Everyone loves food. And dogs happen to love food more than anyone else. They never say no to anything chew-able. And even if you turn down their request for food, you’re likely to willingly accept it with just one dog-eye stare. Those eyes can easily get the best of us. And, most of us prefer to keep feeding our pets lots and lots of food, which is really unhealthy, just to make them round and chunky. Because who doesn’t love cuddling big squishy animals, right? Well, it may be good to some extent but it should never cross a certain limit.
Similar is the story of Kai, a beautiful golden retriever, that was overfed by his owners to the point that he was unable to do anything a normal dog would. He weighed a total of 173 lbs and that was causing him serious problems. A golden retrievers ideal weight is said to be no more than 75 pounds. The only way out seemed to put him down by his previous owners. But fortunately, that is not what happened. He was kept in the shelter and later adopted by someone who saved his life.
Scroll below to know the whole story of this lovely dog, Kai.
More info: Facebook
Meet (the old) Kai. He was 173 lbs in this picture.
His owner, Pam Heggie shared, “He was a rescue surrendered to Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue. Misfits is a small local animal rescue that is based solely on fostering. At first, I fostered Kai but on December 26, 2018, he officially joined our family. He was taken in to be put down by his previous owners due to obesity. He was 173 lbs when he was taken in, and his mobility was very limited. He now weighs 68 lbs and is healthy and active.”
Kai was taken to the vet to be put down because of his weight.
Pam added,“When I first met Kai I honestly could not believe his size. He weighed 173 pounds (78.6 kg). He struggled to do everything and panted all the time. We often had to lift him using a big soaker pad to get him up the stairs. Getting him in and out of the car was so hard. Always took two of us and I took a seat out of the van so he could fit easily. Eventually, he got to where he could use a ramp and that gave us so much more freedom. I honestly was scared I would wake up and he would just be dead in his sleep. From the beginning, he seemed to understand we were trying to help. At first, he did water therapy because he limped so bad and I was worried about his joints with all that weight. A vet clinic here had a water treadmill and Kai did therapy there once a week for 6 weeks. It really helped with his stamina. Then we could go to the dog park. We walked every single day. Edmonton Alberta has very cold winters but we never missed a day. I started his Facebook page to keep us motivated and accountable. Plus I thought he was so amazing and that others would enjoy his determination and progress.”
Luckily, the vet decided not to put him down and as a result he was taken to a shelter.
“My favorite thing about Kai is his laid back personality. If I could pick the perfect dog for me, it would be Kai’s personality”, the owner shared. “He is funny, loving, and very easy going. He just loves to be wherever I am. He’s truly my best friend.”
In March 2018, Kai was 10 years old. So that makes him 12 this year. If Kai wasn’t rescued at the right time, he wouldn’t have known that life could better and healthier.
A lovely woman became Kai’s knight in shining armor and decided to help him.
As much as golden retrievers are loving and caring, things could actually go wrong very easily with them. For instance, they love food. They can eat almost anything and any time. It is a full time duty to own a retriever because if they exceed their ideal weight i.e. 55 to 75 pounds, their health starts to deteriorate. Other than that, they love playing. They are extremely intelligent, smart, and calm which also makes them the perfect family dog.
This one didn’t even have a neck. Not literally, of course.
Poor chubby Kai!
Pam Heggie, Kai’s owner, further shared,“I have two other dogs. Abby is a 4-year-old black lab, and Eddie is a 14-year-old beagle cross rescue I adopted from the SPCA 12 years ago. He had been returned twice and is the naughtiest dog ever. Abby I have had since a pup. She is always at the park with Kai. Kai is more a people dog than other dogs but he and Abby definitely have a big brother little sister relationship. They compete for affection and she is who really encouraged him at the off-leash, especially in the beginning. If Abby is by me, Kai has to come to get closer and push his way in. She’s a more nervous dog than Kai, and if she is scared at the park. he’s there to be sure she is safe. He sleeps by the bed and every morning jumps up to cuddle once my husband goes to work.”
Good to see he was still happy, even though he had to face so many challenges.
“Our vet was very helpful for Kai. He recommended a prescription weight-loss food and that is what we fed. He was fed to his desired weight of 75 pounds. He actually weighs 68 pounds now and has maintained that weight for over a year now. Fruits and veggies are the only other snacks he gets. Kai did hydrotherapy and daily walks to lose weight. Just like people. At first, we did short walks (literally 5-10 steps) three times a day. As his stamina improved we went longer and less often. Now we walk 30-60 minutes every day. Sometimes he plays with a ball but he’s not much of a toy guy. When he was heavy he loved the water. I think he was just so hot and his joints so sore the water was easier. Now he like water but not like he used to.”
Who would ever want to let go of this face?
She also shared Kai’s favorite things to do. She said,“Kai’s favorite things to do are: go to the dog park and on road trips with me. He loves car rides and just being where ever I am. We have flown to New York City twice, he has been all over our home province of Alberta. He’s also been to two other provinces and a few other states in the USA.”
Soon he was put on a weight loss program that helped him regain his strength.
His owner took care of him and made sure he was there for his regular visits to the vet.
The most important part of his weight loss program was the water baths walk.
Shortly, this helped Kai get back to his shape and he was able to achieve anything and everything that other dogs could, too.
He lost 100 pounds during this process and now, he is a certified therapy dog and visited the hospital often. Despite everything that he went through, he did not lose that loving heart that he possessed and still loves to spread love. Who would mind that? We bet NO ONE.
Happier than ever!
Heggie shared Kai’s journey when becoming a therapy dog,“Kai is now a ratified therapy dog. While we frequented the dog park during his weight loss, it was really the people he loved. So I decided to pursue having him become a therapy dog. That took us about 8 months – he had to pass temperament testing, obedience testing, and then do testing for ratification. He was a star. COVID interfered with that but our plan is to have him at the airport as a therapy dog. We will finish the paperwork for that once COVID allows. Kai loves being a therapy dog and he loves going to the dog park. He is the best travel partner. He loves the car and has flown in a plane and been on a ferry. He loves to travel and we like to go to the National parks and Vancouver to visit family. He is amazing.”
He definitely is a star!
Here is Kai, looking all smart and cute is his Superman shirt.
“Kai loves fruits and veggies as his favorite snacks. I don’t feed processed dog treats. Only fruits and veggies (in addition to his dog food). He loves carrots, broccoli, blueberries, strawberries, pumpkin, watermelon and is absolutely crazy over bananas. I cannot eat a banana without sharing. I never get a whole one to myself. Ever.”
Currently, Kai weighs 68 lbs and is doing really well.
We’re so proud of you Kai.
“Kai knows the words ‘park’ and ‘supper.’ He jumps, barks, and gets so excited about his meals. It is next to impossible to get out the door without him. He recognizes my dog park clothes and knows when I get his knee braces out something really fun is about to happen. At the dog park, he has to run up to greet every person. He’s not as excited about the other dogs, it’s the people he can’t wait to see.” -shared Pam.
What a dud!
And here is Kai with his loving owner, Pam Heggie. *cheers to this woman*
“Kai is an excellent example of the joy that can come from fostering, and in particular fostering a dog with special needs and a senior dog. The people who have reached out to say Kai’s story motivated them has been overwhelming. He has motivated people with overweight dogs, and people who are overweight. Teachers have used his story to encourage inclusion, to exemplify determination and a positive attitude to help achieve big goals. Kai taught me so much about taking an overwhelmingly big goal and just doing it one small step at a time. He was always happy and in turn, makes others happy. I love him a ridiculous amount.”
Below are some before and after pictures of Kai that you should not miss at any cost.
Kai is right back on track after losing 100 pounds. He is now a certified therapy dog and likes to make others happy with that smile of his.
We love this story…and Kai of course.
Wow! That was something. Kai’s journey started difficult but ended up being the happiest and story of all times. We’re so proud of him for being the clumsy Kai that he had always been and not giving up on himself. And extra proud of Pam Heggie, his owner, for adopting him when no one did. What do you think about Kai’s journey? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Picture credits: youcandothiskai