Take a few steps, lay down. Waddle a bit further, lay down. Catch your breath. That was “walking” for Chunk when he arrived at the Connecticut Humane Society in Waterford.
His overburdened legs couldn't support his roly-poly 27-pound frame. He needed a diet and maybe a personal trainer. Oh, and a barber. His long, black and white fur was matted and tangled because he was too plump to groom himself. On top of that, Chunk had just lost his best friend—his person had passed away. Now, he was confused about being in a new place with strange people he’d never met and wondering where his favorite person in the world had gone. He needed a lot of love and reassurance that things would be OK. CHS staff and volunteers had their work cut out for them.
First things first. Chunk got a new ’do when his (giant) torso was shaved, leaving him with just a big, soft tail and fluffy “sleeves” and “pants.” He also got a check-up with CHS’ medical team, which revealed joints in his front and back legs were inflamed from struggling to support his weight. The prescription for Chunk was immediately clear: a special type of food and lots of playtime with staff and volunteers to kick-start a slim-down. Ever try to make a cat exercise? Not so easy!
The first step was to spend time with him and gain his trust. Everyone who visited Chunk brought toys and a variety of other playthings to pique his interest and get him moving, even a little. Chunk had to work for his food, too. Treat balls and maze bowls made him move during mealtime. If this guy was to make any progress, it was going to take some creativity.
Ounce by ounce, this chunky monkey gradually began to trim his waistline. But he needed some more help. After he’d spent a month at CHS, it was time to recruit some playtime experts: kids. Chunk headed out to a foster home where a couple of little girls couldn’t wait to entertain their new house guest.
He stayed with his temporary family for about another month and soon began following his foster sisters around the house and, to everyone’s excitement, up and down the stairs. He even played dress-up!
Now down about four pounds, happy to walk again, and just a jolly guy overall, Chunk was ready for a home of his very own. One day Chunk met a new dad who was glad to continue his diet and workout plan. But there was one challenge left: Could he lift Chunk? Turns out he could! And off they went to be bosom buddies in their new life together.