The overweight golden retriever known as Kai, was severely overfed by his previous owners and ended up weighing about 173 lbs, making him a 100 pounds over the normal weight.
With his weight, the 10-year-old Kai couldn’t move normally anymore, let alone do simple tasks which every dog should be able to do such as to run and play. Kai’s old owners decided to put him down. However that was not a decision the vet agreed with and he refused, instead,he took him to the shelter. Soon after being placed in the shelter, Kai was adopted by a loving woman who changed his life for the better.
His new loving owner, Pam Heggie, said "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.”
She continued telling the story about Kai, and 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."
Pam also shared her favorite things about Kai, and said that "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."
She further explained that Kai is funny, loving, and very easygoing and loves to be wherever she is. "He’s truly my best friend."
Pam also explained the amazing weight loss journey of Kai. "Our vet was very helpful for Kai. He recommended a prescription weight-loss food and that is what we fed him."
He was only fed to his desired weight of 75 pounds and now weighs 68 pounds, which he has obtained for the past year. "Fruits and veggies are the only other snacks he gets. Kai did hydrotherapy and daily walks to lose weight."
Kai first started his walking journey with short walks of up to 10 steps three times a day, and continued to do more and longer walks as his stamina improved. "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 likes water, but not like he used to," shared Pam.
Now, Kai enjoys his roadtrips and car rides with his owner, and has also been in a plane twice.
After his amazing journey, Kai successfully became a certified therapy dog and started doing hospital visits.
"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."