How An Overweight Dog Saved An Overweight Man’s Life
As part of his weight loss goals, a man rescued a dog, and the dog changed that man’s entire world.

At age 51, Eric O’Grey found life unbearable. He was a traveling salesman for GE, weighing over 340 pounds.

He was insulin for diabetes, on anti-depressants for depression, and on various other medications for weight loss.

When he wasn’t traveling for work, O’Grey rarely left his apartment. He called his entire life “an exercise in minimizing his movement.” He was miserable all the time, and describes being that heavy as a very painful condition.

O’Grey’s cholesterol was 400, which is just about lethal.

How An Overweight Dog Saved An Overweight Man’s Life

Seven years ago, he decided to make some huge life changes and lose weight after having an embarrassing incident on an airplane where staff needed to delay takeoff to find him a seatbelt extension.

First, he visited a naturopathic doctor, who recommended that O’Grey switch to a plant-based diet much like the one former President Bill Clinton had just discussed undertaking himself on the news. O’Grey was instructed to throw away everything in his home that wasn’t on the doctor’s list.

Incredibly, this amazing doctor also ordered O’Grey to go to a nearby dog shelter, adopt a dog, and walk him twice a day for 30 minutes.

Protesting, O’Grey asked if he could adopt a cat instead. The doctor asked if he’d ever walked a cat, and that settled it.

A Fateful Encounter

When O’Grey pictured the dog he would adopt, he envisioned a perfect dog who didn’t bark and who was perfectly obedient.

But the adoption counselor surprised him when she brought in a dog who was fat, depressed, and who was suffering from skin issues.

O’Grey recounts that the dog’s head hung low and his gaze was fixed on the ground. When he looked up at O’Grey, it was “with a clear sense of disappointment I’d never seen on any person or creature,” O’Grey said.

The dog was obviously depressed.

The adoption counselor informed O’Grey quite simply that he was adopting a dog to lose weight and get out more, and that this was precisely the same thing needed by this dog. These two guys were the in the same boat.

How An Overweight Dog Saved An Overweight Man’s Life

O’Grey was sold. He adopted the black and white dog, and named him “Peety” after the canine in “The Little Rascals.”

The Adventure Begins

O’Grey did as he was supposed to and began taking Peety out on walks, but it wasn’t easy at first. To start, O’Grey could only go about 100 yards before huffing, turning back, and feeling embarrassed.

But Peety didn’t seem embarrassed. He seemed happy. He looked up at O’Grey with appreciation.

The pair walked twice a day, and gradually, the lengths of the walks increased. O’Grey began enjoying the walks, as they gave him a chance to explore his neighborhood on food – something he had never done before.

Peety also got the pair tons of attention with his cute looks, and O’Grey enjoyed having ladies come over to pet the pup and have friendly conversation.

O’Grey hilariously dubbed Peety his “weapon of mass seduction.”

Soon, the pair was not only losing weight together, but they were becoming best friends.

O’Grey was undergoing a transformation. He said he started striving to be the person his dog thought he was. Over time, his entire life improved.

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He went from being reclusive and isolated to valuing this new relationship and opening up emotionally in ways he never had before.

Miraculous Strides

Less than 6 months after adopting Peety, O’Grey had stopped taking all of his medications.

He began cooking regularly, and exploring cuisines he had never before even heard of. Before long, he grew to prefer vegetable-based, spicy dishes (which speed up the metabolism).

And in 10 months, O’Grey’s weight had dropped from 340 pounds to 185 pounds.

How An Overweight Dog Saved An Overweight Man’s Life

Next up, he began dating. It was the first time he’d done so in 15 years.

At this point, O’Grey had so much energy left over that he joined a runners’ club and discovered that he absolutely loved long-distance running.

And to date, he runs five or six marathons a year.

O’Grey does not attribute his weight loss to his running. That came after. He attributes his weight loss to a change in diet and his two walks a day with Peety.

Peety also went through some big changes, losing 25 pounds during his new incredible life with O'Grey.

In March of 2015, Peety tragically passed away from cancer. O’Grey reports that it was the saddest day of his entire life.

Peety’s Legacy Continues

The miracles Peety worked in O’Grey’s life continue to live on today. O’Grey lives in Boise, Idaho, regularly cooking up vegetarian meals and doing lots of long-distance running.

He adopted another dog six months after Peety passed away – a Black Lab mix named Jake. Jake is able to keep up with O’Grey’s now very active lifestyle.

How An Overweight Dog Saved An Overweight Man’s Life

And happily, O’Grey reconnected with his high school sweetheart, and they were married last year.

It has been seven years since O’Grey began his tremendous journey toward happiness. He is 58 years old today, but says he feels 25.

He is the co-author of the book, “Walking with Peety: The Dog Who Saved My Life.”

O’Grey hopes he can inspire others to change their lives by simply letting the world know that it’s never too late to turn it all around.

Watch the incredible tale unfold below!

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Cody has worked and volunteered with rescue animals her entire life. She worked as a veterinary assistant and technician in shelters, rescues, boarding facilities, doggy daycares and animal hospitals in New York and Chicago throughout her teens and twenties, and now resides as a pet foster mom in Upstate New York.