Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I took my dog, Scout, our beloved half German German Shepherd, half Rotweiler, half Who Knows mutt, to the veterinarian today. During the night, while his family was dreaming, he managed to chew his tail into a red, bloody stump. And, it was really, really stinky. So, I forfeited a run with the girls to rush my little buddy to the vet, whose doors should be covered in dollar signs, for emergency intervention. One of the truest things I know is that you cannot leave the vet's office without forking over at least a hundred bucks.
The corpulent doggie nurse checked us in, checked him for fleas, weighed him and generally talked my ears off. Both of them. There was not a pause in her speech, no space for me to respond or even nod. Standing there mute, I began counting the minutes until the real vet joined us for the examination. I struggled to find my voice as she started asking questions, expecting a response.
Doggie Nurse: "So, what are you feeding him?"
Me: "Dog food. From Costco."
Doggie Nurse : "He's getting too chubby. You need to put him on a diet. Few people are aware of the obesity epidemic in dogs."
Me: " Really? This dog runs 20-25 miles a week with my husband and I. Are you sure?"
Doggie Nurse: "Oh, I'm sure. Look at how he waddles. He needs to loose at least 6 pounds."
She launched into a fifteen minute educational lecture on reading every ingredient in the dog food I purchase. This time I started to lose my hearing. I think the sudden deafness was a primal defense mechanism that my subconscious produced to protect me.
The vet finally came in, prescribed a whole slew of medicines to restore the tail to it's former glory, and I left after parting sorely with my $184.00.
As I drove home, I thought, "I have a fat dog."
It dawned on me that only in America are dogs obese. The crumbs from our table are enough to fatten up even the animals in our midst. I couldn't help remembering the children of Cato Manor township in South Africa that eat less than my dog every day.
It's been a rough day of trying to process what I can do to immediately change that.
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