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Wilma's weight-loss journey

05 November 2020
Wilma's weight-loss journey

Here at SPCA we have dozens of animals come through our doors every day. Our ‘transformation’ stories share the tales of those who come into our care, in pain and often fighting for their lives, and make a miraculous recovery. This is Wilma’s story.

When six-year-old Wilma arrived in SPCA’s care, she was so obese that it posed a serious risk to her health and joints.

Being overweight or obese is a major health concern for pets and can have some severe implications. An overweight animal’s health concerns need to be taken seriously, and unfortunately Wilma’s weight had impacted her quality of life.

She couldn’t enjoy her life as she deserved to, and was one of the largest dogs the SPCA team had seen. SPCA Animal Care Team Lead Letitia will always remember the day she first met Wilma.

“Wilma was happy to meet new people but was so unsure of the world around her and what was going on. She had shed a few kilograms at our Waipukurau Centre on a treadmill but she was still extremely overweight when she arrived in our care,” she says.

Wilma, pictured June 2020.
Wilma, pictured June 2020.

Patience, commitment and lots of monitoring

While many of us may have gained a little weight during lockdown, Wilma’s weight was extraordinary and she was classed as morbidly obese by the SPCA team. It took a lot more than a quick diet to help Wilma heal, and she needed to be placed on a strong diet and exercise regime over months to help her get to a healthy weight.

“There’s been a lot of patience, commitment, and lots of monitoring – giving her plenty of exercise outside, as well as walks,” Letitia says.

“It was also a battle of willpower,” she laughs.

“Wilma is such a huge food lover and we had to make sure she wasn’t getting secret treats. We replaced treats with plenty of enrichment and entertaining things to do. We also incorporated exercise into feeding time, finding different ways for her to receive the food, and making it a game, was important for her.”

Wilma, pictured September 2020.
Wilma, pictured September 2020.

Transforming into a healthier, happier dog

After months of rehabilitative care, and daily dedication by SPCA’s animal care team, Wilma made some significant progress.

“Once Wilma had lost a bigger chunk of weight, it was like she was so much younger! She had so much more energy, she was happier, eager to meet strangers, as well as looking great physically,” Letitia says.

"Wilma has been in our care for eight months, and while we want every SPCA animal to go to homes relatively soon so they can start their new life, we are always keeping their best interests at heart. And for Wilma, that was getting her to a healthy weight so she can live her best possible life.”

“Our team have been there every step of the way with Wilma on her journey and it’s so rewarding to see this huge change in her.”

When Wilma steps on the scales now, our team no longer have to worry about the number on it. Wilma has shed lots of extra pounds, and she is happier, healthier, and has started to play and do the things normal dogs should.

Even better, she is now in the final stages of the adoption process and in a matter of weeks she will be thriving in her forever home! A very happy happy outcome, for a deserving girl.

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