PHOENIX -- After undergoing months of rigorous exercise and strict dieting, a Valley dog has found a new home.
Chiquita, a short, 3-year-old Welsh Corgi mix, was adopted Monday by Glendale resident Sharon Leary.
Chiquita's story began back in August 2013, after she arrived at the Arizona Humane Society extremely obese at a whopping 40 pounds.
Under the care of a dedicated foster family, Chiquita underwent months of exercise, including water aerobics. She was also placed on a special diet.
Five months later, Chiquita is back to a healthy 24 pounds.
"Her story is a little more unique, but we do see some chunksters come into the shelter more often than not, just slightly obese," said Ashliegh Goebel of the Arizona Humane Society.
Goebel said pet obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and is considered to be the leading health threat to American pets. Nearly 45 percent of pet owners incorrectly evaluate their overweight pet as normal.
"It's similar to obesity in humans," she said. "It can lead to a lot of medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer, joint problems, and high blood pressure."
Goebel said pet owners should be aware of signs that their animal is overweight. They include not being able to see the waistline or ribs, a reluctance to exercise, and tiring out quickly.
"If your pet is displaying those physical signs you probably want to get them checked out by a vet," she said.