He’s a pooch who’s packed on the pounds, a black Lab with slabs of flab — a hound so humongous he can hardly wedge his way into his own doghouse.
His name is Samson, and he may be Australia’s fattest dog. Tipping the scales at 187 pounds, he’s double his ideal weight. His big brown eyes implore “Feed me” — but they’re bulging and bloodshot, showing the symptoms of high blood pressure, a side effect of obesity. Vets say the corpulent cur can’t be exercised safely until his weight is brought under control.
Samson’s former owners raised him on liberal helpings of burgers, pizza, and other fast food and fatty treats, according to Australian newspapers. In doing so, they were reflecting unhealthy trends among their nation’s human population.
In 2007, the World Health Organization reported that about two out of three Australian adults are overweight, putting the country in 21st place among the fattest nations in the world (the U.S. is No. 9). The following year, the Australian government declared obesity among its “national health priorities,” along with cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
And now the Animal Aid shelter in Coldstream, a town outside Melbourne, has declared a similar health emergency for Samson. The staff have adopted the huge hound and put him on a strict doggie diet: two meals per day consisting of about three cups of dry dog biscuits each, plus water. The goal is to reduce his weight by Christmas, then put the newly lean Lab up for adoption.
“It’s a culmination of inappropriate foods ... plus lack of exercise,” Animal Aid general manager Nell Thomson told an Australian interviewer. “It really doesn’t take long to start [to] pack on those pounds.”
But Samson is reportedly not wagging his tail with joy over his stringent new regime. “He has a very keen appetite and shows a willingness to do anything he can to get food, any way he can,” Animal Aid veterinarian Amber Lavery told Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.
“Tough love means saying no,” she added. In other words, sometimes it’s a dog’s life — even when you’re a dog.