A plump pooch that weighed twice as much as it should have has a new lease of life after shedding 30lbs.
Strudel the Golden Retriever cross tipped the scales at 83lbs (six stone) when she was rescued this summer.
The chubby pup never went for walks and ate scraps from the table with her previous owner, who was elderly and disabled.
Vets said obese Strudel, seven, was struggling with joint pain and could suffer heart failure if she didn’t lose half her bodyweight.
But thanks to a new routine of diet dog food, daily walks and agility classes, Strudel has shed 29lbs and is just 12lbs off her goal weight.
Hearts for Hounds Rescue helped her start her weight loss journey in June and then in August she was fostered by Wynn Horton, 24, and his wife Kristen, 25.
Wynn, of Chesapeake, Virginia, said Strudel now loves going for walks, runs to greet them and has a new lease of life.
He said: “The first time we saw Strudel she wobbled over to us.
“She was so heavy she couldn’t get into the back of the car, so I had to lift her in.
“It was sad to see her like that. What should have been a 40lb dog weighed 83lbs. A friend said she looked like a couch cushion with legs.
“When her owner passed away, the lady’s family had said she was too big and none of them had time to take her on so they were going to drop her at a local pound.
“They wanted to wash their hands of her and they didn’t think she could be health or live a normal life. We knew we could help her.
“At first it was hard for her to keep up on walks and stand up for a long time. She was very lethargic and she didn’t have a lot of stamina. She would even lie down to eat her food.
“Now she loves to go for walks and when we come home she will run out and meet us at the door.
“The transformation has been amazing.”
Wynn, who works at a women’s shelter, said he and special education teacher Kristen helped Strudel slim down by feeding her diet dog food which contains laxatives.
They also take her on multiple daily dog walks and while at first she could only walk 0.25 miles, she now enjoys five mile scrambles on weekends.
Strudel takes medicine to ease her joint pain and even works out at local dog gym Zoom Room Virginia Beach.
Gym owners Kristy and John Cotthaus heard about her journey and wanted to help so offered Strudel agility classes – which see her navigate an obstacle course – for free.
Wynn added: “When we first got Strudel her personality seemed very pale and muted.
“Since she started losing the weight she has really come alive.”
He and Kristen have fostered ten other dogs in the last 16 months and enjoy caring for ‘problem’ dogs like Strudel.
Now she is happy and healthy they are trying to find her a permanent home through Hearts for Hounds Rescue.
Follow Strudel’s journey on Twitter @StrudelTheDog or to find out more about adopting her, visit www.heartsforhoundsrescue.org/our-dogs/strudel/