Fat Boy Slim: One dogs journey on the Mountain Dog Challenge

Bruno up helicopter hill

Bruno joined Gail and Dave in Christchurch May 2018. He was a hefty  2 year old lab who weighed in at 67.4kg. He joined the Mountain Dog Challenge and this is what happened next!


All smiles up at Trig M

He grew up in Auckland with a lovely family who had their own business.

Unfortunately their business grew very rapidly and they did not have the time to spend with Bruno.

He spent a lot of time inside by himself, or being looked after by extended family. When he was around 18months old they reluctantly surrendered him to Lab Rescue.

Gail & Dave (another Gail and Dave, yes this is correct!) from Lab Rescue collected him and took him to Whangarei where they spent a couple of months training him and re-socialising him to other dogs.


Coopers Knobb for the win for a chubby Bruno!

Bruno travelled down to Christchurch from Whangarei on the Pet Bus, and was rehomed to a young guy in June 2017.  This chap thought it would be really cool to have a dog he could hang out with down at the park and the river. 

Sadly he underestimated how much time would be involve and was short on discipline and exercise. Bruno soon blossomed (not in a good way) from 45kg to 67.4kg. 

The chap’s mum then took control and put up a post on Facebook which friends showed us. We applied to re-home him. On 12th May 2018 he came to live with us.

He had developed some pretty handy tricks, including mastery of hoovering (opening doors and cupboards, eating whole blocks of butter and cheese). 

Still he was a happy, easy-going social dude and he fitted right into his new home.

Lavericks Peak
Banks Pennisula on a sunny day! Getting fitter, further and faster.

We fell in love with him (despite the shock of seeing how overweight he was). First thing we did was get him checked out by the vet and were really surprised his bloods were almost all OK.

He was nearly prediabetic though. We changed his diet and monitored his portions. We (re)introduced some rules (with assistance from Nicole from Head to Tail)

and got him moving again. First with gentle walks around the block and down the park. We slowly increased the walking time by increasing the frequency of walks. The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is great way to help walk your dog, Bruno has one and loves it. 

He had weekly weigh-ins, and the team at Halswell OurVets were just as excited as us when his weight started dropping! 

His main hard-out exercise, until the Further Faster Mountain dog challenge, was swimming at Dog Swim Spa under the wise guidance of Chris and June.

 Swim bruno

How Bruno first got fit.

We were told he was an inside dog…he so is not! The mountain dog challenge was good for Bruno and great for us. 

The experience enabled us to really get to know our lad and have great fun in the process.

Fun for the whanau!

Nearly lean mean hiking machine!


We really appreciate the opportunity you guys provided for us to become connected with a very cool community of adventurous dogs and their people….and cool good quality dog stuff / outdoor gear.

Our next step will be to take him on some overnighters in the hills…and perhaps the 4 Paws Marathon!

Having some good gear that lasts makes climbing mountains more fun for every one. Check out the range of gear for Hiking with dogs here.

Written by Gail, Dave and Bruno Houston!

PS. Here is a before and after pic FYI!

Before and after the mtn dog challenge