The Journey Begins



My husband Jason and I have always had Labradors. Before we had children, our 4-year-old chocolate lab Baylor was our baby.  Now we have two precious young boys: Benton, who is 8 months old, and Wils, who is 2.  These boys have blessed me beyond measure and bring me so much joy.

The boys are extremely active and keep us very busy.  Benton is crawling everywhere and wants to walk already so he can keep up with his brother. I think he will be walking in a matter of weeks! Wils has so much energy and loves being outside. He goes all day long and is extremely curious.  

My husband and I are juggling two busy careers, caring for the boys, and serving our community through charity work. Baylor often gets lost in the shuffle.  We don't have time to exercise him or play with him as much as we would like. He's gained weight recently and is really slowing down. He gets very tired very quickly.

We lost our yellow lab banks a few months ago. She got sick and died suddenly. Watching my husband carry her body to the vet to be cremated was one of the toughest things I have ever been through.  We miss her so much. The boys miss her and Baylor misses her.

We want to do all we can to make sure Baylor has a long life. The babies adore him and I want them to grow up with their sweet dog. I know Baylor needs to lose weight, but I don't know how to fit in an exercise and fitness regime into our already crazy schedules.

A good friend of mine takes her dog to Barking Dog Fitness ( at Rocky’s Retreat in Orlando. Her dog swims with trainers two times a week and has lost so much weight.  Her dog has so much energy now and thanks to the swimming will not have to have a very expensive knee surgery. I decided to check out the facility and was super impressed.

The trainers at Barking Dog Fitness are putting an exercise and nutrition plan together for Baylor. Our goal is to help him get fit enough so he and I can participate in the SPCA of Central Florida's ( Run for Rescues on May 17th.

During the next three months, we will share Baylor’s fitness journey on this blog and during our noon newscast, with awesome photos from the talented Donna at Le Puparazzi (

Fifty-four percent of all dogs are overweight, so I'm guessing many of you can relate to our struggle to find time to make sure Baylor is getting the exercise he needs.  We're going to share tips and information with you from veterinarians and the trainers at Rocky’s. 

I feel extremely blessed to be able to share this journey with you and I hope you too will be inspired to get your pets healthy, and that you will join us for the Run for Rescues on May 17!

You can watch Baylor's Boot Camp on Tuesdays on Eyewitness News at Noon. Follow WFTV anchor Vanessa Welch on Twitter at @VWelchWFTV ( and keep up with her and Baylor's journey with #BaylorsBootCamp. You can also find Vanessa — and Baylor — on Facebook (