By Josh Saunders
A podgy pooch who was too fat to walk and had to be wheeled in a cart has lost two stone and is unrecognisable.
Adorable Abby from Birmingham in Alabama, USA, reached four stone (50lb) after scoffing multiple meals and human snacks without exercise.
The seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was so overweight a single step would leave her struggling for breath and needing to sit down.
Last year, Brittney Wilk, 30, of the Cavalier Rescue of Alabama rescued Abby, put her on a strict diet and an underwater treadmill, six times a week, until she was fit enough to go for walks.
Now Abby’s unrecognisable, after losing over two stone and has even found a new loving home.
Brittney, Co-Founder of the rescue centre, said: “The first time I saw Abby she was so extremely overweight that she couldn’t walk and was wheeled in a cart.
“I’ve been in rescue for nearly a decade and have seen some of the worst things you imagine, but I was so shocked when I saw her that I was left speechless.
“It was like looking at an oversized bulldog, like she was blown up and inflated.
“She had no quality of life whatsoever, after walking one step she’d have to sit down and catch her breath, she was in respiratory distress.
“Watching her struggle to breathe and get comfortable was heart breaking.
“We started her on hydrotherapy, which is an underwater treadmill, the water took some of the weight off her which allowed her to exercise more.
“She was swimming six out of seven days a week, then when she was fit enough over summer she started going for daily walks and it was easier from there.
“Abby worked really, really hard for each and every pound to come off – now she’s a new dog, both physically and psychologically.”
Abby came into the care of the rescue centre last May after neighbours expressed concern that the dog was increasingly getting larger and wasn’t being taken for walks.
Brittney said: “You can imagine she didn’t have scheduled feeding times, was being fed human food and the complete lack of activity must have added up over the years.
“The neighbours at Abby’s original home had noticed for quite some time that she was getting heavier and heavier, then was less active too.
“They needed someone to take over her care so they contacted us and we talked with the family, who selflessly entrusted us so that Abby could get the care she needed.”
Brittney has been rescuing dogs for nearly ten years, but says Abby was one of the most ‘shocking’ cases she’s ever seen.
On top of being dangerously obese, the dog also had numerous infections and severe damage to her joints.
Brittney said: “We really got her in the nick of time, she couldn’t have gone on at that weight for much longer.
“Her joints were in bad shape from carrying so much weight for so long and her paws were completely splayed from having so much weight upon them.
“She had a urinary tract infection, ear and skin infections from not being able to keep all the folds of skin clean.”
Abby was physically crippled by her weight, unable to walk the rescue team had to get her moving on an underwater treadmill.
She would exercise six times a week on the walkies machine, until she was medically safe to swim and later was able to go out on walks.
Brittney said: “On day one we did question if this was something we would actually be able to pull off losing 30lb is a lot for such a little dog.
“Seeing that she could barely take a single step our motto became ‘step by step’ and ‘pound by pound’.
“Seeing she could barely take a single step it was hard figuring out a plan for her and knew it would be a long road ahead.”
Abby was adopted four months ago and has gone onto lose a further six pounds – taking her to a healthy weight of 1st 7 (20lb) perfect for her breed.
Now settled into her happy home, she is treated to regular hikes by her new family who are ensuring she keeps her weight off.
Brittney said: “Abby’s story is truly what rescue is all about, all coming together to do absolutely whatever it takes for the dog and being able to give second chances at life
“Her life has drastically changed because of donors, supporters, volunteers, her foster family and her adoptive family.
“All of them have made it possible for Abby to have the amazing quality of life, health, love, and happiness that she has today.”
To donate to their cause or for more information visit cavalier rescue al website.
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL FACT BOX
Should be fed two to three times a day
An adult dog weighing 15lb is recommended to consume 532 calories a day
A young adult dog weighing 10lb is recommended to consume 990 calories a day