Fat Dog, Fat Mommy: The Shameful Truth
Our rescue Mal/Border Collie mix, Cosmo, has a weight problem. Yesterday, he weighed in at the Vet’s office at an embarrassing 74 pounds. We were told a couple of years ago, when he weighed more like 65 pounds, that he needed to be put on a diet and lose about ten pounds. The Doc would like to see him at around 55 pounds. Never happened.
He was such a little sprite of a thing when we first rescued him. At 28 pounds he was a fluffy brown-eyed bundle of nervous energy. He felt so light and airy at the end of the leash! It was like walking a balloon. We were accustomed to walking his predecessor, our very stubborn 60 pound rescue Mal, Cody, who required brute strength from our end of the leash to stay on track and not drag us crashing and burning into roadside ditches trying to molest neighborhood cats. After he passed away and we finally got Cosmo, we forgot who we were walking a couple of times until the little tyke sailed past us on the end of his leash, like Peter Pan.
Obviously, he eventually filled out. And he’s calmed down considerably. We did put him on a diet dog food as instructed. It was called Fat Dog food. UGH! I hate that name. It’s so degrading and unkind. Every bag came with a little yellow tape measure so you could measure your pet’s weight loss in inches, like they do to ladies who actually diet, at places like Jenny Craig. There was a time in my life when I used to use one to take my own measurements, so I could think about going on a diet, and restoring my 35-26-35 figure. The one I had when I was fourteen. Never happened.
Turns out Fat Dog food is more fiber than food and more fiber equals more poop. A lot more poop. Like six or seven poops a day. Large volume poops at that. Cosmo didn’t really lose weight on this food, either, maybe a couple of pounds, and it was really expensive, so after a year or so on this expensive fiber based poop producing dog food with a degrading name, we switched to a high quality slightly less expensive chicken and rice food with one of those wholesome sounding names–Whole Earth Farms or some other such nonsense. It sounded nice. Of course we knew it was not produced on a dog friendly hippy commune farm in sunny California, but most likely in a dog food plant in the industrial section of some mid-western town, hopefully NOT named Flint, but it sounded nice.
Cosmo liked the Whole Earth Farms food, which is good, because he’s a picky eater. When we switched, the poop volume diminished immediately. However, Cosmo’s volume increased, although at a more leisurely pace. We started noticing it a few months ago. He was beginning to take on the proportions of a Serta Sheep. I felt around through his thick fleecy fur looking for ribs. It was a lot like feeling around my lower abdomen looking for muscle. Disappointing. I figured he must have gained a few pounds. I knew we would need to address the issue, although I wasn’t about to whip out any tape measures, I just decided we would buy him some kind of weight loss formula dog food. I honestly never imagined he had gained ten pounds. The Vet was kind about it, but I was ashamed of myself for being a negligent Mommy. On top of the ten pounds he never lost the first time when he was forced to eat the fiber food with the shameful name, let’s see, that’s twenty pounds. Oh my. Turns out Cosmo and Mommy have the same problem. Lose twenty pounds. Each.
Twenty pounds overweight is a lot for a medium large size dog. It’s also a lot for a short Mommy. I need to get serious for both of us. Extra weight is unhealthy for us on so many levels. Neither one of us gets around as easily as we used to. Cosmo doesn’t seem to struggle with the self-image issue, but Mommy does. And I wasn’t even forced to eat Fat Mommy brand food, although that might be a viable tactic–shaming one’s self. Maybe we can help each other. We can both take longer walks and eat fewer calories. I can lift weights and do yoga while he perfects his upward facing dog on my exercise mat that he’s so fond of. But no more demoralizing dog food brands. If we have to, there’s a couple of tape measures in the house to measure our progress. I know 35-26-35 is just wishful thinking. It’s gone forever. And Cosmo will probably never have a prominent rib cage like Johnny Weissmuller, but we’ve gotta start somewhere. Together. Which is how he likes things. The cheeky little monkey.