There must be something special about a little dog that can draw a big crowd.
Most of the people who gathered at East Bay Animal Rescue and Refuge House in Concord on Friday already know Obie’s story.
The Dachshund was rescued from Puyallup, Washington last year and adopted by a Portland, Oregon woman. He weighed 77 pounds, about triple what a dog that breed should weigh.
“He was likely eating only people food, probably thousands of calories a day,” said Nora Vanatta, the vet tech from Portland who adopted Obie.
But that’s not why some people are drawn to the dog. With the help of Vanatta, Obie managed to do what millions of Americans struggle with every day.
“He’s gradually lost 50 pounds in the first year,” Vanatta said. “It really is just about diet and exercise.”
Obie’s fame first started on the Internet. Pictures of him went viral and Vanatta eventually got calls from news organizations who wanted to do stories about Obie, including The Today Show.
Now, 53 pounds lighter, Obie and Vanatta are on the tail-end of a cross-country tour to raise awareness about obesity and the benefits of spaying and neutering pets.
Vanatta said the wiener dog doesn’t mind being on the road, or the center of attention.
“We decided to take him on a tour across the country to meet all of his fans and help local shelters along the way,” she said. “He’s very easy going. He’s very good with people.”
Vanatta said Obie is done losing weight, and his future looks bright so long as he keeps up the exercise and healthy eating.
“The coolest part about the whole story is that he inspires people, as well as their pets, to lose weight,” Vanatta said. “I get all kinds of messages daily about people who have lost weight thanks to Obie. They say if Obie can do it, they can do it.”