In Kern County, California, high-kill animal shelters abound—in fact, the country has some of the highest euthanasia rates in the country. That’s why, in 2009, Zach Skow founded Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating Kern County’s death row dogs—including Spud, a five-year-old English Bulldog/Bully Pit mix.
When Spud was found, he was in rough shape: “His ears were cropped off, the skin on his face was peeling, he was malnourished, and he desperately needed a bath,” says Jessica McCoy, an administrative assistant and fosterer at Marley’s Mutts. “English bulldogs in particular need to be cleaned regularly; otherwise, they can develop skin issues, which Spud definitely had.” Marley’s Mutts placed Spud in a foster home, but unfortunately, he had an allergic reaction to the area and put on 20 to 30 pounds from eating too many acorns from the family’s yard. “At that point, he came to live with me for a few months,” says McCoy. “He needed to lose the weight and gain control of his allergies so he could be adopted.” Here, McCoy shares how Spud slimmed down and got the pep back in his step!
What was Spud like when he first came to stay with you?
He was a sad guy. He reminded me of Eeyore—he would mope around and just wanted to sleep all day. He still had bad skin issues and also had trouble bending his knees and walking. He would try to jump on the couch, but he couldn’t. He’d get his front paws on the couch but couldn’t lift his butt up so my husband would have to get behind him and lift it up for him.
What needed to be done to rehabilitate him so he could be adopted?
He needed to lose 20 to 30 pounds and gain control of his skin issues. We also wanted him to be able to run and play—a lot of people don’t want a dog who can only walk. They want a dog that can interact with them.
How did Spud lose the weight?
We put him on a weight-loss program at around Christmas time. We reduced his food intake and started feeding him Ollie in January.
How did Spud respond to Ollie?
He absolutely loved it. When I gave him Ollie for the first time, he sniffed it for a few seconds and then dove right in. He had his whole face in it, and when he finally finished and looked up at me, he had meat and peas on his face. It was the cutest thing. From then on, he was really excited about breakfast and dinner time and would always lick his bowl clean to get all the flavor. He also really liked the probiotic supplements, and I would give them to him as a treat.
What differences have you noticed in Spud since giving him Ollie?
Spud lost about 25 pounds (he went from 80 pounds to 55 pounds!), and he now has enough energy that he can run around outside and play. His skin has improved and his allergies are a lot better now. Overall, he’s full of quirky personality. He loves to chew on bones and sticks and can even jump on the couch!
Has Spud been adopted yet?
Yes, Spud was adopted a few weeks ago! We were very selective about the family he went to, and we think we found a great match. His new mom stays at home and he has a Boxer sister to play with. We’re very happy he found his forever home.
Photo Credit: Jessica McCoy for Marley’s Mutts
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