It isn’t only essential for us to look after our physical and mental health; we must also be vigilant of the well being of our pets too. It’s not enough to ensure they have food, water, love and cuddles, vaccinations, clean teeth, ears, and fur. We need to keep them within an ideal weight.
As with humans, obesity in animals can have short and long-term effects on physical health and a pet’s quality of life. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, (AFPOP), found in 2016 59% of cats and 54% of dogs were considered overweight or obese in the U.S. The hard numbers? It approximates to 41.9 million dogs and 50.5 million cats.
One sweet 7-year-old golden retriever, (aptly named Strudel), was once part of this statistic. But now, after losing 25 pounds, she’s more playful and happier than ever.
Strudels elderly owner died this year. Strudel ended up with the dog rescue group, Hearts for Hounds. The poor lady weighed in at nearly 81 pounds; she had enflamed joins and other health problems.
The owners of Zoom Room of Virginia Beach, Kristy and John Cotthaus, saw Strudel’s photo and heard her story this summer. They offered the retriever mix their fitness services free of charge. The couple worked with a veterinarian to design an agility course that wouldn’t be too difficult for Strudel. They also put together a diet plan.
According to Kristy, Strudel was a natural.
“We motivate dogs with treats, toys, and praise but Strudel was easy, it’s almost like she knew what she had to do,” Kristy Cotthaus said.
“We didn’t have to use any treats at all because she was motivated to do the agility [course] with just lots of praise.”
The agility course and diet worked. Strudel slimmed down. In fact, she did so well that she’s now up for adoption through Hearts for Hounds.
“Strudel is the sweetest animal we have ever met,” said Kristen Horton, Strudel’s foster parent.
“She is calm, friendly, loves to play, snuggle, and walk, and is well-trained … Think gentle giant (though not so giant anymore!!)”
Horton and her family weren’t the first to foster Strudel. She was with another family, but couldn’t remain because, believe it or not; she is too energetic.
Horton says Strudel loves other dogs and would do well in a home with children who could keep her active. She’ll need to continue eating a strict diet; veterinarians will evaluate any internal issues she may have as a result of her weight loss. Strudel does, however, have severe joint issues. She wouldn’t do well in a place with stairs.
“She’s a miracle of a pup so far,” Horton raved.
I have to agree. Strudel has become a new dog since her transformation. She appears to have come into her own with the help of many kind folks. Now all she needs is a loving home to call her own.