By Mark Hodge @mrhodgey

A PODGY pooch that weighed as much as a BABY HIPPO is now fighting fit after being rescued by a wildlife charity

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Videographer / Director: Pam Pet
Producer: Mark Hodge, Nick Johnson
Editor: Sonia Estal

Caring specialists began treating the dog after he was rescued in September 2014

The stray had been enjoying a few too many dogs dinners when it was rescued in September last year.

Bolinha weighed more than 80lbs after being treated as a sideshow at a petrol station in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Bolinha's exercise regime included using an aquatic treadmill

Customers who visited the fuel stop were encouraged to give the chubby mutt a treat.

After videos of the unhealthy dog began circling online, wildlife organisation Pam Pet and animal welfare charity Organização de Proteção Animal de Mato Grosso (OPA-MT) decided to stage an intervention.

Overweight Bolinha was rescued after videos of him began circling online last year

Pam Pet owner Pamela Ferreti, 32, revealed the dog could barely walk when they first found him.

The weighty pooch also had breathing problems which worsened when he was lying down.

Pamela said: “Bolinha lived in a snack bar and restaurant located in a gas station after he was abandoned by his owners.

As well as being made to carry out regular exercise Bolinha was put on a diet of four light meals a day
The former stray tipped the scales at just over 80lbs when it was rescued

“He was constantly being fed scraps by the owner and passers-by and he eventually became an attraction because of his enormous size.

“Luckily once he arrived at the veterinary clinic, he underwent several tests that showed he had no hormonal or thyroid problems, and that overeating was the only cause of his obesity.

"According to the vet he would not have lived much longer if he had not been rescued.”

The dieting dog shed the weight with the help of an aquatic treadmill

Specialists put bulky Bolinha on a strict diet of four light meals a day at a veterinary clinic in Mato Grosso.

He has also shed his puppy fat using an aquatic treadmill where he walks with his legs underwater.

According to non-profit organisation the World Animal Foundation, a baby hippo weighs somewhere between 55lbs and 100lbs at birth.

An unhealthy-looking Bolinha shortly after arriving at the clinic

When he was rescued Bolinha weighed-in at 80.1lbs, but after a year at the clinic he has slimmed down to 48.1lbs.

Pamela, who says the dog is set to be adopted by one of his carers, continued: “Once rescued, Bolinha was very sad and timid, he was afraid of people and just wanted to stand still or sleep.

The rescued stray was still timid months after being rescued

“However after receiving treatment, he is now happy and affectionate and has started to play with other dogs.

"The president of the OPA-MT Michelle Scopel will adopt him and in a few days he will already be in a new home.

Bolinha seemed happy with his new look when he was photographed in July this year

“Seeing the transformation of Bolinha has given me great satisfaction because it is another life saved.

"He can jump, run, play, and be a healthy and happy dog.”

The super slimmer showing some skin

Bolinha now walks four or five times per week for 20 minutes, and the frequency and distance covered in the sessions is increasing all the time.

The super slimmer is a mutt - meaning he is a mixture of different breeds.

But while the number of strays in Brazil makes it difficult to determine Bolinha's pedigree, the cardio-obsessed canine now looks to have a long and happy life ahead of him.