Dr Donna and I are especially happy to welcome Levi the Pug in South Dakota to our Halo Healthy Weight Challenge, because Levi needs a corrective eye surgery to retain his sight, but for safety’s sake, his veterinarian will not perform the surgery until Levi drops some weight. Therefore being chosen as our Halo candidate and following Dr. Donna’s guidance means that Levi will not lose his sight, along with the overall health benefits of slimming down.
Dr. Donna and are I also proud to have his Mom Kimberly join us in this challenge on our show The Expert Vet because Levi and his little “brother” Ollie are both rescues who are four years old. Kimberly got Levi when he was only six months old from a girl who was about to take him to the shelter because she could not keep him at her apartment. Then she got his little sidekick Ollie only nine months ago, from a family that themselves had gotten him from a shelter after he and another dog had been abandoned in a house by their original owners.
I am always so touched by the goodness of people like Kimberly, who open their homes and hearts to dogs who have become homeless through no fault of their own. Even the people who took in Ollie were doing a good deed, although Kimberly told me, “Ollie has lots of issues because of his background, and I think the people from who we got him simply didn’t have time to deal with the issues properly. Both our boys are both very active and we have a huge yard that they love to run in. During the summer, my husband takes them on hikes with him, so they get a lot of exercise and I want to make sure we can keep it that way by getting them to slim down.”
What especially delights me is that our Veterinary Advisor on the Dog Film Festival is Dr. Amy Attas, the much loved New York City house call vet who is an ambassador for Pets in the City, and who has been re-homing and adopting pugs her entire life. Right now her kids are two darling pugs you can see right HERE, so Levi and Ollie are in good company in our world!
Hurray for pug adopters! This is also a good reminder that about one-third of all dogs in shelters are actually purebred, so if you are looking for a particular breed of dog, turn to Petfinder.com and you’ll probably be able to find the dog of your dreams at a shelter somewhere near you. (And if the shelter is one of the lucky ones, the dogs there may be eating Halo through their millions-of-meals donations through Freekibble.com).
Once a candidate is chosen to take our Halo Healthy Weight Challenge, Dr. Donna does a precise calculation of the amount of calories an overweight dog has been eating – then she re-calculates how much they will need to reduce their caloric intake in order to lose weight.
After that, the good folks at Halo will send out three months worth of their Healthy Weight kibble and Spot’s Stew in cans to Levi and he will get to work dropping those pounds! His Mama Kimberly will be keeping a journal that Dr. Donna has created for our contestants, and Levi will get a weekly weigh-in (which he is lucky he can do at home on a digital scale since the weather this year makes a weekly trip to the vet as much of a challenge as losing the weight!). Kimberly also noted that little Ollie put on weight since adjusting to his new life with her, but since he is a smaller pug than Levi (head size, paw size, bone structure) and is about 22 pounds, she worries about his weight long-term, too. It looks to me as though Ollie is going to become a Halo Weight Management food eater, too – and while his big brother trims down on the food, Ollie can keep from getting any bigger himself.
Let’s hear it for the Pugs of Custer South Dakota!
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.