According to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, half of our nation’s pets are overweight.

So, apparently now even dogs have to worry about bathing suit season.

Not that I’ve caught my dog Monty staring in the mirror with angst over the size of his thighs or anything, but when the vet told me he was a couple of pounds overweight (the dog, not the vet), I felt for him.

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The dog looked at me forlornly. I could feel his pain. I myself had just gotten on the scale that morning and it seemed the dog and I were leading parallel lives.

I’d heard that some people, after time, start to look like their dogs. I didn’t know they got fat together, too.

I guess it made sense. I’d gotten a little loose with my eating habits over the winter: A handful of potato chips here. A gallon of ice cream there. Same with the dog: A little extra kibble here. An entire meatloaf he ate out of the garbage there.

 “Maybe we can just dress him to look slimmer,” I suggested to my husband when I told him the news. “It works for me.”

“That would be fine…if he wore clothes,” he said.

“Maybe a different haircut would give him the appearance of a smaller waist,” I wondered.

“This isn’t about how he looks,” my husband explained. “The idea is not to make him look thinner, but to help him lose weight so he’s healthier.”

“So, what, you’re saying I look fat????”

“Who said anything about you?” he stammered.

“I mean, I did put on a few pounds, but I’m not fat!” I yelled.

“We were talking about the dog.”

“I KNOW THAT!” I screeched. Monty and I turned our tails and stomped away. It was clear that we both needed to step up the exercise and step down our food intake. Since everyone always says it’s easier to diet with a friend, I decided the dog would be my weight loss buddy. I stocked up on diet meals for me, and low-cal kibble for him and then I called in the troops.

“Monty, you need to lose some weight,” I announced. “And so do I,” I said quite a bit softer.

“He (we) needs to be treat-free for awhile and he (we) needs to exercise. So we are all going to support him (us) in his (our) weight loss goals.” They all looked at each other curiously over my strange doublespeak but nodded in agreement and wisely said nothing.

For about two weeks the dog and I both did great. We cut down on our calories, got plenty of exercise, and didn’t snack. But then one night as I was getting ready for bed, out of the blue I had a major, full-blown, take-no-prisoners sugar attack. In a hypnotic, diet-busting daze, I went down to the kitchen and ripped into a box of Girl Scout cookies. Suddenly, I heard a second set of feet approaching from above and, as I fumbled to stash the evidence, dumped the box all over the floor.

Like a shark smelling blood, the dog was at my feet within seconds and devoured the rest of the box.

I wiped a crumb off my face. He licked his chops.

“What happens in the kitchen at night, stays in the kitchen at night,” I warned him.

“Deal,” he burped.

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