Fat dog loses a stone after chocolate addiction

TJ with vet nurse Amanda Shearsby after her appetite was curbed. Picture: contributed
TJ with vet nurse Amanda Shearsby after her appetite was curbed. Picture: contributed
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A FAT dog who developed a potentially fatal attraction to chocolates, including Ferrero Rocher, has shed a quarter of her body weight and come ­second in a national animal slimming competition after taking up hill climbing.

Tubby Staffordshire bull terrier TJ, who lives in Stenhouse with owner Katy Visentin, weighed 5st 5lb, about the equivalent of a 10-year-old boy, when she was entered into the PDSA’s Pet Fit Club.

TJ before her weight loss. Picture: contributed

TJ before her weight loss. Picture: contributed

The lardy staffie, who was 70 per cent overweight, was said to have developed “a dangerous obsession with chocolate” – ­especially Easter eggs and ­Ferrero Rocher.

She is now a much slimmer 4st 2lb, about 26kg, after shedding almost 8kg. PDSA vets say the weight loss, which has seen TJ lose a colossal 14cm, nearly 6 inches of flab, from her waist, will also help ease her 
arthritis.

TJ’s owner Ms Visentin, 64, who adopted her pet as a two-year-old, said the weight problems began after a leg injury sustained while chasing a cat in the garden several years ago.

However, TJ also had a monstrous appetite and often tried to get her paws on chocolate which, apart from being very fattening, is toxic to dogs.

Ms Visentin said: “I can’t ­believe the difference in her, she’s like a different dog. Her coat is all glossy and shiny, she’s got a wet nose and she seems to have more energy than she’s ever had – it’s just a joy for me to see her like this.

“Taking part in PDSA Pet Fit Club has been fabulous and it doesn’t matter that we didn’t win the competition. The best prize is getting my old dog back to the way she used to be.”

When TJ began the competition Katy said she had to be “careful around chocolate”.

She said: “She’s managed to get her paws on a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates in the past. If she’s done something wrong she looks guilty and won’t come to see you when you arrive home”.

The 15-year-old finished as the runner up in the UK-wide competition between 16 previously podgy pets, only beaten by Ruby, a Jack Russell terrier from Sunderland. However, TJ has done her bit to keep Edinburgh on top of the old rivalry with Glasgow, losing 1 per cent more than Nyah, a Glaswegian cocker spaniel who was third.

PDSA senior veterinary surgeon, Elaine Pendlebury said: “Katy has worked really hard and shown it’s never too late to make a positive change. With help from PDSA and lots of determination she has completely changed TJ’s life. The weight loss means she will feel much fitter and happier, and her life expectancy is likely to be longer.”

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com