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These days, the healthy pup loves making new friends to play with

By Kelli Bender
Updated March 12, 2015 04:15 PM
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Dennis is ready for the snow to melt, namely because he has a Spring Break-ready body to debut.

Close to two years ago this Columbus, Ohio, pooch was an unhealthy 56 lbs. and could only walk a few feet before he needed to stop and catch his breath.

Since June 2013, with help from his new owner Brooke Burton, the dachshund has slimmed down to a svelte 12 lbs. and is ready for any activity, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

“His whole personality has changed,” Burton told PEOPLE in January. “He is always looking for someone to play with. And he loves to bark orders.”

It’s a happy ending for Dennis, whom Burton pulled from her great-uncle’s house when she discovered the dog wasn’t receiving appropriate care and was living off a diet of fast food.

“My great-uncle was a hoarder, and I went over there to help clean his house,” she said. “Then I saw this thing coming toward me like a slug. He would take a few steps and then have to rest.”

Burton took the overweight canine to the vet and immediately put him on a strict diet and exercise regimen. While Dennis was hesitant of his new owner at first, Burton said he warmed up to her once he started dropping pounds.

Altogether the dog has lost 44 lbs. of extra weight, including two pounds of excess skin that he had removed to help him walk and prevent infection.

Burton’s work doesn’t end with Dennis. Following her pup’s dramatic transformation, the owner has started a fund called Dennis’ Legacy. The Ohio State University-backed fund will help owners of obese pets pay for their animal’s physical therapy, diet plans and vet appointments.

Burton hopes that Dennis’ adorable and healthy new look will encourage other animal lovers to help their pets stay fit, slim and happy.

Meet The Dog Who Lost More Than Half His Size!