Pam Heggie didn’t set out to adopt elderly, overweight dogs — but after several years and now two pound-dropping pooches, they seems to have become her soft spot.
First, there was 10-year-old Kai. Dropped off at a vet clinic in Onoway, Alta.
In March 2018, Kai weighed in at a whopping 173 pounds. He could barely stand because of the weight.
Heggie was contacted by The Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue and challenged with the task of helping him drop the weight.
With a special diet and plenty of exercise, he has dropped more than 100 pounds.
The next task was finding Kai a home and he did — with Heggie falling for the pudgy pooch.
“Kai is my dog, I am his person. He’s now a therapy dog, he is very people oriented.”
Two years later, along came 10-year-old Woody. He appeared to be drowning in a muddy creek near Coaldale in June 2020.
At 210 pounds, Woody was so big he had to be weighed on a cattle scale.
Rescuers knew he needed to lose weight and immediately knew Heggie would be able to help.
“I couldn’t believe the size of him either,” Heggie explained.
“He wasn’t as immobile as Kai was when we got Kai, but definitely his weight was affecting his quality of life.”
But for the second time, she managed to step in, getting Woody to shed 100 pounds.
Once healthy, the plan was to have him adopted out to live the rest of his life on an acreage. There was a problem though: he tended to wander away.
“He doesn’t listen and he does whatever he wants.”
And so, for the second time, Heggie took in the dog whose life she saved. They, in turn, have helped changed hers.
Heggie has shared the stories of the inspirational pups on social media and has received endless support in response.
“Everyone is so excited to see them and cheer them on. It’s crazy, and then reaching out just to say, ‘I had a really bad day and then you posted that funny video.'”
And while she never expected to be a home for elderly, overweight dogs, she says now she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You kind of stick with them through thick and thin. And these guys — literally thick and thin.”
— with files from Sarah Komadina, Global News