An overweight golden retriever who was set to be put down at the request of his owner has lost more than 45kg in a big drive to save his life.
Kai's owner decided enough was enough after their golden retriever ballooned out to such an extreme weight he struggled to walk.
But instead of granting the owner their wish of putting Kai down, the vet got in touch with animal workers to help the obese dog find a new family.
Pam Heggie, Kai's new owner, says the vet told her: "(Kai) is the most overweight animal I've ever seen … anything you do is gonna help that dog."
"Anything that he will let you do is good for him," the vet said to Heggie, who became Kai's new foster mother.
Heggie brought Kai home, saying it took the golden retriever 20 minutes to climb the small set of stairs to her front door.
Over time she took Kai for regular walks three times a day, and while they were difficult at first, the weight began to shred off the determined dog.
"Literally, he went five to 10 steps, and they would lay down and start panting."
Soon, Kai was put on a strict diet and started water therapy to help strengthen his legs while burning off fat.
Over time, Kai learned that Heggie was trying to help him and that he was going to succeed.
After a few months he was able to walk to the end of the block, could run and was able to jump up and down into Heggie's car.
"It's crazy. It's like raising your child and you look at them and they're all grown up and you just wonder how that happened," Heggie told Good Morning America.
"I look at him and forget how broken he was. Now he's just a regular dog doing regular dog things like everybody else.
"He truly amazes me every day … Everybody has things they need to do – and he was just so happy … every day he was like this is what we have to do and I'm going to do it. And every day he did it.
"He shows you how to do a really big task literally one day at a time," Heggie said.
"He doesn't worry about yesterday, he doesn't worry about tomorrow, he just focuses on what needs to be done today and he does it. We can learn a lot from dogs."
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.