Tuesday, April 16, 2024

As Woman Raises Obese Dog, Crowds of Fans Watch Him Lose Weight

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When Annika Bram’s rescue dog, Georgia, died last May, Bram vowed not to take in another dog for a while.

Bram, 24, who is in his second year at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, planned to wait until after his studies.

Although she missed having a dog, “I was just trying to be responsible,” she said.

But then Bram’s roommate sent him a video of an 8-year-old golden retriever named Frannie. The dog’s floppy ears and expressive eyes caught his attention. The video was posted by a dog rescue group, Rover’s Retreat, in December.

Frannie was severely obese and had lived outdoors her entire life. Her owners were considering euthanizing her and she was in desperate need of a home.

Jon Stewart, in tears, announced the death of his dog. Donations flooded the shelter where the puppy came from.

Frannie reminded Bram of Georgia – who was also overweight when Bram adopted her from another rescue organization. The dog weighed 160 pounds when Bram got him, and she helped the pup lose 85 pounds during their five years together.

Suddenly, Bram decided she needed Frannie in her life.

“I was shocked; she looked identical to Georgia,” Bram said. “I think Georgia sent her to me. Georgia tells me I have to help this dog.

Bram immediately contacted Rover’s Retreat, offering to take in Frannie – who, at the time, weighed 125 pounds – about 65 pounds heavier than the average female golden retriever. Bram learned about Frannie’s story and became even more eager to give her a better life.

“She had been living outside for eight years,” said Sydney Maleman, president of the rescue group. Someone sent the rescue organization a message on the neighborhood networking site Nextdoor detailing Frannie’s plight.

Even though Frannie belonged to a family, she stayed in the garden, Maleman said, and was fed tons of table scraps. This, in addition to untreated hypothyroidism, is likely what led to his obesity. Hypothyroidism is a common condition in dogs and can lead to unexplained weight gain, skin problems, and decreased energy levels, among other symptoms.

“She never received proper veterinary care,” Maleman said. “She was drinking from a bucket of paint.”

One child did not have pajamas for pajama day. His bus driver bought him some.

When Maleman went to rescue her, “it took four people to get her into the back of my minivan,” she said. “She was really put to the test, and I think we got her back just in time.”

However, challenges remain to be met. After being rescued, Frannie was taken to the veterinarian, where she was treated for pneumonia and was “medically very unstable,” Maleman said. “It had progressed so much that she couldn’t even hold her head up on her own.”

She slowly recovered and when it came time to find her a foster family, Maleman said, Bram was the obvious choice.

“Annika continued to follow up,” Maleman said. “After talking to her, we knew she was going to set Frannie up for success; she was willing to do anything and everything for a dog she had never met.

As soon as Frannie was cleared by a veterinarian in mid-December, Bram drove about three hours from San Diego — where she was staying with her mother for winter break — to Los Angeles to pick her up.

“When I brought her home, she was completely defeated,” said Bram, who lives in a house with a few other students.

“I knew I was the best person to help this dog, and if anyone wanted to do it, I was going to do it,” Bram said. “I wasn’t going to give up that easily.”

At first, Frannie couldn’t even stand, so Bram helped her by placing her on a container and teaching her to put weight on her paws.

In less than three months, Frannie has already lost 31 kilos. In addition to taking thyroid medication, Frannie is on a strict weight loss diet, and as she has become more agile, she has also started exercising more. Bram’s goal, she said, is to get Frannie down to around 70 pounds.

I had only met my neighbor a few times. When she died, I took in her dog.

“She’s a completely different dog,” Bram said, adding that Frannie now has a bubbly nature and also a sassy side. “Every day his personality comes out more. All of this personality has been hidden for so long.

It took Frannie three weeks to get back up on her own. Now she can run. She became a big fan of chasing tennis balls.

“The best thing is being able to see her be a normal dog and enjoy her life,” Bram said. “She has a lot more autonomy. She can make her own decisions and be independent.

Rover’s Retreat — which adopts out between 200 and 300 dogs a year — covers the cost of Frannie’s veterinary care and other needs, Bram said, explaining that as a student, she can’t afford to care for her. of a medically fragile dog without financial means. support.

“They played an absolutely essential role in ensuring that Frannie thrived,” Bram said.

Bram is now considering adopting Frannie.

“She has a forever home with me,” Bram said. “She’s not going anywhere.”

Bram chronicled Frannie’s progress on social media. She first started sharing Frannie’s weight loss journey to keep friends and family up to date, but now hundreds of thousands of strangers are also invested.

“It completely took off and I was shocked,” Bram said.

Rover’s Retreat is not surprised by Frannie’s fame.

“Frannie has become a great source of inspiration to us and to everyone; not only because of her determination to fight and get the life she deserves, but also because she represents medically needy dogs who would otherwise be euthanized in our shelters,” Maleman said. “She is the image of all those dogs who deserve a chance.”

Bram looks forward to seeing Frannie healthy and saving other fragile animals when she becomes a veterinarian in two years.

“It’s so rewarding to have a dog that you’ve worked with and given a lot to,” she said. “They give it all back.”



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