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Captain Haddock sails into first place – 2014 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year


Captain Haddock Gomez - before (on scale)When a Namibian dog with a nautical name was chosen as the 2014 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year, the carefully audited voting process confirmed this was no fishy business.

Captain Haddock, a Labrador Retriever from Swakopmund owned by the Magdalena-Gomez family, shed over 15kgs (30% of his bodyweight) going from a massive 50kgs to 34.9kgs, on a special weight loss programme for obese pets. Of 6, 500 votes cast online for the ten finalists, Captain Haddock received the most by far, securing the coveted 2014 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year title and a R5, 000 reward. This is the first time a Namibian has been top dog in the annual competition, now in its 18th year.

Captain Haddock, a typical greedy Labrado
r, shed his killer kilos under the watchful eye of Sister Sheelagh Bagot-Smith of Swakop Veterinary Clinic, one of 350 veterinary practices in Namibia and South Africa that run the Hill’s Pet Slimmer Captain Haddock - after (on scale) by Karl Terblancheprogramme for their super-size clients.

According to his owner Cynthia Magdalena-Gomez, all four members of the family loved to treat their beloved dog, not realising how these tidbits were adding up to unhealthy weight gain. Furthermore Captain Haddock was a serial food thief, stealing from the other family pets. By the time he was four years old he was an enormous 50kgs. One afternoon the girls were horrified to come home from school and find him unconscious, having suffered some kind of stroke.

“We rushed him to the vet and are so grateful he could be resuscitated. Whilst we don’t know what caused his brain stroke, we did realise his excess weight wasn’t helping. The vet immediately signed him up for the Hill’s Pet Slimmer programme and a year later he is a different dog,” says Cynthia Gomez.

“We just didn’t realise how dangerous his excess weight was. We used to joke that Captain Haddock had to be pushed up the dunes when we went sand-boarding. He looked sad and usually just lazed around.”

“Now he’s a different dog, he enjoys running up and down the dunes as much as we do and jumps easily into the back of the car when he knows we are ready for an outing. He issuper healthy and is a very happy dog.”

“We all feel guilty – he depended upon us and we overfed him. Now we are all very careful to ensure he maintains his weight and he’s sticking to Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic. Thank you Hill’s and Swakop Vet, we would not have been able to do it without you.”

The five pets that received the most votes have each wonR5, 000. Research has shown that all pets that achieve their optimum weight, are winners. Studies have conclusively proven that overweight pets are at higher risk of diabetes, complications during surgery, joint and mobility problems and breathing difficulties.  In fact the lifespan of an overweight pet is shortened by approximately two years*.

2014 Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year – Top Five

1st: Captain Haddock Magdalena-Gomez, a Labrador Retriever from Swakopmund, Namibia, lost 15.1kgs (30% of bodyweight), going from 50kgs to 34.9kgs under the care of Swakop Veterinary Clinic.

Halo Pillay, a Rottweiler from Edenvale, Johannesburg, lost 20.5kgs (33% of bodyweight), going from 63kgs to 42.5kgs under the care of St Francis Veterinary Hospital.

Chubby van der Linde, a Jack Russell from Gordon’s Bay, Cape Town, lost 4.5kgs (38% of bodyweight), going from 12kgs to 7.5kgs under the care of The Cottage Veterinary Hospital.

Marley Dunn, a Labrador Retriever from Brooklyn, Cape Town, lost 22.8kgs (41% of bodyweight), going from 55kgs to 32.2kgs under the care of Rondebosch Veterinary Hospital.

Belina Tregoning-Trolese, an English Bulldog from Blouberg, Cape Town, lost 5.8kgs (22% of bodyweight), going from 25.8kgs to 20kgs under the care of Ixia Street Animal Hospital.

Cats are as much at risk of obesity-related health problems as dogs, in fact an obese cat is four-times more likely to develop diabetes than one at its optimum weight. The one  cat in the Hill’s Pet Slimmer finals this year – Missy Groeneveld, from Pretoria –lost a remarkable 43% of her bodyweight, going from 9.2kgs to 5.29kgs under the care of Zwartkop Animal Clinic.

To view Captain Haddock’s before and after photos and find out more, visit Is your pet a healthy size? Use the online tools and ask your vet for a professional opinion.

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