50-pound beagle drops half her body weight with water therapy

MISSOULA, Mont. (KTMF/CNN) – A dog in Montana now has a new “leash” on life after losing half her body weight.

A dog in Montana now has a new “leash” on life after losing around 25 pounds over the past year. (Source: KTMF/Humane Society of Western Montana/CNN)

Watching Pearl run, you’d probably never guess the beagle could barely walk a year ago.

Pearl arrived at the Humane Society of Western Montana on Christmas Day 2018, KTMF reports.

"She weighed 50 pounds,” said Jessie Maclay, Pearl’s owner and an employee at the shelter.

“She was unable to walk more than maybe four or five steps before her legs would give out. She had a dislocated hip that prevented her from being able to walk well."

Maclay thought she knew how to help, so she brought Pearl to Montana Water Dogs to try out water therapy.

"Her first swim session, she swam for a minute and 45 seconds, so not very long, many breaks in between,” Maclay said.

“I think she swam for 10 seconds at a time, and then we would take a break, and then swim a few more seconds, and then she was exhausted. She couldn’t stand, she couldn’t walk for the rest of the day."

After 54 swimming sessions, six days a week, Pearl built up her endurance and was able to swim for up to 15 minutes.

"In the time that we were swimming, she lost easily 20 or 25 pounds," Maclay said.

After dropping those first few pounds, Pearl’s true personality began to shine through.

"She’s amazing,” Maclay said. “She runs, she swims, she plays with other dogs, she has the biggest personality that I never ever would have expected when I first met her."

Pearl isn’t out of the dog house yet. She has Cushing’s disease, and she needs to follow a strict diet to keep the weight off.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t enjoy a treat every now and then.

"We finally said, ‘Can she have anything?’ and the vet said she could have green beans,” Maclay said. “And it took a long time for us to convince her that green beans are pretty good. Now she loves them.”

Copyright 2019 KTMF via CNN. All rights reserved.