Skinny Vinnie the Dachshund: From Overweight to Inspiration

PetMD Editorial
Published: April 29, 2016
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Most stories of weight loss will motivate people to change their diets and get exercising, but how often do they inspire us to go out and adopt a dog that needs our love? That's where Skinny Vinnie the Dachshund comes in. 

Vinnie's story, while happy now, had an ultimately sad start. After his former owner passed away, the 8-year-old Dachshund could not be taken care of and would have been put down. Because of his frame at an unhealthy 40 pounds with a BMI of roughly 67%, Vinnie was deemed unadoptable. That was, until, he was taken to the K-9 Angels Rescue in Houston, Texas, and volunteer Melissa Anderson took him in. 

Anderson tells petMD that despite his disadvantages, Vinnie was motivated to get moving and shed the pounds. In fact, as she recalls, "He ran to my car." 

Vinnie's foster mom, who said she "couldn't believe" the dog's overweight frame when she first saw him, says that his transformation was due to his positive energy. "He had such a good attitude, and he really has kept that attitude the whole time. He always wants to go on a walk. Even when he couldn’t really walk, he wanted to go.”

"[Vinnie] would only walk about 10 yards from the house and sit for the first month, but as time went on, he got further down the road," says his vet Sharon Anderson, DVM, of the Memorial Vet Clinic in Houston. "I now see him in the neighborhood making the 2.5 mile loop with Mom and her other dachshunds. He was supposed to lose only 0.5 lbs per week, but he ended up losing a little faster."

Vinnie—who is considered somewhere between a miniature Dachshund and a standard Dachshund—is now down to a healthy 16.8 pounds, the weight a dog his size should be. Still, because of the excess weight he carried, he had some health issues. "Vinnie has very bad periodontal disease," says Anderson. "His cholesterol was high, he had a hyperechoic liver on ultrasound—more than likely a fatty liver—but the rest of his labs were normal."

Anderson says that Vinnie will continue to have dental issues, but despite some loose skin from his weight loss, he is otherwise healthy now. It's especially amazing when you consider the health concerns that can arise when a pet is overweight, including diabetes, joint problems, breathing problems, and urinary tract issues. 

Thanks to a special diet (which started with formula, and then eventually moved on to wet food and kibble) and exercise (which included swimming), his foster helped get Vinnie to be where he is today. 

Anderson tells petMD that while Vinnie may be smaller now, his heart is just as big. She says the fun-loving dog is much more jovial now that he lost the weight. "You know, we CAN really tell when pets are happy, and he is a much happier little dog" she says.

While Vinnie's incredible transformation and his own determination to shed the pounds is an inspiration in and of itself, what Anderson really hopes people take away from his story is that there are great dogs like Vinnie out there who deserve a second chance at life. 

Anderson hopes that Vinnie inspires dog lovers to help out a canine at their local shelter who may be otherwise overlooked. "It might take a little work, but they might be a perfect dog, and they’re waiting there.”

Image via K-9 Angels Rescue