Losing weight is not always easy. But time, discipline and a little bit of encouragement can work wonders. Just ask Lu-Seal the Chihuahua.
The rescue dog used to be twice the size of the average Chihuahua. She was so overweight she could barely even walk. Now she’s fit and full of energy.
Lu-Seal’s inspiring weight-loss journey started after she was brought into the shelter as a stray. She was 16 pounds — more than double the weight of a dog her breed. Shelter workers put her on a diet, which helped her lose a couple pounds, but her transformation really kicked off after she was adopted.
Julia Morley adopted Lu-Seal from Humane Animal Rescue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in October 2016. She immediately fell for the 9-year-old dog, who looked a little like a cross between a seal and potbellied pig.
“I actually went in to adopt a big dog, but when I met her we fell in love and I couldn’t leave without her,” Morley told Petcha.com
I mean, if you really look at it, Lu-Seal was a big dog, or at least big for her breed. When Morley adopted her, Lu-Seal was about 14.5 pounds.
Lu-Seal’s new mom had never had to help a dog lose weight before, and she, admittedly, had a lot to learn about getting her new four-legged friend into shape. She kept Lu-Seal on the diet the shelter had put her on, and consulted with a veterinarian to come up with a comprehensive plan of action that included exercise, and even the occasional treat!
The biggest challenge, Morley said, was training herself not to give into Lu-Seal every time she begged for food with those big puppy dog eyes of hers. And that also included training everyone else to do the same.
“I took her to a party once and a friend fed her a whole buttermilk biscuit from Popeye’s,” Morely said. “It was 260 calories, more than a whole day’s worth of food for her. He got a good scolding for that one!”
We all slip up and eat something we shouldn’t from time to time, don’t we? But overall, good old diet and exercise did the trick. Lu-Seal shed the weight slowly, but surely.
“Her mobility improved dramatically very quickly,” Morley told Petcha. “Seeing how much it was helping her only made it easier to keep going.”
Lu-Seal is now at her goal weight, which is 8 pounds, and she’s healthier and happier than ever. Morley described her as being a “perpetually gleeful animal.”
“She does everything in life with unbridled enthusiasm and nothing seems to get her down,” she said. “I wish I could be as optimistic as she is all the time! She loves all humans, especially men.”
These days, Lu-Seal loves going to the park, snuggling in bed and convincing other people to feed her. (Hey, old habits are hard to break!) And she provides inspiration to others on Instagram at lusealdog.
Morely’s advice to other owners of overweight pets or those thinking about adopting one: stay strong!
“Pets may know how to love us, but they also know how to manipulate us,” she said. “Sometimes not giving them that extra treat or those table scraps is the way to show your true love for them.”
Looking back, Morley said it wasn’t always easy sticking to the plan, and she had her doubts especially in the beginning.
“I wasn’t sure if she would ever really walk well, and part of me was scared that her heart was so stressed from the weight that any day might be her last,” she recalled. “Fortunately it all worked out, but I had my share of nervous dog mom moments along the way!”
Seeing Lu-Seal’s zest for life makes it hard to imagine her story turning out any differently.
“Overweight pets can be extra work — and extra money,” Morley said. “But it is so rewarding to see them get fitter and healthier that it makes it all worth it.”