Contest: Fattest dog wins free workout from dog trainer and former kindergarten teacher

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Dogs are like babies in one respect above all others: They don't know they're fat (or drooling half the time, for that matter). But unlike dogs, babies grow up, get skinny, then fat again. Canines go down another road, one of constant eating and as much sleep as they want. And the best part? Besides this one clear exception, dogs have no shame. But fat dogs are unhealthy dogs -- and they make you look like the negligent, unloving pet owner you really are. Luckily, a Denver businessman thinks he has a solution.

Joel Belmer launched his business, Odog Adventures, yesterday, with the aim of taking your dog on hikes in the foothills and getting it in shape.

"My company will offer dog walking, biking, possibly jogging and pet sitting," Belmer told us last week. "I personally do the 'adventure' part. There are half-day sessions or a full day session; I pick them up at your house between 8 and 9 a.m. and drop them off around 5 p.m.

Belmer, a former kindergarten teacher and tennis coach at Thomas Jefferson High School, says he plans to take about four to five dogs out at a time to dog parks and on hiking trips -- and although he won't divulge the specific location of his hiking areas, he says they are near Red Rocks.

Belmer also offers "off-leash" hikes for your dog, noting that once dogs get together in packs of four or five, it's rare that one will go rogue and wander off.

"I think the big misconception is there, but once they get in packs, they stay together," Belmer assures any skittish pet owners.

Contest: Belmer approached Westword with this offer: Have readers submit photos of their out-of-shape dogs to us, we'll post our favorites, and let readers determine the winner.

"The winning dog would receive a free month of Odog adventures," Belmer says. "We could even do a before and after picture, as I'm sure the dog will shed some pounds after hiking five days a week for a month."

If your fat dog is in need of this treatment, upload your photos to the Web (we suggest Imgur) and leave a comment with the link and your name. Or you can email us at artseditors@westword.com with the photo.

Legal Stuff:Westword

claims no responsibility for the treatment of your dog in Belmer's care. We've talked to him on the phone and think he has a novel idea for a business, which is why we blogged about it.

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