Though their ancestors were wild—and they might act out every now and again—our pets are far too domesticated now to survive on their own. They rely on us for shelter, protection, and especially food, and if we can’t meet their basic physical needs, we can’t call ourselves responsible pet owners.
And sometimes, those needs require us to disappoint our pets. It might be fun to sneak them scraps off the table every once in a while, but a good pet owner knows where to draw the line; human food is simply too unhealthy! Unfortunately, one Jack Russell terrier didn’t get the memo…
When it comes to pet ownership, it can be easy to assume a “more is more” approach. Yet while it’s arguably impossible to give a dog too much love in the form of cuddles and belly rubs, you’re not doing them any favors if you don’t show restraint in other ways.
While you certainly need to keep your dogs well-fed—and we all like to indulge them in the occasional treat—you need to maintain a healthy diet for them. If you don’t balance it with exercise, they’ll quickly become unhealthy.
Some dogs can get a little heavier as they age, but at a certain point, a morbidly obese dog can become a sign of neglect on the part of his owner—and that’s a form of abuse. These dogs need a major change to their lifestyles.
VinnieRattolle / Wikimedia Commons
Just take Pearl the Jack Russell terrier. She was once an energetic and happy dog with her family in Augusta, Canada, but her abusive owners overfed her so much that they let her reach nearly 80 pounds!
For reference, the Jack Russell terrier is a relatively small breed, and adults typically only weigh between 14 and 18 pounds. Even if Pearl was half her weight, it would still be troubling.
Any dog—especially one as lively as a Jack Russell terrier—will become depressed when they’re not being taken care of. Without a proper diet and exercise plan, there’s no way they can function. Unfortunately, Pearl’s owners didn’t understand that…
BigOakFlickr / Flickr
As if letting their dog grow to over four times what her natural weight should’ve been wasn’t irresponsible enough, Pearl’s family later abandoned her in an empty parking lot. They left her utterly helpless and not suited to fend for herself.
Not soon after, local animal control officers spotted Pearl. She was so heavy that the only way rescuers could transport her to safety was by wrapping her in a large white sheet that had to be lifted by several people at once.
Initially, Pearl’s rescuers were concerned that she’d have to be put to sleep. At several times her healthy body weight, it was clear that a great deal of damage was already done—and it would be difficult to reverse.
Pearl was just four years old at the time. When she was first examined by veterinarians, they explained her heart could stop at any minute. Pearl was so obese that she couldn’t move her head or even walk!
If there was any hope of survival, Pearl was going to have to begin a serious diet and exercise regimen. Luckily, the foster group that took her in, Dog Networking Agents, knew just the thing that could help…
Trainers and veterinarians from Aiken Pet Fitness and Rehabilitation planned a weight loss program for Pearl that would help her lose one pound a week. Sure enough, she lost 16 pounds in just a few months!
This would not be an easy process, though—nor would it be able to happen overnight. Pearl’s extreme weight led to some serious medical complications, which her handlers had to navigate through.
In a case of terrible timing, Pearl was also suffering from pneumonia, so her trainers had no choice but to temporarily put her workouts on the back burner while she focused on her recovery.
It was definitely an unfortunate turn of events, but potentially life-threatening illness or not, Pearl seemed utterly determined to get herself back into fighting shape, no matter what it would take!
Using exercise balls and an underwater treadmill, Pearl eventually lost half of her body weight and got down to a trim 44 pounds! Her progress was inspiring, but that wasn’t all…
Pearl’s new figure also came with a renewed sense of adventure and outlook on life. Once she began to lose enough weight, Pearl became curious, happy, and eager to play and cuddle once more!
With the Jack Russell terrier’s diet back on track, Pearl was ultimately able to find a new forever home with a family who loved her. Ever since, they’ve been keeping her active and treating her well…
Pearl today is almost unrecognizable from the same sad, abandoned dog who was found in an empty parking lot all those months ago. Her life has transformed, and all it took was a little bit of love!
Just watch Pearl’s stunning transformation and see her training sessions in action. It wasn’t easy, but you can see in her eyes how determined she was… and how dedicated her trainers were to renewing her lease on life!
Pearl’s original owners didn’t think she’d ever be able to change, but thanks to the good hearts of others, she got the second chance that she really deserved.
Share this amazing transformation with your friends!