Wednesday 15 March 2006
Did we like it?
We enjoyed this Animal Hospital meets Supernanny programme filled with cute, albeit hugely oversized, animals.
What was good about it?
• The transformation of King Charles spaniel Wallace from a massive biscuit-gobbling lump on the floor to energetic streamlined canine was a joy to watch – but even more joyful was the transformation of his owner Millie. At the start of the programme, she was an unhappy, dishevelled figure with very low self-esteem, comfort eating and hugging her dogs like they were teddy bears. By the end she was looking cheerful, happy, confident. Having something positive to focus on – helping her beloved pet lose weight – clearly did her the world of good.
• Andy Waterhouse, a Jo Frost for dogs. He easily sorted out Millie and Wallace’s problems by locking the dog outside as a version of the ‘naughty step’ and telling Millie not to pay any attention to the dog throwing a tantrum or ‘sulking’. Then he got her to reaffirm control of her kitchen and to reward Wallace when he was being good. It worked brilliantly.
• Enormous rottweiler Beaudelle Princess. She seemed a lovely dog. That said, we were cheering on Fiona, the owner of the dog grooming parlour when she told Beau’s owner Andrea straight: “The dog can’t speak for itself so I’m sticking up for her. You’re killing her with love.”
• Archie, a large cat whose kindly owners Brian and Julie, tried to exercise him by giving him lots of toys. Archie, being a typical cat, wasn’t interested.
• The very upbeat ending. It was happy endings all round. All the pets lost weight apart from Beau, and she seemed quite content.
What was bad about it?
• Considering Beaudelle was advertised as the star attraction of this programme she was barely in it.
• Beau’s owner Andrea being in denial about how obese her dog was. The dog weighed 14 and a half stone.
• Andrea, who can’t have children, stated bluntly that she was using the dog as a surrogate child. She went on to say the dog was her ‘life’ and her ‘little family’ and she needed it to feel secure. She spoilt her pet rotten (“Whatever Beau wants, Beau gets”) and we couldn’t help thinking the future looks pretty bleak for both her and Beau.
• The hypocritical butcher who said that Beau’s size was ‘horrendous’ but was perfectly happy to supply Andrea with 16 pounds of ox hearts for her dog to wolf down every week.
• The sadness of 68 kilo rottweiler Max. As much as his elderly owners Trevor and Pam clearly loved him, their feeding him up caused his back legs to buckle under his weight and he had to have a very nasty looking operation. He looked bloated and in extreme pain most of the time, and it was said he was likely to die within a year unless he lost weight. (Which luckily he did).
• The close-ups of Wallace’s face to show he was ‘not a happy dog’. King Charles spaniels NEVER look happy.
• The irritating and rather smarmy narration by Dean Lennox Kelly, which is a shame as we love him as Kev in Shameless.