By Hollie Bone
An overweight rescue pup that hit FOUR STONE at her biggest has shed nearly a third of her body weight after being adopted by a personal trainer.
Jimmy Shiba, 29, from San Francisco, US, rescued his 10 year old Australian Cattle mix pup, Squishy, in August 2018 from a local adoption centre.
But even at just nine years old, the portly pooch was beyond her years, suffering with joint problems and anxiety – weighing in at a colossal 4st 2lbs after years of over-eating and lack of exercise.
Determined to give her a new lease of life, Jimmy put Squishy on a strict daily diet of 800 calories maximum and had to forcibly drag the lazy mutt for four walks a day, with the first one as early as 4am some days.
Now the body pawsitive pup easily masters two mile runs and joins Jimmy for daily ab and leg workouts between his sessions with human clients – with the PT admitting that Squishy is his favourite gym buddy.
Jimmy said: “When I got her she was very overweight but they couldn’t really tell me much about her circumstances before I adopted her so we just had to speculate.
“Over the years I have got the impression that her owner was very elderly so wasn’t able to really take her for walks and might have had some form of dementia and forgot that she had already been fed.
“She was very anxious and would lick or chew her paw until it bled.
“She walked with a bit of a limp so I could tell she had joint problems as well from being too heavy.
“I said no matter what happens she has to lose this weight.
“Now she looks and acts like a different dog, she loves going for walks and barks and plays with other dogs all the time.
“Losing the weight has knocked years off her appearance.
“My mum didn’t even believe it was the same dog when she saw her a year after I first rescued her.”
Determined to get Squishy’s weight under control as soon as possible, Jimmy reduced her daily intake to just 800 calories after she returned home with him, and forced her to confront her relationship with food by training her to know when meal times would be.
Concerned about her muscle strength as an older dog, after years of being sedentary, he put her on a daily workout plan with standing planks and crunches to strengthen her abs, and front or hind leg stands to build her leg muscles.
But it wasn’t an easy task and Jimmy had to force his new canine client to push herself – with Squishy often sitting down on the floor and refusing to move when she realised a walk was on the cards.
He said: “We started going on walks four times a day and the first one I would take her out as early as 4am some days so I could make sure she was getting her exercise in before I had to go and start work.
“She really didn’t want to go at first, she would plop down on the floor and refuse to move.
“She didn’t even really have a sense of what a dog is meant to do on a walk, she was scared of other dogs and didn’t understand why we were going out. It was a bit of a battle.
“I wanted to sharpen her mind and change her relationship with food as well so we would do ‘treat discipline’ so she understood when it was actually time to eat.
“Because she spent so much time overweight and sedentary, her muscles were weak so we started doing leg and ab workouts too.
“I would hold her up and get her to stand on just her back or front legs to train them, and then I would tip her back slowly to work her core and abs by training her not to just flop back.
“I love my job because it fits my lifestyle perfectly so it made perfect sense that when Squishy came into my life we would work out together.
“She’s my favourite workout client and gym buddy.”
Now though the slender hound works out with her owner three times a day, goes for daily walks and even joins Jimmy on weekly two mile runs – with her daily calorie count now up to 1,000 after hitting a healthy weight for her breed.
Jimmy said: “I’m so proud of her.
“There are some days when I get a bit emotional when it hits me how far she has come.
“I see her everyday so the transition hasn’t been as obvious to me but when I look back she’s a completely different dog and she has done so well to turn her life around.”