Source: WMC-TV Reporter Janice Broach
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WMC/WBIR) -- More than 35 million dogs in the United States are considered overweight. It's nothing that doggy fat camp can't cure.
Mable the Beagle is fat, weighing in at a whopping 67 lbs., and almost three times her ideal size.
"She was really sad. I mean she was pitiful, and definitely the fattest dog I had ever seen," said Dr. Angela Witzel.
Witzel first met Mabel back in January when her owners left her at an animal shelter in Knoxville because she was too big for them to care for. The shelter brought her to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where it was love at first sight for Witzel.
"I saw her when she came in, and about an hour later, I was starting the adoption process," said Witzel.
Once the papers were signed, Witzel enrolled Mabel in UT's canine fat camp.
"I just thought, this is perfect, you know. I can help her, she can help me, and we can kind of do this together," said Witzel.
The animals at the camp walk their weight off on underwater treadmills. Doctors limit their calories and test for disease and hypertension, common risks for fat pets.
The treadmill is working.
In just six months, Mabel has lost almost 30 lbs. She has a Facebook page with around 1,000 friends. She celebrated Mardi Gras in a parade, and even paid tribute to Donna Summer when she passed away with a workout video, set to She Works Hard For The Money.
Since Mable is a Beagle mix, doctors say she's predisposed to a large appetite. At camp, her diet is regulated and there are absolutely no table scraps.
With all the weight loss, a tummy tuck may be the next step.
She still has about 15 pounds to go. Mabel's ideal body weight is 23 pounds.