Successful weight loss programme is a team effort for Our Special Friends.
This client was referred to Our Special Friends by the local housing association in October 2020 in need of help with her dog and the garden. Following the death of her Husband some 18 months previously, the dog, a 7 year old entire male yellow Labrador who had been cared for by her Husband, had not been exercised outside the garden, was obese and badly in need of walking.
The client and the dog Bobby were both assessed independently by two of the charity’s staff/volunteers: the garden was in need of a lot of work and Bobby was taken out for walks to assess his physical condition. Early November 2020 Bobby weighed in at 58 kg, which is over 20 kg more than his ideal weight. He was registered with local vets and his vet records were obtained. These showed a problem with his breathing (possible laryngeal paralysis), which was exacerbated by being overweight.
Working with vets, a weight management and exercise plan was devised for the dog and then a volunteer dog-walking group was set up. The programme included Royal Canin Satiety diet. His exercise regime had to be built up slowly, to avoid injury, but after not being out for so long, he was very excited to be walking again and was very strong and pulled terribly on the lead. Walks by volunteers were set up on a rota for 4 or 5 times a week. Our Special Friends donated a Pitpat activity monitor which fits on to Bobby’s collar; this measures how far he walks, calories used etc. (a canine Fitbit).
Bobby had a visit from a dog trainer (one of our volunteers), who provided a Gentle Leader halter to help stop him pulling. Our Special Friends provided a leather lead to use with the halter and this works well. The charity also donated several packs of Burns organic dog meat, plus poo bags.
In January 2021, it was noticed that Bobby was not moving well and vet checks revealed onset of arthritis, so Yumove tablets were administered and exercise walks limited to approx. half an hour each walk. He was still very excited to be going out, and walks much better now and is quite manageable.
Volunteers kept images of his faeces to check all is well; a problem occurred in March, when he had bad diarrhoea and was suffering from gastro enteritis; taken to vets by volunteers and treatment of electrolytes and probiotics prescribed.
The weight loss management went very well; combination of correct feeding and exercise programme has resulted in a total weight loss of 13.6 kg by April 2021, when he weighed in at 44.4 kg. Weight loss has levelled off, but regime is being maintained by continuing with the diet and exercise being kept up.
Visits to vets were co-ordinated by volunteers; he was found to have a heavy flea burden in November, so treatment prescribed, together with thorough de-flea of house and bedding to prevent re-infestation. A worming treatment was also administered. Visits to the local grooming parlour were organised for shampoo, groom and nail trim; again, all arranged by our volunteers.
The diet and walking routine has obviously proved to help Bobby with his weight loss and he is now a much healthier dog. Whilst the voluntary dog walking 4 or 5 days per week, this is not sustainable in the long-term. A continuing arrangement is being discussed with the family so that the walks can be maintained whilst our client continues to follow the advice of the Royal Canin diet plan.
“Bobby was our fathers Dog, helping to keep Dad active, with Dad’s declining health before his passing, Bob was losing out on his exercise, Mum wasn’t able to walk far so Bob’s routine changed considerably.
What with having to look after Mum preceding Dad’s passing, Bob got left behind somewhat but was always good company for Mum. Bob however was starting to feel the weight of Mum’s affection and something clearly had to be done.
In stepped Our Special Friends who have been quite amazing, not only for the volunteer walkers but the diet and vet advice that have got on top of his health and weight. Bobby looks and acts much better now and looks forward, with excitement, to his new friends that come to walk him.
Our Special Friends and the volunteer walkers have not only changed Bob’s life for the better but allow us the time to look after Mum. Our thanks go out to everyone concerned who work so hard and do such a good job from Our Special Friends, you know who you are, we appreciate everything you do.