WFTV's Vanessa Welch to put overweight dog, Baylor, through doggy boot camp



ORLANDO, Fla. - One-third of Americans are obese, a costly health epidemic in the U.S., but it's not just people who are suffering from obesity.

Channel 9 anchor Vanessa Welch found pets are suffering from obesity now more than ever, a topic that has affected Vanessa's family personally.

Vaness'a chocolate lab, Baylor, is 4-years-old and his weight has caused to lose a step or two. Getting Baylor to exercise is a struggle Vanessa's family continues to go through.

Vanessa and her husband, Jason, love our dogs and have always had labs.  Before Vanessa and Jason had children, Baylor was their "baby." He's been a part of the family since he was 6 weeks old.

And now with Vanessa and Jason's busy careers and two young children, 7-month-old Benton, and 2-year-old Wils, they're busy to say the least.

"To be honest, we struggle to find time for Baylor," Vanessa said. "He has a lot of energy and just like any lab, he needs a lot of exercise.   We play fetch and tug of war but he easily gets tired and becomes uninterested."

Vanessa said she and Jason also have trouble measuring the right amount of food and if you add in the table scraps and occasional treats, it's been a recipe for an overweight dog.

Baylor and 54 percent of other dogs in the U.S. are considered overweight.  And while many think a fat dog is cute, the health problems, injuries and veterinarian bills associated with it are not.

"One of the hardest things my family and I experienced was the loss of our beloved lab Banks last November," Vanessa said. "He was only 9 years old and we have missed him so much."

So, Vanessa and her family decided they are going to take action and send Baylor to boot camp.

During the next several weeks, viewers will get an inside look at Baylor going through an exercise and food program put together by a team of trainers and veterinarians.

The final goal:  "I want Baylor to run with me in the dog jog, a fundraiser this may for the SPCA of Central Florida," said Vanessa.