (Courtesy of The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County)

Despite the surgery’s success, experts found that Libby still had an aggressive bone cancer and her time left to live was limited. Yet it came as no surprise to the team at the Humane Society what happened next.

One of the technicians who had assisted in Libby’s care, they stated, had taken one look at her and immediately fell in love.

“There’s something in her eyes that begs for love and safety,” the technician said in a statement. “I couldn’t turn away from that.”

The technician then took the next step by fostering the pit bull to help her through her recovery. And once Libby was medically cleared, the woman adopted the dog as her own.

“Seeing any pet in our shelter find a loving home is so rewarding,” Ms. Heaney told us. “But witnessing a pet like Libby, with complex medical needs, find a loving home to live out her golden years is truly heartwarming.”

On gaining a new family, the pit bull also received a new name—Wiggles. Her new owners had wanted a name to “match her joyful and wiggly personality,” Ms. Heaney said.

Wiggles and her new owner, a technician who cared for, and fell in love with, the pit bull with a “loving spirit.” (Courtesy of The Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County)

Today, the shelter stated, Wiggles spends days playing with her new dog brother, snuggling with her human sister, and enjoying well-earned naps on the couch, wrapped in cozy fleece blankets.

“Though we’re uncertain how much time she has left, we know she’ll spend her remaining days surrounded by love and comfort,” the Humane Society said, “thanks to the kindness of our community.”

One of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the nation, the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County cares for around 10,000 animals every year.

Wiggles found a new home, but “the work never stops,” Ms. Heaney said. “Every day, animals arrive at our shelter needing care and intensive rehabilitation.”

The press release about Libby last August also mentioned that 21 other animals showed up shortly after she did. “This included two parakeets, five geckos, one bearded dragon, eight snakes, four rabbits, and one kitten,” they stated.

Then, less than 24 hours later, 18 Cats were brought into the shelter by Pierce County Animal Control. They “had been living in inches of feces and urine with little interaction with people,” the statement said. “All of the cats arrived at the shelter dirty and fearful.”

Staff provided the animals with individual attention, food, and medical care.

“Critical medical care for dogs like Libby and large-scale intakes from animal control is the most expensive aspect of the shelter’s budget, totaling more than $4.5 million each year,” said Ashley Taulbee, chief philanthropy officer at the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County. “Every dollar helps make this life-saving work possible.”

After the adoption of Libby the pit bull, the organization posted on Facebook how it’s a myth that pit bulls are unfriendly: “Many pit bull-type dogs are friendly and loving—it all depends on the individual dog.”