Golden Retriever “Kai” is one of the really tough guys, with a fighting weight of 172 pounds, that’s around 80 kilograms. Its owners, who apparently offer it little exercise and an unbalanced diet, are overwhelmed. Instead of dieting, “Kai” is threatened with an injection – he should be put to sleep because of his excess weight!
Thank goodness his attending vet refuses to give him the lethal injection. Instead, she picks up the phone and contacts the organization Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue – a place for all emergency fur. This is where “Kai” should be helped and a new home should be found for him. Finally, ten-year-old Goldie moves in with Pam Heggie. She is initially shocked by his condition:
“I couldn’t believe my eyes. His body was unbelievable. The pictures only show a small part of the size. Even taking a few steps was extremely difficult for him.”
So that “Kai” can lead a fulfilled dog life again, he has to slim down – absolutely! But Pam Heggie knows that she can’t rush anything. The weight of his kilos is massive on “Kai”, he cannot take three steps without resting. It takes a full 20 minutes to drag himself up the small flight of stairs to Pam Heggie’s house.
But instead of condemning the former owners of “Kai”, Pam Heggie looks ahead:
“I don’t know anything about its former owners, and that’s a good thing. We as zookeepers have a duty to enable animals to live healthy lives – we owe that to them. And I believe that we have to show people how they are.” Taking care of their animals properly is so much more effective than pointing blame and insults. “
It’s been almost a year since “Kai” started his diet with Pam Heggie. A strict change of food and water therapy made the start, plus three short walks a day that did not overwhelm “Kai”. Slowly but surely he built up more stamina, the walks became longer. With every pound he lost, “Kai” continued to bloom.
“His regained freedom was more exciting for us to watch than the numbers on the scales. I never dreamed that he could run, play and enjoy his life. He was ten years old when he came to us – now he is eleven years old and so full of life! “
Within a year, “Kai” managed to more than halve his weight: He lost 100 pounds, around 45 kilograms. Finally he can be a dog again – with everything that goes with it!
Obesity in pets is a global problem. The Institute for Animal Nutrition at the University of Leipzig estimates that around 40 percent of dogs and cats in the industrialized countries of Central Europe are overweight. High time to take “Kai” as an inspiring role model and to declare war on the superfluous dog fat!