Two trips to the vets later and it looks as if we have managed to stop the Lyme Disease in its tracks. We caught it early and Jessie is now bouncing around, has yellow pee and all is on the mend.
However, the vet did stick Jess on the scales and we have discovered that she now weighs 6kg more than she did in August when we arrived. A whole 6kg (that is approaching 14 lbs for the less metric minded amongst you). This is a whole lot of weight on a dog.
We knew that she was getting fatter, and were not surprised. In the UK she would usually get 2 hours of walking every day. Here she gets just one; the walks are not as energetic and she seldom meets a dog who wants to play which is the best from of doggie exercise out there. We had been restricting her food accordingly, giving her very few scraps or little extra doggie treats.
To our great surprise she carried on getting fatter. We really restricted her food, the recommended amount for a dog was 400g a day, Jessie has been getting 260g. But still the weight was piling on.
The trip to the vet clinched it for us so we went out and truly investigated what she was up to when she was sniffing around in the garden. And the results surprised us.
Jessie has developed her own network of friends. Many of them buy food for her and toss it into the garden for her 'second breakfast', 'post lunch snack', 'post post lunch snack' etc. One woman was buying her a LOAF of bread every day - I couldn't help feeling that really her 1km per day could be a lot better spent than feeding our overfed mutt, but each to their own. Our neighbours have been throwing scraps out of their window for her, which includes a small mountain of potatoes, extra meat and the odd vegetable. Jess isn't fussy, she hoovered up the lot.
I talked to everyone I could. I explained that the vet had told us off because she was fat, fat retrievers are much more likely to get arthritis and could they please, please stop feeding our dog. She would love them just as much as she did before, honest. She might even stop barking at the neighbours window to get them to give her food.
On the whole most people agreed. One neighbour though looked pained. And asked if he could just carry on feeding her one thing. And he held up an enormous jar of boiled sweets bought just for her.
No wonder she is on the podgy side. The diet is on.