Award for vet nurse helping pets fight flab
AVETERINARY nurse has won an award for helping a Skelmersdale dog fight the flab after he grew fat on his favourite food – cheese.
Katie Hartnoll will head to an awards ceremony in Kidderminster later this month to receive her trophy.
She will be joined by pet owner Jacqueline Nicholson and her daughter, Helen, who live in Skelmersdale.
Katie won the Best Long-term Weight Management category with Helen’s dog, Sebastian, a 10-year-old Jack Russell, who was a big fan of cheese and had become a very effective “high chair hoover” for Helen’s son, Austin, which led to him gaining weight.
Sebastian, who was in the obese bracket when he started with Katie, shed almost 4½lbs, amounting to 15% of his body weight, which he has now maintained for more than a year.
He was referred to Katie with his house mates Moffi, a Belgian Shepherd cross and Molly, a dachshund.
The dogs – which live with Jacqueline and husband Pete and Helen, son-in-law Jon, and two-year-old grandson Austin, who own Sebastian – have all reached their target weights.
Jacqueline said: “When we found out Sebastian had won his category, both Helen and I laughed. We couldn’t believe it, although he has always been a superstar in our eyes.
“He’s a lovely dog and we are very proud of his continued weight loss.
“Katie has been so helpful and there is a lovely rapport between us all now. She never makes you feel like you have done wrong but helps you to change your ways all together.
“Helen and I are looking forward to attending the ceremony with Katie. We felt it would be terrific to be there to pick up his trophy and see who wins the overall prize.
“I think it will also be nice to meet other pet owners who have been on a similar journey to us.”
Katie, a mum-of-two, is the head veterinary nurse at Abbeycroft Veterinary Centre in Northwich, part of the independently-owned Willows Veterinary Group.
The 32-year-old led the team to set up Cheshire’s first weight management centre for pets at Abbeycroft in Station Road and has since helped 77 dogs and 26 cats embark on their fat-fighting challenge.
The scheme is sponsored by Royal Canin pet foods and staff underwent an intensive three-month advanced training and assessment in pet body condition scoring and nutrition to gain approval for the centre.
Katie, who holds a certificate in canine and feline veterinary health nutrition, said: “I was really happy when they rang to say I had won two awards and I wasn’t just happy for myself, but for the animals and owners who have won too.
“We have been on this journey together and gone through the ups and down of it all with one another. I could not even have thought of entering these awards if it wasn’t for the commitment and hard work of the owners and it is a fantastic ‘well done’ for all of us.
“What these owners do for their pets by helping them slim down is life changing. It’s wonderful to see the change in their pets as the weight starts to come off. Not only are they fitter and healthier in themselves but they are often visibly happier in their character too.”
In the Best Before and After Photos category, Katie also claimed victory with 11-yearold Jack Russell Tiger-Lily from Northwich who shed an astonishing 8lbs plus, almost 40% of her body weight, over a seven month period after she was clinically diagnosed as obese.