And that’s even more the case after surgery yesterday to remove 2-1/2 pounds of loose skin from the dog who once tipped the scales at 77 pounds.
Obie was recovering at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin, in Oregon, after surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after he lost 40 pounds in 8 months.
Obie’s caretaker, Nora Vanatta, says the surgery went well and that she hopes to bring him home today, according to KGW in Portland.
Obie weighed 77 pounds when he was given up by his former owners in Puyallup, Washington, last year and assigned to a foster home by a rescue organization.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue placed Obie — that’s him to the left in his beefier days — in Vanatta’s care. But after his girth garnered national attention the organization asked for the dog back, claiming Vanatta — by publicizing his crash diet and seeking contributions to his care — was exploiting him.
When Vanatta refused to turn him over, they filed a lawsuit, accusing her of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity” and “earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.
A settlement in the case was reached in January, allowing Vanatta to keep the dog.
Before the Tuesday surgery, Obie was down to 37 pounds and four ounces.
“We haven’t weighed him since the surgery, but he lost 2 1/2 pounds of skin” Vanatta said. “So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds.”
For now, he’s resting comfortably at the veterinary clinic (left), from which he’s expected to be released today — a few pounds lighter and his skin much tigher.
Vets will evaluate Obie to determine if more surgery is needed after he loses the last five pounds, a goal Vanatta hopes will be achieved late this summer.
Obie’s fight with obesity can be followed on the Facebook page Vanatta created on his behalf.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 1st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 35 pounds, 77 pounds, animals, biggest loser, custody, dachshund, dispute, dogs, doxie, emergency veterinary clinic, excess, facebook, fat, foster, health, loss, nora vanatta, obese, obesity, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, pets, removed, rescue, skin, surgery, tualatin, veterinary, washington, weight
We’re not sure we totally buy his argument — we even think it smells a little like one of those Texas tall tales – but we’re 100 percent behind John Mark Cobern’s fight to bring his dog to work in the Titus County Courthouse.
After being notified by the county commissioners that he can no longer keep Belle in his office during the workday, Cobern, the Titus County Attorney, is asking for a ruling from the state attorney general.
Cobern maintains that he keeps Belle with him for protection, and that Belle makes the courthouse a safer place, according to the Austin American-Statesman
“The primary reason for bringing my dog to the county office was to make my office a safer work environment,” he told the attorney general, noting his job puts him in contact with “the mentally ill and potentially unstable individuals.”
As you already know — because you’ve seen the picture — Belle is not a German shepherd, Belgian malinois or Rottweiler.
She’s a dachshund. And she’s 16. And she suffers from a glandular ailment.
Even though it’s a little difficult picturing Belle accosting deranged gunmen, subduing prison escapees or breaking up fights, we don’t totally rule out there could be an action hero beneath her greying fur.
We don’t think Cobern should have to lay legal groundwork to be able to bring his dog to work, but if that’s the route he has chosen he should probably emphasize the calming effect Belle can have, and the ways she can assist him in doing his duty that don’t involve detecting bombs or striking fear into the hearts of thugs.
For Belle is clearly no Texas-sized attack dog.
The commissioners say they decided to ban Belle, and all non-service animals, from the courthouse in Mount Pleasant after a complaint was received about her — but who the complaint came from, and what exactly it was, have not been reported.
Titus County Commissioner Thomas Hockaday took the matter to his colleagues and it was approved, despite opposition from Titus County Judge Brian Lee, who questioned commissioners’ authority to regulate what goes on in the offices of elected officials, such as the county attorney.
Cobern has had Belle since he started law school in Houston. “She laid in my lap for hours at a time while I studied,” he said. “She was always with me, and she is always with me now. I can’t go to the bathroom by myself.”
At the courthouse, Belle spends her time in Cobern’s private office, separate from where his staff is and where the public enters. The glandular ailment Belle suffers from killed an earlier dog of Cobern’s.
Cobern has asked Attorney General Greg Abbott for an official opinion on whether the county commissioners have the authority to regulate whether he — also an elected official — can bring his dog to work.
Abbott is reportedly a dog lover himself, and considers his dog, Oreo, part of his family.
Assuming Belle has not caused severe carnage at the Titus County Courthouse, we hope the attorney general bases his ruling not on dusty law books, but on the heart.
(Photo: Cobern and Belle, courtesy of Cobern)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attorney general, ban, belle, commissioners, county attorney, courthouse, courthouse dogs, dachshund, dog, dogs at work, elected, greg abbott, john mark cobern, office, officials, opinion, pets, protection, ruling, security, texas, titus county, work
The battle over Obie is over, for the time being.
Under a judge’s ruling this week, the obese dachshund at the center of a custody dispute will stay put with his caretaker, Nora Vanatta, who garnered national attention when she put the obese dog on a diet.
But the case could still go to trial later in the year, KATU reported.
At a court hearing Monday morning, a judge said it’s legally unclear who owns the dachshund, whose previous owners clearly overfed him and eventually reached the point of being unable to care for him.
Obie was surrendered by his original owners to Oregon Dachshund Rescue. Through that organization, Vanatta became his foster mom. Later, after Obie had gained fame, the rescue organization’s owner Jenell Rangan, filed a lawsuit seeking custody of the dog.
She’d asked that Obie be turned over to her until a trial is held. The judge declined to do that, ruling that temporarily, at least, Obie remain with Vanatta.
The case will now go to arbitration, and, if that fails, on to a trial.
“We’re just really happy about the outcome of the case,” said James McCurdy, who represents Obie’s caretaker. “Like the judge indicated in the courtroom, it’s far from over and we understand that. We’re just really ecstatic Obie can stay in the fantastic situation he’s in.”
Oregon Dachshund Rescue originally heard the dog was in need of a home and put out an online plea for help. Vanatta offered to foster the dog, and an Oregon Dachshund Rescue volunteer picked up Obie from his former owners’ home and delivered him to Vanatta.
“He’s doing well here,” Vanatta says. “It just doesn’t make sense to take him away now.”
Rangan said she believes Obie belongs to her, and that Vanatta is not providing good care.
Vanatta disagrees and says Obie, who once weighed in at 77 pounds, has lost more than 15 pounds since being in her care.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 25th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, case, court, custody, dachshund, dog, dogs, foster, jenelle rangan, judge, lawsuit, nora vanatta, obese, obie, oregon dachshund rescue, pets, rescue, rescued, ruling
Obie, the former 77-pound dachshund, reached another milestone this week, weighing in at under 60 pounds.
According to his Facebook page, “Biggest Loser – Doxie Edition,” Obie tipped the scales at 59.14 at his weekly weigh-in Tuesday.
That brings his total weight loss to 17 pounds in 12 weeks — an average of 1.5 pounds a week, according to his foster mom for now, Nora Vanatta.
Vanatta, a veterinary technician who volunteered to foster the dog for Oregon Dachshund Rescue, has also started an Obie store, selling, for now, Obie t-shirts.
Obie, formerly known as A.J., was surrendered by his elderly owners, who apparently didn’t know when to stop feeding him.
Vanatta immediately put him on a diet, detailing his progress on a Facebook page and getting some major media attention in the process.
After that, Oregon Dachshund Rescue owner Jenell Rangan filed a lawsuit, claiming Vanatta wasn’t properly caring for him and seeking to get Obie back.
The case has yet to be heard, but a judge ruled last month that Vanatta should maintain custody for now.
Vanatta has collected thousands of dollars in donations for Obie from supporters, and says the money is being used for his care. He still needs dental work and may eventually need to have excess skin surgically removed.
“Whatever is left over after his rehab will go to help other reputable rescues and continue to educate the public and bring awareness to obesity,” she says on his Facebook page. But, she adds, she will have to use some of the donations to pay legal fees in connection with the lawsuit.
“The saddest part is that legal fees for 2 weeks are already 5 times what Obie’s medical bills are in 3 months,” Vanatta wrote in a Facebook post.
That doesn’t seem to be a big issue, judging from those leaving comments on the page. Wrote one commenter, ”I donated through Paypal and I don’t care how you use the money. Take yourself out to dinner if you want.”
The far more common message is this: Go Obie!
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 60 pounds, aj, animals, custody, dachshund, diet, dispute, dogs, donations, facebook, fat, foster, loss, nora vanatta, obese, obie, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, pets, progress, store, weight
An Oregon judge says an obese celebrity dachshund should remain in the custody of his foster mom until the courts can determine his legal owner.
That means Obie — and we’re guessing the 70-pound dog is fine with the interim ruling — will be staying put for now.
At a court hearing today, a judge decided that the dog will stay with Nora Vanatta, a veterinary technician who volunteered to foster him – and put him on a diet — when his owners decided they could no longer care for him.
The court hearing today — and it’s just a first step — resulted from a lawsuit filed by Oregon Dachshund Rescue owner Jenell Rangan, who claims that, since the foster arrangement was set up through the rescue, the dog is legally her’s.
Rangan’s lawsuit was filed after Obie and his diet garnered some fame — but she has said she filed it because she didn’t feel Obie was being taken care of properly.
“They say I’m exploiting him,” Vanatta told KATU. “They say I’m misusing his funds and they claim he belongs to them.”
She added, “He’s famous and he’s touched so many people and I think they regret not taking him on in the first place,” Vanatta said of the rescue group.
Oregon Daschund Rescue was asking that the dog be turned over to them until ownership is decided, but the judge declined.
KATU reports that the case will go to arbitration, and could still possibly result in a trial.
Vanatta says Obie has lost 15 pounds in the last two months.
She’s collected thousands of dollars in donations for Obie from supporters, and said the money is being used for his care.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 70 pounds, animals, battle, court, custody, dachshund, diet, dieting, dog, dogs, fat, hearing, jenell rangan, judge, lawsuit, nora vanatta, obese, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, ownership, pets
He may be the world’s fattest dachshund, but apparently there’s not enough Obie to go around.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue has filed a lawsuit against Obie’s current caretaker, Nora Vanatta, claiming that the Portland resident doesn’t own him, was only fostering him for the organization, and must return him.
“The dog was surrendered to me,” the rescue organization’s president Jenell Rangan told the New York Daily News. “Nora is just a foster. I trusted her to bring him back.”
Vanatta, a veterinary technician, offered to take care of Obie when his former owners — who couldn’t seem to stop feeding him — decided they could no longer care for him. He was 77 pounds at the time.
The owners’ grandchildren contacted Rangan, who asked her volunteers to find a foster. Vanatta stepped forward, and the rescue organization approved the arrangement.
Vanatta agrees that the original plan was for her to foster the dog. “Initially, I said that I would foster him for a little while because I would not be able to take care of him financially,” Vanatta told the Daily News. “But I had no idea how obese he was. It’s going to take a year for him to get to a healthy weight, and I’ve committed to his rehabilitation.”
Vanatta started featurning Obie’s fight to lose weight on a Facebook page, “Biggest Loser, Doxie Edition,” which has led to donations and made Obie a celebrity, with appearances on ”Good Morning America” and the “Today” show.
Obie has lost 15 pounds and has about 25 to go.
Rangan said she wants the 5-year-old dog because Vanatta isn’t caring for him properly.
“I don’t want a dime,” she said. “I just want Obie … He’s a dog. He’s not a celebrity.” She objected to the fact that Obie flew in cargo, and not first class, on his six-hour trip to New York.
Vanatta said all money she has received for Obie has gone to his care.
She said no papers regarding his custody were ever signed, and that she wants to keep Obie at least until he reaches his goal weight.
Rangan and Vanatta are expected to appear in court Monday.
“It makes me sick because he was never in her custody,” Vanatta said. “I can’t understand why she’s spending money fighting this because he’s so happy.”
(Photo: Obie’s “Biggest Loser” Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 77 pounds, biggest loser, contributions, custody, dachshund, diet, donations, doxie edition, facebook, fat, fattest, foster, jenell rangan, lawsuit, nora vanatta, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, portland, rescue, technician, veterinary
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) has announced this year’s Hambone Award winner — a dachshund-terrier mix who chased a skunk under a deck, followed it into a hole, and then disappeared underground.
She wasn’t found and dug out until the next day.
It has been about a year since Peanut’s underground adventure, and she has recovered fully.
VPI said thousands cast online votes in a close race that saw Peanut beat out a cat trapped in a car engine to win the title of VPI’s Most Unusual Pet Insurance Claim of the Year.
The fourth recipient of the annual award, Peanut was found buried in the dirt beneath the deck at the Sicklerville, N.J., home of her owners, Keith and Christy Wolfram. The day before, she’d gotten in a scuffle with a skunk, chasing it under the deck and into a hole. Apparently the underground tunnel collapsed once she got inside it.
Her owners called the Winslow Fire Department. After hours of poking holes in the deck and searching for the dog, the firefighters were ready to call it quits, but Christy didn’t given up hope.
“When the firefighters saw Christy continue to dig, one of them decided to take a last look,” said Keith. “I remember him shouting, ‘I see her paw!’ and my heart just sank. By the time they got her out she was barely moving. I couldn’t believe she was alive.”
The firefighters administered oxygen to Peanut and she was taken to a veterinarian. She was treated for hypothermia and, after about a week and a half, had made a full recovery.
As the 2012 VPI Hambone Award winner, Peanut will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham, as well as a bag filled with toys, treats and an emergency pet kit.
Second place went to Pebbles, a domestic shorthair cat who got stuck in a car engine and was discovered after a 15-mile drive. Pebbles was treated for lacerations and a broken jaw. Third Place went to Bayley, a Labrador retriever in Maryland who shattered a a 55-gallon aquarium while playing in the house, resulting in a two-inch gash.
The 12 nominees were chosen from more than 1 million claims VPI receives annually.
For more details on the Hambone Award visit VPIHamboneAward.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, chased, dachshund, deck, dig, disappeared, dogs, dug, hambone award, hole, mix, pets, rescue, search, shovels, skunk, terrier, tunnel, underground, varmint, veterinary pet insurance, vpi
A standard dachshund who weighs more than twice what he probably should is drawing fans from around the world who, rather than laughing at his dilemma, are supporting his quest to lighten up.
Obie, formerly named A.J., was 77 pounds when he surrendered by his elderly owners, who were in declining health, in Washington state last month.
That, for a dachshund, is too fat to go on walks, and far more weight than their dainty joints, little legs and elongated backs were meant to bear.
As his new owner puts it, Obie’s humans were “loving him with food” and “they just couldn’t say ‘no’ to those big brown eyes.”
Nora Vanetta, a Portland veterinary technician, adopted Obie — formerly named A.J. — after learning about him through Oregon Dachshund Rescue.
She explains on Obie’s new Facebook page, “Biggest Loser Doxie [Dachshund] Edition:
“Our story began when a relative of this boy’s family stepped in and asked for help … Through many tears, the owners relinquished him. It is very frustrating and sad but we are thrilled to be able to help him, and now moving on with his new life.”
Until 5-year-old Obie arrived on Aug. 18, she wrote, she wasn’t sure he, at that weight, could really be a dachshund.
“I had no idea what to expect. I thought a basset hound would show up … to my astonishment he IS a dachshund and he actually weighs 77lbs. He is extremely sweet and loving. He was obviously loved and is a joy to work with.”
Vanetta is working to get Obie down to 30 to 40 pounds,and plans to incorporate hydrotherapy and a treadmill into his regimen once he lightens up enough to be mobile.
Meanwhile, his Facebook page – where Vanetta hopes fans can both track Obie’s progress and get advice on slimming down their own overweight dogs – Obie has accumulated more than 30,000 likes, and thousands of comments, and he regularly receives photos and words of encouragement from owners of dachshunds and others dogs.
Vanetta, who has a degree in animal science, has has also set up a Paypal page (you can find it through the Facebook page) to encourage people to donate money to pay for his continued care.
She has put Obie on a specially formulated diet, and she’s hoping her other two dogs — a nine-year-old Labrador and five-year-old Dachshund — serve as role models for him.
“‘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 … My hope is that he can be an inspiration to any person or animal trying to lose weight.”
(Photos: Nora Vanetta)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 77 pounds, aj, animals, canine, dachshund, diet, dog, dogs, donate, doxie, exercise, facebook, fat, fat dogs, health, nora vanetta, obese, obesity, obie, oregon, oregon dachshund rescue, overweight, paypal, pets, portland, standard, technician, veterinary, washington
Once again, I’m watching too many of those HGTV and DIY network home improvement shows — mostly, of late, the ones in which a homeowner’s backyard is “crashed” and transformed from a barren expanse into a Spa-Like Retreat, or a Tropical Paradise, or Awesome Party Area so they can invite over the numerous photogenic friends they always have.
It’s one way I pass the time when it’s too hot to go outside. I stay inside and watch shows about people who are getting makeovers for their yards, which are probably also too hot to invite friends over, unless, of course, a swimming pool is being added.
Watching those programs inspired me enough to go outside and attempt my own poor man’s version of a makeover – of a neighbor’s backyard, or at least the grassy area behind her apartment that I’m not sure who actually owns, probably the homeowner’s association.
I’ve told you before about where Ace and I ended our travels and where I’m staying for now — renting the very unit my parents lived when I was born, at a former apartment complex called College Village, since turned condo. It’s a modest development of one and two-story brick buildings that serve as an oasis of affordability in a neighborhood that otherwise consists of fine and expensive homes, with big trees and country clubs in every direction. College Village is mostly, as the name might imply, college students, along with people just starting their careers, and people on fixed incomes, or, as in my case, broken incomes. (There should be a TV show where personable, good-looking and enthusiastic experts come to your house and fix your income.)
I’ve also told you before about my neighbor dachschunds, short and chunky Frank and long and slim Bogey. Most days, Ace and I walk around the block with them. (Frank’s trying to shed a few pounds.)
Several times on those walks, their owner, Faren, has mentioned how she’d like to get a kiddie pool for the dogs to cool off in during the summer. It was taking her far too long to get this accomplished, though.
So I decided to “crash” her yard and transform that simple patch of grass from drab to fab, from bland to grand, from blah to something that rhymes with blah — oh yeah, “ahhhhh” — to, as they say in the parlance of these shows, “trick it out.”
While Faren was at work Friday, I made my move. I had but a few hours to complete the surprise transformation (all these shows have a beat-the-clock element to make them more exciting).
I decided to set a budget of $50. (That — staying within budget — is another dramatic element designed to make these shows more suspenseful than hammering and painting would otherwise be.)
First, I headed to K Mart, where I purchased a blue kiddie pool for $15. On an aisle nearby, I picked up some accessories — vital in any makeover. I couldn’t find any pink flamingos, but I bought two tiki torches for $5, and a bottle of bug repelling oil to fuel them, for $8.
Then I bought myself some sandals, because there was a half price sale on them, for $12.
That brought me in, even counting the sandals, at $10 under budget.
I gave myself a high five and, back home, assembled the team members — me and Ace. I found a flat place for the pool, borrowed a neighbor’s hose and filled it up. I stuck the two torches into the ground, but just barely because the ground was really hard and dry.
I proclaimed Ace lifeguard and myself facilities manager, as well as a charter member of the country club’s membership selection committee. I am also thinking about being editor of the country club newsletter.
Then I put on my new sandals and waited for the reveal, which I figured would take place when Faren got home. In the interim, I watched more home improvement shows and lots of advertisements for Glidden paint.
Faren and her boyfriend, Richard, pulled up without me seeing. So I can only imagine that, before I got there, they both said “ohmigod!” and “this is AWEsome!” numerous times.
When I saw they were home, I went over and walked Faren through the tropical paradise I had created, pointing out its many features, including her white plastic chair, which I had moved closer to the pool area. It took about four seconds.
Ace traipsed through the pool a few times, deciding, while it was perfect for getting a drink, it wasn’t big enough for him to lie down in.
Nevertheless, I foresee countless hours of enjoyment ahead as Faren, Frank and Bogey, and probably lots of mosquitos, make the most of their brand new, totally tricked out, awesome tropical paradise.
As for the lifeguard and facilities manager, they’ll probably be staying in the air conditioning.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, back yard, bogey, college village, crashers, dachshund, diy, dogs, frank, heat, hgtv, home improvement, kiddie pool, make over, neighbors, north carolina, pets, pool, summer, swimming, transformation, winston-salem, yard crashers
The Cumberland County sheriff’s department will take no disciplinary action against a deputy who shot and killed a 17-pound dog, but officials say they plan to equip more deputies with non-lethal weapons they can use on animals in similar situations.
Ronnie Mitchell, a lawyer with the Sheriff’s Office, said the agency had completed its investigation of the May 23 shooting by Deputy Barbara Siau, assigned to the Child Support Enforcement Unit.
“There’s no dismissal, no suspension or no demotion,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell told the Fayetteville Observer that deputies will undergo training in how to deal with animals, and some will be equipped with devices such as stun guns, chemical sprays and batons for use in non-lethal situations.
Siau had gone to Dana Anderson’s home in Hope Mills, N.C., looking for someone else when Gizmo, a Pekingese-dachshund mix, slipped out the door. Anderson said Siau kicked Gizmo when the dog ran toward her, then shot him.
Anderson said she was pleased to learn deputies will carry non-lethal tools. But she still believes she could have stopped Gizmo before the deputy fired, had she been given the chance.
“The thing that gets me, she should have gave me the opportunity to get him,” Anderson said.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cumberland county, dachshund, deputies, dog, dogs, fayetteville, gizmo, killed, mix, non-lethal, north carolina, pekingese, pets, police, safety, sheriff, shot, weapons