Pit Bull with Advanced Stomach Cancer

Matt and his wife, Nicole, live in a rural area of southern Texas known as Texas Hill Country. Avid animal enthusiasts, they have had especially soft hearts for pit bulls and, until recently, they ran a pit bull rescue group that Nicole started, named “Cutie Pitooties.” As a foster-based rescue group, they were able to go to shelters and rescue the pit bulls that were most in need, then place them in foster homes until they could be adopted into loving permanent homes. Matt says that approximately 95% of the dogs in shelters that are put down are pit bulls or mixed pit breeds. This is mainly due to the public’s perception of pit bulls as an aggressive and dangerous breed. However, according to Matt, it is just the opposite. In his experience, pit bulls are generally extremely friendly, loving, and playful dogs, as well as very smart.

Nicole and Matt would usually foster the high medical cases themselves and cover the dogs’ treatment costs, often sheltering up to ten dogs in their own home at a time.  These were dogs they would administer medicine to and rehabilitate until they, too, could be adopted out.  It was a lot of hard work, so when they rescued 4-year-old Lulu from a San Antonio shelter’s death row, Nicole was not happy with Matt’s desire for them to adopt her as their own dog.  Nicole sensibly argued that they had enough dogs to take care of and could easily place Lulu in a foster home.  But Matt had felt an instant connection with Lulu and would not be swayed.  He insisted they adopt her.  Lulu was a mostly white purebred with bluish-gray spots, and her ears had already been clipped.  (Something Matt and Nicole would not have done.)

Lulu proved to be a truly lovable dog and soon, both Matt and Nicole had fallen in love with her.  Before being taken into the shelter, Lulu had been found wandering the streets and must have had a very tough time.  Perhaps this was why she was so loving and happy in her new home.  Matt says that every morning he and Lulu would have a “dance party.”  Then, Lulu would run as fast as she could outside in their yard, up and down the fence line in a state of pure joy!

With strangers, Lulu was not a problem of any kind.  She seemed to love everybody and was in heaven being the center of attention and getting lots of petting.  She especially loved visits with Matt to Home Depot or Lowes, where she soaked up attention from the other shoppers in the store.

Matt and Nicole had had Lulu for about 3 years before they suddenly noticed a change in her.  One day, she was lethargic and didn’t get up in the morning.  Her gums were white and she wouldn’t eat.  When Matt took her to their veterinarian, tests were performed, including an ultrasound.  The ultrasound showed a sizeable tumor in Lulu’s stomach that had ruptured and there were clear indications that she was bleeding internally.  Moreover, there was another tumor apparent on Lulu’s spleen. 

The vet’s suggestion was to remove the tumors surgically.  But this would have been a very serious procedure and would cost thousands of dollars — money that Matt and Nicole did not have.  Matt asked what Lulu’s life expectancy was without surgery and the vet said, “Six months at best.”   Matt was both devastated and deeply frustrated that he couldn’t afford the surgery.  While they were trying to figure out what to do, he and Nicole showered Lulu with affection and started cooking a special diet for her of ground turkey, sweet potatoes, chicken and chicken broth to make sure she felt loved.

A few days later, a friend told Matt and Nicole that he knew of something they could try for Lulu and told them about Essiac Tea from  Matt admitted honestly that he never really believed in supplements or herbal remedies before.  He explained, “I didn’t think there was any reason to believe that Essiac would work.”  But he and Nicole were not coming up with any other options and, when the man selling the Essiac heard that they could not afford the surgery, he offered to supply them with Essiac Tea for free as long as they needed it.  So Matt said yes.  Then, Nicole found out that Turkey Tail mushrooms have powerful cancer-fighting qualities, and they ordered some in capsules from a company called “Double Wood Supplements.”

Matt and Nicole started brewing the powdered 8-herb Essiac in their home and giving it to Lulu 3 times a day.  They gave her the amount indicated in the instructions for an animal of her weight, which was about 65 pounds.  Administering the Essiac 3 times a day instead of just twice, and also administering the Turkey Tail mushroom extract along with it must have been just the right thing to do because, though she was still lethargic for the first few days, on about day 4 of getting Essiac and Turkey Tail mushroom, Lulu perked up.  Matt recalled that it was “the difference between night and day.”  Suddenly, Lulu was happy and energetic again and started running around the yard at high speed once more!

After about 4 months on this protocol, Matt and Lulu returned to the vet and the results of another ultrasound were stunning.  There was no longer any indication of the tumor in her stomach or the one on her spleen, and no longer evidence of any internal bleeding!  Matt was amazed.  Even so, the vet didn’t believe what he was seeing and still wanted to do the surgery.  Matt and Nicole didn’t see the sense in that, so they switched to a different vet and simply continued giving Lulu the Essiac and mushroom extract for at least several months more. 

In the Fall of 2017, Lulu’s prognosis had been that, without surgery, she would live only 6 months at best.  But, after 4 months on Essiac Tea and Turkey Tail mushroom, her ultrasound was clear and has remained clear ever since.  Her cancer never came back.  That was 3 years ago.   Now, as of this writing in 2020, Lulu is still alive and cancer-free.  She is 10 years old and as happy and energetic as she was when Matt and Nicole first adopted her.

Nicole and Matt are forever grateful to Essiac Tea and the people at  They eventually had to close down their pit bull rescue group, but they still maintain a Facebook group called “Cutie Pitooties Pit Bull Rescue,” and through that, they continue to help connect people with good dogs available for adoption. 

As for Lulu, she continues to live life to the fullest and still loves to walk through Home Depot and Lowes and soak up all the attention she can get.