There is a popular phrase about old dogs and new tricks. You know the one. But this dog, Kai, is no cliché.
No one is really sure what kind of dog Kai is. The best guess is a cross between a lab and a retriever. His age is a guess too. When his owners dropped him off at a clinic in Onoway, Alta. in March, they told staff he was 10. Vets think he’s younger. Back then, though, age wasn’t the number that mattered.
When his owners left him at the clinic, Kai weighed 173 pounds. He was so overweight he could barely stand on his own. But instead of putting him down, the clinic contacted The Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue and they called the only person they though could help, Pam Heggie.
“He was just so heavy. Everything was work. He panted even just moving around the house,” said Heggie.
“I worried he would just have a heart attack or something and just be dead.”
Watch below: A few months ago, Kai the dog was so heavy he could barely move. But this pudgy pup is making the most of a second chance. Kent Morrison explains. (Filed May 2018).
But Kai has a lot more heart than that. So does Heggie.
She put Kai on a strict diet, began walking him every day and took him to the vet every week. What began with walks around the house progressed to an underwater treadmill, then a dog park. She’s documented the whole thing on Facebook.
“Probably once or twice a week somebody says, ‘Oh, is this Kai? Or I’ve seen him online but I’ve never got to meet him,'” said Heggie. “He’s a pretty popular guy.”
Popular as long as people recognize him, which is becoming harder and harder to do.
In six months, Kai has lost 67 lbs.
The dog that could barely walk now runs after his ball. He jumps over logs in the woods. Heggie has started taking him to a bigger dog park.
“He is truly the happiest dog in the world,” said Heggie. “I haven’t lost an ounce, but he’s done remarkably well. He is a totally different dog now.”
“That in itself is a miracle,” said Dr. Jared Lawrence, Kai’s veterinarian. “I think in general Kai’s prognosis is really good.”
Kai has a lingering ACL issue, but Lawrence does not believe it will require surgery.
“Kai was a dog that was destined to be euthanized but because of Heggie and because of the Misfits, he’s where he’s at,” said Lawrence.
Heggie is not ready to take any of the credit, though.
“I’m just his driver. He does it all himself. He just needs someone to get him there,” Heggie said.
But there may only be one someone for Kai. You see, he is eligible for adoption.
“I don’t know if I could actually give him to someone else,” said Heggie. “He’s pretty attached to me and our family. So, I don’t know.”
Kai and Heggie aren’t finished yet. Their goal is losing 100 lbs. That means he has 33 lbs. left to go.
“I actually believe we’ll get there,” said Heggie. “I’d do it all again though, for sure. He’s worth it.”
Old dogs can learn new tricks. All they need is someone to give them a chance.