A morbidly obese Dachshund named Obie may be the first non-human "Biggest Loser." The 77-pound Dachshund needs to lose 30 to 40 pounds, and his owner Nora Vanatta is using Facebook to help him shed those pounds.
Biggest Loser, Doxie Edition is the name of a Facebook page created by Vanatta to spread awareness and hopefully raise money for the rotund 5-year-old dog. Vanatta, an EMT and certified nursing assistant from Portland, Ore., adopted Obie on Aug. 18, and the same day she created the Facebook page to help the big guy out.
"He is extremely sweet and loving. He was obviously loved and is a joy to work with," says the Facebook page. "I applaud anyone who takes on the task of rehabilitating an emotionally or physically abused dog."
Oregon Live reports that Vanatta is perfect for Obie, with a degree in animal science and eight years of experience as a certified veterinary technician. She also already owned a Dachshund and Black Lab before adopting Obie, and the other two dogs are both fit and active.
Obie joined the Vanatta family after the dog's new owner saw a post from Oregon Dachshund Rescue on Facebook, Oregon Live reports. It was a plea from a relative of the dog's previous owners, an elderly couple who reportedly fed him too much to show affection.
"I feel tremendously blessed to be involved in his rehabilitation and I am amazed at the outpouring of love and support that I have received," writes Vanatta on the Facebook page. "Please follow us on our journey as this sweet boy starts his new life."
Taking care of Obie won't be cheap for his ambitious new caretaker. To help handle the costs, Vanatta has set up the Obie Doxie Fund, a PayPal account that allows fans to donate and help get Obie fit.
Obie's "special diet," developed with help from Purina pet food, is the main approach Vanatta is taking to get the dog's weight down, until he is able to exercise, along with hydrotherapy, reports Shine, a Yahoo site. Once the dog is healthy enough, Vanatta plans to have him walk on a treadmill.
"My hope is that he can be an inspiration to any person or animal trying to lose weight," writes Vanatta on the Facebook page. "It is so important to introduce pups and kids to a healthy lifestyle and food choices as early as possible. Prevention is the key!"
Originally, the dog's name was AJ. Vanatta changed his name to Obie.