By Jeanne Sager
GLEN WILD December 19, 2003 Liz Keller isnt used to seeing overweight dogs.
The head of the Glen Wild Animal Rescue shelter, Kellers heart breaks each time a small stray is toted into her office, its ribs sticking out of its fur, its tail stuck permanently between its legs.
She hates it, but shes steeled herself to be prepared to nurse them back to health, no matter how far gone theyve been.
But she wasnt prepared for Lucky.
The beagle was found in New York City. Details of his rescue are unclear.
An adorable 4-year-old, the dog was almost put to sleep because the shelter didnt have the resources to make him healthy again.
At 53 pounds, the pup was morbidly obese.
He could barely move when he came into the shelter, Keller said.
Lucky would yelp from soreness if you touched his sides, and he couldnt turn around in his cage without assistance.
Kellers heart broke for the canine. A hound lover, she had an instant connection with the loving pooch.
I was concerned he had something wrong with him, that he had a tumor or something else, she recalled. I brought him in [to veterinarian Dr. Richard Steins office] the next day.
Stein looked over the otherwise healthy dog and diagnosed obesity with inflammation of the fat cells that were causing the extreme tenderness in his belly.
He told Keller to cut his diet. No treats, no biscuits, just a small amount of prescription dog food.
By Tuesday, less than two weeks after his first visit to Stein, Lucky had lost his first 2 pounds, and hes on his way down.
The weight should continue to come off gradually, Stein said, and eventually he should be within the breed standard weight range, about 18 to 30 pounds.
Overfeeding a dog is just as bad as not feeding your pooch, Stein said.
Dogs that are overweight are more prone to liver problems, arthritis, many different things, he explained.
And with Lucky, theres no telling what irreversible damage was caused by someone throwing treats every time he raised his head.
Naturally chow hounds, beagles are able to easily sniff out food, which Lucky made apparent lunging for several bags of dog food and treats in Steins office.
But Keller is focused on trimming him down. She wants him to be slim enough to go into an obedience training program with Sullivan Countys 4-H kids this spring. And she wants him to make someone a very happy dog owner once hes healthy enough to go home.
Hes very sweet, Keller said.
To find out about Lucky or any other dog at Glen Wild Animal Rescue, call Keller at 434-7191.
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Glen Wild Animal Rescue will be holding a bake sale in conjunction with Kaaterskill Animal League to raise money for Luckys care and the other animals at the shelter.
The sale will be held today at the county government center in Monticello from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.