“I caught the dog looking at himself in the full-length mirror today,” I said to my husband. “I think he’s feeling a little self-conscious about his thighs. And he’s worried about putting on weight over the holidays.”
“The dog is worried?” my husband asked.
“Yes, he's noticed that he’s put on a few pounds since Halloween and he wants to make sure he doesn’t get any heavier.”
“The dog said that?” my husband asked.
“He did. He’s going to go on a diet, and I decided to do it with him to give him some support.”
“That’s very nice of you, honey.”
“I know,” I replied. “I’m thoughtful that way.”
It was true, actually. The dog had put on a little weight. But I was the one who was binging on leftover Halloween candy and I was the one who was having trouble fitting into her skinny jeans. Now, with Thanksgiving looming, I needed to stop and face the music so I did not end up gaining so much weight this season that I would look like the holiday turkey.
I had heard that you’re more likely to succeed on a food and exercise plan if you do it with a friend, so I decided to enlist the help of a partner. I wanted someone who would go along with whatever exercise I decided to do, who wouldn’t scold me if I cheated on my diet, and would be a willing participant in any hair-brained, get-thin-quick scheme I came up with.
So, I drafted the dog. And blamed it on him.
“The dog needs to lose a few pounds,” I said to the vet at our next visit. “What do you recommend?”
“You can cut down on his food intake,” she suggested.
“Oh, but then won’t we, I mean, he be hungry?”
“He’s a dog. He’s always hungry,” said the vet.
“Yes,” I sighed. “We are. I mean, he is.”
The vet looked at me and raised an eyebrow.
“Or we could switch him to a lower-calorie kibble and you can supplement with carrots and string beans,” she said.
“That might work,” I replied. “I like carrots. I mean, the dog likes carrots.”
The dog thumped his tail. The vet gave me the side-eye.
“You know, a lot of times dogs gain weight because of too much snacking. Do you think that might be the problem here?” she asked.
“Definitely,” I replied.
“If you cut down on the snacks, you probably wouldn’t need to change the meals.”
“Really? You think so?” I asked enthusiastically.
“Yes. Stop snacking and get more exercise,” she said.
“I can do that!” I exclaimed. “I mean, I can help the dog with that.”
The vet and I lifted the dog off the examination table.
“I think with a few small changes, the ‘dog’ will drop the weight pretty quickly,” she said and winked at me.
“Thanks so much,” I said to her as I put the dog’s leash back on him. “I’m sure the dog appreciates your advice. Do you have any other suggestions?”
“Yes,” she replied…
“Get rid of the leftover Halloween candy.”
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