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Dog dumped at shelter with 3.2-lb. tumor bounces back after successful surgery

After veterinarians removed the giant mass — about a third of the dachshund's body weight — Boo Boo found freedom to run and a happy forever home.
Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
/ Source: TODAY

Before a dog named Boo Boo could be adopted, she had something she needed to get off her chest. Literally.

The 13-year-old dachshund was dumped at a municipal shelter in San Francisco with a mammary tumor that weighed 3.2 pounds — about a third of her body weight. She could barely walk.

That’s when Muttville Senior Dog Rescue stepped in.

“The guardians never took her in or tried to treat that tumor as it grew. And it grew to the point where it was literally dragging and starting to chafe on the ground because dachshunds have those little short legs,” Sherri Franklin, Muttville’s founder, told TODAY. “We immediately said we would take her because we knew that there was no way she was going to make it out of the shelter alive because it’s a big surgery and it’s an unknown.”

The team at Muttville wrapped Boo Boo in a belly band to hold up the tumor to help her walk and took her to a veterinarian to test for cancer. Happily, her bloodwork came back normal. Then a surgeon removed the mass — which turned out to be benign.

A Dachshund named Boo Boo wears a cone after surgery.
In addition to surgically removing the tumor, veterinarians spayed Boo Boo. About 90% of dogs who enter Muttville Senior Dog Rescue with mammary tumors have never been spayed or were spayed late in life.Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

“She came to us as a happy dog who couldn’t walk,” she said. “Now she acts like a puppy. She has a whole new life ahead of her.”

Though many staff and volunteers wept when they first saw Boo Boo's condition, they cried tears of joy when she found the perfect forever home with San Francisco resident Ashley Shuster, 26.

Boo Boo looks around from the comfort of a lap.
Boo Boo is a friendly dog who loves meeting people and dogs.Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

“I’ve always wanted a dog,” Shuster told TODAY. “I was watching Muttville’s website really closely. Then I saw Boo Boo. She had a little party hat on in her photo. I was immediately drawn to her. Also, my grandma had dachshunds her whole life, and that brought up a lot of really good childhood memories.”

When they met last month, she signed the adoption papers for the “total sweetheart. Now Boo Boo loves taking walks and running around off leash in a park near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Boo Boo stands on a beach near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Boo Boo and her new mom, Ashley Shuster, enjoy exploring San Francisco together.Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

“She just loves being able to run around. She gets so excited. She’ll just like hop through the grass and it’s really, really cute,” she said. “She especially loves running around, I think, because it’s been so long since she was able to move this freely.”

Boo Boo dog who had a tumor runs freely now
Now that the tumor is gone, Boo Boo loves running.Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Boo Boo is also a bit of a social butterfly who delights in meeting people and other dogs.

“She kind of prances around and knows she’s cute,” she said. “Everyone says hi and stops us. She’s just so sweet and loving and is so adorable. I feel like I got so lucky.”

Boo Boo looks up.
Boo Boo is living proof that abandoned senior dogs can make wonderful companions. Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, hopes potential adopters will consider adopting senior dogs during November's Adopt a Senior Pet Month and beyond. "There's a lot of them out there that have so much life in them and they are so worth adopting," she told TODAY.Courtesy of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue

Shuster hopes others will consider adopting senior pets and is extremely grateful to Muttville for saving Boo Boo’s life.

“I think Muttville’s mission of giving senior dogs a few golden years is so amazing,” she said. “I’m really lucky that they were there.”