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A shelter-based wellness journey


Blue, a Great Dane/Pit Bull Terrier mix awaiting adoption at the Humane Society of Summit County, and longtime shelter volunteer Ted Moore are teaming up to make a big change for their health and help other pets awaiting adoption along the way. Follow their journey to wellness through exercise, eating better, and other lifestyle changes through Ted's monthly blog. Cheer Ted and Blue on and help shelter pets in the process by giving in honor of the progress they make to reach their $5,000 goal. All funds raised will support health care for animals awaiting adoption at the Humane Society of Summit County.

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August 7 - We've Arrived! (Sort of)

January: 104.5 lb
Late April: 97.6 lb
Early June: 91.4 lb
Early July: 87.0 lb
Early August: 86.5 lb
Total weight lost: 18.0 lb
Percentage of body weight lost: 17%
Original goal weight: 85 lb
New goal weight: 75 lb
Pounds to go: 10.5 lb

Dr. Melisa Kauffman, the Shelter Veterinarian for the Humane Society of Summit County, took a look at our boy Blue last week after he clocked in at 85.6 pounds. As she put it, "Blue is looking great and his overall health has improved greatly. Twenty pounds ago, 85 ...

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July 10 - Back on the Trail

About a month ago, life at the Humane Society of Summit County was temporarily interrupted by an outbreak of canine infectious tracheobronchitis, commonly known as kennel cough. Under the expert guidance of Dr. Melisa Kauffmann, the shelter's veterinarian, the employees followed rigorous feeding, sanitation, quarantine, and other infection control protocols. This, combined with the staff's unlimited patience and dedication, kept the situation under control.

Earlier today, the first step in returning to normal was announced. As of tomorrow, Blue and his friends will be able to leave the shelter for their beloved field trips.

I'll be ...

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June 27 - Taking a Break

Those of you who have been following the Pound of Cure find-a-forever-home-for-Blue/fundraiser program have probably been wondering what Blue and I have been up to lately. The answer is, suspending our hikes while Blue and his pals got through the outbreak of highly contagious upper respiratory disease (commonly known as "kennel cough") that hit the shelter a few weeks ago.

This was a serious health emergency for all the dogs, even those that were seemingly disease-free. It required the staff to quarantine the sick animals, close the canine side of shelter to the public (including volunteers), and work meticulously ...

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June 5 - Amazing Blue - The Sequel

January: 104.5 lb
Late April: 97.6 lb
Early June: 91.4 lb
Weight lost in May: 6.2 lb
Total weight lost: 13.1 lb
Percentage of body weight lost: 13%
Goal weight: 85 lb
Pounds to go: 6.4 lb

As anyone who has been on a journey similar to Blue's knows, the first few weeks or months of any change in diet and exercise usually deliver the biggest results. Sustaining that over the long haul is the real challenge. So, Blue's team was that much more blown away by his progress in May. This ...

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May 15 - Hitting the Buckeye Trail

In the 4 months Blue and I have been on this wellness journey together, we've learned a lot about each other, about what works on the trail and what doesn't, and about just how fast one good dog can make progress if a great team lines up behind him.

As we posted here a few weeks ago, last month's weigh-ins, for both of us, were pretty encouraging, and Blue keeps getting compliments on his slim new look. More importantly, Blue now really enjoys getting out in the woods, climbing hills, fording streams, and even crossing bridges, which ...

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April 26 - Amazing Blue

January: 104.5 lb
End of April: 97.6 lb
Total weight lost: 6.9 lb
Percentage of body weight lost: 7.2%
Target weight: 85 lb
Pounds to go: 12.6

This. Is. Just. Fabulous.

Put your hands together for:

The adoption, behavior, and kennel staff who work with and care for Blue every day.

The volunteers and shelter employees who prepare Blue's meals and make sure he gets healthy treats. (And who had to listen to his whining at the beginning about his hot dogs and peanut butter going bye-bye.)

The remarkable folks from Dogs Playing for ...

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April 10 - Spring Has Sprung

What an eventful two weeks it's been for Blue!

First, as those of you who follow along on Facebook already know, Blue and I hit the trails for the last gasp of winter with a relatively short hike in Cuyahoga Valley National Park about 10 days ago. Blue was excited to get out in the beautiful early spring winter wonderland until about the last half-mile or so. At that point, he'd had about enough of cold mud puddles and snow falling on his head from overloaded tree branches. If dogs could drink hot chocolate, Blue would have consumed a gallon after we got back ...

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March 28 - Drum roll, please...

As you might remember from our post of late February, we were all a bit baffled that Blue had worked so hard all that month but that the scale didn't show it. You'll also recall that everyone on Blue's team was determined to figure out why that was.

Thirty days later, everyone's, especially Blue's, creative thinking and hard work has paid off. Blue now weighs in at 102 pounds! That's down 2.5 pounds, or not quite 2%, from when this all started.

Although a human might be disappointed at what might seem like ...

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March 14 - Turkey & Green Beans

Well, the novelty has worn off.

You know how it is when you start something really new in life, right? The first few days and weeks are fresh and exciting. You realize it's a marathon, but you can picture yourself crashing through the tape at the finish line, arms waving. You just power into it with gusto.

Then it dawns on you: There's actual work involved here. You have to stay motivated. Old habits are begging you to return. It would be so easy to just forget the whole thing...

Funny thing, though. It's way harder to ...

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February 28 - "This is Starting to be Fun"

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
-Lao Tzu

Most everyone reading this, I'll bet, has set and achieved a major life goal. Earn a college degree, save up for a car or vacation, whatever. Earlier this year, Blue and I, with the help of my doctor, his veterinarian, and the staff and volunteers at the Humane Society of Summit County, set one of those for ourselves: drop 20% of our body weights, raise $5000 for the shelter, and find Blue a forever home, all before the end of the year.

Now that our first ...

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