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A Dog’s Life. March 19, 2008

Posted by Jae in The Cast.
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Two weeks ago, I adopted a dog.  She is a lovely little girl who enjoys sleeping, eating, and long walks around the neighborhood.  She is smart, friendly, and housebroken.  My whole extended family is smitten with her, and I certainly could not love her more.

However, from the moment I got her home my Dad, who sometimes watches her during the day, has worried that she might get fat.

When we got her she was on the thin side, probably because she doesn’t care for dry food (and that’s what the shelter was giving her).  Since she’s joined my family though, she eats like a champ.  She eats according to the feeding guidelines, and though she gets a good amount of treats, she also gets pleanty of exercise.  The vet did not seem concerned about her weight; hell, you can easily feel her ribs.

Yet my father has brought up the what-if-she-gains-too-much-weight scenario multiple times.  I’ve tried to stay away from the topic, because quite frankly, I’m not ready to get into an argument with my father over HAES for dogs or the idea that perhaps she might not been predisposed to fat in spite of the fact that she is a food vacuum.

I know that my dad really isn’t trying to be a jerk about it, but it really is getting on my last nerve and it makes me wonder exactly what is really bothering him.  My father is a heavy guy, and has been as long as I’ve been alive, but every now and then he seems to feel his weight crosses a magical line and becomes unacceptable.  He starts talking about how he has to “lay off the cookies” and he reminisces about the days when he used to walk everywhere.  After awhile though, the talk stops until another unknown phenomenon causes him to start up again.

And it sounds a little crazy, but I think he might be projecting his issues on the dog.  She looks less scrawny then when I first got her, much more like a healthy, lively, dog, but in his mind she seems to be just one MilkBone away from unacceptably big.  And it makes me really sad for him, because while I know he will never stop loving her no matter what she looks like, it makes me wonder what he thinks of himself.

Sometimes it seems like no one is safe.

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Comments»

1. hotsauce - March 20, 2008

ugh, how awful. i think you’re right, probably projecting.

but more importantly, go you for adopting! i’m a big fan of pets. we have two cats, one from the NY ASPCA and the other is the little bastard offspring of our friend’s ho cat : )

2. mrsmillur - March 27, 2008

Hurrah! for adopting scrawny little dogs who need love. Ours spent 4 happy years with us before an Unfortunate Series of Events found her out on the road at rush hour/twilight.

I well remember the RAPID weight gain went she went from street life, to shelter food, to loving home. If she’d kept gaining at that early rate, she would have been immense! Perhaps this is what your dad’s seeing- and thinking her ‘shelter’ weight is normal. After all, those people are animal care professionals [rolleyes].

It does sound like “Dad, you keep bringing this up- is this really about the dog or is something else bothering you” might be a fair question. (In my family, for example, dog ownership was connected with ability to raise children.)


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