MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — This past summer, a beagle rescued in West Michigan weighed nearly 100 pounds when he was taken to Pound Buddies Animal Shelter in Muskegon.
He is making major progress in getting healthy. In September, Winston had lost 20 pounds since being rescued.
Weighing in this week, Winston is now 55 pounds, which is much closer to a healthier target of 40 to 45 pounds.
"I really would say it was life changing for him," Four Paws Rehabilitation Owner Amy Barr-Tickle says.
He's shed the weight off in water therapy. Now, he can walk on the underwater treadmill for 30 minutes. That's more than double his best time two months ago, and he's walking with a lower water level at a quicker pace.
"Looking back now, I can say he was depressed," Barr-Tickle says. "Now he's just a different dog."
She is Winston's physical therapist, and she works hard to make sure her clients have a higher quality of life, like Winston can have at eight years old.
"It's gonna make me tear," Barr-Tickle says. "I feel good about it...he could be at like the halfway point of his life right now. Whereas with all that weight on, he might not have lived another one to two years."
"He is a lot more outgoing and playful," says Karen Steinhelper, Winston's owner.
At home, she says he's playing more with his beagle brothers and sisters. A few years ago, she and her husband Michael rescued and rehabbed an overweight senior beagle named Flash. Then came Duke, who has lost more than 50 pounds and still comes to physical therapy with Winston.
"They are really part of our family. We love them," Steinhelper says. "It makes us feel like, well, at least we're helping some dogs and we're having a good time doing it."
She hopes this holiday season, people help out their local animal shelters, whether that's through adoptions, donations or volunteering.
"It's very important not to forget them because there are so many dogs out there that are filling up the places," Steinhelper says.
The couple has a Facebook page dedicated to their beagle brigade, documenting their family time and weight loss journeys.
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