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Thanks to dieting (cutting back on treats) and regular exercise, these four animals are living healthier lives

By Jessica Fecteau and Chancellor Agard
Updated December 08, 2020 10:34 AM
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Cody the Shiba Inu

Was 104 lbs.

Now 36 lbs.

When this dog from Charlton, Massachusetts, was adopted from a shelter in 2014, he weighed an unhealthy 104 lbs.

“He couldn’t even make it up three stairs,” says owner Kim Linde, 33. “He wheezed with every breath. The doctor that saw him when he was surrendered didn’t want him to be around other animals in case the excitement caused a heart attack.”

Once Cody was placed on regular thyroid medication, Kim and her husband Sean, who own a pressure washing company, also put the dog on a raw-meat diet and started exercising him daily, first with swimming lessons to help ease the pain in his joints and then with regular walks. Kim says he responded “perfectly” to the new regimen and didn’t push back.

Now, Cody, 9, weighs 36 lbs, and despite his bowed front legs (a result of his previous excess weight), is running 5Ks with his owner and inspiring others with his “Get Fit with Cody” Facebook group.

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Courtesy Nora Vanatta


Obie the Dachshund

Was 77 lbs.

Now 23 lbs.

After Nora Vanatta rescued Obie in 2012, she created a Facebook page called Obie Dog Journey. More than 420,000 people have followed along as the now 9-year-old pup lost 54 lbs. through exercise and the Purina OM (overweight management) Diet. (He also had skin-removal surgery in 2013).

“When I first got him, he weighed as much as my Labrador,” says the Portland, Oregon, veterinary technician, 38. “Sometimes his only exercise was going from one end of the house to the other.”

Now the Internet star loves going on walks and meeting his fans — he even has his own calendar out.

“Even when he couldn’t walk, his tail was always wagging. He’s just a really happy dog.”

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One Tail at a Time


Kale Chips the Beagle

Was 85 lbs.

Now 41 lbs.

When the overweight beagle Kale arrived at the Chicago-based dog rescue One Tail at a Time nearly a year ago, “he was super depressed and basically immobile,” says executive director Heather Owen.

Fortunately he had no other health concerns and with exercise, reduced-calorie meals and healthy treats like liver-infused carrots and, yes, kale chips (see recipe below), the pounds started to drop off.

One of his new pastimes?

Running up and down the aisles of a local bookstore.

“Now he’s very sassy. It’s like he couldn’t get his personality out when he was overweight,” says Owen of 8-year-old Kale. “It’s really cool to see him finally be himself.”

For more amazing transformations and the hottest Hollywood slimdowns, check out PEOPLE’s Half Their Size issue, on newsstands now.

Happy Dog Barkery Kale Chips Recipe

Ingredients:

One large bunch of Kale

1/4 cup Coconut Oil

1/2 lb raw beef liver, chopped

1/2 cup liver water

Tear kale into large pieces and put in mixing bowl.

Boil liver in pot of water until liver is cooked . Remove liver from pot and put 1/2 cup of the liver water in a small bowl.

Add the coconut oil and stir until melted.

Drizzle the oil and water mixture on the kale and toss until lightly covered. Do no saturate the kale pieces.

Spread in single layer on cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until crispy.

Let cool and serve!

You can also bake the beef liver until crunchy for a secondary treat and use the remaining liver water as a food topper.

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Dr. Brittney Barton; Joani White


Skinny the Orange Tabby

Was 41 lbs.

Now 19 lbs.

“Before Skinny’s weight loss, his whole body hurt,” his current owner, Dr. Brittney Barton, 40, says of the stray cat who was found abandoned in Richardson, Texas, in 2012. “His legs would just quake when he would try to get up. And his body was sore so he didn’t like to be petted.”

With a prescription weight-loss plan and exercise using treadmills both on land and in water, Barton, who is a veterinarian at HEAL Veterinary Hospital, helped the now-8-year-old orange tabby lose 22 lbs.

“Because Skinny is so food-motivated, we used treats to help him accept the treadmill,” says Barton.

Now, “he jumps up in your lap and purrs. You can tell he just feels better.”