Extra Large Lab Needs Diet, New Home

A neglected dog staying in a California animal shelter is facing an uphill battle, and it is our hope that together, we can help him to find his way to a new forever home.

Meet Red – a happy, easy going chocolate Labrador retriever. Red’s prior owners nearly killed him with kindness by letting him swell to almost twice the size of the average Lab, and now he will need months of dietary restriction and regular exercise in order to shed the burden of excess weight he is straddled with. Looking for a workout partner now that the weather is warming up? Look no further!

His listing details:

My name is RED. I am a neutered male, brown Labrador Retriever. The shelter staff think I am about 10 years old. I have been at the shelter since Mar 11, 2012.

For more information about Red please contact Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation at (916) 368-7387, animal ID number A566358

UPDATE (3-23-12): Red has been adopted. Please see the comment from Shellie below. Thank you for another adoption success story!


  1. Anonymous says on  03/22/2012 at 1:24 pm

    Criminal! How do we find out if someone is going to help him? Don’t want him to die because of his irresponsible owners.

    • Shellie and Stephen says on  03/23/2012 at 11:22 pm

      I’m happy to report that my husband and I fell in love with and adopted Red today — such a wonderful doggie and so well behaved! He is currently sound asleep in his bed — snoring like a log I might add — after a very busy day. We have an appointment with our vet on Monday for Red’s full physical which should tell us if his weight gain is related to anything other than poor diet (i.e., diabetes, thyroid, Cushings…). We are also working on a proper diet and exercise plan. Thanks to all of you for your concerns for Red’s well being.

      • Anonymous says on  03/25/2012 at 10:21 am

        Such great news!!! Thank you. I too have a lab and find them to be the most lovable pets. He’s a lucky fella!

      • Shellie and Stephen, thank you so much for letting us know! This is superb news!!

      • Anonymous says on  03/27/2012 at 8:07 pm

        So great thank you

      • Tail Spin says on  03/27/2012 at 8:32 pm

        Thank you Shellie and Stephen! I wish you many years of joy, kisses and snuggles. We may think we’re rescuing them, but sometimes they rescue us back =) I think many of us would love to follow your success story. I hope “Life with Dogs” can help you keep us updated.

        God Bless!
        The Gang…Lil Chance Man, Candy Neeners, Smokey Dodo, (Wee Z) Zissou, Cyrano, Mickey & PeekaBoo.

      • Lynda says on  03/27/2012 at 8:37 pm

        Thank you so much for adopting this gentle looking Lab. With love, a good diet and exercise……he’ll improve!!!

      • Anonymous says on  03/27/2012 at 8:41 pm

        Bless you. You have strong hearts.

      • Meghan says on  03/27/2012 at 8:43 pm

        Yay! Congratulations!!! There’s NOTHING like the love of a rescue dog, especially some one as enthusiastic as Red! My Taffy (a yellow lab that I rescued) smiles and you can just see the thanks and love in her face. Red should have his own facebook page so we could follow him <3

        • Malena says on  03/28/2012 at 3:05 am

          Something like this (it could also be a blog i guess) sounds like a great idea.

          I think many people want him to improve and would love to follow his story.

      • Anonymous says on  03/27/2012 at 8:58 pm

        That is such great news! My husband and I recently adopted an over weight yellow lab who is blind in one eye and deaf and now she lost weight and is so active! It can happen!

      • Tom says on  03/27/2012 at 9:43 pm

        Great news! I wish Red nothing but the best. You are very kind for giving him a second chance.

      • Karen says on  03/27/2012 at 11:08 pm

        Shellie and Stephen – Enjoy the wonderful time you will have with Red. Labs are such wonderful dogs (all breeds, mutts, and four-leggeds, really). Will you give us an update once in a while. His happy, shedding, wiggling self stole my heart. You are wonderfully kind and loving to give him such a good home. He’s a lucky guy!

      • Anonymous says on  03/28/2012 at 12:53 am

        Great for you and Red!!! Adopting is the best option. Congratulations!!!

      • Nancy says on  03/28/2012 at 2:42 pm

        Thank you so much for your commitment to love him and make him a healthy happy dog. God Bless you.

      • Shellie and Stephen says on  04/09/2012 at 7:24 pm

        ‎”Red” Update: Thanks to all for your thoughtful concerns. Red is doing very well and has added much joy to our lives. Over the first week he was with us, Stephen and I adjusted his name to “Oliver”, so I will refer to him by his new name.

        The same day we adopted Oliver, we stopped by our vet for a weigh-in: 118lbs. Yikes! A couple of days later we took him in for his full exam and I’m happy to report he is very healthy for his age/size — no thyroid issues, diabetes, or Cushings, and his lungs and heart are in great shape. Oliver’s problem area is in the joints, so we’ve started him on glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. As for diet, his vet put him on Science Diet R/D (4 1/2 cups a day), and as of last Monday Oliver’s lost 5 lbs and is going for another weigh-in today. I hope to see another couple of lbs. gone, but slow and steady wins the race, right?

        For exercise, Oliver likes us to throw his toy and then run with him to get it. I do this with him throughout the morning. Every afternoon, we’re off to the dog park where Oliver gets plenty of exercise walking around and marking every place possible. For now, his vet only allows him one brisk walk roughly the equivalent of a city block which we also do at the dog park. As his stamina increases and his weight decreases, the amount of brisk walk or even a run will pick up.

        Interestingly, we have taken some heat from various people who see Oliver and assume we are responsible for his condition. I don’t mind explaining that we are his new people and we’re not sure what went on with him before. Oliver’s prior people may have thought they were doing all the right things and didn’t understand what was happening. Then again, they may have overfed him and never walked him. I’m just not willing to hazard a guess.

        Anyway, again thank you all for well wishes and for caring so much about Oliver (aka Red). Off to the dog park!

  2. awwww <3<3<3

  3. Lisa says on  03/22/2012 at 1:59 pm

    oh poor baby!!!

  4. Martha says on  03/22/2012 at 1:59 pm

    hes so freaking cuteee!!! more to love & cuddle with heheh <3

  5. If I didn’t already have three dogs, I’d take him in a heartbeat…he’d get daily hikes, a diet, and tons of love…

  6. Oh he’s so happy! And BIG!

  7. whoa…I cant believe they fed him that much?

  8. Poor guy. Looks happy though. He’ll be much happier without all that excess weight :3

  9. Kara says on  03/22/2012 at 2:00 pm

    Ohh he is beautiful! It can be done! Just need someone who is dedicated and extra loving!

  10. Roberta says on  03/22/2012 at 2:00 pm

    What a sweet looking pup! Hope he finds a nice home with very active folks who will work that extra weight of his cute butt! :)

  11. Gene says on  03/22/2012 at 2:01 pm

    OMG! That owner should be punished and never ever be able to have a dog again! Cruel! Hope the lab finds a home and loses a lot of that weight.

  12. Davonne says on  03/22/2012 at 2:02 pm

    I think maybe someone lost their dog, and in no way was this dog neglected as stated above, he was obviously loved and cared for, maybe to much, lol

  13. Hope Red finds a good family ASAP

  14. Jeannie says on  03/22/2012 at 2:04 pm

    that is not killing him with kindness..that is abuse…

  15. Jeannie says on  03/22/2012 at 2:05 pm

    even in the pic..looks like he can barely breathe.

  16. <3<3<3

  17. Ann says on  03/22/2012 at 2:06 pm

    Wish i were there to help Red… btw, Valerie Smith – Splash is super thin after all! :-) and so was Lady!! 😀

  18. Marie says on  03/22/2012 at 2:07 pm

    Poor baby – makes me so sad to see someone let their dog become so overweight… :-( Wish I could help…

  19. Someone loved him too much with lots and lots of treats and well he became over weight and maybe someone found him after he got out and turned him into the shelter. Doesn’t sound like neglect to me either Davonne.

  20. Lindy says on  03/22/2012 at 2:08 pm

    I shared. Allowing their dog to become this obese is as much a sign of animal abuse as beating him would be.

  21. June says on  03/22/2012 at 2:08 pm

    all labs are overweight!

  22. Denise says on  03/22/2012 at 2:08 pm

    Why do people do this crap. If you can’t care for your animal children, don’t just abandon them….grrrr…

  23. wish i could help red out but live to far away ,hope red gets the home this dog so bad needs love and plenty of food and water for the loven family i true hop he gets red does .its a shame .

  24. I have a chocolate lab and she isnt fat, bit stereotypical:L I’d love to take him in our family:’)

  25. Caitlyn says on  03/22/2012 at 2:13 pm

    Awww… <3

  26. Vagola says on  03/22/2012 at 2:14 pm

    Please, Share maybe get this guy a home!!!! We are currently at 11 rescues… My heart goes out to Red! I pray he finds the perfect home. And soon!!! Spread the word, for it’s out there, I feel it…:)

  27. Scott says on  03/22/2012 at 2:19 pm

    does he come with a saddle?

  28. Have they contacted a lab rescue? All this guy needs is a good diet, and I’m not talking about any Rx diet or Purina or Science Diet light formulas. I’m talking Evo or ANY grain free (raw would be best) kibble. He also should be check to see if he is Hypothyroide (low thyroide) which is common is older labs. I really hope he finds a furever home and get gets that weight off ASAP or he’ll have cancers and arthritis if he doesn’t already. Poor guy, the owner probably dumped him :(

  29. Awwww he is so cute, so sad his owner got him so fat

  30. Kimberly says on  03/22/2012 at 2:23 pm

    OMG! Animal abuse!

  31. Sherry says on  03/22/2012 at 2:24 pm

    Our Risti is a 10 year 4month old English Lab & a bit overweight at 100 lbs with medical issues. He only has 1 cup of kibble with 3/4 cup of no-salt green beans morning & night plus one treat in the morning & night. On lots of meds for degenerative arthritis & pain but takes daily short walks. Red looks like an English Lab. English Labs are thicker bodied, blockier faces & shorter legs. Also their tails are thicker & they weigh more than other labs. Hoping they try to find his owner before adopting him out!!

  32. Susan says on  03/22/2012 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my goodness. That is a big labbie

  33. Good Lord.

  34. Nala says on  03/22/2012 at 2:29 pm

    it is a myth just skinny animals are abused but being morbidly obese is abuse too, but sometimes medical issues can cause weight issues but a responsible owner should investigate it

  35. Haters…. He’s a good boy…. He can have it if he wants. Just needs to get in the pool…. daily.

  36. Mia says on  03/22/2012 at 2:52 pm

    Sweetie boy. I hope he finds the loving home he deserves.

  37. Sweet happy baby! I have 2 labs and love them to death. Our family had a chocolate lab and he was a big boy as well. At the end of his life he got diabetes (not what killed him). So he might need to be checked for that as well. Hope he finds an active family soon.

  38. That is one really big lab! Cut out the treats, snacks and big meals and start an exercise program like I did. Sadie

  39. That dog looks like he was loved very much !! Look at that sweet face , labs just love love to eat!!!!!

  40. Poor baby.makes me sad her previous owners let her get like this. :(. Hope she finds a awesome home with lots of love and walks.

  41. He looks like a bear cub!! Cute!

  42. Sonja says on  03/22/2012 at 3:32 pm

    Please please please let someone loving adopt this sweet angel. I would, if I didn’t already have three Labs AND a Beagle.

  43. Poor thing! God speed

  44. Cari says on  03/22/2012 at 3:57 pm

    This dog is right here in Sacramento! He’d be a great pal for someone.

  45. so not only did they mistreat him by overfeeding and I can only assume not exercising him…they then just dumped him off at a shelter…real nice. I’m praying he finds a loving home with responsible owners who know how to care for and treat dogs. Hopefully this is the best thing that could have happened to him : )

  46. Diana says on  03/22/2012 at 4:20 pm

    Talk about loving an animal to death…

  47. holy shit I thought it was a cow time for new glasses

  48. holy shit I thought this was a cow, time for a new pair of glasses

  49. Pamela says on  03/22/2012 at 4:53 pm

    It may be a thyroid problem, rather than an over feeding problem. Hope Red gets the right forever home as he certainly deserves it.

  50. Marta says on  03/22/2012 at 5:07 pm

    Has he been checked for Cushings Disease?

  51. Tammy says on  03/22/2012 at 5:10 pm

    Awww, what a sweet big baby boy! Even his tail is chubby :) Our lab would eat until he looked like this too, but we won’t let him, we control his diet and take him on walks/runs often. He is a healthy 97 lbs of mandog :) I hope Red finds a good healthy home SOON!!!!

  52. Emily says on  03/22/2012 at 5:41 pm

    Aw he looks do happy. He’s actually not the fattest dog I’ve ever seen but comes close. Good luck buddy!

  53. Juliette says on  03/22/2012 at 6:10 pm

    poor guy! Hope hie finds a great family, I’d take him but I live in Hawaii, so it’s hard… but good luck Red, in finding a good family, and also for your weight loss program. I know it sucks, losing weight always does…

  54. Maira says on  03/22/2012 at 6:33 pm


  55. Jennifer says on  03/22/2012 at 6:39 pm

    I have 3 labs one is over weight and has been since the day I got her the vet ran all tests she is healthy except being over weight she its an english lab she is not abused or mistreated she is just hefty

  56. Jennifer says on  03/22/2012 at 6:39 pm

    Red is adorable!

  57. Nancy says on  03/22/2012 at 7:11 pm

    I thought my Lab was over weight…started giving her frozen peas & carrots as “treats”, she is getting slimmer!

  58. OMG! Pleasse help this sweet boy.

  59. Kristin says on  03/27/2012 at 7:59 pm

    Great! I was hoping he’d find a wonderful new home.

  60. Raytha says on  03/27/2012 at 7:59 pm

    Happy Dance!!

  61. Tonja says on  03/27/2012 at 8:00 pm

    Hallelujah, Glory, Glory, Praise Jesus and raise the roof! Sooo happy for Big Red. Happy fur-ever home life to the whole family! <3

  62. Debbie says on  03/27/2012 at 8:00 pm

    Great news :…………………………)

  63. awww, thats wonderful!!

  64. Peggy says on  03/27/2012 at 8:01 pm

    I know it’s not healthy but I think his chunkiness is cute. Guess I’m just a chubby chaser! hehe

  65. Melinda says on  03/27/2012 at 8:02 pm

    good for him !!! he needs to get healthy too :)

  66. Awesome!!! That is great news!!

  67. Love a happy ending. Yay !!!

  68. Fernanda says on  03/27/2012 at 8:02 pm

    thats great news!

  69. Thank you Lord!!!!!

  70. Great news!

  71. Gloria says on  03/27/2012 at 8:03 pm

    Oh that is great news!!!!

  72. That is so great.. What a sweet sweet Red. 😉

  73. Maria says on  03/27/2012 at 8:04 pm


  74. great!!

  75. Donna says on  03/27/2012 at 8:05 pm

    Hope he finds a great home

  76. Tammy says on  03/27/2012 at 8:05 pm


  77. Adopted! Fabulous! <3

  78. Donna Robinson, he already did. 😉

  79. hope he gets a home .

  80. That’s great! And now Red’s family can help him lose weight. Sadie

  81. Way to go Shellie, hope Red loves his forever home xx

  82. Yvonne says on  03/27/2012 at 8:12 pm

    hoping there will be updates..

  83. Sonja says on  03/27/2012 at 8:14 pm


  84. Tracie says on  03/27/2012 at 8:14 pm

    So sad this dog deserves better anyone who could make this dog that heavy is super selfish!


  86. I’m so glad he found caring people to love him!!!

  87. Glad he has a home but not here as my DixieLeigh is always begging for treats.

  88. Leann says on  03/27/2012 at 8:22 pm


  89. BBR!

  90. Yaaayyyy….

  91. Wonderful! I am so happy for Red. He is a beautiful dog, and I wish him and his new family the very best.

  92. Wow! I am so moved.

  93. It’s one thing to let yourself get that fat….but it is ABUSE to let your pet OR child get that heavy!!! Thank GOD for his new family!!! Xox

  94. Paula says on  03/27/2012 at 8:27 pm


  95. i thought that was a bear for a minute! poor thing. I am so glad he was adopted.

  96. Anita says on  03/27/2012 at 8:30 pm


  97. Teri says on  03/27/2012 at 8:32 pm

    So happy he was adopted.

  98. Awesome!


  100. Veronica says on  03/27/2012 at 8:37 pm

    I get so mad when I see people with obese pets. Many times people do it out of ignorance or without ill malice. I am curious as to what this guys weight loss regiment is going to be. I’d love to get updates as I am currently battling the bulge too!

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