It’s all too easy to use food and treats to show our pets how much we love them, but it’s important to monitor their weight just as carefully as we watch our own.
Our pets rely on us to give them healthy portions of good foods, but when we fail them it’s the animal who pays the price. When Pam Heggie of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, got the call from her local veterinarian about a grossly overweight dog who needed a foster home, she was unprepared for just how fat Kai’s previous owners had let him get.
“Even the pictures don’t do justice of how overwhelmingly large he was,” Pam explained. The golden retriever was young but weighed in at just under 170 pounds – about 100 pounds over the weight his new vet recommended. In fact, Kai’s previous owners had brought him to the vet to be euthanized because he was having trouble getting up. Thankfully, the vet took one look at the sweet expression in this sweet boy’s face and knew he still had a lot of love to give, and a lot of life still left to live.
Pam is a former cardiac rehabilitation nurse, so the vet knew she had the compassion and knowledge to safely get Kai back down to a normal weight.
Even bringing Kai home was a struggle, but Pam was determined to help this animal.
“He literally couldn’t do anything,” she stated. “He could walk a few steps and then he’d pant and lay down. It would just bring me to tears. I remember going to the dog park at first, and he’d just sit there. He’d watch everyone play and he’d just kind of look at me and I’d be like, ‘Buddy, I don’t know if we’re ever going to get there but we’re gonna try.'”
With the vet’s encouragement and support Pam put Kai on a diet and began the laborious task of getting the dog back on his feet. “We’ll just start with the simplest thing, which is walking,” Pam said. She began taking Kai out for three walks a day. He received no treats and his meals were closely monitored. Not a day went by that Kai and Pam didn’t hit the street for a walk or head to the dog park to stretch their legs.
Pam says that the dog got off to a very slow start but he never once gave up. “At first he could just walk maybe five or ten steps and then he’d stop and lay down, then I thought maybe if I could get him in water it would be way better, just for the buoyancy and for him to be able to have full range of motion.”
Pam soon started noticing signs of improvement in Kai’s movements. Every day he’d add on a new range of motion that he hadn’t been able to accomplish before, from jumping over a log on the trail to climbing up onto their bed and making himself comfortable.
After a year of hard work, Kai had lost 100 pounds!
Pam said he’s like a whole different dog, and watching him persevere taught her a lot about what it means to have a fighting spirit. “He’s showing me how to remain positive and happy and take really big goals and just break them down into tiny little steps. Kai worked harder than any person, any animal I have ever known in my life to get to where he could enjoy life again. All he wanted was to have fun and be a part of a family.”
Pam really fell in love with Kai as she helped him lose the weight, so once he was healthy again she decided to adopt him!
What a great ending to this story! It’s so wonderful to see Kai running around with his doggy brother and living his best life without all that weight dragging him down. He’s an example to all of us who have a few pounds to lose – never give up! Kai is also a reminder to us pet owners to put the brakes on if our furry friends start packing on too much weight. It’s much easier to rein it in when they’ve only got five pounds to lose instead of waiting until they’re 100 pounds overweight!
Watch the video below to learn more about Kai’s weight loss journey and be sure so share.
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