Stray dog’s good life earns fame

Mkhululi Ndamase

A JEFFREYS Bay dog is vying for top honours against nine other pets in a national pet slimming competition – the coveted Hill’s pet slimmer of the year title.

Ouvrou, Afrikaans for old woman, lost 37.5% of her bodyweight on a veterinary supervised weight-loss programme. The cross breed weighed 11.2kg, but now weighs in at 7kg.

 Owner, Mari Gerber, said Ouvrou was picked up along the highway outside Witbank by a family member about eight years ago.

“When we picked her up she could not walk properly – she walked like an old woman, hence the name. She was very thin when we found her so we felt sorry for her and kept on feeding her till she got fat.

“She was so fat that we had to carry her everywhere and that was when we got worried and took her to a vet. We were afraid she might suffer from a heart attack,” Gerber said.

Gerber said she and her sister, Ria Muller, were happy with the progress Ouvrou had made.

“We are very happy about her weight-loss and we do not want her to pick up that weight again. It is wonderful that she is in the top 10 of the competition. We did not think it was possible.

“Now she can walk and run on the beach. She is a healthy and happy dog now.”

Ouvrou’s vet, Dr Anton van Niekerk said: “She was developing a problem with her pancreas due to obesity. Since losing weight her pancreatic levels have improved, so I am very happy to see the results. In fact her whole demeanour has improved. When she started on the programme she could barely walk 200m, now she literally runs into the surgery for her weight checks.”

The five pets that receive the most votes by October 22, will each win R5000 in recognition of their weight-loss achievement, and the overall winner will walk away with the title.

Veterinarian Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a leading expert on pet obesity in South Africa, said about 50% of pets visiting the vet are overweight.

“These fat cats and dogs are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer. Rather than thinking you are showing how much you love your pet, when you over-feed or indulge them, you may actually be shortening their lifespan,” he said.

Thousands of cats and dogs entered the competition in a bid to shed their killer kilos, but were narrowed down to 10 by a panel of judges.

Voting opened yesterday and closes on October 22.

Visit www.petslimmer.co.za to vote for Ouvrou.

Muller urged the local community to vote for Ouvrou.

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