After rescuing a rotund golden retriever from certain death, Pam Heggie is ready to save a decidedly massive malamute from a similar fate.
As a veteran dog foster mom, corpulent canines are her specialty.
Heggie, an Edmonton nurse, and her first portly rescue pup Kai became social media darlings. The retriever initially tipped scales at 173 pounds and was nearly put down by his previous owners.
Heggie dutifully chronicled the animal's weight loss journey online, helped the fat beast shed more than 100 pounds and eventually fell in love with her canine companion.
"I've previously fostered and failed at fostering because I've now adopted Kai," Heggie said in an interview Wednesday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.
"Over a year, he lost 105 pounds. And that was in 2019. We still have him and he's now a happy 68 pounds and a very lovely guy."
Heggie now has a new hefty mission: Woody, a 10-year-old Alaskan Malamute who weighs double what he should.
He is 210 pounds of fur and fat.
The dog was found last month struggling to stay afloat in a muddy creek in Coaldale.
Soon after the abandoned dog was transferred into the care of Edmonton-based Misfits of Alberta Animal Rescue, Heggie got the call.
Woody is already on a strict regimen of vigorous walks and portion-controlled diet kibble.
Getting the mutt to a healthy weight will be a journey, Heggie said.
She expects it will take more than a year for him to lose the weight.
"He is a big dog. I mean, his feet look like a bear paw but he should not weigh 210 pounds that's for sure.
"It will take a lot of determination and a lot of good luck."
He comes to life a little more each day. -Pam Heggie
Heggie said she is already seeing improvement in Woody. He's taken to chortling, digging up her backyard flower beds and generally causing a ruckus.
"He tries to play but he literally can barely fit between my cupboards and he can almost reach the counter, so he's really quite hilarious. I'm really looking forward to seeing who he becomes.
"He comes to life a little more each day. "
And as Woody slims down, he will have a healthy role model in housemate Kai.
"Kai, I swear he thinks he's a human. So he acknowledges other dogs, but he's not super playful. But he seems to understand where Woody is coming from.
"He seems to be very encouraging for him."
Heggie said Woody is a charming ward, but she is set on finding him a loving home, possibly in the country where he can dig and wag without impediment.
She can't afford to have another "foster fail."
"I have room in my heart, but I don't think I have room in my house."