The skeletal and abused golden retriever that became a symbol for the fight against animal abuse in British Columbia is now happy and healthy, and even a little overweight.

The starving, sick dog was brought into the Maple Ridge SPCA in Feb. 2010 close to death, weighing just 10.5 kilograms. That’s roughly one-third of the weight of an average golden, and not even as much as the average bag of dog kibble.

The emaciated pup was covered in feces, urine and mud and suffering major liver damage. It was renamed Trooper by shelter staff, in hopes the two-year-old old dog would have enough spirit to survive.

“It was one of the worst cases of animal abuse I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Adrian Walton, the Maple Ridge vet who first treated the dog.

The dog’s owner, Michael Schneider, later pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, but never provided an explanation for his treatment towards his pet. He was handed a $2,000 fine and banned from owning animals for a decade.

Moved by the horrifying tale of negligence and abuse, people from across North America rallied around Trooper -- sending well wishes and money to aid his recovery. Hundreds of people from around the world rushed in with offers to adopt Trooper, and the SPCA even began running television ads featuring the dog’s recovery.

Trooper thrived under foster care, and he doubled his body weight in just a few months. He was adopted out to Brad and Athena Hayward, who took him home once he was healthy enough to leave the SPCA.

Since moving to his new “forever” home, the now-happy dog has improved in leaps and bounds. Potentially threatening liver damage first flagged by the SPCA significantly improved and his weight has been brought up to a healthy level.

In fact, Dr. Walton says at 88 pounds, Trooper is now slightly rotund.

“He’s actually chunky,” Walton told CTV News, saying that he gets lots of regular walks and exercise, but perhaps a few too many treats.

Walton says he’s not overly concerned about Trooper’s weight, compared to other pets battling the bulge that come into his clinic.

“This is the only dog in my practice I can say I’m OK with him being overweight. Everybody else I give them a big deal about. But Trooper, he gets a freebie on this one,” he said.