Willoughby was a 48-pound American Pit Bull Terrier born on 2/4/00. We adopted him through the web site Pit Bull Rescue Central when he was 5.5 months old. At the age of six months, Willoughby broke and dislocated his rear leg in a fetching accident. But what a trouper! He went on to earn titles in flyball, agility, and weight pulling. In 2005, he placed 1st in the Willow Winter Carnival State Championship Weight Pull, and in 2006 placed 1st in the World Championship Fur Rendezvous Weight Pull. Willoughby was an all-around athlete who also enjoyed lure coursing, mushing, skijoring, swimming, and nosework. He was happiest when running through the woods at warp speed or handing out kisses. In 2009, Willoughby received th NAFA Region 18 MVP award. His personal best in flyball was 5.020 seconds.
On 9/24/08, Willoughby had an emergency splenectomy and two blood transfusions due to a ruptured mass on his spleen. He was diagnosed with splenic hemangiosarcoma (HSA), a highly aggressive and metastatic cancer with a median survival of 3-6 months. Willoughby beat the odds and survived 4 years, 3 months. But the HSA ultimately returned and took our sweet boy on 12/22/12.
Willoughby was a total sweetheart with an amazing personality. To say he impacted people is an understatement. He loved people more than anything, especially his family. We miss the things that sound small, but feel so big in our hearts–his endearing grin, the adorable way he stretched out on his stomach, his legs kicked back like a frog, and the way he greeted us at the door, with full body wags and a shoe in his mouth that he carried around, whimpering and wheezing with honest joy. Willoughby, your love knew no bounds. We celebrate you. You have made our lives so much more. You are our hearts.