Once nicknamed "Fat Vincent," this dachshund is now being hailed as "Skinny Vinnie" after losing nearly half his body weight.
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Melissa Anderson said when she took in Vinnie, he weighed a whopping 38.2 pounds.
"He was so overweight that we had to be really careful with him," Anderson told to IE.com.
Anderson knew Vinnie was not happy being obese.
"They're hunting dogs, they love to run. They're athletic, generally, and they need a lot of exercise," Anderson said. "I saw the athlete in Vinnie. He wanted to go, but he couldn't. He'd get winded. He just seemed sad to us."
They slowly started Vinnie's diet and a fitness regimen "because exercising was going to be really difficult for him."
The 9-year-old pup at first refused to eat dry food, and the family coaxed him by mixing it with wet dog food.
And slowly but surely, Vinnie began losing weight.
"As soon as he lost a couple of pounds, we got him in the swimming pool," Anderson said, but Vinnie still found mischievous ways to take short cuts. "He's smart enough to figure out he doesn't have to move with the life jacket on."
So Anderson adapted. She and a friend jumped into the pool with Vinnie and positioned themselves at either end. They called to him, and he would swim from end to end.
"[We] started with five minutes in the pool, and worked up to 20 or 25 minutes in the pool," Anderson said.
When autumn arrived in Houston, Vinnie had finally lost enough weight that Anderson could take him for walks.
The foster mom and dog started slow, but now, she said he is able to tackle hour-long walks, and won't settle for less: "He's had two days of no walking and he's waiting at the door after breakfast to go on his walk."
"He runs all the time," Anderson's daughter, Emily added.
Now, eight months after his regime change, Vinnie has lost 21 pounds. The goal is about 16 pounds.
"He was happy in the beginning, but not as much as he is today," Emily said. "You can tell he is always thanking us."
While the foster family already has three other dachshunds, Anderson said they still have not decided whether they will adopt Vinnie as a full member of the family.
"The idea was he'd get to his goal weight and we'd [post him for adoption]," Anderson said. "My family really want to keep him, and there's an outcry on Facebook to keep him, but I haven't committed on that. I'm getting weaker," she laughed.
In the meantime, Anderson said their family has been getting requests for adoption from all over the world, but they hope Vinnie will be able to find a local family to take him in.
Anderson suggested families who are unable to commit to adopting dogs like Vinnie can also help the cause by fostering animals.
"Great dogs like Vinnie are in shelters across the country, in danger of being euthanized. Vinnie was rescued just hours before," Anderson said. "We've got to get these dogs out of shelters."