Heartbreaking reason Sophie the unliftable Staffie cross turned into one of Australia’s fattest dogs and what’s being done to help her
- Sophie the Staffie cross piled on the weight after her two owners passed away
- She ballooned to 400 per cent above her ideal body weight and couldn’t walk
- She was rescued by the RSPCA in South Australia, put on an exercise program
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What could be Australia’s fattest dog has been taken into care in South Australia – and immediately put on an exercise and eating routine.
Staffie cross Sophie became depressed and ballooned to 53 kilograms – four times her optimum weight – after both her owners passed away.
The owners’ housemate took on Sophie out of respect for the deceased couple but struggled to manage the dog and their own commitments.
Dogs are considered overweight when they are 10 to 20 per cent above their idea weight and obese at over 20 per cent.
Sophie is roughly 400 per cent over her idea weight. To give some perspective, if Sophie were human female she would be over 280 kilograms.
What could be Australia’s fattest dog has been taken into care in South Australia – and immediately put on an exercise and eating routine
Staffie cross Sophie became depressed and ballooned to 53 kilograms – four times her optimum weight – after both her owners passed away. She could not walk unassisted when she was rescued
‘I have never encountered a dog that big before,’ said RSPCA Inspector Krista, who said she and her co-workers were ‘gobsmacked’ at Sophie’s siize.
‘When I first saw her I couldn’t believe it. She was so big, I didn’t even know if she was able to walk.’
Krista managed to coax Sophie off the sofa that had become her home – but she refused to budge any further.
She couldn’t, not without help anyway.’
‘Losing both her owners had taken quite an emotional toll on the poor thing – she was very stressed out and wasn’t willing to go anywhere with me.
‘There was no way I’d be able to lift her into the van so I called in reinforcements.’
She was helped by an RSPCA ambulance volunteer, Peter.
Krista described lifting a surprisingly calm Sophie as ‘a workout’
‘I was very relieved to see Sophie stand up – she was surprisingly calm for all the drama going on around her,’ said Peter.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said it is important not to think of overweight dogs as amusing. ‘It’s not funny, it’s animal abuse.’
She added that it is common for pets to emotionally suffer when they lose their primary carer.
‘Sadly this is often the case with animals surrendered into our care. Regardless of whether the owner has died or the animal has been surrendered for some other reason, the result is the same in that the animal is suddenly without its familiar carer, home environment and routine.
For now Sophie has been adopted by another RSPCA inspector, Stuart, who is already planning an exercise regime for her
Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by up to two years and lead to a range of serious diseases
‘Our staff frequently see signs of depression in these animals such as loss of appetite, withdrawal, lethargy and calling out or vocalising in an unusual way such as whimpering or howling.’
Animals can also suffer grief from the loss of animal companions, such as another dog or cat in the household.
For now Sophie has been adopted by another RSPCA inspector, Stuart, who is already planning an exercise regime for her.
‘Sophie is definitely the biggest I’ve encountered, but I’m happy to help with her fitness journey,’ he said.
‘I can’t wait to see her running around enjoying the happy, healthy lifestyle she deserves.
Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by up to two years and lead to a range of serious diseases.
These include: many types of cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypertension, osteoarthritis and joint degeneration and urinary bladder stones.