Fostering animals isn’t easy. You often don’t know what they’ve been through, and they can’t communicate their needs in the same way humans can.
With determination and a lot of love, foster parents give many fostered animals a new chance at life. Pam Heggie was able to provide that for Kai, an overweight golden retriever.
Kai was brought to a vet to be put down by his previous owner. The vet intervened, calling Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue to find the big guy a new home. At the time that he showed up at the veterinarian’s office, Kai weighed 173 pounds. Not much else was known about his background, but Pam rose to the challenge.
She had the vet’s assurance that anything she could do for Kai would be a big help. With that, Pam got to work on getting Kai back into healthy shape. One year later, he looks like a brand-new dog.
Kai is a wonderful golden retriever. He had grown to be quite hefty, which led his previous family to take him to the vet to be euthanized. Thankfully, the vet intervened and called Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue.
Pam Heggie was looking to foster and was in contact with the organization. She couldn’t believe what Kai looked like when she set her eyes on him. “This is the most overweight animal I have ever seen,” the vet told Pam, according to Good Morning America.
Pam wasn’t sure what she could do to help Kai, but the vet encouraged her. “Anything you do is gonna help that dog,” he told Pam. “Anything that he will let you do is good for him.”
It wasn’t easy. When they got home, it took Kai 20 minutes to climb the stairs to the front door. Pam began a regimen with him, taking him for walks three times a day. She went out with Kai before leaving for work, after she got home from work, and once more in the evening.
“Literally, he went five to 10 steps, and then he would lay down and start panting,” Pam recalled to GMA. They stuck to their new routine, hoping it would get easier for Kai with time.
Pam also enrolled Kai in water therapy, which helped strengthen his hind legs and get his stamina back. Kai also needed to be put on a diet. It seems like a lot of work, but Pam says he was so joyful the whole time through.
As time passed, Kai started to lose weight and show progress. He was able to walk for a longer amount of time. He could get on the bed and up into the car without assistance. He even started hanging out at the dog park.
“It’s crazy,” Pam says, reflecting on Kai’s progress. “It’s like raising your child and you look at them and they’re all grown up and you just wonder how that happened.” Kai lost 100 pounds from his original 173 within his first year with Pam.
“I look at him and forget how broken he was,” Pam said. “Now he’s just a regular dog doing regular dog things like everybody else.” The ways that Kai has changed have really impacted Pam as well.
Pam was so moved by her connection with Kai that she decided to adopt him. Now he’s got a forever home with a parent who knows that Kai is capable of anything — and they’re both better for it.
Pam believes that Kai’s journey holds a lesson for all of us. “Everybody has things they need to do — and he was just so happy … every day he was like this is what we have to do and I’m going to do it. And every day he did it,” she recalls.
Kai’s determination is truly inspirational. “He shows you how to do a really big task literally one day at a time,” she explained. “He doesn’t worry about yesterday, he doesn’t worry about tomorrow, he just focuses on what needs to be done today and he does it. We can learn a lot from dogs.”
Kai’s story shows the beauty of fostering and rescuing animals. You’re doing more than just saving their lives; you’re letting love into your life that can greatly change you, and there’s no understating how special that is.
Of course, Kai still has to be careful. He recently aggravated an injury he got while he was overweight, which put him at limited mobility for a few weeks. Thankfully, he’s got Pam to take care of him, love him through every setback, and celebrate every success.