The Edmonton nurse who gave a surrendered obese dog a second chance at life has taken on another pudgy pup.
Pam Heggie is fostering Woody, a 10-year-old Alaskan Malamute who weighs double the size of an average male of that breed.
Heggie accepted the challenge as soon as she was contacted by Brittany Blokzyl, founder of Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue.
“She sent me crying emojis and a little message,” Heggie said. “I was like, ‘I’ll take him.'”
Lethbridge Animal Services rescued the abandoned dog from a muddy creek in Coaldale, AB on June 29, according to dispatcher Jaya Pothegadoo. A dog walker reported the dog appeared to be drowning.
“We think he might have slipped in the pond,” Pothegadoo said. After tracking down the owners who were “going through a tough time,” Blokzyl says the dog was surrendered.
Robyn Kennedy, a vet with Ranch Docs Veterinary Services, examined Woody on July 3. The dog tipped the scales at 210 lbs.
“The first obvious would be he’s morbidly obese,” Kennedy said. “With that much excess weight he was having difficulty getting around.”
Kennedy says Woody also had sores on his lower legs, similar to bed sores, from spending too much time laying down in the same position. She says helping Woody reach a healthy weight is going to be a journey, which Heggie is uniquely positioned to handle.
With exercise, portion control and love, she helped her dog Kai, a retriever-lab cross, accomplish a dramatic transformation two years ago. She’s so passionate about his journey she continues to document his progress on Facebook.
“Kai has held at 68 lbs for months and months. He’s lost 105 and kept it all off…. Hopefully this guy will be as successful.”
Heggie will approach Woody’s weight loss journey in the same way. She picked him up from Red Deer on Sunday and has already ordered diet food. He spent his first day in his new home digging up her backyard flower beds.
“Knowing he can come in air conditioning, sit by the fan, have water, his food is portioned… The rest of his life starts now,” Blokzyl said “He’s got it made.”
While Heggie adopted Kai after helping him reach optimal health, she intends to return Woody so he can be put up for adoption once he reaches a normal weight. She thinks he would thrive as an acreage dog and will have an important role screening applicants for his forever home.
-With files from Kent Morrison, Global News