More than half of U.S. dogs are obese, and a sweet Dachshund aptly named Fat Vincent was definitely part of that statistic. That is, until he began an 8-month fitness regimen and shed an astounding 21 pounds from his tiny frame! With a starting weight of 38 pounds, his transformation from fat to fit was no small endeavor.
Vincent was surrendered to a county shelter after his owner passed away. At 7-years old and severely obese, it was very unlikely that he'd be adopted. That's when K9 Angels Rescue
and Vincent's incredible foster mom Melissa Anderson stepped in. Melissa opened her home to Vincent, and together with her veterinarian Sharon Anderson (no relation) began the arduous task of getting him healthy again.
Vincent's Body Mass Index (BMI) was 62.7% putting him at risk for spinal injuries, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and respiratory disorders, just to name a few related health issues. When Dr. Anderson first met him, she had trouble discerning whether Vincent was standing or lying down because his excessive fat masked his tiny legs.
She calculated his goal weight at 16.8 pounds, and determined the ideal feeding schedule to get him there. Dr. Anderson sells Royal Canin pet food at her clinic, and she contacted her rep with Vincent's story. The company happily signed on to sponsor the pudgy pup with healthy kibble.
Beginning an exercise regime with Vincent had to be handled very carefully to prevent injury. Melissa started him out with water aerobics in the family pool. The water relieved the stress on his joints, and provided a low impact means of activity. Once he was able to shed some of the weight, Vincent's body could handle longer and longer walks. He currently takes 5 to 6 one-hour walks with Melissa per week---something she says he can now actually enjoy:
He loves his walks. He waits by the door after breakfast every morning.
She also says Vincent's entire demeanor has transformed. When Melissa met him 8 months ago, Vincent was sluggish and depressed, but now she describes him as "the sweetest, funniest, happiest guy".
Vincent still has one more stubborn pound to lose before he reaches his goal of 16.8 pounds, but he is already enjoying the results of his hard work. Aside from his improved attitude, the health benefits of Vincent's weight loss are impressive to say the least. His cholesterol level has plummeted from an unhealthy 286 to a perfectly average 166, and his risk factors for the diseases feared by Dr. Anderson have also dropped.
Vincent's remarkable transformation has made him something of a Celebri-dog, especially after his feature in People Magazine. He was even invited by the national animal advocacy group, Best Friends
, to announce the start of their Strut Your Mutt
dog walk fundraiser.
Once he reaches his goal weight, Vincent will be ready for adoption. Melissa Anderson described his ideal adopter:
The perfect home will continue his daily walks and the monitoring of his food. Most important is having lots of love to give!
Vincent has his own Facebook page where you can track his progress. It's called Fat Vincent of K-9 Angels Rescue Houston
---although I guess it's time to change it to "Fit Vincent" instead!
Major Bark-love to K9 Angels, Melissa Anderson, Dr. Sharon Anderson, and everyone who believed in Vincent enough to give him this second chance.
H/T to WGN
Featured Images via Melissa Anderson