A new leash on life: Woman documents obese golden retriever's weight-loss journey

Frannie the golden retriever has lost 31 pounds in just two months.

A new leash on life: Woman documents obese golden retriever's weight-loss journey
February 28, 2024, 5:52 PM

A veterinary student has captured hearts online documenting her journey nursing an obese golden retriever back to health.

Annika Bram, a student at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, has been working for a few months now to rehabilitate Frannie, a golden retriever who was suffering from mobility issues due to her weight.

"I didn't really realize the extent of how bad off she was," Bram, 24, said. "I couldn't get her to stand up. She had no energy left in her. She couldn't walk."

In December 2023, the 8-year-old dog weighed 125 pounds, Bram said.

The American Kennel Club's official standards indicate a healthy weight range for a fully grown female of the breed is between 55 and 65 pounds. Frannie was about double that.

"She just sat there and kind of panted and just looked miserable," Bram said.

At first, Frannie was barely able to take steps on her own, Bram said. "She was just so heavy...I had literally blisters on my hands from picking her up," she said.

Frannie's journey has inspired many with her determination to overcome adversity.
Annika Bram

The dog "had no fur on her tail, huge calluses on her elbows and her back legs as well," Bram said. She was also suffering from hypothyroidism, Bram said, which can lead to excessive weight gain.

When Bram first met Frannie, her dog Georgia, whom she'd helped lose 85 pounds, had recently died. Bram said it felt like a sign.

"I think that Georgia sent her to me," she said.

Since then, Bram has been determined to help give Frannie a new lease on life and is documenting the journey on her Instagram account, @frannies.fight, which has grown to over 300,000 followers. (She has also documented Frannie's progress on TikTok, on her account @franniesfight.)

While Frannie is far from finished, Bram said the retriever has started to make notable strides and showed a renewed vigor for life after being on a custom diet and doing physical therapy.

Frannie has so far lost 31 pounds and has walked as much as a half mile, Bram said.

Annika Bram captures the hearts of thousands with her commitment to her obese golden retriever, Frannie.
Annika Bram

"She goes crazy for her tennis ball and will, like, run around with it and throw it up in the air," Bram said. "Just the fact that she can walk is incredible to me. It sounds crazy but every little thing is a big thing for us."

Frannie's story has gone viral on social media, inspiring many with her determination to meet her weight and health goals. Bram said she is touched by the overwhelming support and shared stories of motivation on social media.

"It's just incredible to see the response from people," Bram said. "I didn't really realize it was because of how much of an impact she was making on people's lives and how much of an inspiration she was."

As Frannie continues to thrive, the bond between her and Bram has grown.

"Probably my favorite thing about her is just how much love she has to give," said Bram, who said she plans to officially adopt Frannie.

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