Rudy got fat

When our two older sons grew up and flew the nest we entered a new stage of life. Even the pets we had when the boys were young grew old and died. So six years ago we got a new puppy. A red miniature poodle. We named him ‘Rudy.” We’ve spoiled him rotten, which is of course, our perogative. After all, he’s just a dog.

But he’s a happy dog living in happy dog heaven. Why? Table scraps. He has trained us to be messy cooks who drop bits of hamburger, cheese, turkey, bacon, cooked brocolli, even ice cream (whilst pretending it’s an ‘accident’, of course). He stands waiting-and-ready by anyone at the kitchen counter, to pluck any wayward bit from mid-air, or to lap up any mess on the floor. He will gladly help with the dishes, too. He’ll hop up on the counter when we aren’t looking, lick the plates clean, you know, so we can just put them in the dishwasher. Lick the counter clean too.

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“You bad dog. Don’t give me that look. You’re not getting up on the counter!”

I remember when we first got Rudy and I was supposedly training him. A book written specifically about poodles stated in bold letters on about page 2: Do not feed poodles table scraps. Nothing should be added to their dog food.” (yes, I can hear you now.)

Lately, for a while now, I’ve realized he’s gotten fat. I’ve started shaming him about it. “You’re fat!” But he’s so adorable and bouncy and cute, and happy, who cares? He’s just a dog.

Signs have been there that he has been, shall I say, ‘expanding’. When we walk him in the park nowadays strangers will say, “Ah, what a cute dog! What kind of dog is he?” To which I’m thinking, Are you daft? Don’t you recognize a poodle? Actually, yes they do. But features like ‘stocky’ and ‘rotund’ or any description reminiscent of a ‘butterball’ do not describe poodles. People do know poodles. They’re just not recognizing that Rudy is one.

So, enter, a fatty tumor on Rudy’s left side. It appeared a couple months ago and has grown bigger. Megan and I took him to the vet last week to have it looked at. We got good news – and bad news. Good news: It’s a confirmed fatty tumor (albeit not a large lump of butter lodged under his skin that he filched from the butter dish). It’s benign. “No – it’s not going to grow tentacles or metastasize.” (Whew!) Bad news: Rudy had gained 1 1/2 LBS since his last visit. (I must stop these visits to the vet!)

“How fat is he?” I ventured to ask. The vet’s assistant hopped right on the question – taking various measurements of Rudy – his neck and head (which, admittedly his head is the only thin part left of him), his upper and lower leg, his torso. Then she disappeared, and returned with this 3-page printout – Rudy’s customized doggie-weight-management program. Page 2 presents the ugly facts along with visuals:

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Can you guess the breed of any of these dogs? I guess it’s your generic ‘tubby-living-a-dog-heaven’s-life’ breed. The news is not good in regards to Rudy. As a male “POO” his ideal weight is 13 1/2 pounds. With his real weight at 20.9 pounds he’s at 48% body fat and “at ‘serious risk’ for arthritis, diabetes, reduced mobility, increased physical injury, Cancer, respiratory disease, kidney disease, Pancreatitis, and shortened life expectancy.”

You expect me to pay for this vet visit?

We left the vet’s office with Rudy on a strict weight reduction plan along with a bounty of doggie heath improvement products, luckily most of them samples: Special Diet dog food, to be precisely measured and rationed throughout the day, reduced to account for additonal supplements, like the sample glucosamine chondroitin chews they sent home with him for joint support. Which begs the question, what about our joints? Give this supplement to our dog and feel it’s not necessary for us? Of course, his incessant leaping off our elevated antique bed would be the equivalent in height to us incessantly leaping off the roof of our front porch. Anyway, don’t think we’re going to spring for the enzymatic powder to sprinkle on his food for dental health – (hey, only 60 bucks for a 4-month supply!). I did buy some enzymatic toothpaste with a doggie toothbrush – both of which have since been sitting on the kitchen counter, unopened.

So my plan is to have Rudy down to 13.49 pounds in 27 weeks. The weight loss graph is all printed out on the third page. I took a ‘before’ picture of him – you know, the ‘before a third of what you see here’ melts away:

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I’m not sure about that look he’s pulling off with his eyes. Maybe a “Are you sure you’re gonna do this to me?” look.

I shared the whole plan with David. “Geez.” he said. “Let him enjoy life. He’s just a dog.”

And then after a long pause, “You’re not going to start on me next are you?”

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One Response to “Rudy got fat”

  1. Rene Miller Says:

    I loved the last line of the blog. Too funny!

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