Vet Student Takes Neglected Golden Retriever on Weight Loss Journey, Thousands Flock to Insta to Watch

Vet Student Takes Neglected Golden Retriever on Weight Loss Journey, Thousands Flock to Insta to Watch

Despite the challenge and schedules of veterinary school, a 24-year-old woman in California is fostering a very overweight dog to the tears and delight of thousands who follow the pair on Instagram.

As the months passed, the pounds have melted away, and as the weight comes off, a sparkling canine personality is emerging that has the young woman certain she’s found a partner for life.

Neglected, obese, and suffering from pneumonia and hyperthyroidism, Frannie the golden retriever was on death’s door when Annika Bram became aware of her plight. As it happened, Bram’s golden retriever Georgia, who had just died, was also extremely overweight when Bram adopted her. She helped Georgia lose 85 pounds in their 5 years together.

Learning from a canine rescue organization Rover’s Retreat that Frannie was going to be euthanized, she felt that Georgia had brought this dog to her, because she knew she was the person who could take care of her.

Contacting Rover’s Retreat, she offered to foster Frannie, who she learned weighed 125 pounds—about double the normal heft of a female golden.

Sydney Maleman, the president of Rover’s Retreat, told the Washington Post that Frannie never had proper veterinary care and was medically unstable. She believed they had got to her just in time. As Frannie recovered what was left of her strength, Maleman knew Bram was the right person to foster her.

“Annika just kept following up,” said Maleman. “After talking to her, we just knew that she was going to set Frannie up for success; she was willing to do everything and anything for a dog she never met.”

Driving three hours down to San Diego, Bram finally met Frannie, but the meeting was bittersweet as the student at UC-Davis School of Vet. Medicine said that the pooch seemed “completely defeated.”

Frannie during weight loss rehab – credit @frannies.fight

Bram was determined, however, to help Frannie get back to a normal weight. Documenting her efforts on social media, hundreds of thousands of people began to tune in to see the techniques Bram used to help her new dog get back on her paws: literally.

At first, Frannie was so heavy she couldn’t support herself, so Bram had her sitting over a crate so she could safely learn to put weight back on her legs. With the help of these rehab activities, thyroid medication, and a strict diet, the pounds began to fall away, and a “hidden personality” began to emerge.

“She’s a completely different dog,” said Bram. “Every day, her personality comes out more. All that personality has been hidden away for so long.”

Annika Bram and Frannie – credit @frannies.fight

At the end of February, Frannie was able to run for the first time in who knows how long, chasing a bouncing tennis ball like a normal pooch should.

Bram has applied for adoption of Frannie, whose daily walk is already exceeding a half-mile as she continues her rehab. At the time of publishing, she’s got down to 91.2 pounds from a high of 125.

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